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100°C: South Korea’s 1987 Democracy Movement

What does it take for ordinary citizens to risk everything to protest living under a repressive government? What takes them beyond the brink, to the “boiling point”? In his graphic novel 100°C, celebrated webtoon and comics artist Choi Kyu-sok sheds a light on these questions by examining the lives of one family caught up in the great social unrest that developed under Chun Doo-hwan’s regime and culminated in the June 1987 Uprising. Crucial to understanding the events of the summer of 1987 is the recognition of both the political context and the dynamics of the nationwide effort that included students, office workers, and religious and labor groups—all of whom came together to demand a new constitution and free elections. Choi’s is a measured yet powerful representation of a pivotal moment in Korean history, when individuals questioned the status quo, when parents joined their children to express their grievances and agitate for democratic reforms, when an entire nation chose to move in a new direction.

Choi Kyu-sok grew up in Changwon, South Korea, and graduated from Sangmyung University with a degree in cartoon and animation studies. He is the author of numerous prize-winning and celebrated alternative comics online and in print, including The Hellbound, written with director Yeon Sang-Ho and the basis for the 2021 Netflix series of the same name. Choi lives in Seoul, where he teaches animation.

Originally published in 2009, during a bleak era in Korean democracy, 100°C shone a ray of hope for readers across South Korea who could only otherwise imagine a dark future. In its depiction of the events leading up to the June 1987 Uprising, when a seemingly endless night turned to dawn, the work foreshadows the next wave of Korean pro-democracy protesters who would take to the street a little less than a decade after the book’s publication. Told with Choi Kyu-sok’s trademark humor and evocative artistry and translated with care and precision by a team of young translators, 100°C tells the story of both the past and future of Korean democracy.
—Anton Hur, literary translator

Source: publisher’s website

Entry on here.

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