Mythological texts have often been visually represented in India, but, the new age graphic novels have turned and evolved characters that have been known in the Indian subcontinent for centuries now.
Comic-book styled illustrations of mythological texts have been around in India for decades now, with texts such as Amar Chitra Katha being among the first and most popular. With mythological characters taking centre stage in such texts, they are making a comeback through the graphic novels. Even as graphic novels remain limited in the number of readers in India, the trend is catching on. Taking up issues of sociopolitical interest, reflections on life and ancient stories of the gods and goddesses alike, the graphic novel is here to stay. Here are four graphic novels inspired by mythological texts and characters that bring alive these age-old tales.
Ramayan 3392 AD
As the name suggests, Ramayana 3392 AD is set in the future, in a dystopian world. A new way of interpreting the Indian epic, Ramayana, this graphic novel traces the tale of Rama alongside his brother in their battles against demonic beings.
Written by Shamik Dasgupta, this novel has illustrations by Jeevan Kang, who brings alive a feel of the world in a post-apocalyptic setting. Adding a futuristic twist to the old epic surely makes for an exciting retelling of this classic.
Sita: Daughter of the Earth
With an attempted focus on Sita, this graphic novel has adapted the age-old tale of Ramayana. Th novel dossiers the princess’ journey from Videha to Ayodhya and her abduction by Ravana, and the consequent rescue by Rama.
The graphic novel comes recommended for its exquisite artwork and has been written by Saraswati Nagpal, with illustrations by Manikandan. The book is more suitable for young adults and children, but can be equally delightful for adults who have never read the original text.
I am Kalki (series)
Kalki is said to be the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu, who is believed to be among the principle deities of Hinduism. Kalki’s role in the I Am Kalki series as well as according to mythology is to cleanse the world of its sins. This series has seen titles such black, red and silver.
Kalki, in the series, is presented as the boy next door who detests corruption and unethical actions. Written by Deepak Chatterjee, Kalki’s character is brought alive in the night. Kalki is quite an intriguing character from the myths and particularly relevant in a world of several evils. This graphic novel offers a visual treat alongside a lesson.
Adi Parva – Churning of the Ocean
Amruta Patil, known for her captivating graphic novels, took the subject of the initial section of the grand Indian epic, Mahabharata. Presented as an alternative narration of the text that deals with the inception of Mahabharata, the graphic novel is an enticing insight into the same. In the book, the Goddess Ganga turns the sutradhar (the narrator).
A subsequent book, followed by the author, titled Sauptik: Blood and Flowers, continues the visual and textual journey of storytelling. A book offering perspective and inspired interpretation into an integral part of the Mahabharata, Adi Parva – Churning of the Ocean comes highly recommended.