There are not too many Indian Graphic novels on the scene and even if there are, they aren’t very good. I had heard of “Black Mumba” from a friend at Doolally’s one day and it piqued my interest. I mean come on, it has brilliance all over it – Noir, Noir set in Bombay at that and a bunch of stories surrounding a bleak police inspector who wants to make a change for the better but doesn’t know how to.
The stories in this book are brilliantly devised, written and sketched. Might I also add that the lettering by Aditya Bidikar is lucid and clean. There is absence of light in the book and yet there is so much hope and consolation between these pages. Despite being a noir book, it does radiate some light at the end of the tunnel.
The stories by Ram V, Dev Pramanik, Rosh, and Kishore Mohan are something else. They are all told through the eyes of a police officer, Inspector Dev who is worn-out and done with what he does for a living. Each case shows us the bleak and oppressive side of the city, which is not something that we don’t already know, but you know there were times I was taken aback in the narrative. For instance in the story “Rats in the Dark” – the twist was too much to handle for me.
The greys in the stories are fascinating and menacing at the same time. I loved the character of Dev Shinde. I cannot wait for the second set of stories to be out. The graphics are simple and complex, given the scope of the stories. All in all, “Black Mumba” is for sure a must read. You can order it on the Holy Cow website.