Graphic Novel Review: Iranian Love Stories by Jane Deuxard and Deloupy

Iranian Love Stories by Jane Deuxard (script) and Deloupy (art). Translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Graphic Mundi, 2021. 9781637790045. 140pp.

Deuxnard is the pen name of two comics journalists, a couple who traveled to Iran together to conduct the interviews illustrated by Deloupy. They met Iranian couples and individuals who talked frankly about their lives, about sex and marriage, and also about how they navigate Iranian society. (Between the interviews are a few pages featuring the reporters, telling about their experiences in Iran, and they also appear in the interviews.) An interview with Gila and Mila opens the book. Gila wants to make love, but Mila holds her back because if he dies it would be too dangerous for her if she isn’t a virgin. (They’re engaged, and do find ways to have a sex life but just don’t go all the way because Mila’s future in-laws can insist on a virginity test at the time of marriage.) They all worry when police drive by during the interview — Mila was taken in once when she was at a friend’s party, and was only released to her father because she was wearing a veil and hadn’t had any alcohol to drink. There are more details, of course, and this is just one of the ten interviews.

There’s a lot of criticism of the current rulership of Iran, and a few surprises for me: I didn’t know the extent to which music is outlawed there, and there are even a few young women who think everything in Iran is great because they have an amazing amount of power. There’s also a young married woman who is able to travel to Europe alone with her husband’s blessing.

I really enjoyed reading this book but my heart goes out to most of the young people in its pages, both those who despair that they’ll never have the lives they yearn for and those taking incredible risks to live as freely as they can. Worth noting: Deloupy is an expert at using scenery and flashbacks to keep the conversations compelling without distracting from them.


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