cover image Uncomfortably Happy

Uncomfortably Happy

Yeon-sik Hong, trans. from the Korean by Hellen Jo. Drawn & Quarterly, $29.95 (576p) ISBN 978-1-77046-260-1

The story is as simple as they come: Hong draws himself and his wife, both struggling artists, going about daily life after they move from overcrowded, overpriced Seoul to a run-down house on a forested mountain. But a tale is in the telling, and this irresistible graphic novel turns every mundane moment into an adventure. Hong’s art suggests an unpredictable mash-up of comic strips, indie comics, and animated cartoons like Steven Universe. When Hong tries to concentrate on drawing, his head cracks open and distractions pop out; when he’s frustrated, his characters climb out of the pages and harangue him. As winter drags on and money runs out, life on the mountain becomes less idyllic, but husband and wife approach every challenge as allies in a possibly doomed cause. Acclaimed American cartoonist Hellen Jo provides a loose, natural translation. (Mar.)