Graphic Novel Review: Jon Preng

The graphic novel that I read was “Poppies of Iraq” by Brigette Findalky and her husband, Lewis Trondheim. Right off the bat, I found it interesting how a married couple wrote an autobiography together. Findakly wrote most of the story while her husband did a lot of the artwork. Poppies of Iraq is about the life of Brigitte Finadakly, who explains her life growing up in Iraq and France. I enjoyed the novel as it was interesting and educational as well.

The artwork in Poppies of Iraq is cartoonish and colorful. I think the purpose for this is to make it more relatable for the audience. For example, in Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics,” he mentions that people can relate more to the story when the artwork is simple and not too complex. Something I found unique was that the story did not have actual frames within the art. However, it was still easy to depict different frames since there was enough spacing to not feel cluttered.

Thinking about McCloud’s “Living in Line” chapter, Poppies of Iraq use line to depict emotion and tone of the “frames.” For example, the dead soldiers in the image have eyes in the shape an “X” to represent that they are dead. Throughout the novel, I believe the artwork is similar to the calm and reason lines that McCloud displays on page 124. Another thing I noticed was that the frames and panel lines in the story are “savage and deadly,” as McCloud showed on page 127. Lastly, another topic in the chapter that I connected to Poppies of Iraq is the use of symbols. There are flags shown multiple times in Poppies of Iraq.

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