Uncomfortably Happily by Yeon-sik Hong: in stores today!
Today! Today marks the release of this wonderous book by renowned Korean cartoonist Yeon-sik Hong, freshly translated in English from the great American cartoonist Hellen Jo. Uncomfortably Happily recounts one of the more relatable stories I've had the pleasure of reading. Two artists leave the hustle and bustle of a cacophonous city, along with it's looming deadlines and distractions, for a life in the country, newly nourished by the toil of wild living, and determined to create art at their best. All the while experiencing the trials and tribulations that come in a marriage—this is a book that explores partnership in it's purest sense.
GQ recently remarked, "[Uncomfortably Happily is]... brilliantly illustrated in black and white, [veering] from minimal slices of everyday life to more intricate, elaborate flights of fancy ... there is a simplicity and peacefulness in watching two people just try to make it work" while Vulture praised, "The mix of pathos and buoyant humor — as well as charming and three-dimensional characterization — keep you engrossed. Plus, the artwork is fantastic, mixing cartoony, almost Lynda Barry–ish figure work with stunningly evocative and impressionistic landscapes." I cound't agree more. Hong's combination of intricate wildlife illustrations, to his inclusion of these wonderous cats, produces a perfect rawness that can only come to life, when the heart of an honest story meets the ununhibited shapes and forms of cartooning.
The book works as both a celebration of the unique qualities of Korean culture, as well as a cross-cultural exploration of all too relevant themes regarding creative struggle, financial burdens, and the challenges that even the most respectful, loyal, and loving marriage are sure to face. Uncomfortably Happily, like the country side our heroes flee too, feels deeply like a gratifying breath of fresh air. Get your copy today!