Wednesday, 19 February 2014

So I Read Pyongyang, Shenzhen, and Burma Chronicles

A 250 word (or less) review of the travellogue comics of Guy Delisle
Guy Delisle; Drawn and Quarterly (English Editions)

Sometimes it is easy to forget how great it is to live in a reasonably free country with a judiciary and rule of law and a million other taken for granted things. It can be easy to forget that millions or even billions of people live in places where safety or poverty or injustice are endemic. And when we do think of these people we can just as easily forget that they ARE people and that their cultures and homes can be just as beautiful as they are tragic. Guy Delisle's travelogue comics offer a really interesting and fair look into some of the more marginalized places on Earth. In Shenzhen, Deslisle takes us into the walled Chinese factory city where all of our stuff is made as he works with Chinese animators. Similarly, In Pyongyang we journey with Deslisle on another French animation project into the secretive and elaborately bizarre world of North Korea. In Burma Deslisle and his Medicens Sans Frontiers partner travel to Burma, a country that was tightly shuttered by a ruthless and strange Military Junta. In these comics we get to see life inside these locales as Deslisle embeds himself into the fabric of these societies. We get to see his day-to-day routine and meet a variety of locals, but also tackle some of the larger issues that isolate these locations. It’s a wonderful blending of slice-of-life comic autobiography and hard-hitting journalism. These comics are also, for my money, the best travel companions.

Word count: 248

Jerusalem: Tales from the Holy City

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