Schemata in the Graphic Novel Persepolis

Accommodation, Combination, Integration

in European Comic Art
Fredrik Strömberg Malmö University, Sweden

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It has repeatedly been suggested that the art in the graphic novel Persepolis by Iranian French artist Marjane Satrapi contains numerous connections to ancient Persian art forms, to the point of this becoming a ‘truism’, although the claim has not been subjected to in-depth analysis. The present formal analysis employs Gombrichian schema theory to identify visual elements in the graphic novel potentially connected to Persian visual cultures to discern if and how they might relate to their proposed influences and how they integrate with styles and visual conventions in comics. The results indicate that there are indeed connections, although integrated into the art form of comics through combination and accommodation, and that this reinforced the Persian theme of the graphic novel and potentially enriched the art form of comics.

Contributor Notes

Fredrik Strömberg is a journalist, author, and historian who has studied the art form of comics since the early 1990s. He is chief editor of Bild & Bubbla, Scandinavia's leading journal about comics, heads the Comic Art School of Sweden, and is founding member of both Scandinavian Journal for Comic Art (SJoCA) and the Nordic Network for Comics Research (NNCORE). Among the books he has written are Swedish Comics History, Black Images in the Comics, The Comics Go to Hell, and Comic Art Propaganda. Strömberg lives in Sweden and is currently writing his thesis at Malmö University. ORCID: 0000-0002-7446-6319. Email:

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