This year’s Banned Book Week takes the graphic novel as its focus. Comics and graphic novels have only risen in popularity—and will likely continue to do so, and the format’s commingling of the worlds of narrative and illustrative can lead to confusion regarding audience, intent and tone.
The JTCC Libraries are proud to possess a growing, fascinating graphic novel collection! So, let’s turn our focus to two of our more infamous holdings:
Persepolis was published in 2000 by a young Iranian woman, Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi was born and raised in Tehran, leaving for Europe several years after the Islamic Revolution in 1980. Composed of two volumes, Persepolis recounts her childhood, her family’s hardships, her ancestors’ persecutions, and her growing love of books, art and rebellion.
Fun Home was published in 2006 by the already renowned graphic novelist Alison Bechdel. Bechdel’s serial comic—Dykes to Watch Out For—is an enduring classic for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) population as well as for other discerning comic-strip readers everywhere. Fun Home, too, functions as memoir, an auto-biographical recount of Bechdel’s childhood in a funeral home, her mortician father, and his closeted homosexuality.
Over the past ten years, both of these wonderfully written, beautifully drawn books have been challenged regarding the “appropriateness” of their contents. Both remain essential reads for any book lover curious about the world and all the amazingly different people in it.