Reading all this material about comics has really got me thinking about them and realizing how popular they are becoming. When I hear the word “comic,” I think of stories about superheroes saving the world or Saturday morning funnies. Growing up, I only read newspaper comics on occasion so I have never really gotten into them. I did glance through a comic book once, but gave up when I found the panels hard to follow. McCloud’s graphic novel about comics really opened my eyes on how comics are written and how to understand them. His description of the space between each panel, the gutter, as where the story really comes to life makes so much sense. It is the reader’s responsibility to embellish the story in their own way which is something that cannot be done with a regular written book.
Persepolis was a lot different than my other comic book experiences. The written text seemed to be the primary aspect of the book with the pictures to support it. Also, Marjane’s thoughts or the background information for a specific panel appeared frequently at the top or bottom of the panel, but obviously separate from the action within it. The pictures were very supportive of the story; they described the words and gave the story a vividness that written stories do not have.
I discovered a few things while reading Persepolis that I found interesting. It seemed harder for me to retain the information from the graphic novel rather than a written book. While the outline of the story remained, I forgot the finer details and mixed the images and events up in my mind. Another observation is that written novels spend a lot of time developing their characters and scenes, whereas graphic novels don’t. Comics focus on the plot development because they use pictures to show readers the characters and scenes. I enjoy both comics and regular books, but I think my preference is a written book since I can comprehend it better.