PYONGYANG & WIMBLEDON GREEN in the NATIONAL POST

“All I want is a book:” / National Post / Dave McGinn / December 3, 2005

So they told you the Xbox 360s are all sold out and that point-and-shoot digital camera you so carefully researched won't be in until March. It really doesn't matter because...

IF ONLY TOLSTOY HAD ALSO LEARNED TO DRAW

Few fans were surprised this year when Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's graphic novel Watchmen was included on Time's list of the 100 best novels of all time. If anything, it was about time the mainstream recognized that the genre has been steadily growing in popularity for the past two decades.

This year's best graphic novels show that images and text combined can be used to explore any number of literary styles and themes -- memoir, journalism, bleak teen fiction, philosophical explorations of Judaism -- in surprising, engaging and entertaining ways.

[D&Q mentions:]

WIMBLEDON GREEN: THE GREATEST COMIC BOOK COLLECTOR IN THE WORLD, Seth (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95) "This book was created on a lark," Seth writes in the introduction to this send-up of comic-book collectors, but the Guelph, Ont., artist's encyclopedic knowledge of the form comes through in every one of this book's tightly packed panels. Seth recounts the life of the pompous Wimbledon Green cumulatively, allowing friends and associates to tell their tales of the man who once bought All Bedtime Funnies at auction for $28,000. There are rivals like Waxy Coombs, Chip Corners and Daddy Doats, and reminiscences from comics critic Art Stern and a few gems for the Wimbledon Green Library. The colouring sometimes falls short of the superb draftsmanship of Seth's work, but it's a minor fault in such a funny and touching look at what it means to love comics.

PYONGYANG: A JOURNEY IN NORTH KOREA, Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95) Working in the tradition of Joe Sacco's comics journalism and bearing shades of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Delisle documents the two months he spent working as an illustrator in the hermit kingdom. Tinged with black humour, his observations of the country's bleakness and the mind-boggling way in which state propaganda is swallowed offers a perspective no straight-up print journalism could. The Montreal-born artist's childlike drawings of the people and places he encounters evoke the absurdity of a culture he can neither understand nor leave.
 

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