Comic Books and Indian Literature

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The word 'Comics' is derived from the word greek word Komikos, and is used with reference to images which are used in a sequential narrative to manifest into a form of graphic literature. It is this sequence of narration that helps distinguish a comic book from a picture book. Comics as a form of art established itself in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It saw its way through the industrial revolution, and it can be safely said that although comics were popularised in newspapers and magazines not before the late 1890s, narrative illustration had seen an existence of many centuries.

Thereby, it is not a modern phenomenon that comic books are looked to as a form of literature. Many works such as the 'Heroes of American History' and 'Fax from Sarajevo' are refererred to as graphic nonfiction; Comic strips illustrating periods or events from history, especially the times of the World Wars. On the other hand, graphic novels such as A.D: New Orleans After the Deluge, tells us the stories of various real life New Orleans residents and their experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina. A revised and edited, hard cover version of A.D was published by Pantheon Graphic Novels in the summer of 2009.

Traditionally, comics have long since been regarded as alternative forms of literature because of the factual knowledge that they provide. They have also, in an era of televisions and video games, maintained a culture of reading, even if metric patterns and conventional styles have had to be compromised for the sake of speech bubbles. Comic books have also been esteemed as treasure houses of cultural content as they speak, graphically of course, of myths and legends across the globe. An example of this sort educational comic lies in the popular series The Adventures of TinTin by Herge, where the protagonist, TinTin, a young Belgian reporter, travels to different parts of the world (and in one instance, the moon) to cover important events, and then of course, is compelled to uncover the mystery that lurks beneath them.

Although there have been debates as to whether it is proper to place comic books in the same slot as that of literature, ardent art and literary critics like Andrew Hoberek, associate professor of English and director of Graduate Studies at MU, believe that its is not untraditional to call comic books 'contemporary literature.' He argues that if graphic novels can be taught in classrooms along with other literary texts, and can be translated to over fifty languages at a time, then there is no concrete reasoning as to why they cannot be placed in the same category as literature itself.

"Graphic novels sort of seem to have some of the characteristics of contemporary literature," Hoberek said. "They get written about as though they are literature. They get taught in classrooms.All incoming students to Stephens College had to read the graphic memoir "Persepolis" over the summer." Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, uses pictures and text to tell the story of Satrapi's life.

In addition to the growing conscience that comic books can no longer be isolated by literary patrons as mere visual material, the Hugo Awards, 2009 made an enormous point by declaring The Watchmen to be the best novel of the year. Apart from horrifying Science fiction novelists who had thus far seen to it that illustrated material was usually excluded from consideration, it put forth an important constructive to a long lasting debate by winning an award in the category for Best Novel and not Best Graphic novel.

With enough evidence to safely say that comic books do, in fact, relate very comfortably to various genres of literature, this assignment can move on to tackle the element of pornography in comic books. The lifetime of adult comics can be traced back to the 1920s, over a decade before the official premier of the first comic book. These comics were referred to as Tijuana Bibles; rectangular, eight page pamphlets with...
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