Review: ‘Invisible Differences’ Examines How France Treats Autism

by Benjamin Hall

Overview

Marguerite discovers she is on the Autism Spectrum. With this diagnosis her life changes for the better. Is this true, or is it just a simple change of pace?

Overall
9/10
9/10

Invisible Differences is a comic by writer Julie Dachez and artist/colorist Mademoiselle Caroline. It is also an attempt at providing education to people about individuals on the Autism Spectrum. This attempt mostly happens via the slice of life type narrative. However, there is also reference material that one can find in a few pages after the narrative ends. Also, there are various facts and information regarding Autism, such as what Autism is and some history on it.

Invisible Differences: A Story Of Aspergers, Adulting, And Living A Life in Full Color (2020) cover art by Mademoiselle Caroline and cover design by designer Rachel Dukes.

The script is a little weak in terms of setting up where the lead character is in her life. For instance, is she aware at the start of being Autistic or not? Also, the narration switches at times from one where the narrator is not part of the story to them being part of it. Thus, some readers may have a little disaffection or confusion occur from the switches in narration. There is also a moment where a social situation could trigger certain individuals so readers glance through beforehand. It is not graphic or long, but it does exist and does have foreshadowing.

The art is what one might consider complex minimalistic expressionism. When it comes to the minimalism, the art looks stylistically similar to Red Bull’s “gives you wings!” advert. While the expressionism is due to how the lines always have a curve to them. There is also a lot of expression in each pose which significantly adds to the characterization. Lastly, the color palette conveys various things. For example, the triggering of meltdowns which occur when the Autistic brain experiences sensory overload.

Despite the weaknesses that exist in the script, the narrative is overall very good in execution. Also, it should be very relatable to those on the Spectrum, and those who know them. This is especially true when it comes to showing the trouble the lead has both pre- and post-diagnosis. For example, Dachez provides plenty of detail on how the lead character’s life changes post-diagnosis. As for the writing’s translation from French to English, translator Edward Gauvin does a commendable job.

Benjamin Hall

Among Benjamin Hall's many credits he is the creator and writer of the comic Time Trio; a writer/editor of various works for Sequart Organization; Blogger for Rippersspot.blogspot.com; a columnist for Comicon. He holds a Bachelor's in film studies and a Master's Degree in Media Communications. He is also an Aspie.

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