This book explores graphic narratives and comics in India and demonstrates how these forms serve as sites on which myths are enacted and recast. It uses the case studies of a comics version of the Mahabharata War, a folk artist’s rendition of a comic book story, and a commercial project to re-imagine two of India’s most famous epics – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata – as science fiction and superhero tales.
It discusses comic books and self-published graphic novels; bardic performance aided with painted scrolls and commercial superhero comics; myths, folklore, and science fiction; and different pictorial styles and genres of graphic narration and storytelling. It also examines the actual process of the creation of comics besides discussions with artists on the tools and location of the comics medium as well as the method and impact of translation and crossover genres in such narratives.
With its clear, lucid style and rich illustrations, the book will be useful to scholars and researchers of sociology, anthropology, visual culture and media, and South Asian studies, as well as those working on art history, religion, popular culture, graphic novels, art and design, folk culture, literature, and performing arts.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Plates
Note on Transliteration
Preface: Intermediality and the Narrative Tradition in India
Chapter 1: Mythological Revisionings
Chapter 2: Comic Gags and the Mahabharata War
Chapter 3: From Comic Book to Folk Performance
Chapter 4: Myths, Science Fiction, and Indian Superheroes
Chapter 5: Words and Images: The Craft of Comics Narration
Roma Chatterji is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India. Apart from an abiding interest in folklore, art, and narrative theory, she has worked on illness narratives and collective violence. She is the author of Writing Identities: Folklore and Performance in Purulia, West Bengal (2009) and Speaking with Pictures (2012), and co-author of Living with Violence: An Anthropology of Events and Everyday Life (2007). She is editor of Wording the World: Veena Das and Scenes of Instruction (2015) and co-editor of Riot Discourses (2007).