There’s something really special about the European graphic novel Saigon-Hanoi.

Originally released in 1999 by the author Cosey — using a one-name monicker in the world of bandes-dessinées is quite normal — it tells a strangely intimate tale that takes place on New Year’s Eve, as a Vietnam vet receives a random phone call from a young 11-year-old (she’s randomly calling people, to chat with while her mother is away). They end up having a long conversation, with the drawn imagery tying into a documentary about the Vietnam War — a documentary in which the man participated — that is airing on TV.

What I loved the most about it is how the parallel narratives — the phone conversation between the man and the girl, the imagery of the war from the documentary — combine to form a whole that if taken apart, would barely have any link to each other.

I couldn’t recommend it enough, and although only availabe in French, you can buy or rent it digitally from Izneo (or if you prefer a print edition, there’s always Amazon France).

Now time to try and dig up more work by Cosey.

By Jean Snow

Production Services Manager at Ubisoft Shanghai. Before that, half a life spent in Tokyo.