North Korea Wins, Violent Kids, & A Scary World: Looking through the Prism of DPRK Comic Books by Jacco Zwetsloot

“North Korea Wins, Violent Kids, & A Scary World: Looking through the Prism of DPRK Comic Books”


Who said that Communist literature was boring? Certainly, most didactic texts out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea seem designed to give headaches, not understanding, with their interminably long sentences and repetitive passages.

But there are comic books (in South Korean called “manhwa”) made by and for North Koreans too. They have been in publication since at least the early 1980s, despite paper shortages at times. This presentation will present a general survey of world of North Korean graphic novels, outline some interesting differences between their overseas and domestic publications, and introduce three major plot themes.


Jacco Zwetsloot ( describes himself as a “Jacco of all trades, master of some.” In the past year he has worked as a business English teacher, translator, interpreter, simulation facilitator, corporate trainer, documentary cameraman and cataloguer, cultural lecturer, souvenir evaluator, radio commentator, magazine writer, voice actor, researcher, copy editor and tour guide. He is currently seeking a publisher interesting in releasing translations of several North Korean comic books.

He has a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) in Korean Studies from Monash University, and has lived in South Korea for over 10 years.


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