September 2009 photos

My sister in law, Lucy, is staying with us for a few weeks, before the girls pack their bags and head out for India in early October. I’ll be joining them in December, when the Fall quarter is over. It’s going to be lonely for the next few months, but somehow I’ll manage. The good news is, thanks to webams and Skype, I’ll be able to see Aarti and Sonia every day.

September 2009 photos

Lucy brought me a few Amar Chitra Katha comics, which I’m always appreciative of… (My family knows I love comics!) 🙂

ACK’s are of equivalent stature to Marvel comics for Indians – they’ve been around since 1967 and are one of the (if not the) largest comics distributors in India! Amar Chitra Katha comics focus on the stories of Indian heroes, both mythological and famous figures from Indian history.

Compared to their Western counterparts, the artwork in all Amar Chitra Katha comics is flat color. The drawings are all competently rendered. There is no panel experimentation, but, nevertheless, the stories are told in a clear and deft fashion. Another interesting point: the comics are pencilled and inked by the same person in each case. (There is no separate penciller and inker.) Also, each Amar Chitra Katha comic is self-contained – meaning no need for back-issue bin hunting. These comics have influenced at least 3 generations of Indian kids – they help keep Indian culture alive and relevant to kids. No small feat!

Virgin Comics, a few years ago, tried to revitalize and retool Indian heros by making them more palatable to Westerners. Their effort was met with luke-warm interest.

Instead of Virgin’s approach, I’d like to see a strict retelling of the stories, with gorgeous artwork in a variety of styles. The stories, as told by the writers of Amar Chitra Katha, are interesting, historic and compelling. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential in Indian comics – I’d love to see how today’s artists would illustrate these stories…