September 26, 2005 | Comics


Guy Delisle
Drawn & Quarterly
$24.95 (Hardcover)
**** (out of five)

North Korea is a land of mystery to most — known only as an isolationist nation with an itchy trigger finger.
In a land where the communist ideal is perhaps at its strongest and “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il rules with an iron fist (and until last week the threat of a nuke), there should be little to laugh at.
Enter Guy Delisle.
A Canadian working for a French animation company, Delisle spent several months in the North Korean capitol of Pyongyang in 2001 and now takes readers through a candid illustrated look at the peculiar state.
From interactions with his zealot guides (“Nothing is impossible with the guidance of Kim Jong-Il”) and his attempts to explore (“No, no, absolutely not…”), Delisle explores the hypocrisy of the “perfect state” with perverse glee.
Pyongyang is a true eye opener. It is an intelligent and incisive look at a place where there are mysteriously no disabled people and the elderly are few; where there’s a severe power crisis, yet floodlights shine through the night on images of the “Dear Leader”; and McDonald’s, blue jeans and Coke are considered the axis of evil.

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