In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s animated adaptation of Satrapi’s graphic-novel autobiography about a young girl growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and Iran’s war with Iraq, episodic stories give Western readers and many others a glimpse into a fascinating world during a tumultuous era, and the author’s illustrations express the caricatured, exaggerated impressions of a young child. But being someone who’s just never really felt attuned to the art of the graphic novel, throughout I couldn’t help but think that even the best panel of Persepolis might be substituted by a better written description of the same represented event or emotion. Such a suspicion could make me something of a hypocrite, since I obviously have no problems with another image-based form of storytelling, cinema. Maybe, then, it’s not any inherent flaws of the form of the graphic novel but Persepolis itself, which, despite its successes, feels ever so slight, the sort of product that, while not unintelligent, flatters its sophisticated but undemanding audience with the constant reassurance of tasteful propriety.
Click here to read Michael Joshua Rowin’s review of Persepolis.