Tuesday, February 11, 2014

InkLab Zine Issue# 1 Review

This collection of comic shorts (released last week at Delhi Comic Con by DCKS-Dehli Comics Kala Samagam, a collective on Facebook, and the real world) is a brave new effort in the Indian comic scene, and fully conceptualized and brought to fruition in a typical underground/guerrilla style. The team behind it has an interesting bunch of artists, writers and illustrators. I liked that the stories here don’t try to fall within any particular norm or genre, and are by their own independent instinct, free flowing narratives. It took me some time to absorb the diverse styles and formats at play here, but could appreciate the various team-up of writing and art here, which showcase both the traditional and newer genres in the art of comics.

Nasha! By Adhiraj Singh & Rajkawal Suri
A light start to the anthology with a funny piece about a guy’s good and bad trips. As he tries on some good and not so good ‘substances’ his brain goes through multiple hallucinations, as it would. The dialogs are in Hindi so the mannerisms may be lost on non-Hindi speakers but the expressive art pretty much makes up for it. The piece ends with a breaking the fourth wall panel, which just shows how much fun these creators are having with this Zine.

Chup by Shikhant Sablania
An open to interpretation dark piece about a man reading off what looks to be random strips of text which could either be from a pulp novel or a magazine. He does something to stop his introspection which I will not spoil as it deserves to be read first hand. The minimalism and the panels, especially the last one will remind you of world cinema.

Eye On You by Bhanu Pratap
A man gets woken up from his semi-sleep by what looks to be a sexual act, which soon turns into soul-churning surreal sequence. I am not sure why the style/art changes after first few pages but I interpreted it as a change of realm (dreams to reality). Themes of existential angst, guilt and burden of one’s actions are strongly pronounced here, with free flowing art. This is pure indie stuff, comes straight out of the creator’s heart, and not meant to please any funding agency/financier.

Kallol by Biboswan Bose
I read this piece, written entirely in a ‘mixed dialect of Bengali’, without the translation(there is a script provided alongwith), and couldn't understand it, except that there is an old women with tears in her eyes, and a strong recurring instance from her memory takes form of a crumpled note. Try it.

Infame by Sumit Ray & Shikhant Sablania
A revenge drama told in classic B&W silhouettes. A cop apprehends a film actor murdering his girlfriend. The cop gets falsely accused in the case until the wheels of fate take a reverse turn…The story and the panels here could be a bit tighter, the mystery which the initial panels evoke gets repetitive and loses its intensity. The revenge part is nicely done towards the climax, but could have used fewer lines.

Untitled by Adhiraj Singh & Bhanu Pratap
A slice of life piece, this one chronicles a day in the life of an everyman office-goer, where banter of all sorts surrounds him right from the moment he wakes up till he closes his day. I liked the well worked panels here, and the humor in the writing complements the overall mood.

Just Rewards by Aakshat Sinha
A philosophical piece that juxtaposes lines of poetry with images of lottery tickets thrown on what looks like a hospital floor, a sniffing rat, pages of newspaper and a sleeping person with a handicap.  May be it’s the theme or the incoherent font (which doesn’t gel very well with the art) I couldn’t quite get involved with this piece.

Fall by Bhanu Pratap

A one-page piece about bodies falling and flying….

Cover by Shikhant Sablania, Pin up by Veraat Singh

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