Graphic Novel Review: Mareenah Galang

The graphic novel that I chose to read is called They Called Us Enemy by Eisinger Scott Becker. It describes the story of George Takei, one of the actors from Star Trek. During World War 2, after Pearl Harbor, people of Japanese descent in the United States were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to live in internment camps, due to fear that they were security threats. They Called Us Enemy details the Takei’s experience as him and his family lived in these camps. It’s an interesting and incredibly moving graphic novel, and I’m very glad I got the opportunity to read it. 

Depiction of emotion in They Called Us Enemy by Eisinger Scott Becker

I found the iconography to be very interesting. The outlines of the characters are made up of simple lines, but the way the faces are drawn depict a lot of emotions. I think that Becker drew his iconography this way to emphasize the emotions felt during this very serious and horrific historical event. One can easily imagine how the characters must’ve been feeling due to the expressive eyes and other features drawn on each character. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud talks about amplification through simplification in comics. When people abstract an image (like a face), by making it more cartoon-like and less realistic, they can put the focus on specific details. In this case, it’s the emotion in the character’s faces.

An example of shading and patterns in They Called Us Enemy by Eisinger Scott Becker

Becker also uses a lot of shading and smaller lines to add more depth and detail to the simplistic outlines and shapes. If one looks closely, the shading has tiny patterns, such as dots, grids, geometric shapes, hash marks, and other patterns to create the effect of texture. 

The Right Number by Scott McCloud

I found The Right Number by Scott McCloud to be a really noteworthy. The layout is nothing like a traditional comic. In the middle of one panel, there is a small rectangle that shows the next panel. To read the next panel, the user has to click on an arrow, which causes the webcomic to  zoom into the next panel. It’s almost movie-like with this type of layout. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud says that films are essentially very slow comics. In movies, the frames occupy the exact same space, while comics occupy a different space. The Right Number is similar to a movie because it zooms into the next frame but still occupies the same space.

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