Category Archives: Graphic Novel

Read 109 of 2022. Suit. Written & Illustrated by Samarth.

Suit by Samarth

Title: Suit
Written & Illustrated by Samarth
Publisher: Yoda Press
ISBN: 9789382579328
Genre: Graphic novel
Pages: 66
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

India turned 75. I read “Suit” by Samarth, illustrated by him as well. A short graphic account of a day in the life of a manual scavenger. A account that must be read by all to see clearly, where we started, what dreams we had, and where we are today.

As Vandemataram plays in my housing society, I am disturbed and full of rage about what I have read, about what goes on daily – about the differences of class, caste, gender, religion, that certain people use beautifully to their advantage.

A country where a Dalit boy is beaten to death, for touching a drinking water pot. A society that refuses to acknowledge deaths that occur in the name of caste. Suit by Samarth addresses so many of these issues & more. Of the nature of dignity and how it should be for all

Suit makes you uncomfortable, as it should. A certain section society that looks the other way, because it knows of the comforts belong to it, needs to look at the other side. Suit shows us the mirror – of trauma, humiliation, and tragedy in the life of a sanitation worker

75 years and it feels nothing has changed. But perhaps there is more awareness of where we have failed, of what we haven’t done, of who we have wrongly elected, though we don’t know where to go from here. But maybe deep down we know how we got here.

Suit isn’t just about one struggle. It made me think of the several struggles – ones that are forever ongoing, there is so much to unpack & think about the India that hasn’t changed for certain sections of society. The India that is ridden with inequality & strife for some

Suit made me realize that we have lost our voices, but they will return. Our right to dissent may have gone temporarily but we shall overcome. I hope. Suit is also about loss of hope, about how dark, gloomy, and unfair it all is and it is one-hundred percent true.

We live in a country, where we do not know what might happen tomorrow in the name of religion. What new atrocity will be unleashed on the minorities. Of what unspeakable acts of crime and indecency shall be committed. We live in fear.

As I was reading Suit, I was reminded of November 2019, I think. Or was it October 2019, when we came out on the streets? We protested, we stood together, we were united by one goal – that of fighting injustice. That which continued and still does. I would like to believe.

India turns 75. It is hard to celebrate. It is hard to look around and feel proud. It is not easy to witness what is going on. But maybe some day we will come together again, as we should – against all the tyranny, to finally feel free, in the truest sense.

Read 100 of 2022. Ulysses: Mahler after Joyce by Nicholas Mahler. Translated from the German by Alexander Booth

Ulysses- Mahler after Joyce by Nicholas Mahler

Title: Ulysses: Mahler after Joyce
Author: Nicholas Mahler
Translated from the German by Alexander Booth
Publisher: Seagull Books
ISBN: 9780857429933
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 284
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Nicholas Mahler’s Ulysses – his interpretation of the 1922 classic, and perhaps the most inventive book ever written is topsy-turvy, mind-boggling at times, and absolutely surreal to boot, and all of this in a graphic format.

I haven’t read Ulysses. I have been meaning to for a while now, and maybe will – very soon, but for now the status remains unchanged. Reading Mahler’s interpretation though, managed to surface all that I had heard about the book – what it’s about – three people trying to make sense of life – as events unfold on a single day – the 16th of June 1904.

Mahler sets his Ulysses in Vienna. Leopold Bloom becomes Leopold Wurmb, as he roams around the city, attends the funeral of a friend, gets to know of the impending affair of his wife Molly, ruminates about his child, no longer alive, and just walks along.

You don’t need to read Joyce’s Ulysses to read this one. Both the translator, Alexander Booth and Mahler ensure that the text and the pictures tell if not a different story – then the most inspired version. Mahler makes this Ulysses his – varied graphic forms with every chapter that is titled as per the name Ulysses, he takes us on this fascinating journey of less words, and more emotion, through simple illustrations – making us collectively feel so much. I would most certainly have to read Ulysses now.

Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love by Varud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi

Chhotu - A Tale of Partition and Love by Varud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi Title: Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love
Author: Varud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi
Publisher: Penguin eBury Press
ISBN: 978-0143446149
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 192
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3/5

There are times when you somehow expect so much from a book that even if it disappoints you a little, you tend to take it personally. I understand that sentiment, but do not go by that alone. Look at the book in its totality. Chhotu for sure didn’t live up to my expectations but I loved the premise of it being set in the time of Partition and added to that the angle of love, and more than anything else, taking a page of Maus and reimagining characters as animals. Full points on also Indianizing it.

The book is set in Chandni Chowk and that to a very large extent got me all excited about it, just that I couldn’t empathise or relate to any character. I could see where the story was going. I know most of it. We have heard the same story from our grandparents and what they had to go through during the Partition in one way or the other – of strife, of loss, of not knowing what is going to happen next to them in a country now divided. I saw all of this coming and yet I somehow couldn’t empathise with what was going on.

I was expecting a lot. I wanted more to happen but it didn’t. I liked how the book was structured with famous Hindi song titles as the chapter names and that worked given what was happening in the chapter. The concept is good and would definitely recommend it to people who want to start reading about the Partition. A very good place to start from.

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Expanded Edition by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson with Kyle Baker

The Fifth Beatle Title: The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Expanded Edition
Author: Vivek J. Tiwary
Illustrated by: Andrew C. Robinson with Kyle Baker
Publisher:M Press; Expanded edition
ISBN: 978-1616558352
Genre: Graphic Novel, Graphic Memoirs
Pages: 176
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Not much is known about people behind the scenes in any profession. It is always people who hog the limelight, get spoken of or written about. Which is how the world works. The ones who are in the shadows rarely get any credit. Not to say that it happens to all. Maybe to some. Maybe not to some. And we all know of The Beatles – almost about all four of them, even some additions, but very few know of Brian Epstein, on which this graphic novel is based.

Brian Epstein was The Beatles’ manager. Actually, I think he was more than just their manager. He was their friend, philosopher and guide in the true sense of the phrase. “The Fifth Beatle” (as he was known after his death by Paul McCartney many years later) is the story of Brian. Not just because he discovered The Beatles and gave the world the joy of listening to them but also because people need to know the man behind this band and what he stood for to believe in four unknown musicians and make them the darlings of the pop music scene in a very short time.

Vivek J. Tiwary’s research is meticulous and the writing is spot-on. From speaking of Brian’s personal life (being gay and Jewish wasn’t easy on the man) to his professional life (despite having a soft corner for George, he never let that come in the way of furthering the career of The Beatles), Tiwary covers everything with just the right amount of content. It doesn’t feel too much, nor does it feel too little. Plus, the illustrations of Andre C. Robinson and Kyle Baker are so spectacular that you just go back and fix your gaze on so many panels.

Brian Epstein’s life comes to life in the true sense of the word through this graphic memoir and it doesn’t take a lot to read this one. If anything, I reread it because you can never get enough of a good graphic memoir and more so given I didn’t know anything about him or had heard of him at all before buying this one on a whim.

The Gods Lie. by Kaori Ozaki

Title: The Gods Lie.
Author: Kaori Ozaki
Publisher: Vertical Comics
ISBN: 978-1942993360
Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Pages: 216
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

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This was the first book read this month and it has stuck and how. I never thought a Manga could leave me all emotional and almost in tears, but this one did and in the most wondrous way. “The Gods Lie” is about everything I think, as you are growing-up, it is also more than just a coming of age tale and yet the innocence and charm of the book isn’t gone at all, no matter how dire the circumstances. There is always some hope and light at the end of the tunnel and maybe that is why I could connect with this read.

Natsuru Nanao is a 6th grader who lives with his mom, loves soccer and isn’t what you’d call the popular kid in school or maybe he is. Enter Rio Suzumura and the both of them have an unlikely friendship, given how different they are. The soccer coach changes and Natsuru hates the new coach (there are several instances) and decides to not to go soccer camp. In all of this, he ends up staying over at Rio’s house with her kid brother. He does find it strange to see these two children living alone but then secrets start tumbling out of the closet – including a dark one which will test his love for Rio.

That in short is the plot of the book. It is a coming-of-age story for sure but there is so much more to it – the harsh realities of modern life, how one just hangs on to hope no matter what, and of course the bittersweetness of first love. It is a short-read. There is not much dialogue but I think when you are dealing this strongly with emotions, the need for dialogues doesn’t really arise. At the same time, you are vested in the story of Natsuru and Rio, that you just want it all to be fine for them. That to me is the power of a great book. When it engages you to this extent. I can’t recommend this book enough. Do read it.