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Marzi TP Paperback – 21 Oct 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 01 edition (21 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140122959X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401229597
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.8 x 25.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 625,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Marzena Sowa was born in Stalowa Wola, Poland. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Ada on 10 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting if you knew little about reality of living in Poland during communism. The story is told from the perspective of a little girl, how she sees the changes happening in her country, what she understands of the reality and how she dreams about a better future. Beautifully illustrated. Really engrossing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this comic, and really felt enlightened and educated about a period in history that I knew very little about. Not everything in here can be taken as gospel, but entertaining and informative all the same.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great way to learn a little bit more about Poland.
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Toilet roll necklace story made me laugh
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's a lot to love about Marzi, and a lot to loathe about Vertigo's mucking around with this English edition... 9 Sept. 2011
By S. M. Robare - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was excited to get a chance to read the DC Comics Vertigo English release of the Belgian comic Marzi, which was originally published as short stories in the pages of Spirou Magazine. Marzi follows the autobiographical adventures of Marzena Sowa as she grew up and came of age in 80s era communist Poland. This first English language volume combines the first four Belgian collections (Petite Carp, Sur la terre comme au ciel, Rezystor, and Le bruit des villes), written by Sowa and illustrated by her partner Sylvain Savoia.

Getting a chance to peek behind the iron curtain and to see what Polish life was like was fascinating, particularly because it illustrated how normal the day to day really was. There are a lot of interesting shorts, like what it was like preparing for the Christmas dinner by keeping a live Carp in the bathtub for a few days, or the routine of waiting in lines for grocery staples. But what surprised me the most was the overall tone of the stories and how honestly Sowa presents herself as sort of a bratty spoiled child. Simply judging from the cover illustration, which features a young scowling Marzi awkwardly manhandling a plush bunny, tiny amongst a sea of Polish soldiers in riot gear, you get the impression that this would be a darker memoir about the struggle and hardships of life. While this is certainly a part of the backdrop to the story, it's actually more upbeat and a tad whiney. The cover illustration is actually a reworking of the cover to the second Belgian collection (Sur la terre comme au ciel - On the Ground as with the Sky), which features a more quizzical and curious Marzi. I'm wondering if the folks at Vertigo might be getting a little bit underhanded with their marketing.

Similarly, this English volume contains a complete re-coloring of the original comics. The Belgian editions were very vibrant and whimsical in tone, whereas this new volume is upping the tone of hardship behind the curtain by rendering the pages in drab browns and dull reds. It's almost as if they pulled their monochromatic color scheme from the scenes of the girl in the little red dress from Schindler's List trying to make the work more heavy and dramatic than it really is. I found this heavy-handed marketing distracting, but the content of the stories still manages to shine through.

Overall my favorite aspect of Marzi: a memoir are Savoia's illustrations. His style is much in the vein of Jeff Smith, which features the beautiful juxtaposition between realistic and exaggeratedly cartoon-y renderings. This duality in the artwork combined with the coming of age stories evokes the work of Bill Waterson's Calvin and Hobbes at times, yet still manages to feel completely like it's own work. I think fans of auto-bio comics, in particular strip comics, will find a lot to enjoy in Marzi. I just wish the translation of the comic ended with the text, instead of co-opting the tone as well.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful graphic memoir of childhood in Poland as it became free 27 Aug. 2011
By Man in the Middle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love graphic books, but have never seen one I enjoyed more than "Marzi." Having lived through the era of her childhood, I thought I already knew something about what was going on then in Poland. But really, I didn't, and this memoir was both highly-enjoyable and very educational about life there during the fall of communism and rise of freedom.

The book is also for me (a guy) an excellent introduction to what it was like for a young girl to grow up poor in turbulent times, and very honest about both the good and bad ways she coped with her challenges. Overall, Marzi is a person I'd really like to have as a friend, and a wonderfu ambassador for her country and culture.

The artwork added quite a lot to my enjoyment of the book.

This would be a great book to read together with kids, but isn't only for kids. It touches on some tough topics, but gently and respectfully.

Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Vignettes on Communist Poland 25 Jan. 2012
By Becky at "One Literature Nut" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let me just say how much I loved little Marzi. Her character is sweet, charming, and vulnerable, with a healthy dose of insecurity brought on by the culture of her environment and a mother who seemed to feel she had to bring Marzi up with an iron first. Marzi was just a normal little girl, watching as her parents stood in line for simple food staples, went to school with friends who had goods her family seemingly couldn't afford, and spent time with her country relatives, learning to store up food for leaner times. Marzi's life is what is not normal. Although she is a little girl who wants to play, to learn new things, and to have her own puppy, the world she lives in is much too oppressive for a little girl to really understand. Through her eyes, we really get to see how scary and challenging it was for the people of Poland to negotiate these last days under communist rule.

Overall, I really did enjoy this graphic novel. The version I had was a little over 200 pages long, and with the vignettes, it made it hard to stick with the novel in one sitting. I found myself coming back to it, to read a few stories at a time. One part of the story that I found especially interesting was the section after the accident in Chernobyl. Although it was far away, the affect of the radioactive cloud that traveled to Marzi's town in Poland was huge! The fears they had over the rain, the food, and even their animals sent a country already suffering for food and work into a greater tailspin. I don't know that I'd ever considered the dramatic affect this event had on other nations, but we really do get a good first-hand account from little Marzi.

On the whole, this was a good graphic novel that I could see being used to help explain more about Poland's modern history and about communism. Honestly, it has made me want to learn more about the author today and her thoughts on these events as an adult. Not a short read, but a good one!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Cover, Great Book, Good Gift For Kids 2 Nov. 2011
By E. A. Montgomery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From the cover for Marzi I was expecting something like "Poland's Maus!" but instead I was treated to a bright and upbeat tale of a child growing up during the fall of communism. Events sometimes skip around, context is mostly a burden on the reader, but the overall tone is charming and engaging. Marzi is a perfect graphic novel for history minded kids 8 - 14 as well as adults. When Marzi reflects on her hatred of standing in line for toilet paper because people will know she uses it, or when she gives away her beloved toy to make a cousin feel better about divorcing parents, American children will easily identify. That identification will carry them through the inexplicable (to their lives) political events Marzi details. The artist does a wonderful job of conveying emotion with her art. While I was given a black and white edition to review, the graphics still conveyed emotion perfectly. It's unfortunate that the cover is so dark and misleading. I think many people who would enjoy Marzi will overlook it, thinking it a dark read. I hope the author and her partner complete the rest of her life, as I really wanted to see how Marzi made her way to Paris. Through the book Marzi struggles with the same things any child will, even when the reason her father hasn't come home is a political protest. Some of these will fly over the heads of younger readers, others will show them that children are the same the world over, and they want the same things.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening. 10 Sept. 2011
By Karen K. Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
During the time I was in high school, two foreign exchange students from Estonia also attended my school. They gave me very different perspectives on what life in Estonia might be like. The first seemed snobby and convinced of things that weren't obvious to us. She said that an Estonian would never wear a yellow jacket and that guys our age were too young for us, that a young woman in Estonia would never consider dating a guy who was fewer than 10 years older than she was. The second became my good friend, and she seemed more down-to-earth and fun, but I always sensed that there were deep issues in her past that she didn't want to talk about. I never pried, but we told her about the other girl's issue with yellow jackets, and she laughed and said that people in Estonia used to wear gray when it was part of the USSR, but now they were getting more cheerful and wearing more colorful things. I sensed a darkness as she talked about the gray-wearing years, and I became intrigued; what was it like for someone my age to have lived in the USSR as it ended?
When I read the description of Marzi, I thought perhaps the book could cast some light on the subject for me, since Poland too was deeply affected by a Soviet communist government. Marzena Sowa is one person who grew up in Poland; I'm sure that her life, in many ways, was different from my friend's. But I found the story fascinating. I learned about Christmas fish and radioactive mushrooms, about a culture where people were aware of Barbie's existence but still [in some cases] bathed in big metal washtubs. It's easy to grow up hearing about how things are or were in other countries, about differences and suffering, without really being affected by that knowledge. Marzi puts a face on the suffering and shows how it affected ordinary people. Sylvain Savoia's intimate study of Marzena's early life is something the rest of us are lucky to be able experience.
Marzi took me longer to read than I had expected, and I'm glad. I feel like taking the time to share a little bit of Marzi's life has enriched my own.
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