Prateek Thomas & Rajeev Eipe
Manta ray comics
Rs 195 n pp 32
Hush is a graphic novel about a young girl at the turn of events who brings a gun to school. The first page, which features four long panels, offers a lingering look at a blackboard with chemical equations on it, splintered with a bullet hole and splattered with blood.
It is seen through the eyes of Maya, the schoolgirl in question, who is seen holding a gun with a smoking barrel, poised, teary-eyed and silent like the rest of her classmates whose astonishment, horror and fear are written on their faces. Drawn in black and white, with no thought bubbles or captions to unbridle your imagination, Hush is a mute story that explores the theme of child abuse in 17 pages.
It’s a dark and sublime tale of a troubled child, victimised by her father, the vice-principal of her school. Hush is a short story that can be told in 17 lines, drawn in 17 pages or filmed in 17 minutes. But unlike any other medium, it manages to beautifully weave tiny nuances into its narrative with a subtlety that is unique to comic books that manage to depict violence, without making it grimy or gory.
The book’s shortcomings are largely listed in its pivotal premise. The reader is so quickly led through a rapid succession of events, with black frames taking over white in imagination , that it leaves one wondering ‘So is that it?’. While the authenticity of the storytelling is beyond questioning, Hush does leave room for more imagination.