Tag 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.

Read 36 of 2022. Maithili and the Minotaur – Web of Woe by C.G. Salamander and Rajiv Eipe

Maithili and the Minotaur - Web of Woe by C.G. Salamander and Rajiv Eipe

Title: Maithili and the Minotaur – Web of Woe
Author: C.G. Salamander
Illustrator: Rajiv Eipe
Publisher: Puffin Books, Penguin Random House India
ISBN: 978-0143455189
Genre: Children’s Literature, Graphic Novels, Comics
Pages: 64
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

I could not stop smiling as I turned the pages of Maithili and the Minotaur – Web of Woe, the first in an Outlandish Graphic Novel Series, and outlandish it is to the very core.

Maithili is an outcast from the human world, and she doesn’t know why. She also cannot fit in at school. No monster one will speak with her, except for the Minotaur. Everyone apparently seems to be hiding something from Maithili (which is sort of revealed in the book but not quite), till an incident occurs that changes the course of the story.

This comic/graphic novel series is so exciting and also very real when it touches upon the topics of alienation, loneliness, and what it means to be different. The graphics by Rajiv Eipe are minimal initially and later they get more colourful, and interesting.

Maithili and the Minotaur is a wholesome read – and I recommend everyone read it, irrespective of age. It is a chaotic journey, and the illustrations do justice to it. It is about monsters and humans living together (and why are they labelled to begin with?)  and that in itself is a strong message. Do check it out.

Garage Band by Gipi. Translated from the Italian by Spectrum

Garage Band by Gipi

Title: Garage Band
Author: Gipi
Translated from the Italian by Spectrum Publisher: First Second
ISBN: 978-1596432062
Genre: Graphic Novels
Pages: 114
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

I just finished reading this very heartwarming graphic novel about four teenage boys, their band, and a garage in which they practice. More than anything it is about these four lives, their individual strife and struggles, their dreams and ambitions, and their relationships with people around them – friends and family.

Garage Band is the kind of graphic novel that doesn’t make any point. It doesn’t want to. It is that slice-of-life graphic novel that lets you soak in the moment, the characters, the simple story of them just wanting to create music, their sometimes-misplaced ideology, and what growing-up or on the road to growing-up is all about.

Garage Band is just a bittersweet meditation on teenage life and how whether it is Italy, America, or India, adolescence is just the same. Giuliano’s father kindness leads to the band getting his garage as practice space. That’s where the story begins. They are extremely passionate about their music and are deeply connected to each other.

Gipi’s characters fit in any landscape. The country doesn’t matter. The story does. We get to know the boys and before you know it, the book is over at about 114 pages. The watercolours are restrained but extremely engaging and it all comes alive in contrasting panels. At some point I thought more could have been fleshed out, but I was wrong as I read further. It wasn’t needed at all. Garage Band says a lot and hides a lot. There is telling and showing and in good measure. It is one of those graphic novels that will most certainly stay with me for long and I will reread it very soon.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki

Title: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me 
Author: Mariko Tamaki 
Illustrated by Rosemary Valero O-‘Connell 
Publisher: First Second 
ISBN: 978-1626722590
Genre: Graphic Novels, LGBT
Pages: 304 
Source: Publisher 
Rating: 5/5 

Just as the title goes, the book is about Laura Dean, the popular girl at school who keeps breaking up with her girlfriend, Freddy Riley. Well, in a nutshell, this is what the book is about, but there is so much more to it. This graphic novel goes to the heart of teenage dating, sexual orientation, and how does one cope with all of it and more growing up.

This is about a toxic relationship and what it takes to get out of it, or to even understand oneself better while in it or not. Mariko Tamaki does an amazing job of depicting the on and off, and off and on cycle – so amazing that it hits home too hard. At one point, the reader can see themselves in the book, because of course relationships are the same – well almost, and so is the toxicity sometimes that comes with it. At the same time, though the protagonists are teenagers, this book will resonate with readers of any age. We have all been down that road, after all, in one way or the other.

Rosemary Valero O-‘Connell’s illustrations in pink and grey are gentle, grounded in angst and romance. The LGBT cast so to say in the book is diverse, and the plot makes you turn the page faster.  The narrative is sometimes quirky but it all fits in beautifully at the end.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is about realising your worth in relationships – be it any kind and told with great sensitivity. I wish this book was written when I was younger – basically in my teenage years and needed to know so much more about loving oneself and how sometimes the one you love the most will keep breaking your heart, over and over again. Till you put a stop to it.