Canadian cartoonist and animator Guy Delisle publishes some incredible graphic novels and books illustrating his travels to different nations. None stick out more than Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, where Delisle lived for two months while working for the French-Canadian production company TF1 and the North Korean SEK Studio doing animation.
Delisle tells, or rather draws, the story of his arrival in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang where he sets out working on several animated features. As he goes about the city, he notices how it is designed to deceive foreigners. He observes such things as tightrope walking, the absence of disabled and elderly people, North Korean music propaganda, the cult of personality surrounding their dictators. He shares funny stories of meeting with other foreigners, touring the sites, and a funny anecdote of giving his “translator” a copy of 1984.
I really enjoyed reading this novel. The illustrations are simplistic but well-designed, showing us a story about an outsider looking into a culture that is dominated by communism. He discusses how the Korean people are good and noble as their government keeps them under his thumb. It is a sobering tale, but it has plenty of humorous asides that give some brevity to the story. Delisle should be applauded for his hard work and sharing his story with the world.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reading recommendations for Till Human Voices Wake Us by CS Johnson and Backlash by Brad Thor. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.