When I saw that Guy Delisle’s Burma Chronicles was shipping this week, I was tickled. In fact, I was downright excited, and there aren’t many comics, OGNs, or TPBs that have the ability to wind me up the way this one did.
For those of you who are familiar with Delisle’s previous work, this should be no secret. Both Pyongyang and Shenzen are two of my favorite OGNs of all time.
In my real career, I am a political scientist, specializing in international relations. Burma Chronicles is a travelogue that touches on a lot of the political issues in Burma/Myanmar, just as Pyongyang looked at North Korea and Shenzen looked at China. It gives people who probably will never visit these countries–and frankly, know little about them either. He takes a layman’s look at some of the most repressive and secretive societies in the world.
And he does it well.
To be fair, this book is written a little differently from his previous two, at least in my opinion. It’s a little less politics and a little more diary. Being in Burma with his partner and son, I think, is what causes the changes in perspective. In Pyongyang, to compare, he is alone and working at an animation studio, and has time to do considerable exploring and observing on his own, without other distractions. Here, he’s with his partner on a Doctors without Borders mission, and his family is covered more than his observations about the politics in this military junta-led state.
But this doesn’t detract from the quality of the story or art. It gives you an insight on Burma and its repressive politics, its censorship, and its secrecy It discusses how hard life can be there for everyday folks, and how things we take for granted in the west–like health care, or peanut butter–are luxuries there that many simply have to do without. And Delisle is able to enjoy himself despite the hardships. This is one of his strengths as a creator–he has the ability to make things personal and human while still weaving a narrative about strange, unusual locales.
I won’t lie– I think Pyongyang and Shenzen are better works–at least in terms of my own personal tastes. But this in no way means that Burma Chronicles is a weak sister. It’s definitely worth picking up, particularly if you have any interest in how life is in the far corners of the earth.
Somebody out there do us a favor and add SubCulture to those Wikis out there dealing with webcomics lists. Hell, if you’re really ambitious, create an entry for us. We’re trying our best to grow and get our name out there, but as you know, working on your own material on those websites is a no-no.
It’s shameless, we realize, but heck–we like what we’re doing, and want everyone to enjoy it.
We’ll rustle up some loot for you if you show us your work!
The Rays won another game in walk-off fashion (their MLB-leading 11th of the season) when Dionner Navarro singled in the bottom of the 9th, knocking in Jason Bartlett in the 2-1 over the Red Sox. They’re a game ahead, with 12 to play. A win tonight would put them two up with 11 to go. It’s been a fun season so far, and while I’ve only been following the Rays for about three years, I’ve definitely been caught in the fever. Plus it’s nice to see someone new at the top of the AL East finally.
I finally started exercising today. And I discovered, to my horror (althrough I really knew this already) that I am currently in the worst shape of my life. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, and i’ve waited too long to do anything about it.
So today I started my slow, and probably painful, road to slimming down, at least a little. How am I doing this? Well so far, swimming. I hate running. It’s tough on my knees, and after I finish running, I would prefer to be somewhere else. But I used to swim in high school, oh so many years ago, so I thought this would be a good, low-impact way to get a little cardio and maybe trim a couple of inches off of my waist. So I swam for 50 minutes today. Not bad for the first day.
The real test, of course, is seeing if my willpower will allow me to keep it up. Send me reminders!