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Batman creator retells Mahabharata

Grant Morrison’s illustrated book, 18 Days, to release in August.

books Updated: Jul 30, 2010 19:00 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times

An illustrated hardcover book featuring the original scripts created by Grant Morrison is set to release this August. Morrison is best known for his creations — All Star Superman, Batman & Robin and The Invisibles. The scripts were used by Morrison for his animated project, Grant Morrison's 18 Days.

Draupadi in Mahabharata bookThe book is a re-imagining of the Mahabharata and tells the story of three generations of super-warriors, meeting for the final battle of their age. Though the animated series is in its pre-production stage, being made by Liquid Comics and co-owner Perspective Studios, the collector’s item book will allow readers a first glimpse into the mythical universe created by Morrison. Apart from the book, there are also plans to develop an animated series and video game based on the Grant Morrison story.

Through the book, Morrison deconstructs his vision. Here is a sneak peek:
The era: This Mahabharata is set in a mythical era to ensure that there are multiple possibilities for action, creating a spectacle on a scale rarely seen. The end result is a mix of a psychedelic Lord of the Rings with Star Wars technology.

Setting: Bharat is home to the mighty kingdoms of the Kauravas, who represent the world of blind, ignorant matter, and the Pandavas, who stand for the world of spirit and understanding.

Narrative: The story isn’t in strict chronological order. It begins with Arjuna laying down his arms on the battlefield, prior to his experience with Krishna. From there, begins a series of flashbacks, taking readers back and forth and deconstructing each character that they meet along the way.

War and technology: The armour used is wrought with inlays and glass panels, fuel pipes and built-in wrist cannons. This way, readers get a glimpse of the cool stuff up front — crashing vimanas (aircrafts), atomic god weapons and incredible battles. The heroes and their adversaries clash, with super-real battle scenes.

As the clash of titans gets underway, we flash back to the secret origins of characters we’ve met on the field of battle. With each new character we meet, the war, which at first seemed no more than a spectacle, becomes more charged with emotion and meaning.

By the time you reach the 18th Day and have witnessed all the stories of the players involved, hearts should be broken and healed.

The look
Human: Bharat has incredible art and technology — it’s an earthly kingdom of sages, warriors, noble men and women. This culture has mastered higher forms of yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic practice. They’re stronger, faster, fitter and smarter than we are.

The armour is done in chrome, silver and gold, set with flashing jewels and intricate engravings — many of which store energy or relay transmissions etc. The ladder of lights on the spinal braces of the armour balance and regulate chakra health.

When fully suited, super-warriors like Drona are more formidable.

Animals: They come similarly equipped. Stallions wear hinged battle carapaces with head-mounted, swivelling, laser-targeting guns. The elephants are painted and have fully armoured gun turrets on their backs. They wear plated armour, with big shoulder cannons, and gas masks too.

First Published: Jul 29, 2010 11:59 IST