My friend and comics author, illustrator and researcher Gokul Gopalakrishnan dissects the Indian graphic novels and comics scene in an article for Fountain Ink Magazine. Gokul also draws and illustrates Small Talk and As the City Is for New Indian Express and DNA.
Written for Fountain Ink, Gokul’s article forces us to take off our rose-tinted glasses and look at the industry as it truly is and where it’s headed. It’s refreshingly honest and at a time when everyone else is gushing about the quantity of publications, Gokul’s focus remains on quality.
When he first began writing this article, we had a couple of conversations about it; about the direction the industry is headed and what we, as creatives, are doing to help shape it. Click here to read his article and below is an excerpt:
“To put it bluntly, Bhimayana and Tara Books’ I See the Promised Land, a biography of Martin Luther King illustrated by Patua artists of Bengal, are perfect examples of how marrying traditional Indian art style to a post-industrial art form like comics doesn’t necessarily deliver quality graphic narratives.
If at one end of the graphic novel spectrum in India are the mainstream publishers who are more or less content with a set of established names, and superficial thematic and stylistic “innovations” the other end is populated by a group of independent smaller comics publishers who have gleefully dropped anchor at the superhero-mythology genre bay.”
I’m quoted in it, by the way. It’s just one tiny little line but Gokul and I talked about the article for a few days and I’m glad that that one line is the one he chose to use.
Manta Ray, creators of the comic Hush (for which I interviewed them here), have put out a submissions call!
If you have a stellar idea for a single-page comic on contemporary issues, scribble it up and send it off to the Ray. If you’re like me and can’t draw, you can send them a written pitch and they’ll pair you with an illustrator. If you can draw- well, then go draw it!
Click here for submission guidelines and all that fun stuff.
For the last eight months, I’ve been reading nothing but graphic novels and comics. I figured that if I was going to write one myself, I’d do well to immerse myself in that world as much as possible. During that time, I’ve read some iffy ones, some good ones and some that made me want to curl up into a little ball and give up any and all dreams of ever writing again (see pic).
Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil is one of those books…
Zahra’s Paradise started off as a free webcomic but the power of social media turned that little webcomic, about life in Iran after the 2009 elections, into a literary phenomenon. It has since been published by First Second Books. Below is an excerpt of my review for Hyphen Magazine or click here for the full article.
“Zahra’s Paradiseis a fictionalized account about the search for a young university student, Mehdi, who fails to come home one night after participating in the protests. It is also the story of his mother, Zahra, and brother, Hassan, as they navigate through Iran’s labyrinthine bureaucracy in an attempt to track him down. The book is written and illustrated pseudonymously by ‘Amir’ and ‘Khalil’ — an Iranian American activist and an Algerian artist respectively — and is packed with literal and figurative criticisms against the Islamic Revolution, Ahmedinejad, and the Ayatollah. They are depicted variously as vultures, scarecrows, and at one point, even as cannibalistic machines intent on “feeding their morgues.” So, it comes as no surprise that both the author and illustrator have chosen the protection of pseudonyms.”