Review – ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi

Before I began reading Persepolis, I didn’t know what to expect. This was my first comic in book form (or what some people call graphic novels) – I didn’t even know they existed! I think Persepolis was maybe marketed towards people like me, who don’t have a lot of experience with comics, as from the outside it looks like an ordinary prose book. This is a clever technique and it paid off as I was more confident about starting it!

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The storyline grabbed me immediately; it is an autobiographical comic, memoirs about Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I also didn’t know anything about this topic prior to reading Persepolis, but I’m interested in politics and feminism so the first chapter, where a young Marji is forced to wear the veil at school, captured my attention. The book taught me a lot about the Islamic Revolution, from the severe laws that were put in place by the new regime (such as the banning of alcohol) to the consequences that it had for Iranian families like the Satrapis, who are ultimately separated by Marji’s parents’ desire to protect their daughter when she is sent from their home in Iran to Vienna by herself. Although there was lots of information in the book, it never felt like a task; I think that it was easier to read because it was a comic, rather than a prose book. Lots of the story was told through the images, along with Marji’s narration, but there wasn’t as much text as in a prose book which I think made it flow very well, and meant I could read a lot of it in one go without getting tired. I think that overall it being a comic added to the book; the gutter, the spaces between the panels in a comic, allowed parts of the story to be more implicit than they would be in a prose book – you make the links between the images automatically in your head, rather than being told explicitly what happens.

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The pictures in Persepolis were in black and white, and were drawn in quite a simple style, which previously I could have thought of as boring, but which was actually really engaging. It meant that more emphasis was put on the characters and the storyline, as opposed to bright colours and really detailed images. As someone who has never read a comic like this before, I really enjoyed Persepolis and would definitely recommend it both to people like me, who don’t know a lot about comics, and to diehard comic fans! The story ends almost on a cliff hanger as the last panel is Marji about to board her flight to Vienna, so I am definitely going to read the next book – Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return – to see where Marjane Satrapi ended up!

Caitlin Mitchell

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The final page of Persepolis

Introducing the Artists: Andy Herd

The seventh and final artist in our studio to be profiled is Andy Herd!

IMG_4614Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Andy Herd, I’m 37 and I’m from Fife but have lived in Dundee for 15 years.

What made you want to become an artist?

Well I always doodled when I was young – I’m a big doodler, I doodle at work and I doodle most places, so I guess I’ve always had something in me that wanted to draw cartoons. I did read The Beano a lot when I was young so I think that helped a lot as well.

Do you have a preferred style of art?

I work entirely digitally – I used to use Wacom tablets but now I actually draw on an iPad, which is fantastic because I can take it with me and draw everywhere. From start to finish, everything I do is on the iPad, from sketching right down to the final stuff. Having worked digitally for so long, I now find I suck at drawing with pens and paper! I really love digital drawing, I think it suits my style, which is quite cartoony and bold. I use an app called Procreate and I also use Adobe Draw, but Procreate is the main one that I use now, which is fantastic I love it.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Hmm, I like to watch horror films on Netflix, I play video games sometimes, I like to read books and I like to think about owls or shrews – they’re really fun animals – and ducks as well, big fan of ducks. My favourite book is Watership Down, it’s fantastic I love it, it’s the only book that ever made me cry.

What is your favourite comic of all time?

It would probably be The Far Side by Gary Larson, which is a selection of one panel newspaper style cartoons. I had a lot of his books when I was young, they’re so funny and so stupid. I think they influenced me a lot. They’re timeless and they have a lot of funny animals and ducks in them.

What is the best thing about working in DCCS?

Being around other people who do comics is very motivating, and having desk space is fantastic, a place to put your things and work in peace. Sometimes when I work at home there’s too many distractions, so having this desk is brilliant. Working with the kids in the workshops is great, they come up with some completely insane comics – sometimes I mentally steal ideas from them. Overall it’s a really encouraging and inspiring atmosphere.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on Episode 7 of my comic called The Cases of Detective Skip Tobey, which is going to be about pan-dimensional crime reptiles who have taken over the city. It’s online on my website, and I’m part of Treehouse Comic so all of my Skip Tobey comics are also in Treehouse.

How can we follow you on social media?

Twitter – @_pandy

Website –

Thanks Andy!