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Despite huge differences in culture, standard of living and global reputation, North and South Korea share at least one love –- a love of comic books. The two countries have booming comic book industries, and much like neighboring Japan, the two Koreas produce books based on subjects that seem strange to Americans used to super hero books or self-confessional underground comics. A Daunting Team, Lee Hyun Se’s comic about a non-conformist baseball player, was a big hit in South Korea the ´80s -– the scruffy player bucking his team’s rules was a metaphor for a South Korea emerging from years under a military dictatorship. In North Korea, The Great General Mighty Wing chronicled the adventures of a heroic honeybee leading his hive to glory –- an affirmation of the country’s socialist ethos. World Professional Wrestling King Ryok to San, which depicted a legendary North Korean wrestler upholding his country’s honor by out-fighting various foreigners, is much more transparent in its mission, but so’s Superman -- fun’s fun. Korean Comics: A Society Through Small Frames, a new exhibition organized and curated by the Korea Society, showcases 80 works by more than 21 different comic book creators. It’s a prime opportunity to see another culture through its pop culture. The show opens on Friday, August 31, at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the Washington University campus (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards; 314-935-4523 or www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu) and remains up through Monday, December 17. Admission is free, and the gallery is open every day except Tuesday.
Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 31. Continues through Dec. 17, 2007

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