Block 5 has reached its conclusion, and I am now deep in the relaxing hours of Block Break. I’ve had several days to reflect on the individual works we studied and the experience of the class as a whole, and I am ready to render my final thoughts on Jewish Comics and Graphic Narrative. The final text we read was Exit Wounds by acclaimed Israeli graphic novelist Rutu Modan. She employs the ligne claire (clear line) style popularized by Belgian cartoonist Hergé in his The Adventures of Tintin. This art style includes more simple and clean characters in the foreground in front of incredibly detailed, realistic backgrounds with almost photographic levels of detail. Modan depicts an Israel worn down by a perpetual state of war and terror in 2002, in which a taxi driver allies with his father’s spurned ex-girlfriend to locate the father after his disappearance following a terror bombing at a bus station. Despite its vivid, colorful artwork, the work presents dark, existential themes and captures the gloomy and anxious state of living in a war zone. As the only Israeli text we studied, I was fascinated by the unique perspective with which Exit Wounds provided me regarding life and conflict in modern Israel.
This course revolutionized the way I view comics as a form of storytelling. I now consider comics to have far more literary merit than I had once imagined, and much more intensely respect the craftsmanship that goes into the minute details of the artwork in every panel. However, I most appreciate how this class taught me about the experience of the Jewish people. As a person of Jewish ancestry who does not practice Judaism nor is very knowledgable about the religion or culture, this class was especially enlightening in that it spurred me to think about my identity. I have always felt somewhat disconnected from Judaism because I am not engaged in any Jewish practices that make me more than a Jew in name only. In studying these texts and learning about and discussing the Jewish experience of the past century, a dormant kinship developed within me that made me feel linked to my ancestors in a more powerful way than I had ever before felt. This is not to say that I have completely changed my views on religion or the way I live, but rather that I have gained new insight into the experiences of the relatives who came before me and how I am a product of the lives they lived. This kind of intellectual stimulation and discovery is why I love studying at Colorado College, and I cannot wait to continue exploring the rest of the fascinating classes that the English department has to offer.
Thank you so much for keeping up with these posts. I hope you enjoyed them and maybe learned a thing or two!
– Ben Rosenberg