Graphic Lit -- 12/4
"Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Vol. 3"
Drawn and Quarterly
96 pages, $14.95.
Genevieve Elverum, Sammy Harkham and Matt Broersma are the featured artists in this latest edition of D&Q’s squarebound anthology. All three cartoonists create striking works here, though I’m particularly taken with Elverum’s surreal tone-poem involving elephants, yetis and abject loneliness. This series remains a great way to be introduced to new work, and if you haven’t heard of any of these artists, this is a fine place to start.
"Kamichama Karin Vol. 1"
Tokyopop, 212 pages, $9.99.
Karin is a young girl, newly orphaned, with only her mother’s ring to remind her of her family. Does the ring contain magic powers that enable Karin to become an all-powerful goddess? Are there evil forces who want to test her abilities? Is the pope Catholic? What keeps this series from entering into cliche-land is the author’s irreverent attitude toward the material. The smart, winking jokes keep the story moving at a brisk pace and ensure that the reader never grows bored.
"Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea"
by Guy Delisle
Drawn and Quarterly, 176 pages, $19.95.
An animator, Delisle spent several months in the capital of North Korea overseeing the outsourcing work of a particular cartoon. His experiences make up this book, a surreal and rather frightening look at life under one of the only utterly totalitarian regimes left on the globe.
Delisle paints a rather disturbing portrait of a land where every aspect of daily life is dedicated toward slavishly honoring its leaders, the deceased Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il. Anything with implications that all is not well (and there are plenty) are ignored for fear of never being seen again.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about "Pyongyang" is that despite spending time in North Korea, Delisle gets no nearer to understanding its citizens than the rest of us. The country is a frozen mask propped up with the shakiest of equipment. Delisle does a suburb job of showing us the ultimate cost of maintaining such an artifice.
Copyright The Patriot-News, 2005