Comic Books

I’ve never been too much into comic books. I went through the Archie comics when I was in my teens, along with everyone else, and I enjoyed them just as much as the next person; I would probably still enjoy reading one, if it came my way; but I’ve never been very deeply into comics. Comics were always a filler, or what is called “time-pass” and never long-term companions like books were.

I’d never taken to Asterix or Tintin, until Amit introduced me to the latter a few years ago and I decided I liked it. I’ve still not taken to Asterix, but Tintin is still good timepass.

So when Christina gifted me a comic book for my birthday, I was a little bemused. Comic book? And I mean, this one was a full-fledged book, not like the flimsy Archie digest or the little less flimsy double digest. This was – to all appearances – a book, but it was full of comics inside.

Hmmm. Ok. I’ll give it a shot. Some day.

So I started reading it – can you read comics? So much of it is not in the written word. – some days ago and… it was a revelation! There was a proper “story” and proper characters, who even had something of a personality. What’s more, I found, I looked at the drawings, instead of just reading the text, and the drawings spoke volumes. They were really expressive. And these are just pen strokes, they’re not even in colour, and they’re somehow different from the Archie and Tintin style that I’m used to. And yet, those few stylised pen strokes conveyed real emotions and expressions. It was amazing. Thanks, Chris!

The book is called Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. It’s the story of a girl and her family, set in Iran in the ’80s. Despite being in comic book format – or should I say, despite my misgivings about the comic book format – the tale at once drew me in and held my interest. That’s more than I can say of some “conventional” books.

Which is why I always say, if you want to gift me something, let it be a book. I’ll attempt almost anything once, and I’m open to being pleasantly surprised. (Of course, the moment I say that, I think of Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, which was also a gift and not one I particularly enjoyed. But well – at least I read Chetan Bhagat in the bargain and now I know why I’m wary of Indian writers in English.)

Now let me go read another chapter of that comic book.

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3 Responses to Comic Books

  1. Sadia says:

    I believe “graphic novel” is the term reserved for thoughtful, grownup comic books. I’ve heard good things about Persepolis, but haven’t laid my hands on it yet. If you like creative story packaging, take a look at the Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock.

  2. Sowmya says:

    Hey Mika, I saw the movie version of Persepolis. It’s wonderful. I bet the book is even better 🙂 Will get hold of it. Hmm Chetan Bhagat is not the standard for Indian writers in English. I was also a skeptic like you. But I think Jhumpa Lahiri changed that a bit. You might like her or Kiran Desai…

  3. Supriya says:

    I was recommended Persepolis months ago. But couldn’t get my hands on it for some reason. I must renew my efforts to find it. Sounds very interesting.

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