Author

Tahneer Oksman

Tahneer Oksman has 4 articles published.

Tahneer Oksman is Assistant Professor and Director of the Academic Writing Program at Marymount Manhattan College. Her book on Jewish identity in contemporary women’s graphic memoirs is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Liz Prince’s Tomboy looks at growing up outside of gender norms

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Liz Prince’s graphic memoir Tomboy opens with the cartoonish 4-year-old Liz screaming and crying as her parents huddle around her. “I’m just trying to get her to wear this dress,” her exasperated mother reports about the garment sent by her grandmother. Two pages later, after unsuccessful coaxing, her mother turns to her father and instructs him, “Tell your mom, ‘No more dresses,’ OK?” On its own, this early memory stands as something of an amusing anecdote. But soon after, we witness the ways that Liz’s peers are much less understanding than her parents when it comes to gender norms and expectations. The book takes us through incident after incident in which Liz is shamed, taunted, questioned, and even abused because…

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Telling her own secrets: MariNaomi’s autobiographical comics

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Humor and occasional heartbreak marked MariNaomi’s first book, Kiss & Tell, a graphic memoir of the author/cartoonist’s love interests from ages 5 to 25 (topics ranged from chapters titled “The Most Beautiful Penis I’ve Ever Seen” to “My Dad is So Naïve!”). In her second graphic memoir, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2D Cloud and Uncivilized Books, 2014), MariNaomi once again mines her own life for memorable events, this time in episodes revolving around family matters, friendships, work, and the occasional romantic interlude. In this book, the illustrations are somewhat haphazardly broken into short and long vignettes that vary in style, sometimes sparse, at other times more text-heavy. Collectively, the stories leave the reader with the sense of a…

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Gabrielle Bell shares the pros and cons of personal diary as graphic novel

in Non-Fiction by

Sometimes, we look, but we don’t see. It takes a patient, trenchant observer to map out the seemingly insignificant moments of everyday life in a way that resonates, that feels true. With her delicate, unmistakable line and her sharp wit, Gabrielle Bell is one of the most compelling cartoonists around. In her autobiographical comics, she reflects the world around her with an intense and steady gaze. Her most recent book, Truth Is Fragmentary (Uncivilized Books, 2014), is a collection of diary comics that have been shaped and edited for publication. The storylines that unfold in carefully boxed-in panels often veer in unexpected directions — from tangential thought patterns about everyday life to fantasies of talking bears. Bell shows life as…

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Four must-read, critically acclaimed graphic novels

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I spent most of my early reading life diving into thick volumes of prose, devouring everything from Little Women to Anna Karenina. Apart from some early obsessions with Archie comics and Mad Magazine (the latter stolen from my brother’s room, to be returned before he could notice), I thought of the two worlds of reading as separate. It wasn’t until I read Art Spiegelman’s Maus sometime around middle school that it finally hit me: comics, like straight prose, could catapult me into other worlds, shake up my emotional and mental states, and transform me. I’ve come to appreciate comics and graphic novels as a different kind of reading experience, equally absorbing but a little bit sloppier, more carefree. It’s not…

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