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Graphic novel of life of Anne Frank available today

If you’re in the Netherlands (and I do have a couple of readers there according to my web analytics) you might be interested to know that the Anne Frank Foundation has announced a graphic novel based on Anne Frank’s life is now available.

The idea for a comic book originated from the fact that children read less than they used to. “We think it’s important that children learn the story of Anne Frank and we were looking for a more modern form” says Hans Westra.

The book is written by Sid Jacobson and illustrated by Ernest Col’on, who are best known for their comic strip about the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington: The 9/11 Report. The comic book is being published around the world to mark the 50th anniversary of the Anne Frank House.

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
@ 3:16 pm

No disrespect to the Anne Frank folks, who should get Anne’s story out in as many media as they can, but this notion that graphic novels serve a need because “children read less than they used to” irks me. They’re not (or shouldn’t be) literature for illiterates.

Ideally, a graphic novel offers readers an experience they can’t get from either words or pictures alone. I don’t think everything is necessarily enhanced by adding drawings. For example, I think graphic adaptations of Dickens’s work suffer because they have to omit so much of his rich description and language; with Dickens, the music of his words is part of the point. Likewise, the Diary of Anne Frank isn’t a long or difficult read, and I wonder what an artist could add to the simple power of the words as written by the girl herself. It’s a perfect gem as it is. The book itself may prove me wrong, but it just seems unnecessary.

#2 Mike Peterson
@ 5:16 am

Agreed. The best “Classics Illustrated” comics were of short novels with a lot of action and very little introspection or complex motivations.

Granted, the Anne Frank people say the graphic novel is to tell the story of her life, which could be different than having a goal of replicating her journal. But her diary is what makes her experience stand above the throngs who shared its basic actions. And, for all her sensitivity and insight, it’s the normalness of her feelings that make the diary work — she is like any young girl.

Contrast that with “Maus,” in which the major premise of the story is “Why should anyone care about, let alone love, this selfish, unpleasant bastard?” The unique and powerful insights into the nature of the Holocaust — not just the camps, not just the Nazis, but the entire experience — that Speigelman provided were tied to that theme, as Artie (the character) tries to come to terms with his father.

The power of Anne Frank’s Diary is just the opposite — the question there is “Why would anyone hurt this girl, who could be any girl?” With her language and insights, it’s a powerful document. Without them, you might as well be talking about “Twilight.”

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