COMIC-CON EISNER AWARDS: Israeli graphic novelist Rutu Modan draws upon war — as she hopes for peace

"The Property," by Rutu Modan (Drawn+Quarterly)
“The Property,” by Rutu Modan (Drawn+Quarterly)

 

IN HER SUPERB graphic novel “The Property,” Israeli author Rutu Modan writes of war’s devastating effects from the long view of multiple generations, even drawing upon the experiences of her ancestors in Poland.

RUTU MODAN. (courtesy of Toon Books)
RUTU MODAN/Toon Books

So it was especially gratifying for Modan that “The Property” won an Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album over the weekend at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

“I am honored and happy to get the Eisner Award for my book … ,” Modan tells The Post’s Comic Riffs from her homeland. “The last month in Israel is so depressing and stressful, it was wonderful to have, at last, a reason to be happy.”

Modan knows about trying to leaven the pain and grief of tragic conflict. In “The Property” (Drawn+Quarterly), she told me last year, she was trying to create a family comedy with the Holocaust as historic backdrop. The novel finds humor in the specificity of characters and their differing, somewhat veiled agendas — even as it paints in nuanced colors the scars of war.

” ‘The Property’ is about people who were forced to give up their love and chance for happiness because of prejudices, fear and the violence of history,” Modan tells me late Sunday. “When they meet, at last, it is too late for them and retrospectively, it seems so unnecessary and such a waste.

“I hope we will have a chance in this messy area [in the Mideast], where I happen to live and raise my children, to overcome our fears and violence and make peace with our neighbors and between ourselves,” Modan continues. “Somehow, I still believe it shouldn’t be that complicated.”

As for the fact that the Eisners’ voting public chose to recognize the accomplishment that is “The Property,” Modan — whose breakthrough book was 2007′s Eisner-winning “Exit Wounds” — was in disbelief.

“Actually, I didn’t believe I have a chance this time, so I convinced myself prizes are not important to me,” Modan tells Comic Riffs. “But I [woke] up, anyway, unconsciously, about the time of the ceremony in San Diego [it was 6 am Saturday in Tel Aviv], and I didn’t dare turn on my computer until noon, because I was afraid to see I didn’t won.

“When I saw the e-mail from my publisher, I jumped up yelling. … And danced in the living room with my surprised son.”

[EISNER AWARDS: What the winners are saying in the afterglow]

To see the full list of 2014 Eisner Awards winners, click HERE.

 


Interior art from Rutu Modan’s Eisner-winning “The Property.” (Drawn+Quarterly)

 

 

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