Born on the 22nd of November 1969, Marjane Satrapi is the creator of the Persepolis comic series, an autobiographical chronicle of her childhood in Iran. Upon her arrival in France at the age of twenty five and after studying in Tehran’s Academy of Fine Arts, Marjane chose to dedicate herself and her artistic talent to the world of comics. With the encouragement of artists and peers, she begun what became the first graphic novel ever made by a child of the Islamic Revolution.
«In Iran, we have marvelous poets, excellent writers and film directors,
we have caricaturists and newspaper journalists but no comic book artists.»
Successfully blending the harsh truth of Iran’s historical events with the imaginary world of youth was not an easy task and the first of the Persepolis series was released six years later in 2001. By the time the second came out, she had already obtained international recognition. A widely acclaimed Persepolis animated movie came out in 2007 and got even more people interested in her works. Marjane Satrapi is now a French citizen, lives in Paris with her Swedish husband and happily writes and illustrates children’s books for a living.
In the first part of Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi relates her early years , before she turned ten, when Iran was still a dynasty and the Shah was in power. The drawing is black and white, minimalist, and infused with great sensibility as well as astounding dialogues. From the very start, Marjane somehow captures the essence of childhood, which is universal, whilst telling the tale of a reality that’s unique to Iranians and that particular time. This, I believe, is the true power of the Persepolis comic series. Because anyone can find something of themselves in “little Marji” and the emotions felt by the Satrapi family; the political climate depicted through the eyes of that ten-year old girl echoes even in the hearts of those of us who are foreign to the troubled history of Iran and the Islamic Revolution of 1978.
«Image, my friends, is an international language.»
Again, in the second graphic novel, Persepolis 2, the undergoing changes in the daily lives of Iranians now living under the rule of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is paralleled with the inner turmoils ravaging her adolescent self and the changes puberty does to her body. With the characteristic underlying humor present throughout the Persepolis series, Marjane then proceeds to illustrate her life as a teenager after the Iran-Irak War of 1980, when her parents decide to send her to Vienna, Austria. Living alone in exile, trying to cope with zits, bigger boobs and the strangeness of the Western world, Miss Satrapi’s drawings make for yet a third unforgettable album: Persepolis 3, published in 2002.
«Sometimes talking is just too much. Sometimes just showing is enough.
I think when people look at this, they'll understand perfectly what's happening,
so no, I don't need to add anything.»
Persepolis 4 (2003)is the very last volume of the collection and depicts her return to Iran, half a decade later. The repressive Iranian regime and its exactions on the individual spirit seem as surreal to her as they are to the reader. The human cost of war and political repression, the obligation for women to don the veil and the strict regulations striving to contain the exuberance of youth all drive young Satrapi into depression. Fortunatly, with the help of her grandmother's words, she finally decides to make the best of everything and live to the fullest ( to the sound of Survivor's famous song "The Eye of the Tiger" ). Marjane's starkly monochromatic style is, as usual, unflinching and poignant, capable of capturing subtle emotions with the bend of a line.
- Sagesses et malices de la Perse (2001)
- Les monstres n'aiment pas la lune (2001)
- Ulysse au pays des fous (2001)
- Adjar (2002)
- Broderies (2003)
- Poulet aux prunes (2004)
- Le Soupir (2004)
Interview with Marjane Satrapi (in french) http://www.bdselection.com/php/?rub=page_dos&id_dossier=51
Quotes by Marjane Satrapi.