Monday, January 13, 2014

Pulp Quarterly : A Journal of Indian Comics

Pulp Quarterly is a journal of Indian comics, and a welcome addition to the growing community of Indian comic creators. I got the first issue thanks to a friend, and loved the cover art instantly(drawn by Abhishek Singh). It was a mythological monster I hadn't seen before, and there was something about the green background that went with the Pulp theme. I have been following the Indian comics off and on and have been pretty critical of it, to be honest. But this magazine puts an effort in the right direction and can be quite effective if it continues with the same energy and spirit of collaboration.

The journal showcases comic book strips, interviews and articles. Not too fond of few existing books that were profiled, I went straight to the interviews and loved them a lot. Here are my thoughts on some of the pieces in the first issue:

Review of Mumbai Confidential : I agreed with the reviewer even though I haven’t read the book apart from few pages. The concept felt too Bollywood to me, although I liked the noir-ish art. 

A Post Modern Double Talk- The now famous secret identity for real guy Gokul Gopalakrishnan writes an intellectual piece on Manjula ‘Suki’ Padmanabhan’s Double Talk strip. Though the genre does liken to a self-referentiality characteristic of some great indie writers, the strip could not hold my interest and I gave up after a few panels. The writing felt unfunny and forced to me.

Terror with a tail: A small comic strip with overall nice, kinetic work on all departments. The strip captures the surreal adventures of the working class. Although I could do without the random Salman Khan reference, but definitely, give me more of this!

The Last of its Kind: Drawn well(Abhijeet Kini), but pretty random writing, and what was the point?! The 2 page comic felt more like a creator's in-joke to me. 

One Man Show: Captures a day in the life of a writer/creator, and the mundane-ness of it all, reminded me of both Harvey Pekar and south Asian cinema.

The Sage & The Settler: Headless imbeciles! Who writes like that?! Sounds like a News reporter reviewing a Bollywood movie.Though the comic tried to elicit a funny response, the Sadhu cliche kept me away. 

The House my Grandfather Built: A melancholic account of a house, family tree and stuff. Yawn. Nice art though, with pleasing blue, green hues and confidently drawn panels. May be enter a murder mystery in the nostalgia?

Article- Defining Comics: Sumit Ray writes a nice piece on the age old debate over comics vs graphic novels. There are some interesting insights into the genesis of the Graphic Novel, and one can recall the famous examples fitting in with the topic very well.  

Indie Spotlight: This was my favourite section, showcasing the tough process of how two Indian creators have come to write their books so far, what’s in the pipeline, how do they collaborate etc. And it gives a general good sense about future of Indian comics. I had not heard of Akshay Dhar before, so that was quite an eye opener. It was nice seeing that Indian creators are going all out in supporting the scene and pulling in resources to produce better and better comics. And I had loved Vidyun Sabhaney’s work on Mice will be Mice(and had reviewed it earlier) so was great reading a well detailed and in-depth interview of her. 

I feel the biggest success of the book was it made me Google all the profiles mentioned in it and read up few Indian comics online. I will soon be sharing my views on some. 
Also very excited for the next space-themed anthology-Antariksh Yatra!

Comix India
Level 10
Graphic India
Abhishek Singh's Art


  1. Nice review! (And thanks for the mention!)
    It's excellent to get an honest review for a change.
    Look forward to more and hope we can learn and improve ourselves.

  2. It's great to have you drop by! Look forward to read more and review more of Indian creators, keep up the good work.