A PBS commentator once remarked that India has always been a land of vision, of the eyes. It can be seen in its 3000 year old history, in its carvings of gods and demons as well as its present day multimillion dollar Bollywood film industry. The visual medium occupies a high degree of respect in India and this has translated into India being one of those countries that has a great number of comics.
The reason for the profusion of comics is simple. First, it is the history in India of visual art – almost all of Indian epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are depicted either through drama, play or drawings. Sculptures and idols are enormously popular, mostly due to the influence of Hinduism, India’s indigenous religion. The second is the great amount of young adults in India – India has one of the youngest population in the world. Because of this demand, entertainment in India is targeted towards children. Children are also great consumers of comics. Third is the strength of storytelling in India and the budding comic industry.
India is very much a traditional country and globalization has not affected its indigenous comic industry. Most of the comics tend to be mediocre with low production values but the most famous comic, the Amar Chitra Katha (translated into Eternal Stories) are the most famous as their production values are good and their stories are absolutely amazing.
The stories in Amar Chitra Katha are specifically Indio-centric, dealing with the neverending yarns and tales in Ancient India which are tremendously entertaining. India might be one of the only countries where traditional stories have not died but are played out through modern visual mediums like graphic novels. They mostly deal with Hindu/Buddhist/Jain tales that end before 9th century BCE though they also deal with the saga of “Akbar and Birbal”, the story of a Mughal emperor and his smart Hindu courtier, set in the Mughal era. They avoid the contempary era with a vengance and usually the contempory era stories tend to some of the most weakly plotted.
Here is an example of Amar Chitra Katha’s Akbar and Birbal series.
Here is also a comic that I found with a Chinese character. Comics that star non-Indian characters are usually extremely rare in Indian comics.
There are several comics in India – Tinkle (that focuses on contempory issues, on children’s issues specifically), Amar Chitra Katha (focuses on Hindu/Sikh/Jain mythology, Akbar/Birbal, usually past history), Panchatantra (a morality tale with animals) and Chacha Chaudary (the oldest and the most inane Indian comic). I will update as soon as possible and try to increase your International knowledge, even a little bit.
I just saw Persepolis and I liked the way they kept the feel of the Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novels about her life in around and her experiences leaving it. It was co-directed by her so she was able to make sure the art and humor were the same and flowed the way she wanted it to, although there differences between the novels and the movie. For one there was the music that really enhanced the whole feature. It went from the eye of the tiger which is one of my favorite scenes to really hard core rock. The movie’s in French with some sprinkling of English. It’s also entirely in black in white except for the scenes that take place closer to the present.The movie managed to show that as a child that although she really didn’t understand what was going on around her that it all affected her behavior directly.
Here’s an article with some more background info on Satrapi and its correctly named Confessions of Miss Mischief. I think its awesome that she speaks six languages. I would like her to speak at commencement, but what’s the chance of a small college in Virginia getting her? We’ll probably get some weird political dude instead. I think she would be an awesome speaker. I mean she outwitted Stephen Colbert on his own show. If the college doesn’t get her to speak maybe the comix club here could find her. I wonder how much it would cost to bring her here. I doubt the club has enough money, but maybe if we worked with others we would have enough. I wonder if she would be willing to speak though. It would be awesome if she did or if I had the chance to meet her.
Well here’s a short comic of Satrapi’s preconceived notions of going to West Point, what she wanted to happen, and what actually did. I hope that if you haven’t read any of her graphic novels or seen the movie that you do. If you have then feel free to comment.
A scene that was both funny and kind of scary at the same time as was much of the movie which shows that she has a great sense of humor.
I have just started reading the works of Fyodar Dostoevsky for the first time in my twenty years of existence. I have already heard much good things about this renowned author– not only for his infamous Crime and Punishment but also for the lesser known stories, especially the “Honest Thief” and the “White nights.” Knowing that Dostoevsky was a monarchist reactionary endeared me to him a bit more but I have never managed to find the time to read his works – until now. I have just read the first story by Dostoevsky’s called “White Nights,” an idealistic reminiscence of an effervescent series of nights that recalled youth and love, and whose impression painted in my mind the image of a cloudy dream in the dark beautiful night of Petersburg. While reading “White Nights” I could not help but notice how much like a manga it was – the setting, the scene, the characters that fade in and out of dreams, the idealism – in short, the atmosphere in general. Dostoevsky language was also quite beautiful with vivid descriptions. Who else but Dostoevsky could pen words like “And why of course, he meets her afterwards, far from his native shores, beneath the scorching southern sky of an alien land, in the wonderful Eternal City, to the thunder of music…(28)”
There has been some adaptations of White Nights on the screen, a 2005 English film that has faded, an old Black and White Italian film Le Notti Bianche.
If you are a Bollywood aficionado, you would surely be aware of Saawariya, which is the latest adaption of White Nights in the East. In my opinion however, White Nights is suited more for a novel than a movie.
Luckily, I was not alone in thinking “White Nights” would form a great graphic novel. After a quick search, I have found a forum that puts together White Nights in the form of a Japanese Graphic Novel. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I am not able to access it (in short words: my computer is in the hands of another, getting fixed) but don’t hesitate to give me your feedback on this delightful story. The Link is here.