Any Chance These Graphic Novels Cover the Refugee Crisis Honestly?


The Conversation’s writing about graphic novels tackling themes like refugee crises, and make at least one valid point about a certain established legend:


Comics about refugee experiences are not new. After all, even the superhero created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman, is a refugee who landed on Earth after his flight from Krypton.


Yes, that’s correct, given that his original planet was destroyed while in infancy (something left unclear here), and he was lucky to be adopted by the Kents. But, here’s where the article becomes fishy and misleading:


Notably, comics on forced migration are also inventing new visual strategies to recount refugee experiences. Artists use panel borders to add a layer of storytelling that typically vacillates between the creators’ ability to represent a specific experience, emotion or event and the very inability to portray some forms of trauma and lived experience.

In The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees (2018), American author and illustrator Don Brown depicts moments of hardships and hope in the lives of the refugees that Brown met in three Greek refugee camps in Ritsona, in Thessaloniki and on Leros.

The violence encountered by the refugees of Brown’s graphic novel is the only graphic element that breaks through panels. Bullets fracture the panel edges, bombs explode out of the picture planes and toxic smoke rises through the frames.

Brown draws on the convention of exceeding and playing with borders in comics to demonstrate a relationship between violence and transgressing borders. Not only did violence in Syria force many of its citizens to journey in search of safety and freedom; fleeing Syrians also also faced violence and hostility beyond the borders of their homeland on their journeys and where they landed.

The panel borders in Threads: From the Refugee Crisis (2016) by British cartoonist, non-fiction author and graphic novelist Kate Evans are comprised of clippings of delicate lace. Threads is a socio-political and cultural critique rooted in the author’s experience volunteering in the largest though unofficial refugee encampment in Calais, France, which operated from January 2015 to October 2016.

My research has examined how this lace integrated into the comic is more than simply an analogy for the intertwining factors and complex relationships that emerged in Calais. The lacework is a fundamental structuring principle in Evans’ text that engages with the region’s history of lacemaking, Calais’ most essential industry and refugee experience simultaneously.


This is quite deceptive and mendacious, since it all follows a PC narrative blurring the differences between illegal immigrants and real refugees. No discussion here of how the illegal immigrants from north Africa in Calais, France have been adding to the nightmare caused by Islamofascism, nor what this crisis is causing in Britain to boot. This is what they consider “essential industry”?!? Regarding Syrian “refugees”, there was a recent case in Corpus Christi, Texas, of a jihadist who’d obtained US citizenship despite his shady background. In the past several years, ISIS reportedly smuggled 4000 terrorists posing as Syrian refugees into Europe. Yet the Conversation’s writers put their heads in the sand? Shameful.


So, no chance the GNs in focus take any kind of realistic view of alleged refugees, and that’s why nobody sensible should buy them.



Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1