Commonwealth Games, the Bodo Movement in Assam, racism in Australia and a farmer’s victory over BT cotton producers in Madhya Pradesh are some real-life incidents dealt with in the latest comic book published by World Comic India. Called Parallel Lines, it focuses on real issues in India that are important to the authors and creators and is available in Hindi and English.
The ultimate aim of this book is to take these stories forward, not just in terms of description but also visual aesthetics and storytelling techniques and reach out to wider section of the audience, thereby creating awareness. “Some stories are extremely personal and inspired from real life. For example, Suder Mohan’s story on racism in Australia is based on his own experience there. Similarly, Amrith is a Bodo and talks about the Bodo movement in Lower Assam,” says Sharad Saxena, editor, World Comics India.
The stories span 14-16 pages and have different art as well as narration style owing to the different backgrounds of the artists. The comic took a year in the making and throughout that period the creators had extensive discussions and workshops on the art of making comics, visualization, frame composition, inking and texturing among others.
They also had prolonged discussions on their stories where each had to defend their story and accept suggestions. Saxena says, “Most of the creators aren’t trained artists. They have learnt the art over a period of time working with World Comics or their local organizations. So this helps them showcase their art.”
The book was finally published in June 2010 with own funds and help from friends. And now plans for the next issue have begun. Saxena says, “It will be a South Asian comics anthology and will be out by January 2011. We are already on the lookout for stories that fit the theme.”
Comics with a difference
What’s the plot?
A Student with Colour
Artist: Sunder Mohan Murmu
The story based on the real-life incidents of the author and deals with racism. The protagonist takes admissions for higher studies, faces discrimination and returns without fulfilling his urge for education.
Artist: Rajeswari Saha
The story shows Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi through the eyes of the protagonist Bhupen, a daily wage labourer who migrated from Bihar to find a job at Commonwealth Games village site.
The Fight Within
Artist: Amrith Basumatary
The story, in short, talks about the “Bodo movement” in Assam in Northeastern India and their fight for cultural and religious identity.
Cotton 100 Per cent
Artist: Lakhindra Nayak
The real-life success story of a farmer’s fight with a multinational company on the BT Cotton issue.
Daddy, I love you
Artist: Siddharth Sarathi
This is the story of dreamy youth fading away and making way for cynical adulthood.