10 Graphic Novels To Help You Understand The World

Graphic novels have a unique power to transport readers to distant lands and provide a window into the lives of those living in extraordinary circumstances. In a world filled with diverse narratives, authors like Guy Delisle, Hamid Sulaiman, Art Spiegelman, and others use the art of graphic storytelling to shed light on the complexities of places like Jerusalem, Pyongyang, Burma, and beyond. Through their illustrated works, readers embark on journeys that explore cultures, conflicts, and the human spirit.

Palestine by Joe Sacco

In Palestine, Joe Sacco offers a poignant and vivid portrayal of life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the first Intifada. Through his meticulous illustrations and immersive storytelling, Sacco captures the heart of the Palestinian experience, providing readers with insight, empathy, and, at times, even humour amidst the struggles of daily life under occupation.

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City by Guy Delisle

Guy Delisle skillfully captures the essence of contemporary Jerusalem, offering readers a cultural roadmap. Through the eyes of a stranger in this sacred city, Delisle navigates the complexities of daily life, from checkpoints and traffic jams to the impact of conflict on both sides of the wall.  Jerusalem showcases Delisle’s mastery of the art of travelogue, portraying the city’s Christian, Jewish, and Muslim populations with sensitivity and fairness.

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

Delisle’s travelogue in Burma exposes the country’s social control through concealment and isolation. As he navigates a land monitored by scissor-wielding censors and marked by political turmoil, Delisle provides a revealing glimpse into a society where rumours often serve as the primary source of information.

Pyongyang by Guy Delisle

In a rare opportunity, Guy Delisle takes us deep into North Korea, one of the world’s most secretive nations, and recounts his experiences in the capital, Pyongyang. Guided and chaperoned, he observes the surreal conditions under the Communist dynasty while offering insights into the lives of the few North Koreans he encounters.

Hostage by Guy Delisle

Hostage takes a departure from Delisle’s travelogues, narrating the harrowing experience of Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André. Delisle, through a pared-down style, captures Andrés’ determination during three months of solitary confinement in the Caucasus region, compelling readers to reflect on the human will to survive in the darkest moments.

Freedom Hospital by Hamid Sulaiman

Set against the backdrop of the Syrian Arab Spring, Freedom Hospital unfolds the story of Yasmin, who establishes a clandestine hospital in the midst of a complex and violent situation. Hamid Sulaiman’s stark black-and-white imagery brings to life the devastating narrative of Syria with gut-wrenching detail and dark humour.

MetaMaus by Art Spiegelman

In MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman delves into the creative process behind his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, Maus. Exploring the questions raised by Maus—the Holocaust, mice, and comics—Spiegelman provides an intimate and compelling look at the ground-breaking work that changed how literature, comics, and history are perceived.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir narrates her childhood entwined with the history of Iran. The Complete Persepolis offers a unique perspective as the intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor bears witness to a country’s tumultuous past.

Corridor by Sarnath Banerjee

Sarnath Banerjee’s Corridor weaves together the lives of diverse characters in Lutyens Delhi, centered around the tea dispenser Jehangir Rangoonwalla. Through a mix of sketches, illustrations, and photographs, Banerjee presents a delightful tale that touches upon the nuances of urban life and cultural references.

Habibi by Craig Thompson

Set against a vast landscape, Habibi unfolds the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound by chance and love. Craig Thompsons epic narrative explores the cultural divide, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and the magic of storytelling, delivering a love story with profound resonance.

These graphic novels offer more than just illustrations; they provide a gateway to worlds unknown. Through the lens of talented authors and artists, readers can traverse the streets of Jerusalem, witness the secrecy of North Korea, and feel the pulse of conflict in Syria. From historical narratives to contemporary tales, graphic novels prove to be a compelling medium, enriching our understanding of diverse cultures and human experiences.

Pick up a graphic novel based on world politics from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

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