The world of comics enables comic-artists to create a whole other dimension of consciousness. The scale of emotions is enormous, allowing complete freedom for the comic-book drawer to paint a world of new understanding. As coming-of-age memoirs, Persepolis I and Persepolis II tell the story of Marjane Satrapi’s struggle to realize her true self in a world torn apart by civil unrest. Marjane Satrapi’s minimalistic drawing style enables the books Persepolis I and Persepolis II to convey the gruesome concept of death in a larger-than-life manner.
Though the softer depiction of death would seemingly weaken the concept, it in fact amplifies death to a more vivid level. Audience participation is a huge aspect of the technique, as the reader unites text and picture to envision a scene beyond the ink on the page. Scott McCloud explains the concept of “amplification through simplification,” stating than once something is broken down to its basic meaning, an artist can “amplify that meaning in a way that realistic art can’t.” Once an artist breaks down an idea to its bare minimums, only then is he allowed free range to the many different ways to visualize a concept. As a comic book artist furthers away from the “real life” depiction of an event, the reader is invited more readily to portray the sequence in whatever matter he wishes.
As the Iranian Revolution tears the country of Iran apart, Satrapi must learn to cope with the numerous images of death and decay rampant throughout the country. The audience can only imagine the tremendous amounts of death, exemplifying how small pictures extend their meaning out of frame. Just as outlined in Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud states that the “comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and unseen. The visible and the invisible” (92). McCloud’s point is that a comic creator must trust that the audience will understand the invisible, along with the visible. Both work together in big ways to conceptualize a certain idea.
One of the first images of death, on page 11 of Persepolis I, depicts the very start of the Revolution. Satrapi captions a picture of numerous people lying on the floor with, “‘After a long sleep of 2500 years, the revolution has finally awakened the people.’” The picture is lit from the top, by moonlight, and the stark contrast between the ground and the “sleeping” bodies depicts a picture of another kind. Though the Revolution is a necessary action for the people of Iran, the fact that people still must die for this freedom is a fact that is never forgotten, or at least, shouldn’t be forgotten. A relationship between sleep and death is drawn through the caption, illustrating the fact that in any aspect for repression, sacrifices must be made to carry on the cause. The long panel style of this top panel and the bottom panel work together to convey a sense of timelessness; that the fight itself is a country-wide occurrence, affecting everyone inside its borders. The...