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Time to get graphic about social issues

Child abuse, euthanasia, dowry deaths, capital punishment, incest...ever wondered why topics that should be discussed openly are considered taboo and kept under a veil of secrecy? Now a silent mini-graphic novel brings into the open, issues that are not usually talked about.

books Updated: Jan 10, 2011 15:00 IST
Sneha Mahale

Child abuse, euthanasia, dowry deaths, capital punishment, incest...ever wondered why topics that should be discussed openly are considered taboo and kept under a veil of secrecy?

Not anymore. A comic book, that is yet to hit stands, is talking about some of these morbid topics. Titled Hush, the black and white mini-graphic novel, deals with the serious issue of child abuse and even has a school shooting in it.

Hush is a one-shot comic book. Unlike other graphic novels that deal with fantasy and mythology, we have tried to capture a real story and its implications. So much so that our tagline says some things are not meant to be spoken about,” says Prateek Thomas, co-creator of Hush.

He and Dileep Cherian are also the co-founders of Manta Ray Comics, the company that is publishing Hush. According to Thomas the intent was to come up with something this dark. “We wanted to deal with real issues and not fantasy,” he says.

The plot that the book revolves around was initially to be made into a documentary, but when that did not work out they decided to release a comic book instead.

He adds, “We chose to have no dialogues, as we didn’t want language to be a barrier while reading the book.” The 34-page graphic novel has a non-linear storyline. Along with it, will come two large sized, coloured posters by guest artists. It starts off with Maya, a student, getting involved in a school shooting. The reasons behind her action are revealed later.

Thomas says, “We have purposely kept the art style black and white, and have tried to keep the characters and situations as real as possible so that people can relate to them. After all, even the world we live in isn’t black and white. These things can happen to anyone of us.” Thomas and Cherian are aware that the content of the book isn’t meant for children and are hoping that the 20-25- year-old mature reader will pick the book up.

Hush will be available at Landmark stores this week and is available on Flipkart with cash-on-delivery facility.

Hush costs R 195 and will be available at Landmark stores from this week. You can also log on to www.facebook.com/mantaraycomics) and visit their website www.mantaraycomics.com.