How graphic bios supply one other view of historical past

Anyone who has read Art Spiegelman’s Maus or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis will be familiar with the way graphic novels can bring the past powerfully, and uniquely, to life. While many of us might struggle through a heavy history book, there’s something about the combination of words and imagery that makes past events that much more immediate. And while the idea of a graphic history isn’t a new one, recent years have seen this particular medium grow considerably – from Zosia Dzierżawska and Charlotte Malterre-Barthes’ Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun graphic biography, through to Elisa Macellari’s Kusama: The Graphic Novel and Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez’s Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.

Creating these kinds of titles is a major undertaking, requiring authors and illustrators to balance poetic interpretations of the past with real-life research.

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