One big cemetary : Jewish history and memory in the comics of Rutu Modan
Rutu Modan is a graphic novel pioneer and her unique intersection of identities as a Jewish Israeli woman is apparent in her work. Modan’s is a new and unique voice, utilizing a relatively young and only recently respected medium, and thus there are few scholarly works considering her comics. However, the attention that her comics have received focuses primarily on her identity as an Israeli, and what her comics say about the modern Israeli experience. Despite the inclusion of her work in several Jewish publications and Jewish comics anthologies, there has been little critical attention paid to Modan’s work as it relates to religious Judaism. The underlying themes of redemptive Jewish history and memory that I identify in her books serve to create and develop the Jewish identities of the characters. Aspects of the comic form such as color scheme and paneling function to connect the characters to their communal Jewish history and memories. Jewish concepts are embedded within Modan’s comics; drawing these ideas out and interpreting them through a dual lens of comic theory and religious studies makes explicit how Modan’s books express Judaism through content and form.
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