Blunt cartoonist honored for career

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Blunt cartoonist honored for career

Many Koreans in their 30s and 40s have fond memories of reading the comic strip “Goindol.”
It appeared in the weekly tabloid Sunday Seoul, which no longer exists. In 1978, “Goindol” was published in book form and attracted an even larger audience. There are quite a few middle-aged men who remember how they got into trouble in school reading it during class.
“Goindol” (the word means “dolmen”) came to life in 1978 and entertained readers for 18 years, setting the record for the longest-running weekly cartoon series in the country.
Its content, oftentimes dealing with sexual matters, made it unique to Korea. Nowadays, adult cartoons float around the Web, but at the time, “Goindol” was viewed by fans as something very fresh, even while it was branded as low, obscene work by others.
Park Su-dong, 62, who created “Goindol,” on Tuesday received the prestigous Gobau Cartoon Award in recognition of his dedication and creative work in Korea’s cartooning industry for 38 years. Besides “Goindol,” Mr. Park is also the creator of children’s cartoons such as “Oseonggwa Haneum.”
Mr. Park is known for his unique drawing method. Rather than use a pen, he draws with matches, which he dips in ink.
Born in Odahara, a small village beneath Mt. Fuji, Mr. Park came to Korea in 1947, when he was six years old. He always liked to draw, and whenever he had time, he would sit down and draw everything that posed any interest to him.
One day when he was in college, his mother saw him fully immersed in copying a cartoon drawn by Kim Seong-hwan, who is well known for his cartoon “Gobau.”
His mother’s reaction would become a prophecy: “It must be your destiny. Otherwise, I can’t explain why you always draw those cartoons.”
His first job was teaching at an elementary school. He quit after four years and moved to Seoul in 1965, where he worked from job to job, never really settling down. One thing he continued to do, however, was draw cartoons whenever he had time.
In his free time he started to create his own character, Goindol. Finally, after he won an open competition, Sunday Seoul employed him for its weekly cartoon section, and 18 years of “Goindol” history began.
Throught his entire career, one philosophy has stuck to Park Su-dong. “I think a cartoon can’t become refined, even when the author gets older. When that happens, that cartoon is dead.”
Mr. Park adds, “I am not advocating that a cartoon needs to be provocative with a lot of sex in it. But it should show everything just as it is. ‘Blunt’ is the key word here.”

by Kim Dong-sub
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