Media Appearances

Marzena Sowa has made appearances at a few Comic cons with the most notable being at New York.  She has also made appearances at the Conrad Festival as a guest back in 2015.

The Conrad Festival is organized by the City of Krakow in Poland that happens to be the largest international literary even in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. The Marzi comic was in an exhibition titled: WAR! Along with other works such as Nation of Perdition and 25 pieces of war art.

Conrad

Here’s a Link to her biography on their website and further details about the yearly event. http://en.conradfestival.pl/biogram/marzena-sowa

Usually at these comic cons type of events she participates in wide group discussions where fans can ask questions. It’s usually a good way to interact with fans and see the type of audience which is quite broad in this case that she caters towards. As the comic is fairly young in time Sowa will be doing many more interactions with her fans. Like most artists and writers, as more public appearances are scheduled for Sowa, the more the book grows in popularity.

Posted by Sam

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References

“Marzena Sowa – Guests – Conrad Festival.” Conrad Festival. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

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Works and Awards

Marzena Sowa has written several titles, each under the title of the Marzi series, published by Dupuis Publishers in France. Petit Carpe (2005), Sur La Terre Comme Au Ciel (2006), Rezystor (2007), Le Bruit des Villes (2008), La Pologne Vue Par Les Yeux D’une Enfant (2008), Pas de Liberte Sans Solidarite (2009), Une Enfant en Pologne (2009) and Tout Va Mieux (2011) are her current publications under their French titles.

Marzena won the Will Eisner Comic Book Industry Award in the Best Album Based on True Events category for the volume of Marzi that was released in Poland under the title Children and Fish Don’t Have a Voice in 2012, and is the only Polish author to have won the award to date. Other volumes of Marzi were nominated for Best Comic Book of the Year at the International Comic Book Festival in Angouleme, France, in 2008.

According to Polish Culture, the book received excellent reviews in North America, its quality being practically guaranteed by the publishing house that took it up in America, Vertigo.

 

Post by Jess

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References

Eisner Awards Current Info. (2014). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.comic-con.org/awards/eisner-awards-current-info

Marzena Sowa | Artist | Culture.pl. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://culture.pl/en/artist/marzena-sowa

Marzi Reviews

Publishers weekly

CReview

Most reviews of Sowa’s memoir are positive and gives most readers a powerful sense of the world she saw in Poland during her childhood. Publisher’s Weekly states that “Marzi is the perfect guide to her world as she tries to better inform the reader in understanding the workings of the Soviet-controlled state as well as the interactions of adults around her.” The majority of the pages are drawn from Marzi’s eye-level which enables us to understand a child’s perspective. Marzi’s relationships with her father, “an affable man whom she adores, and her mother, with whom she frequently clashes, are particularly well-developed and complex.” Each page has the same six-panel layout along with the cartoon style, dialogue, and the quality. This captures Marzi’s childhood as well as the story of Poland itself. Without being careless or sacrificing any of its overall complexion. The comic portrays this comparison between the children and the oppressed.

The Forgotten “I”

The author of this scholarly review, Marta Bladek, grew up in Poland at a similar time and was deeply moved by the story Sowa’s depicted. She says, “It powerfully evokes an era that many other Polish citizens could not have dreamed of. The drawings alongside the writing capture the toll of life under Communism. It conveys both the immediacy of the child’s point of view and reflective commentary of the adult she later came to be” (26)

Seattle Times

Andrew A. Smith of Seattle Times, “Marzi is written by Marzena Sowa as an account of her younger self as she remembers it behind the Iron Curtain. Life under communism is and was an experience completely alien to those that this book was catered towards. Sowa completely captures the perspective of a child, one universal to us all. That viewpoint is held with consistency throughout, grounding the reader, while experiencing the unique.” One comparison he makes further in the review is that in reading Marzi, “one is immediately struck by its similarities to Persepolis, a similar tale of another little girl growing up under a repressive regime. In addition, both Sowa and ““Persepolis”” creator Marjane Satrapi use a fluid, cartoony style, which serves not only to invite the reader with its gentle charm, but also to serve as a counterpoint to the harsh, serious world in which the protagonists live.”

Here’s a link to full review of Marzi on Seattle Times webpage. http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/books/comics-marzi-a-memoir/

Posted by Sam

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References

Bladek, Marta. “The Forgotten “I”. The Women’s Review of Books 29.3 (2012): 26–29. Web.

“Comics: ‘Marzi: A Memoir'” Publisher’s Weekly. N.p., n.d. Web.

Smith, Andrew A. “Comics: ‘Marzi: A Memoir'” The Seattle Times. N.p., 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

Documentary Review

Love, Hate & Propaganda: The Cold War

cprop.jpg

The four part documentary picks up right after WWII and the beginning of the Cold war.  It includes everything about Russia’s lead in the space race to Nixon’s visit to Russia.  It uses footage from the period and as well as includes original footage of the McCallum family emerging from a fallout shelter after living there for weeks. As it relates to Marzena’s experience that she depicts in Marzi, it gives you a look into the more historical and political views of the time.

Here’s a video link to part 4 of the documentary where Marzi makes an entrance. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Love%2c+Hate+%26+Propaganda%3a+The+Cold+War&&view=detail&mid=BF4890E8AAE9B4560023BF4890E8AAE9B4560023&rvsmid=2DCC3E1D82C97380B4822DCC3E1D82C97380B482&FORM=VDFSRV&fsscr=0

Ultimately a very interesting documentary series put together in an attempt to show both sides of the coin that always play out for any major story and how propaganda tools including the new advent of television which had a major role in how the Cold War played out. No new facts are played out in any of the 4 episodes that consist of the second leg of this documentary series. Each episode is made more effective & poignant by dropping in personal stories from those who lived through these events as well as supported facts from intellectuals in the field. These stories managed to be personal, yet factual and fascinating at the same time. Marzi makes a small appearance at 21:30 to show some correlation between the social constructs and how Sowa represents that in her comic memoir.

Posted be Sam

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References

“Bing.” Love, Hate & Propaganda: The Cold War. N.p., 19 July 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

“Review: Love, Hate & Propaganda: The Cold War.” Examiner.com. N.p., 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

Historical, Cultural, and Social Context

Sowa did not have a long standing history with comics in any form. Growing up in Poland, they were not all that common in the time of communist reign. If you were able to be your hands on an issue of any comic, it was on rare occasion. Not until she moved to France did she delve into the comic book world as her life partner illustrates for a living. This form of medium in particular  function as a universe less gray then the one she imagines to bring life to the young readers. It showed a girl living through hardships, but also showed that even if there are hardships that there is some universal understanding. The text in Marzi can function without drawings, but it creates this photo album of her life.

cwar1.jpg

In an interview with the La Times, Sowa was asked about growing up in the world of poverty and war and what life is like now living and working freely in a completely different place. She was asked if it feels indulgent or if she takes things for granted. Sowa explains, “Whatever I do I always feel the history of my country. I will never forget the long lines after everything. Now maybe it seems strange, but for me it is not an old story. I also think that in my parent’s generation’s minds it is very present and maybe for them there still exists the fear that it could come back.” She says that sometimes when she goes to the supermarket she feels exhausted over all the things she can buy.  She says, “My mother goes out every day. She doesn’t buy food every day but she told me that she likes to see what’s new, she likes to see that there are plenty of things, that she can have a choice, because before there was no choice”.

This mindset and overall ideology of the world around them appears evident in Marzi, but you can empathize with those conditions even if you weren’t in poverty at some point. Here’s a video link showing just how awful the conditions for food were in Poland in the 1980s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENG7PEvByOE

Posted by Sam

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References

Clark, Noelene. “‘Marzi’: Graphic Memoir Charts Universal experiences.” Hero Complex. N.p., 15 Oct. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

“Soviet Grocery Store in 1986 This Is What Communism Looks like!” YouTube. YouTube, 07 Feb. 2014. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

Colour

Marzi is made out with muted color palette with orange or red for the point colors. Every subject is painted with muted gray, black or beige but Marzi drawn with red and orange. Because of the color, it made Marzi pop out from other subjects. Although the bright color has mainly used for Marzi, this bright color palette applied to other subjects for exceptional. Like, a vivid story for Edyta at ‘Goodbye Dolly’.

In the opinion, I think the drab color is a clever meta-reflection on the subject matter as experienced by a child too young to understand the reasons why but old enough to feel its effects. And I think muted color represent the concept of memoir. But Some people argues that this muted color made the whole book boring and tiresome after hundreds of pages. But I think this choice of color made this book more unique from any other graphic novel.

From this link, I found how the color effects to the readers in a graphic novel.  https://sites.google.com/site/betweenmesses/Portfolio/prose/essays/colour-in-graphic-novels

Interesting fact of this book is that the first version of the book came out with the bright color palette. But when the book translated into other languages, they switched to de-saturated color version.

 

Posted by Shin Jae

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References

“Colour in Graphic Novels – Tristan J Steiner.” Colour in Graphic Novels – Tristan J Steiner. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.

Sowa, Marzena, Sylvain Savoia, and Marzena Sowa. Marzi: A Memoir. New York: DC Comics, 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.

 

Action

Marzi is a graphic memoir book. This book can function without drawings, but the drawings bring another dimension to the story. Drawings illustrate the words and also attract a younger audience. Sylvain Savoia is the illustrator of this book, and he demonstrates the action of the characters with the details, gesture, speech bubbles, and texts.

In cartoon fundamentals, action should be shown with a line called a line of action. It’s an imagery line that flows the action of the subject. And it also brings the rhythm in the cartoon.

Let’s see the example from Marzi. From the second image, you can see that this ballerina is dancing because the line of action. Like I mentioned, Sylvain adds the action in details. From the third and last images, you will see that Marzi is moving, and the weather is windy because Sylvain adds leafs and draw her hair over her face.

17
1 ‘Fur and Feathers’
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2 ‘Entrechats And Little Mice’
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3, 4 ‘Big Brother’

Lastly, the first image can be shown that how Sylvain used a text to show the action. In this image, people are helping to start up the engine. Sylvain includes the line of action, draw smoke but he also added a big bold text like a sound effect. Because character Marzi is very playful and adventurous, Sylvain Savoia successfully expresses her personality through his detail illustration.

This link introduces the cartoon fundamentals in movement and action. http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/cartoon-fundamentals-how-to-create-movement-and-action–vector-19904

 

Posted by Shin Jae

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References

“Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Create Movement and Action – Envato Tuts Design & Illustration Tutorial.”Design & Illustration Envato Tuts. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Sowa, Marzena, Sylvain Savoia, and Marzena Sowa. Marzi: A Memoir. New York: DC Comics, 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.