This week's issue of the New Yorker includes a one-page color comic, 'Kim & Kim,' by Guy Delisle, the creator of Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea ($19.95), which will be published this September by Drawn & Quarterly. Pyongyang, an informative, personal and accessible look at a dangerous and enigmatic country, is based on Delisle's personal experiences during two months he spent in the North Korean capital while working for a French animation company. The 184-page hardcover graphic novel has already received excellent reviews, with Newsweek noting that 'Books like Persepolis -- as well as Sacco's Palestine and Safe Area: Gorazde, and Guy Delisle's Pyongyang -- are held up not only as great literature but also as instructive guides to global conflict zones.'
Delisle's Pyongyang demonstrates the graphic novel/comic book's ability to provide an intimate documentary-type look at exotic or war-torn areas of the globe. Kirkus Reviews raved about Pyongyang, calling it 'Brilliant, passionately rendered reportage--Delisle is a good guide through this overly ordered world. He genuinely likes the North Koreans and has no ideological axe to grind... His sharp eye captures many telling details: a monstrously luxurious subway station (marble walls, chandeliers) that seems to be only for show; the empty restaurants, the 'volunteer' civilians obsessively cleaning everywhere he looks; and always the passionate reverence for Kim Jong Il, whose portrait hangs 'in every room, on every floor, in every building throughout the land.''
With news about North Korea's nuclear threat never far from the front pages, bookstores and comic shops should consider prominently displaying this 184-page hardcover, which could well become one of the surprise graphic novels hits of the fall season, especially if it continues to get the kind of reviews it has received so far. Pyongyang was originally published in France by L'Association--and it is their second best-selling title behind only Persepolis, which has been one of the best-selling graphic novels here in the States over the past couple of years (and still continues to sell well).