Graphic Novel Review: Devon Anderson

Thin Thighs in Thirty Years by Cathy Guisewite depicts the life of the title character and the thoughts that run through a typical woman’s mind. It begins with Cathy and a friend trying on swimsuits and the lack of confidence Cathy has in her body. As the story continues we meet Cathy’s friend Andrea who professed all her life to be against having a relationship with a man. This quickly changes and Cathy feels left in the dust when Andrea meets a guy online and quickly marries him. The rest of the story shows how Cathy deals with the absence of her best friend and the internal dialect of a woman in her thirties who is in a discombobulated relationship and has tried, and failed, dieting multiple times, all the while having a high demanding career. 

I believe that Cathy Guisewrite used this type of imagery/drawing style so that a larger number of readers could connect to the main character. If the author were to have put more detail into Cathy’s facial features than readers would have a harder time relating to the character because now it is more likely that the character could not resemble the reader. This style of drawing is also easier for the reader to interpret and does not make demands on, or cause the reader to work hard to understand the strips of drawings laid out before them. There is no question that one panel follows the other and the story is easy to process. 

Cathy Guisewite’s comic book Thin Thighs in Thirty Years illustrates that emotions can be depicted by symbols and images within a comic. (Thin thighs in thirty years by Cathy Guisewite
page 5, Published by Universal Press Syndicate 1986)

Starting as early as page 5, and reiterated throughout the comic, you can see how the emotions that the author wants the reader to register in the story are visible. In one image, you can see the water droplets spraying away from the character Cathy’s face, this portrays to the reader that Cathy is nervous about the idea of walking out of the dressing room in a swimsuit. Throughout the story many different emotions are expressed through images that are easily interpreted by the reader. These images could be the sweat droplets, or angled brows coupled with lines surrounding a yelling face depicting anger. These are the symbols Cathy Guisewite uses to render emotion that a reader would easily understand.

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