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Comics Herstory: Marjane Satrapi

PersepolisMarjane Satrapi is one of the few women who has been regularly recognized at the Angoulême festival, and with good reason. Satrapi is an Iranian artist and writer and her debut comic, Persepolis, was originally published in four parts in French. Fifteen years after its initial publication, Persepolis remains one of the most famous examples of graphic memoir, leaving an impact not only on the comic community, but also on American culture.

Satrapi’s art is simple, and her writing is straightforward and humorous. Not only does this make for an incredibly honest story, but it offered a window, a chance for Americans to gain insight into Iranian culture and politics during a time of escalating tensions between America and Iran. Persepolis is the story of a child told with adult wisdom, and part of Satrapi’s great skill lies in her ability to tell her story without losing little Marji’s narrative or the deep, political context of the story.

marjane satrapiSatrapi has also proved herself to be a versatile artist. Shortly after Persepolis was published, she published two biographical stories. The first, Embroideries, is an entertaining look at the sex lives of Iranian women. The second, Chicken With Plums, is based on the last few days in the life of Nasser Ali Khan, who was related to Satrapi. Though she is most known for Persepolis, she has also published two graphic novels aimed toward a younger audience: a children’s book titled Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon and a fairy tale called The Sigh.

Satrapi has also written and co-directed animated films based on Persepolis and Chicken With Plums, and directed Gang of the Jotas (which she also acted in) and The Voices.

Though she has proved herself capable in areas beyond comic writing, Marjane Satrapi’s honest writing and knack for digging into difficult subjects has made quite a mark on the genre. She offers one woman’s perspective, but it is also a bridge.

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