Friday, January 17, 2014

Comix India Vol 1 : Book Review

I am horribly late in checking out Comix India, but I am glad I did. This looks like the platform we need to showcase Indian creators on a regular basis. To my knowledge, there have been six volumes of the anthology and I checked out the first volume which has 14 short stories.

Comix India starts with a funny 2-pager self-referential strip where Charkha (Dutt) reviews the editor of the magazine, a Mantis, no less! 

The Halahala Observer - Appupen

Appupen’s comics are always rather dark and trippy. There are no clear messages but overriding themes of ennui, surrealism, and a Kafka-esque working class angst. The Light of The Prophet, The Cameraman and 1300 also explores these themes. Although the first two are shorts, 1300 tends to drag and goes too far in its theme of everyone chasing time.

Visioncarnation – Orijit Sen
Having read Sen’s works in anthologies before, I was familiar with his style, satire on intellectuals and urban fads(much like what Whit Stillman does in films). This one too is a nice short surreal take on a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals running after Bombay Baba, an old school camera talks to a chair and soon we launch into claustrophobic frames echoing bare emotions all ending happily in an urn in Banaras? Another of those wish it was longer pieces. 

Just Another Job – Sudeep Menon
A story of a Bombay nightbar, a gun for hire, and a job well done. You get the idea.
The piece looks pretty amateur and does not total up to much, the end seems pretty rushed too. May be this again needed some more pages. 

Adventures of a Comic Book Artist- Gokul Gopalakrishnan
Hilarious and autobiographical account of Gokul’s becoming a comic book creator. The writing is cathartic yet entertaining, all panels beautifully drawn and narrated. I chuckled at the bit where he spends days trying to put together his comic and his wife brushes it off in seconds. This hard reality has hit almost everyone in life some point or the other. 

Ear Rings- Dr L. Prakash
This felt like a sob story with a happy ending to me, I tried but couldn’t finish it. 

A Form of Writing – Bharath Murthy

Murthy creates a comic on the art itself. Not my favorite genre, but each frame shows the effort and knowledge behind it. May be this would look better in a standalone book.

Press Snooze for Freelancer - Vidyun Sabhaney & Pia Alize Hazarika

Nice funny story about the perils of freelancing. I could relate to how one delays sleep and then when you wait for it, morning never comes. The main character talks to the alarm clock, and the conversation doesn’t go down well… I liked the experiments with panel size and fonts.

The Replacements - Shirish Deshpande

I quite liked this mystery-horror kind of story. The theme is heard of before but the panels are drawn nicely, and the story moves fast.

A Remembrance of Loss- Somesh Kumar
A nostalgic, melancholic story of a man tracing back his routes on way to his home town, and going through passages of memory, guilt and emotions. The story moves through personal moments, that anyone who has grown up in a small town would relate to. Very nice art, although I am little wary of reading emotional pieces like this.

Throwing off the Bowlines- Pratap Aditya
Very good little political piece of extremist groups, reminded me of Joe Sacco, although it could use some satire to lighten the tone.

Last Defences of Mankind- Aditya Bidikar & Nitin Veturkar
I struggled with the font in this one, but liked the noirish urban frames…

Kinnari - Meenakshi
Really enjoyed this one, I went and read quite a few pages of the web comic too, this is how mythology should be used as a medium, not an end seen so often in Indian comics. No preachy panels, or overlong dialogs, just a fun, fantasy ride. Reminded me of Delilah Dirk.

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