Friday, 8 January 2010

Autobiographical Comic Books, Top 5

(did I put more than 5 titles?? oh, sorry, must mean they're good then)

There is something so personal about texts and pictures from the one person retelling their life that you simply have to be touched by it. To me this is the ultimate revelation and glimpse into someone else's psyche. Those are big books because they are so personal. Here are some beautiful works:

Blankets, by Craig Thompson

This is a tale of deep struggles with the catholic religion and a very touching youth love story. Thompson writes and draws in all subtlety. It's a long graphic novel (over 300pages) but when I started I wasn't able to put it down. His drawings are delicate, his story respires candor and you follow this journey with awe.

Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story, by Frederik Peeters

What happens when the woman you fall in love with has aids? This isn't even a topic we usually hear about... I was very intrigued and I was impressed by the humanity of Peeters. After all such a story cannot be anything else but humane. And the drawings are to personal... he is a great artiste! Oh and this is not a gloom piece! It respires life.

Persepolis, by Marjan Satrapi

I'm sure everyone has heard of this one. It is fabulous and opens the eyes on the 'real life' of a woman in Iran, or at least a girl's life. An emotion full adventure with a very lively little girl - and it is refreshing too because it's not often that we see a woman's tale in comic book form. Highly recommended because it is both cute, though inducing and educative... yes, you do get that too.

Epileptic, by David B

This retraces David's growing up with a brother who is epileptic in a time when people didn't know what to do about that. It's confronting, unsettling, horrifying and funny sometimes. The struggle and the constant need for escape into fantasy transpires with such accuracy it left me very thoughtful. I particularly loved the part when the parents follow macrobiotic ways of living in desperation for finding a cure.

Siberia by Nikolai Maslov

Why? Because it is such an oddity. We don't often hear common Russian voices and this is so close to the ground, so different from what we live through and yet so close to what we picture Russia to be for someone that tries a little harder than most that it has something a little heart wrenching about it all. This is an honest slab of life and I was moved by it, very much.

Little Nothings (v 1, 2 and 3), by Lewis Trondheim

Trondheim represents himself at some kind of bird and those are his thoughts on his daily activities or whatever else might happen to him. Some are great moments, some are odd, some a funny and some are just thought bubbles. This is a really pleasant read. Very french I'd say, like it's author.

Doing Time, by Kazuichi Hanawa

This final one is a manga, because this genre is growing increasingly popular and therefore there has to be one in my list. This one I almost read with an anthropological eye. Prison in Japan is so different and is meant to really teach people very particular things... it's frighteningly personality shattering I thought and really they try to eliminate all notions of the individual. This is a slow manga, showing just a slice of life, but with such an eye and beautiful drawings that you really feel like you are living through an experience.

For the other ones that exist I might talk about them another time... and then again I might not. There's a lot of autobiographical graphic novels out there of different quality that I read. Those few ones I talked about really stayed with me.

*** Don't hesitate and leave me some comment!!! ***

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