GrassBy Keum Suk Gendry-KimDrawn & Quarterly; 480 pages; $34.95
Sometimes graphic novels can be perceived as a little frivolous. There are many exceptions, such as Persepolis or Maus; the story of a Korean girl presented in Grass joins those prestigious titles as one of the most powerful and moving in sequential art.
It’s the biography of Okseon Lee, one of the thousands forced to become “comfort women” by the Japanese military during the Second World War. Her experiences, before and after her sexual slavery, are presented in matter-of-fact terms by Gendry-Kim with an honesty that’s unique to this serious side of cartooning, with its simplified, direct depiction of people, their emotions and their environments. And Gendry-Kim takes it further by examining her own experiences as she interviews Lee, showing herself and her self-doubt as part of the story.