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Monday, April 15, 2013

A bit late, but Comics come to Pakistan …

T2F was where 'Umru Ayar - The Comic' was launched a day ago. Take a look at this lovely story. That's a bunch of 6 young people who love Comics and want to bring them seriously into Pakistan. A great start. If you love Comics, do subscribe to their Facebook page. Hope they succeed.

The group intends to bring out loads of classic tales, crime stories of Ibné Safi(!), and much, much more. I am sure they'll need more people and if you are into drawing comics maybe you should join them or have a word and see how your art can be used - independently or with their work.

I certainly wish we develop and bring out the talent to make Comics and Graphic Novels. We need lots of talent. We need people who understand the art of making such things, from the good old style comics … all the way to Manga … and more. We need all our people reading them the way they read them in other parts of the world, from children to grown-ups.

While I love the work these young people put in - (I've read all their previous free issues) - but, on a personal level, I'd rather have my favourite Graphic Novels in good old black & white. Really.

If you haven't seen what they are like, take a look at almost anything from the Master of it all, Will Eisner (often called 'the father of the graphic novel'). He authored some of the most wonderful books ever.

There's, of course, Scott McCloud whose work is amazing and Understanding Comics is in a class by itself. Being an artist isn't enough. Read Physics! Honest! Read this book and you'll see why. Read People, Accents, Expressions … after all, they'll be in your books, no?

Graphic Novels or Comics are brought out by teams of people … and, occasionally, by a single person who knows and understands all this. Become one … or get someone you can discuss these things with.

Art Spiegelman whose marvellous Maus is worth a reading again and again … and specially if you have a CD-ROM version of it to see. I wish they'd re-release it soon. Maus also was the first Graphic Novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Joe Sacco - (whose birthday I share, along with Gandhi Ji) - has written several Political Graphic Novels, including Palestine.

And, finally in this list, there's Marjane Satrapi whose Persepolis was superb. The film was wonderful, too. There are many others one could name and I'll leave them for another time.

Coming close to home, Indian Comics are superb, too, and there's always a good choice to buy new ones when I am in Dilli or Bombay:

Take a look at anything by Sarnath Banerjee (start with his 3 books). He's a wonderful friend who comes to Karachi sometimes. Worth meeting if you are here.

Amit Dasgupta's An Indian By Choice is another way that comics can be made - simple, modern, wonderful, important.

And for a REAL treat, buy Bhimayana - a story by Durgabai and Subash Vyam about the life of Ambedkar. The illustrations are amazing in the fabulous artwork by Srividya Natarajan and S. Anand. This was considered one of the top Political Graphic Novels by CNN.

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