Monday 13 October 2008

Guy Delisle - Burma Chronicles

I’d only read one Guy Delisle book before which was ‘Shenzhen’ his book set in China. I’ve only got it in French too so I’ve really only looked at the pictures. I liked the drawing in that one better than this new one really. Shenzhen is all drawn in charcoal and big smudgy black pencils whereas this one is much more clean line looking and finished in ink and pens, he must have changed his drawing style over the 8 years or whatever it has been between the two books. My favourite thing in Shenzhen is that he stays in a hotel in Shenzhen identical in every detail to a hotel I stayed at in Shanghai and drew in my ‘Train to Shanghai’. They must be mass produced in China. I was going to call my comic ‘Shanghai’ until I saw ‘Shenzhen’ just before I finished it and decided the name was too similar…

‘Burma Chronicles’ is a very good book though, in this one he is not working as an animator abroad but instead is accompanying his wife who is working for Medicins sans Frontiers as an aid worker in Burma. He doesn’t have that much to do except look after his little baby and draw his graphic novels when he gets the chance. He does a good job of showing how weird it is to live under a secretive and repressive dictatorship where you never get anything explained, it’s just ‘do this’. All of a sudden while they are there, the capital of Rangoon is moved to a new capital hundreds of miles away with no warning and no explanations of why. The regime is constantly making things difficult for the aid workers who are trying to distribute medicines.

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