Tag Archives: guy delisle

Review: Hostage

Hostage

In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world.

Artist and writer Guy Delisle recounts André’s experience in Hostage the new graphic novel from Drawn & Quarterly that’s one of the most fascinating graphic novels I’ve read this year. Delisle recounts André’s experience in an almost 500-page book that goes over the details no matter how mundane it may seem. And I think that’s what’s most fascinating about it all. This isn’t a story where André is being taken out and his life threatened, that experience comes from his head. Instead, the graphic novel is actually almost ordinary in a way. Day in and day out André is handcuffed in his setting given soup and bread to eat and recounting the days. How he spent the three months and what was occurring on his side is the interesting part.

This isn’t a story about negotiations and failed transfers. Instead, this story focuses on what André imagines is going on, or just straight up ponders. Why was a photo taken? Why did he have to provide a phone number? Telling the story only from André’s perspective provides us the reader a confinement that reflects what André experienced. For pages and pages, the book devotes itself to the soup André eats and how his wrist deals with the handcuffs. Because that’s what André experienced. We see how André stayed alert during his time, how he counted the days, and his general thoughts. In reality, though, we only see and experience what André did.

Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. For those in the nonprofit sector or want to see the power of graphic journalist, Hostage is a fascinating read.

But, what struck me most, and Delisle enhances with his art is how far from an action movie it all is. Seriously, I want to go pack and see how much is devoted to discussing soup. But, the way it’s all presented is in a way so that we the readers who are unfamiliar with André’s experience don’t know what’s happening next. So, through the mundane tension increases as the story goes on.

Hostage is one of the most fascinating releases this year in both its story, attention to detail, and how it’s laid out. For a slice of real-life through graphic journalism, this is a must get.

Story: Guy Delisle Art: Guy Delisle
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


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Review: Hostage

In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world.

Artist and writer Guy Delisle recounts André’s experience in Hostage the new graphic novel from Drawn & Quarterly that’s one of the most fascinating graphic novels I’ve read this year. Delisle recounts André’s experience in an almost 500 page book that goes over the details no matter how mundaine it may seem. And I think that’s what’s most fascinating about it all. This isn’t a story where André is being taken out and his life threatened, that experience comes from his head. Instead, the graphic novel is actually almost ordinary in a way. Day in and day out André is handcuffed in his setting given soup and bread to eat and recounting the days. How he spent the three months and what was occuring on his side is the interesting part.

This isn’t a story about negotiations and failed transfers. Instead, this story focuses on what André imagines is going on, or just straight up ponders. Why was a photo taken? Why did he have to provide a phone numbers? Telling the story only from André’s perspective provides us the reader a confinement that reflects what André experienced. For pages and pages the book devotes itself to the soup André eats and how his wrist deals with the handcuffs. Because, that’s what André experienced. We see how André stayed alert during his time, how he counted the days, and his general thoughts. In reality though, we only see and experience what André did.

Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. For those in the nonprofit sector or want to see the power of graphic journalist, Hostage is a fascinating read.

But, what struck me most, and Delisle enhances with his art is how far from an action movie it all is. Seriously, I want to go pack and see how much is devoted to discussing soup. But, the way it’s all presented is in a way so that we the reader who are unfamiliar with André’s experience don’t know what’s happening next. So, through the mundane tension increases as the story goes on.

Hostage is one of the most fascinating releases this year in both its story, attention to detail, and how it’s laid out. For a slice of real life through graphic journalism, this is a must get.

Story: Guy Delisle Art: Guy Delisle
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Deutsche Welle – Comic book recounts aid worker’s kidnapping in Chechnya – This sounds so interesting and can’t wait to read it.

Mashable – Stunning graphic novel shows aid workers fighting hunger and fear in South Sudan – Absolutely amazing to see this.

Uncanny – Living, Working, and Fangirling with a Chronic Illness – A really good read.

Guy Delisle Goes on Tour for Hostage

Join award-winning cartoonist Guy Delisle for the launch of his highly anticipated, non-fiction page-turner: Hostage. Set in the Caucasus region in 1997, Hostage tells the true story of Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André who was held captive for over three months.

Recounting his day-to-day survival while conveying the psychological effects of solitary confinement, Delisle’s storytelling doesn’t just show André’s experiences, but brings you into the room alongside him. Hostage is a thoughtful, intense, and undeniably moving graphic novel that takes a profound look at what drives our will to survive in the darkest of moments.

TOUR DATES

MONTRÉAL, QC
Saturday, May 6 at 7:00 pm
Rialto Hall, presented by Librairie D+Q, 5711 Av du Parc.
Tickets $5 or free with book

TORONTO, ON
Saturday May 13 – Sunday, May 14
Special guest of TCAF
Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St.

CAMBRIDGE, MA
Saturday, May 15 at 7:00 pm
Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue.
*in conversation with Hillary Chute

NEW YORK, NY
Wednesday, May 17 at 7:00 pm
Housing Works, 126 Crosby St.

LOS ANGELES, CA
Friday, May 19 at 7:30 pm
Skylight Books, 1818 N Vermont Ave.

PORTLAND, OR:
Monday, May 22 at 6:00 pm
Books With Pictures, 1100 SE Division St. #103.
*in conversation with Sarah Glidden

VANCOUVER, BC
Wednesday, May 24 at 7:30 pm
inCite Festival at Vancouver Public Library, 202-1398 Cartwright St.
*with Jillian Tamaki (Boundless)

Around the Tubes

WW Cv5_dsThe weekend is almost here! What are folks excited for? Any movies being seen? Any games being played? Sound off in the comments below!

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Beat – SPX debuts, including Last Look, a masterpiece by Charles Burns – Lots of great comics and graphic novels debuting!

Women Write About Comics – Mantles, Crowns, and Knowledge: What RiRi Williams Needs – Will get you thinking.

Comics Alliance – Liefeld Revives ‘Youngblood’ At Image With Bowers And Towe – What do folks think?

Black Nerd Problems – What Happens To A New Black Character Deferred? – A must read.

The Beat – Guy DeLisle’s “Hostage” coming from D&Q next year – Can’t wait for this!

Comics Bulletin – Suicide Squad #4: The Return of William Hell and Racism as an Ongoing Force in American Politics – A very good read and some fun history.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Batgirl #2

Alibi – Black Magick

Talking Comics – Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1

Newsarama – Detective Comics #939

Talking Comics – The Hellblazer #1

IGN – Hollow Mountain: The Long Shadows

IGN – The Omega Men: The End is Here

Talking Comics – Wonder Woman #5

Drawn & Quarterly’s fall 2015: Beaton, Tomine, Mizuki, Chippendale, and more!

What a year 2015 is shaping up to be, Drawn & Quarterly‘s 25th anniversary is bringing new work this spring from Jillian Tamaki, Michael DeForge, Marc Bell, Anders Nilsen, and more, not to mention their mammoth 25th anniversary tome itself, which they will be previewing in due time.

Check out some of the books we’ll be seeing this year.

STEP ASIDE, POPS: A HARK! A VAGRANT COLLECTION
Kate Beaton

In stores September 15, 2015! $19.95 / 5.5″ x 8.75″ / 160 pages / b+w / hardcover / 9781770462083

STEP ASIDE, POPS A HARK! A VAGRANT COLLECTION

KILLING AND DYING
Adrian Tomine

In stores October 6, 2015! $22.95 / 6.25″ x 9.25″ / 128 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770462090

KILLING AND DYING

SHIGERU MIZUKI’S HITLER
Shigeru Mizuki, translated by Zack Davisson

In stores November 2015! $24.95 / 6.5″ x 8.75″ / 296 pages / b+w / paperback / 9781770462106

SHIGERU MIZUKI'S HITLER

PUKE FORCE
Brian Chippendale

In stores October 2015! $22.95 / 10.875″ x 8.025″ / 120 pages / b+w / hardcover / 9781770462199

PUKE FORCE

RED COLORED ELEGY
Seiichi Hayashi, translated by Taro Nettleton
New paperback edition!

In stores August 2015! $19.95 / 6.875″ x 8.25″ / 240 pages / b+w / paperback / 9781770462120

RED COLORED ELEGY

THE NATIVE TREES OF CANADA: A POSTCARD SET
Leanne Shapton

In stores August 2015! $14.95 / 4″ x 5.75″ / 30 postcards / full color / 9781770462137

THE NATIVE TREES OF CANADA A POSTCARD SET

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: THE STRONGEST IN THE WORLD!
Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman
translated by Tiina Nunnally

In stores October 2015! $22.95 / 7.5″ x 9.5″ / 160 pages / full color / paperback / 9781770462151

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING THE STRONGEST IN THE WORLD!

THE OWNER’S MANUAL TO TERRIBLE PARENTING
Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher

In stores August 2015! $12.95 / 5″ x 7″ / 204 pages / b+w / paperback / 9781770462144

THE OWNER'S MANUAL TO TERRIBLE PARENTING

MOOMINMAMMA’S MAID
Tove Jansson

In stores November 2015! $9.95 / 8.5″ x 6″ / 64 pages / full color / flexicover / 9781770462168

MOOMINMAMMA'S MAID

Guy DeLisle Comments on the Cancellation of the Pyonyang Movie

pyongyang coverThe hubbub over the Sony/North Korea internet battle isn’t limited to the cancellation delay of the release of The Interview. The events have made other movie companies gun-shy to do anything surrounding North Korea. Paramount stopped the showing of Team America, and New Regency has stopped the production of a film based on the graphic novel Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea.

Pyongyang tells the story of author Guy DeLisle‘s experience in North Korea while working with an animation study. It provides a fascinating look at the secretive country.

Though what was known about the film didn’t quite sound like what DeLisle wrote, the movie was to star Steve Carell and be directed by Gore Verbinski. Verbinski has commented on New Regency’s decision. Now DeLisle has done the same.

From his website:

The filming was scheduled to start in March in Serbia and I got a phone call from Gore Verbinski. He shared with me how he envisioned the movie, I was excited and I feel very disappointed to learn today that the whole thing is cancelled (I can’t imagine what the producer feels like after working on this for two years). What saddens me the most are the reasons that lead to this. One would have imagined that a huge corporation would not bend so easily under the threats of a group of hackers from North Korea. Apparently they hit a sensitive nerve.

In 2001, a few months after my return from North Korea, I was sending the first pages of my book to the animation studio directors who had sent me there. I thought that they would be amused to read how life was in Pyongyang, where their TV series was produced. The reaction was cold, I was told that I wasn’t allowed to talk about my stay over there and that my contract had a confidentiality clause that prevented me from publishing a book on the subject.

I consulted with my editor at the time, L’Association, where I had published my first albums. Jean-Christophe Menu the director of this small publishing house really liked the idea and the first pages of the book. We looked for the confidentiality clause and couldn’t find it. Finally he told me: too bad if we end up in court, it’s a book we have to do.

Gore Verbinski Comments on the Cancellation of the film based on the graphic novel Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

Pyongyang-Journey-In-North-Korea-Gore-Verbinski-CoverAfter theaters, and Sony’s decision to cancel the release of The Interview, ripples flooded out throughout the movie community. One of the casualties is the cancellation of the film based on Guy DeLisle‘s Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. The graphic novel chronicles DeLisle’s time spent in the country overseeing an animation project and featured his observations on the elusive country. It was Lost in Translation in the DPRK. I loved the graphic novel, as much for its humor as its insight into a country most of us know little about.

A movie was being worked on based on the graphic novel. It was to star Steve Carell and be directed by Gore Verbinski. The film has been scrapped and Verbinski has put out a statement:

Re: Pyongyang

Getting the facts straight:
Yesterday, I was told by New Regency and Fox that Fox will no longer be distributing the film. Prior to that, the film was green lit and fully funded by New Regency with Fox distributing. I have been told in no uncertain words that based on the situation at Sony, Fox has now decided to not distribute the film. Without a distributor, New Regency was forced to shut the film down.

My thoughts:

I find it ironic that fear is eliminating the possibility to tell stories that depict our ability to overcome fear.

Gore Verbinski

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here…. yay!

Around the Blogs:

ArtsBeat – ‘Spider-Man’: Turn On the LawyersThink a musical comes out of this?

The Wall Street Journal – Cartoonist Guy Delisle’s Chronicles From FatherhoodHis work is amazing.  Go out and get all of his works.

Marvel – Marvel’s The Avengers to Screen for Crew of International Space StationThis is so cool. I wonder how often they do it?

ComicBooks.com – Barry Sonnenfeld Working on DC Franchise?I could get behind this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Batman Annual #1

Tuscon Citizen – Batman, Inc. #1

ICv2 – The Flowers of Evil Vol. 1

CBR – The Walking Dead #98

Guy Delisle Comes to Politics & Prose

Before a packed house of over fifty people at Politics & Prose, graphic novelist Guy Delisle spent thirty minutes talking about his experiences, art form and lessons learned over the years while making his four volume graphic travelogue.

On a tour to promote his latest release, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, Delisle showed the humor and keen observation he’s known for in his books.  The French Canadian (he learned English while working on animation in Toronto) had no problem telling amusing stories from his travels over the years as he presented a slide show of his work.  The audience was engrossed with a portion of them unfamiliar with his past works and clearly not comic book or graphic novel fans.

Jerusalem chronicles the time Delisle spent in the city while his wife worked for MSF (Doctors Without Borders) helping the Palestinian people.  Along for the trip were their two young children, who are now 5 and 8.  Delisle began to explain that the life of MSF is ideal for the young and bachelors and that their choices are now limited with two children.  That’s a reason his travelogues will end with just the four books.  Before diving into comic books, he explained he was an animator, a field he worked in for 10 years and gave comics a chance when he discovered the French comic publication Lapin.  He explained comics are a good laboratory to try different story telling techniques and he covered numerous topics and styles himself.

He got the opportunity to write his first book, Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, after the French animation studio he worked for sent him to the country to oversee some projects.  This was in his early 20s and he admitted he’s learned much about comic book story telling and the process since.  Throughout his time in the country he took notes and sketched, keeping track of his experiences.  He had to stop writing the book twice, for work, but that first book sold 2,000 copies which wasn’t bad since that graphic novel biographical genre hadn’t really taken off yet (this was in 1997).  In contrast his latest book has 100,000 copies in print right now.  Not bad growth.  His books pulled in many non-comic book readers who then explored what else the medium had to offer.  Post China, Delisle was sent to Vietnam but his trip there brought nothing that would be interesting in a graphic novel.  He didn’t have too much to say and explained to the audience it was a good time.

In 2001, he was sent to Pyongyang.  This was before September 11 and North Korea was a forgotten country.  This lead to his second volume, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. Before his trip, everyone he spoke to said their time there was boring, so Delisle was unsure if there’d be interesting enough material for a book.  He knew he had something when he arrived and there were no lights on at the airport to conserve power and he was driven immediately to pay respect to a statue of Kim Jong Il.  As a whole, he could care less about the politics of the country and instead looked at himself as a representative of his company.  He was surprised to find Pyongyang wasn’t a ghost town with it shutting down only on Sundays much like Jerusalem on the Sabbath.  He was careful in what he attributed people saying as the country is rather paranoid and strict and he didn’t want to get anyone into trouble.  After that experience, he now collaborates with people more on what they say in the graphic novels and what happened.  The book has been translated into twelve languages and was published in South Korea.  He’s gotten word some folks in the North weren’t too happy as it gave a bad image to some individuals he worked with and the  country. 

Pyongyang raised his profile and lead him to talk about comic books and politics more on an international stage.  He worked on the book while in Ethiopia.  He also took notes during his time in that country, but like Vietnam, he enjoyed the time and had nothing insightful to say, so no graphic novel.

His third volume involved his time in Burma, Burma Chronicles.  He was given one week’s notice before leaving for the country.  He was originally to go to Guatemala with his wife, but they felt it was too dangerous for their young child, so instead it was off to Rangoon.  He was surprised to find the city quiet, with mostly expats living there.  He found the people to be friendly, especially to young children and explained the fathers carry their children everywhere since the roads are so bad.  This leads them to bond really well with children, something he took advantage of to learn more about the country and his surroundings.  He took his lessons from Pyongyang, which was more political than his first book, and explored a bit more about the history and political situation of Burma.

Delisle explained comics were perfect and efficient for this as you’re able to easily fit in humor with the politics.  A theme he came back to numerous times during his talk.  He found it important to go into these situations as not an expert and that helps him discover interesting quirks and observations about his time and also not have an opinion he’s trying to get across when it comes to the politics.

Jerusalem presented him with his first time to be in the Middle East.  He and his wife were to go to the Congo, but they felt that was no place for two small children.  He expected “European Jersualem” of the western part of the city before going, but lived in the much more depressed eastern part.  He came out of the experience realizing everything in the country is political or religious, down to shopping for groceries.  You have to take into account who owns the shop, what day of the week it is and who’d you’d be supporting with every purchase.  His first task of buying diapers became much more complicated because of this reality.  With taking care of his two children he also found he didn’t have much time to work and instead soaked in his surroundings.  Not knowing much about the history and politics was to his advantage and he talked to journalists and NGO staff to learn more.  He admitted the viewpoints he was getting were more to the left, but that’s because of whom he was surrounded by.  He broke up the book into phases just as he discovered his temporary home.  The book goes from his street, to the area surrounding and then his trips throughout the country, much like he did.  It was the small details that caught him in this one, like bags of bread hanging from dumpsters or the cats that looked like rats.  He remarked he wished he focused more on the cats in the book.  He had the chance to present workshops while there was hoping to find the next Marjane Satrapi.

He took questions after his presentation and told the audience he works on one page a day which allows him to build the flow and rhythm his books are known for.  His note taking and sketching, especially with his latest book, opened doors on his trips as people invited him into their homes for tea or in the case of Michael in his latest book, the use of a church room on top of Mt. Olive as a studio to work.  His notes work as a basic diary.

Out of his experiences he left us with this, “Burma was beautiful, Pyongyang was crazy and Jerusalem was tough because of the kids, security and guns.”  And that’s it in a nutshell right there.  A man able to sum up year’s of his experience in a quick observation.

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