If you compare the number of non-fiction comics published with the number of superhero comics, you’ll find the former don’t even make up half the number. Comic book journalism, despite big names like Joe Sacco, who has extensively covered the ethnic wars in Yugoslavia and the brutalities in Palestine, barely make a ripple in the pond. (Blame cartoon journalists like Tintin, not to mention Clark Kent, for spending all their time chasing bad guys instead of filing their news reports.)
Parallel Lines (edited by Sharad Sharma, World Comics India, Rs 125) is a slim comic book comprising development stories by comic journalists. This is a collection of five simple contemporary stories dealing with issues that fade easily from public memory or struggle to survive in newspapers.
The opening story, ‘A Student with Colour’ by Sunder Mohan Murmu, deals with various dimensions of discrimination as is seen in our society.
Amrith Basumatary’s ‘The Fight Within’ chronicles the uprising of the Bodos in the face of police violence and caste discrimination in lower Assam where the the absence of basic governance is telling. Lakhindra Nayak’s ‘Cotton 100%’ engages in a debate involving genetically modified seeds and the woes of farmers.
Parallel Lines collects tales from all over India and echoes the perspectives of the marginal, the sidelined individual who is in desperate need to be heard.