Graphic Novel Review: Maddy West

The comic that I choose to read and review is “Exits” by Daryl Seitchik. This book follows Claire Kim, a girl who hates herself and her world. She works at a mirror store and as she shows customers their reflections, she wishes to erase her own, mainly because she is never truly able to control how others see her. She constantly deals with objectification and others telling her what they believe that she is. Claire’s inability to control her life and the people around her lead to her feeling both isolated and alienated from the world around her. She even tries to ask for help but is ignored and pushed aside. On her way home from working at the mirror store, Claire desire to disappear comes true, and she begins to explore her city (and her own brain) invisibly. Throughout this exploration, Seitchik explores many different topics, addressing the feelings that people have when they don’t believe that they fit into society and the anxiety that comes with that. It also addresses Claire’s status in society as a woman and how they experience constantly being the “other” that is often not addressed in mainstream media. Claire is no longer willing to be the object that women are typically forced to be in and so she just leaves (or exits, which is the title of the book).

I think that the artwork that Seitchik uses is very interesting for many different reasons. First off, he only uses three colors throughout the whole comic (black, white, and gray). This combination really forces the reader to look closes at the images to understand what they are trying to show as there is no “highlighting” any part of the image with a specific color. In Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” chapter “Living in Line” I was really interested by his explanation about how different elements (such as background, line type, and font type) can evoke different emotions/experiences. In Exits, the backgrounds typically remain artistically pretty minimal but have a lot of texture, brought in by dots and lines, and details. These combine to help bring out the emotions of the reader. I think the best example of this is that it shows details of everyday real life, like a homeless person sitting out on the street. Another thing that McCloud mentions is having more and less developed characters. I think that Seitchik uses this concept well in adding more details to the characters that are important to Claire (even if she may not like the person). As shown in the example, when Claire pictures her own funeral, most of the people attending are almost faceless but her mother and Brad (her stepfather) are detailed. This scene is also a good example of the simple background (which is all white) but how there are details (such as on all of the attendees’ clothes/bags. Overall, I really liked this comics message and iconography due to the unique factors of both.

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