Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography
Written by Sid Jacobson
Illustrated by Ernie Colón
Published by Hill & Wang
After collaborating on a comic book adaptation of the 9-11 Commission’s report, and then issuing a book of journalism that followed up on the report’s findings and follow-through, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have turned their attention to creating comic book biographies. After targeting Che Guevara initially, the tandem digs into the life of a much less controversial figure, famed journal-keeper and Holocaust victim Annelies Marie Frank.
As with their previous books, Jacobson and Colón pack Anne Frank with tons of relevant details. The family’s background is plumbed in suitable depth to give readers a picture of the social and economic background that shaped young Anne’s worldview, and the family’s sacrifices during World War II. Though the delivery tends to be dry, each page reveals more of the hardships faced by the Frank family, as well as the small joys they found during their time in hiding.
Jacobson shares much of the book’s language with Anne Frank’s diary entries, using her words to capture the essence of the experience as often as possible. He also pulls back and fills in details of the outside world – the opening of concentration camps, the surrender of Italy and Mussolini, German plans for Amsterdam where the Franks hid. The effect gives readers a fuller picture of what the family faced and what the world outside threatened them with.
Despite a few instances of the captions and dialogue balloons not flowing very clearly, Colón captures effective likenesses of the characters and grounds the story in fully realized backgrounds. Though not used as often as in previous Jacobson/Colón collaborations, Colón also uses cutaways and other graphic techniques to explain the layout of the Franks’ hiding spot and other details.
Though its entertainment value is minimal, Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography works as a solid educational comic. Jacobson and Colón, with the support of the Anne Frank House, fill the volume with pertinent details and small touches, giving readers a strong portrait of Anne Frank and her family. The effect only enhances the tragedy of World War II, the Holocaust and the loss of so many promising lives.