Graphic Novel Review: Keanna Maki

Passing For Human Cover By Liana Finck

The graphic novel I chose to read is called “Passing For Human” by Liana Finck. This novel was definitely something that drew me in right away. I think it was because of the cover of the novel. The cover portrays an animated moon and sun kissing. The image appeals to my aesthetic side of my life which sparked my interest more. My first impression was to get the book because of this, but I had to skim through it to make sure that I was actually going to like the content in it. After I did, I figured I would give it a go.

Looking back now that I have finished this novel, I realized it really centered its focus on mental health. In this novel, there is the main character named Leola who invited readers on the journey of how she became who she is. Along this journey, she shared the life of her mother and how she had a lot to why she is the way she is. The other character that was involved was this imaginary person who they would refer to as their shadow. So pretty much, Leola’s best friend was her own shadow and the shadow took the form of a human and had its own personality too. Not only do we see get to see Leola’s life throughout time, but we see how her shadow had a huge impact on her. It is important to note that the author Liana Finck is telling this story as her own memoir. This memoir is obviously a simplified and more creative way to tell her experiences in her life. I would say this novel does highlight mental health because throughout the novel, Leola struggles to find herself and find people who are willing to stay. The only one who did was her shadow. Which can also represent the loneliness she felt throughout her life.

Passing For Human by Liana Finck (162)

As far as the iconography goes, Finck does have creative illustrations that are aesthetically pleasing. Finck seems to draw the illustrations with a single pen/pencil as a reader may see. Some of the frames within the novel are more in detail than the others and some of them are more linguistic then the others. Having linear drawn images was what Finck was trying to aim towards. I think the writer/artist chose to use this type of iconography because it is more personal and unique for what Finck wants to portray to the readers. It also adds its own individuality and is able to make us think differently of what is happening in the novel.

For the web comics this week, what struck me is that there is a difference when reading/viewing these comics digitally rather than physically. These web comics add more to a regular comic. These digital versions make the comics into short films in a way. The pace of how you read and click through the comics is all on the speed you take it. For one of the web comics, I found myself clicking through the comics at a good speed where I was still understanding the comic’s content but wanted to keep seeing what would happen next. The web comic “Mimi’s Last Coffee was interesting because, not only was it a click-by-click comic, but you were in control of the direction the comics went and sometimes the path you would choose had its own story and finished earlier then the main story. Overall, web comics do have many differences then what physical comics have. They both still classify as comics though.

Mimi’s Last Coffee (Web Comic) 


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