Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of menial jobs where their bosses control everything, down to how much water they can drink. Despite their less-than-desirable jobs, salaries, husbands, and boyfriends, these women brazenly bulldoze their way through life with the sexual vulnerability and lust typically attributed to twenty-somethings.
Stories about middle-aged women, especially in Korean families, don’t usually look like this ... Based on the experiences of the author’s mother, this is a wonderfully engaging yarn about a group of women in their 50s who have a ton of problems and are also sick and tired of everything thrown at them all their lives. There are sexual adventures, labour disputes, feckless children, financial woes and more ... It’s extremely relatable, because the character work is so strong. All their hopes and flaws keep the narrative running, and its power increases when we see how badly people can treat each other ... D&Q keeps bringing treasures from around the world to Canada. Long may that continue.
Yeonsun and co are the stars of Moms, a graphic novel by Yeong-shin Ma that was published in his native Korea in 2015 – and when I say 'stars', I mean it. What a remarkable, joyous book. Our culture, like his, is hell-bent on rendering middle-aged women invisible, and yet here are four of them, their lives not only filling every single page of this comic, but brought to us with such intimacy.
Presented in stark black-and-white panels, these aging moms have nothing to hide: they’re raucous, demanding, and sexual middle-aged women finding enjoyment despite useless partners, disappointing careers, unfulfilled dreams. They text at all hours, use dating apps, swear indiscriminately, steal other women’s boyfriends, occasionally pummel one another with bare fists. Their greatest challenge, like people everywhere at every age, is loneliness—but even that can’t stop Ma’s fearsome mothers from living their best possible lives.