Tag Archives: Volume 1

Longform: Volume 1: An Anthology of Graphic Narratives. Edited by Sarbajit Sen, Debkumar Mitra, Sekhar Mukherjee and Pinaki De.

Longform Volume 1 Title: Longform Volume 1: An Anthology of Graphic Narratives
Edited by Sarbajit Sen, Debkumar Mitra, Sekhar Mukherjee and Pinaki De
Publisher: HarperCollins India
ISBN: 978-9352775972
Genre: Graphic Novel, Graphic Anthology
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

Graphic novel love began way back for me, in about 2006, I think. Landmark at Infiniti Mall, Andheri had just opened. My friend N and I used to love meeting there (for obvious reasons, of course) and before we knew we used to finish reading graphic novels, right there. We would buy them as well. After all, we knew what it was like for authors to not make money. That was then. I also vividly remember my first graphic novel – read in 2004 (yeah, at that time I did not know it was called a graphic novel), called “Maus”. I also think “Maus” is like the initiation to graphic novels. Either that or “Persepolis”. And today, graphic novels are the rage. Easier to read, linger in your memories a lot longer and a popular genre by far in the country.

“Longform: Volume 1” is a fantastic anthology of graphic narratives. I honestly do not even know where to start praising it. I am not saying this because I love HarperCollins books. I say this, because, after PAO, published by Penguin India, this is the second of its kind anthology in the country – which readers so deserve and want and there should be more of such anthologies. While “PAO” focused mainly on Indian artists and storytellers, “Longform” takes it a step further to involve artists from all parts of the world, thereby providing the reader with a stunning word and image experience.

It was very difficult for me to consolidate my thoughts for this review. Where does one begin talking about a book this diverse? Or should one even attempt? Well, one must do what one should and what one can I suppose. From the legendary (rarely) to the mythical, to the political to the romantic, “Longform” touches on almost every single genre and within that, there is a world of other art forms that seem to be born. Whether it is just simple line drawing or the more complex art form, the reader cannot choose what to focus on – the art or the story. Everything then matters in the grand scheme of the book that you hold in your hand.

“Longform” also doesn’t restrict itself to the graphic form alone. While it is majorly only that, there are also snippets of interviews, back stories of artists and authors and the ideation process as well, which of course, only adds to the magnificence of the book. I also am not mentioning any pieces in particular, because I honestly would love readers and graphic form enthusiasts to be intrigued a little more about this book, go out and pick it up, nestle in your favourite reading spot and devour it cover to cover, only to start all over again.

 

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Trees: Volume 1: In Shadow by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard

Trees - Volume 1 - In Shadow by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard Title: Trees: Volume 1: In Shadow
Writer: Warren Ellis
Illustrator: Jason Howard
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 978-1632152701
Genre: Comics/Graphic Novels
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

This graphic novel or rather comic had been laying around for a while on my shelf gathering dust. I don’t know what prompted me to pick it up. This came in mail I think two years ago (if memory serves me right) and I read it now. But then again, better late than never.

“Trees: Volume 1: In Shadow” – written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Jason Howard is a science-fiction comic set in the near-future. Before I move on, I must let you know, I absolutely adore such comics. They bring out the best in me and I cannot help but turn the pages till it’s done. Warren Ellis is the doyen when it comes to comics – whether they are about superheroes (mostly they are about superheroes) or sci-fi, he dons the hat, like no other.

So what is “Trees” all about?

It is about a bunch of aliens who have landed on Earth, in the form of what looks like vertical objects – hence they are known as trees. They are spread wide and far and are hundreds of feet tall. No one knows anything about them and they have never moved. They are just there.

Till one day things start changing (which of course I am not telling you) and people in various parts of the world, with different agendas can sense the change. There is Tian, a young painter from a small village who has moved to a “special cultural zone” of an Asian city and he is unsure of his place in the world and what he wants to do.

Cut to Eligia in Italy, whose boyfriend Tito runs a gang and keeps the town of Cefalu under him, till Eligia meets an old man who teaches her how to take care of herself.

Last but not the least is an Arctic research station where Marsh discovers small plants growing next to a tree and this is where is all begins – well almost.

Ellis’s storytelling skills are something else. The plot unravels itself but not all that much. There is always something hidden (after all a series has to be based around it) and something so beautiful to tell. Howard’s illustrations match the story-line to the tee and that’s how a comic should be – the joint effort of the writer and the illustrator. “Trees” is something different altogether that I have read in a while. Thank God, I finally got to it! I cannot wait to start the second volume. From what I hear, even the third one is out!

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Trees: Volume 1

Fables: Volume 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham ; Illustrated by James Jean and Alex Maleev

Fables - Volume 1 - Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham Title: Fables: Volume 1: Legends in Exile
Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrated by: James Jean and Alex Maleev
Publisher: DC Comics
ISBN: 9781401237554
Genre: Comics, Graphic Novels, Fantasy
Pages: 144
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Anything to do with fairy tales and I am sold hook, line and sinker. There is not much needed for me then to read the book or series or graphic novel, no matter how good or bad it is. I am a sucker for fairy tales and more so their spin-offs.

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Bill Willingham’s “Fables” was always on my to-be-read list, in fact so much so that I had read four volumes and left it at that. I wonder why though. May be I was not ready for the series then. It happens to the best of readers – you aren’t just ready for the book at a point and then when you are, you just cannot stop reading it.

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The storyline of “Fables” in the broad sense is this: Fairy-tale characters have been ousted from their lands by an entity known as the Adversary, and they are therefore forced into exile. Some of them live in New York City, hiding their true selves from the world. They own a secret society called Fabletown.

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In the first volume, we learn about the murder of Rose Red, Snow White’s sister and how the big bad wolf known as Bigby solves the case.

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I loved the way how the old tales were revisited and how you can see these characters with a lot of shades of grey. For instance, Snow White has been divorced from Prince Charming and how Bluebeard is trying very hard to mend his ways but no one trusts him.

More so, the illustrations are fantastically done, keeping in mind the intricacy of each scene and the fairy tale reference or context. I highly recommend this series and already about to finish the second volume. One thing is for sure that you cannot look at fairy tales and their characters the same way after reading this series.

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Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (New Edition)

Sex Criminals: Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

????? Title: Sex Criminals: Volume 1: One Weird Trick
Author: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781607069461
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic
Pages: 128
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I heard of “Sex Criminals” while browsing through Flavorwire and I knew I had to read it. I then realized that I had been living under a rock. The first volume came out in 2014 and I still had not heard of it, forget reading it. “Sex Criminals” is a very unusual kind of graphic novel. I call it unusual because it may not be suited to everyone’s reading taste. It is as the title suggests, all about sex and crime (the crime bit not so much as a directive of all the sex) and I don’t know if too many people in our country will take to both of these very inherent human behavioral tendencies.

Sex Criminals - Image 3

“Sex Criminals” is your classic boy-meets-girl story and at the same time it is way beyond that. Suzie and Jon meet at a party and hit off instantly with both being able to rattle lines from Lolita. They hook up as regular 20-somethings would and then they discover something about each other, which each thought was only special to them – they can literally stop time when they orgasm. To me that is the ultimate way to come (literally of course). The world is deadened. It is as quiet as you want it to be and it is just you and other person and your moment.

Sex Criminals - Image 1

Suzie calls it “the Quiet”. Jon calls it the “Cumworld” (the man versus woman names given are hilarious). This oddity brings them closer than they have ever been to anyone else and rightly so. That is when they think of the idea of robbing banks to save a library from being shut, the library that Suzie works at. This is when they realize that there is more to them and so do the readers.

This book is all about sex. So if you cannot stomach something as natural as this, I recommend that you do not even come close to this book. It is not for you. There are no roles laid out here. There is no agenda. There is only pure and not-forbidden sex which doesn’t need time or place to be enjoyed. It is the kind of sex that gets you in a trance and makes you see the entire world differently. Maybe in all honesty, we need more of this. All of it and more to be candid.

Sex Criminals - Image 2

I could not stop thinking of how much of a sensation would this graphic novel have caused had it released in bookshops in India. What would the reaction be like? Would parents forbid and avert their children’s (teenagers I mean) eyes? Would hypocrisy take over or not? I would be most curious to see how that works out. Anything related to sex in our country and we clamp up everything behind the veil of tradition and culture. This book is the anti-thesis of everything we have ever objected to.

“Sex Criminals” has deep character stories as well which I am sure will be explored in the second volume (which has just released by the way). Who are the Sex Police? What is their role in the book? Why can’t they be a part of the zone? You have to read this graphic novel. It is funny, intelligent, feminist and unapologetic all at the same time. Suzie and Jon are just regular people with regular issues, only a bit more aware of their drive and what it can do to them and the people around them. The comic is beautiful and fantastic. It is obviously one of its kind and I cannot wait to read the second volume.

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