Graphic Novel Review – A Bag of Marbles
A Bag of Marbles is a graphic novel adaption of Jeff Joffo’s memoir of the same name. It was released in 2013 by Graphic Universe, the story was adapted by someone named Kris, and it was illustrated by Vincent Bailey.
Considering this is a memoir, Jeff Joffo, in theory, is the main character. The other prominent characters are the members of his family. The six members of the Joffo family get thrown all around France in pairs as they avoid the Nazi SS. The plot doesn’t have a great deal of structure, as it is based on real life events. I’ve read a few accounts of Jewish experience as oppressed by the Nazi regime, so perhaps I should read the original book to understand the unabridged version of events, but as they are presented in the graphic novel, they’re rather disjointed and don’t lead to a conclusion.
Everything is done in watercolors and very thin ink (perhaps done with a small pen) and that adds a lot to the unique look of the book. This is one of the few things that the book has going for it, each panel is rather detailed and unique. I can give the overall visuals a nod, but the rest of the book doesn’t back it up.
Why It Sucks:
To be honest, there really aren’t thematic elements. Considering that this is a true story, it doesn’t have to, but I would have much rather read the unabridged book by Joffo than this stripped down version. Pretty much all of the proactive actions taken by characters are done off screen or are done by characters who are not our protagonist. Most of the characters deal with this over reaching and horrifying Nazi regime with relative simplicity. The book simply isn’t interesting and doesn’t even show a particularly bleak outlook on the situation.