One of the many things I am unduly critical about is graphic novels (or comic books.) I wasn't very fond of either, as a child, when the only comic book I ever owned starred Donald Duck.
I recently read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a beautiful and touching autobiographical comic book. The author shows us the memories of her childhood and adolescence, in the form of simple illustrations, just like a child would. Originally written in French, it has two volumes (The Story of a Childhood & The Story of a Return) which are illustrated in a charming black and white. The story is set during and after the Islamic revolution and the Iran-Iraq war.
Brought up in Tehran, Marjane dreamed, as a little child, of being God's Prophet and later, during the revolution, dressed up and pretended to be the likes of Che Guevara. While she grew up in a relatively independent and liberal family atmosphere, the world around her turned into something entirely different. The book deals with themes like war, discrimination, religion, politics; all from that little girl's point of view. I never imagined a comic book could handle such a "grown-up" topic in such a "grown-up" way. You can't blame me, though; I actually don't know any one who reads comic books of any genre other than fantasy.
On the other hand, once you're in your forties, twelve-year-olds and eight-year-olds all seem about the same. So some authors make their younger characters too, well, childish. This comic book displays the little girl's innocence wonderfully - and without making her seem naive. And as the girl grows up, you grow up with her!
Now, I am not claiming that I am suddenly a fan of comic books about superheroes or Japanese animated characters with uncharacteristically huge eyes. I'm just saying, I'll try not to be so judgmental the next time; because this particular comic book (Persepolis) is certainly one of my favourite books!