100°C: South Korea’s 1987 Democracy Movement

Paperback: $21.99
ISBN-13: 9780824893958
Published: January 2023

Additional Information

192 pages | color illustrations
  • About the Book
  • 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.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Choi Kyu-sok, Author

      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.
    • Theodore Jun Yoo, Translator

    • Madeline D. Collins, Translator

    • Gia Kim, Translator

    • Nguyen Thi Huong Ly, Translator

    • Jusun Park, Translator

    • Brooke Shelton, Translator

    • Anna Toombs, Translator

    • Cheehyung Harrison Kim, Series Editor

      Cheehyung Harrison Kim is associate professor of Korean history at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • 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
    • 100°C is a powerful reminder that ordinary people make history. When the status quo seems hopelessly entrenched, change seems distant. But, as Choi Kyu-sok makes clear, the shift from 99 to 100 degrees is unpredictable and the tipping point may be just around the corner. In that sense, while the book was commissioned for students, we all have something to learn from it—not only about the collective power of people, but also how to endure against all odds.
      —Suzy Kim, Rutgers University
    • In gritty and historically accurate detail, 100°C captures the moment in South Korean history when the country’s enduring struggle for democracy finally reached the boiling point. Readers will encounter in the pages of this arresting graphic novel a primer on modern Korean history, a rumination on revolutionary politics, and a transgenerational tale of self-awakening and self-empowerment in a time of barbarism.
      —Youngju Ryu, University of Michigan