David Itzkoff in NYT:
When Marjane Satrapi’s graphic-novel memoir “Persepolis” was first published (it reached the United States in 2003), it was praised as an authentic look at life in Iran during that country’s 1979 revolution and its war with Iraq. Now, with her permission, an updated version has been created, combining Ms. Satrapi’s illustrations with new text about Iran’s recent presidential election, Agence France-Presse reported. The revised work, above, called “Persepolis 2.0” and online at spreadpersepolis.com, is the creation of two Iranian-born artists who live in Shanghai and who give their names only as Payman and Sina. It recounts the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on June 12 and the protests and government crackdown, concluding with the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, a 26-year-old woman who was shot during a protest in Tehran. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, the pseudonymous authors of “Persepolis 2.0” said, “Marjane’s images describe events” from 30 years ago “yet they mirror the postelection events so well.”
David Looney at The Examiner
Fearghus at Bodies and Buildings:
Persepolis 2.0 uses Satrapi’s black and white drawings but reorders them and adds new captions to tell the story of the disputed presidential elections in Iran and the protests which followed. The new version culminates in the death of the young protester, Neda Agha-Soltan.
The reworking effectively samples Satrapi’s original and uses it to tell a new, though not unrelated, story. It was done by two Iranians who live in Shanghai and Satrapi gave her permission for the reuse without actually endorsing the project.
I’m not sure whether the authors of Persepolis 2.0 (even the word author becomes anxiety-ridden in this context) are professional graphic artists or whether they are ‘amateurs’ who have been able to appropriate the skilled and evocative drawings of Satrapi, but as we know since Duchamp displayed the ready-made urinal, the artist is not defined by the skill of the maker.
Sina said the updated cartoon was intended to show how history was repeating itself in Iran. “The reaction to Persepolis 2.0 has been great, We’ve had visitors from 120 countries thus far, and a large volume of emails from people asking how they can help support Iranians. This has really infused us with energy, and we’re now working on additional ways to help get the word out.”
JK Evanczuk at Lit Drift:
Persepolis 2.0 begins its story on voting day and continues to include the shocking results, the subsequent protests, and the use of Twitter and other social media in the dissension. The story’s final frames depicts a godlike figure cradling Neda Agha-Soltan in his arms as he croons, “Don’t cry Neda. Your death will not be in vain.” The final frame begs the reader to support Iran by forwarding the graphic novel and spreading the word.
This is by no means the first time someone has used the arts to further a political cause, nor is it even the first time someone has reinterpreted Marjane Satrapi’s art, but Persepolis 2.0 is particularly moving in that the remix so eerily resembles the original. In a recent interview with the Guardian, one of 2.0’s editors says that “the updated cartoon was intended to show how history was repeating itself in Iran.” He continues:
“I’ve read some comments online from people angry that we ‘ruined’ Satrapi’s work or unhappy with the poor quality of the copy. Their opinions are valid, but our point was just to get people to discuss Iran so that it didn’t slip back into collective obscurity.
“Her cartoon are about her life but to my generation of Iranians (at least in the West) they have become more than that, they have become iconic. The fact that images from 30 years ago can tell a story about what is happening now makes them all the more powerful.
“Unlike her original work, Persepolis 2.0 is filled with flaws and inaccuracies, but the bottom line is that it has helped spark hundreds of conversations and that’s more than we could have expected.”