What is the relationship between form and content in Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen?

–guest post by Davida Pines


In her three-page comic Beginnings, Raina Telgemeier remembers reading the first volume of Barefoot Gen as a 9-year-old. “I guess I thought it was sorta interesting,” she recalls, “but nothing special—not better than reading Calvin and Hobbs, anyway. I stuck with it because of my dad’s encouragement.” Reading to the end of the work, the young Raina is shocked and even indignant: “They all die!” she protests. Later, sorting through the many questions and fears of nuclear war inspired by the book, she reiterates her sense that content has betrayed form: “I mean jeez it was just a comic book.”

Indeed, despite chronicling the events leading up to and following the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen appears to be “just a comic book.” The drawings are simple, the characters literally and figuratively cartoonish…

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About hotcrossbungay

I am originally from Stevenage, Hertfordshire. I have Asperger's Syndrome. My main passion is Motor Racing. In terms of other interests, I will try anything once but I mostly enjoy Performing Arts and Creative Writing.
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