Review of Buddha – Volume I: Kapilavastu; Osamu Tezuka; Harper Collins; pp 400
– Shana Susan Ninan
Japanese Graphic Artist Osamu Tezuka’s brilliant black strokes on paper move like a movie. Buddha, in eight volumes, traces the life of Siddhartha Gautama, and his journey into Enlightenment and Mentorship. The prince is born halfway into the first book, and the events preceding it are likes omens that lead us to his birth. Caste is a theme that takes prominence in the narrative. Woven into the emotions and movements, you can find it creeping into the fabric of the story.
Tezuka’s work is humourous, lucid and definitely relatable. You’ll find colloquial usages, slangs and even slur, in the book. And two of my favourite pages are the ones that have locusts swarming in them. Yep, just two pages full of locusts. The perspective used is awesomely focussed and absolutely on-the-dot. The visual expression surpasses usual storytelling skills, and the readers are taken right into the heart of the plot.
Review of Strange Touch; Sharvari Shah; ebook – Graphic novel; pp 64
– Shana Susan Ninan
When someone touches you the wrong way you know it. But what if you’re too young to differentiate and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ touch? What if the perpetrator is known to you? What if you’re scared that no one would believe you if you complained? All the ‘what-ifs’ put together cannot begin to help you comprehend what a child or teen goes through in those tormenting years. Even after years go by and various people come and go in your lives, the “touch” still remains a clear memory.
Sharvari Shah has sketched a graphic novel, Strange Touch, with instances from real lives, portraying the start of such an experience and how you go about forgetting it. But as you go through the book, you realise the memory remains. It is a dream that links the two parts of the protagonist’s life. The author/designer is a graduate from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. This 64-page intense novel was part of her final year project.
The story moves in the present and past, featuring a young adolescent girl, who, even as she’s moving into adulthood, cannot let go of the haunting past. Child sexual abuse is rampant in India, especially in a scenario where the joint family flourishes, and ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ dote on lovely cousins.
Review of Hush; Pratheek Thomas; Illustrations: Rajiv Eipe; Manta Ray Comics, 2010; Rs 195; pp 35
– Dr Aju Aravind
A spider web which gradually gets bigger and bigger, and finally we see blood stains on the surface of the blackboard. The next frame shows the faces of shocked school children; both boys and girls. In the midst of them all, we see Maya, a young tall girl with a scowl on her face and a gun in her hand. Back to the spider web, and we see a bullet mark on the blackboard with blood stains on it, and the legs of man who lies still on the podium of a classroom. She walks out of the classroom with the gun in her hand, stops and stares in front of the Vice Principal’s room and then walks into the Boys’ Toilet.
These are the striking first few frames of the debut graphic novel of Manta Ray comics’ Hush written by Pratheek Thomas and illustrated by Rajiv Eipe. The story of silence, frustration, violence and child sexual abuse that unfolds in this graphic novel is narrated through illustrations in 17 pages. The book also includes forward, interviews, sketch book and samples of working of the script.
The story of Hush revolves around Maya, a victim of child sexual abuse, who is abused by her own father. Hush, is based on realities and shows the sad state of affairs where lust dominates all other relationships and values. The story recalls Maya’s plight, a victim of suppression, fear, and silence. Like Maya her mother is also a victim of fear and suppression who finds herself in a most awkward quandary and is unable to stop her husband from climbing the steps to Maya’s room every night.