After reading El Rassi's Arab in America, I found myself wondering how color or the absence of color would affect how people read comics and how that affects the message an author of a comic is trying to send. Arab in America is solely in black and white, save for the cover and the back.
In Arab in America, the lack of color doesn't detract from what is trying to be said, yet if it was added it might have added another dimension to his text. El Rassi relied heavily on shading to portray emotions and feelings like isolation, anger, and disbelief. Also, without color we have no way to accurately guess what race or skin tone El Rassi is trying to portray. We just assume what we think we know what the people in this reading look like. He has to rely more on outlines and different nuances of black ink to portray race and emotion. How would that change if he had used color?
An example of this is on page 38. El Rassi talks about how Western culture is replete with stereotypes. He uses Jean Auguste Ingres' painting "Odalisque and Slave" as an example of how the West depicts the East as "a land of exotic wonder, full of flying carpets, genies, and lusty harems." Because this painting isn't in color you might assume that the two women in the two picture are Arab because this what El Rassi seems to be trying to push. However, both the women in this painting are white. The one one the left is olive-skinned and the one on the right is white, really really white with flowing blond hair. Not exactly the ethnicity of an Arab like El Rassi.
What I'm trying to say is, I think he misused this painting and tried to skew it into agreeing with his views. Because he only used black and white in the novel, someone not familiar with this picture probably assumed the woman reclining on the ground was Arab because of the black color used to shade the hair. Why wasn't her hair shaded more lightly? It's a bit misleading. Here's the picture in question: http://artchive.com/artchive/I/ingres/ingres_odalisque.jpg.html.