Writer: Saurav Mohapatra
Artists: Satish Tayade, M. Vishwanathan (colors)
Publisher: Virgin Comics
During a conversation with a friend of mine who had recently immigrated from India, we hit upon one of the classic discussions people who were raised speaking different languages like to have: we talked about swear words. Being a very polite individual, he wasn't familiar with too many in English. We covered all of the English basics, which are pretty simple and usually slang for some sort of body part or function.
When we got to him telling me about swear words in his language, the conversation completely changed. In order to explain one word to me, he told me a story involving a river, fish, a woman, semen, and, of course, a curse.
This exchange made it extremely clear that there is a depth to the culture of India that is unique. While it can be argued that Western culture may have a similar depth, Indian culture is vastly different and some times difficult to comprehend for those not native to it. So it is safe to say that Ganesha is an ambitious title in that it attempts to tell the origin of Indiaís most beloved deity. It manages to do so in an entertaining fashion, but it did leave this reviewer with the feeling much had been left out. While (if this is true) it may have been out of necessity, it leaves the reader curious for more rather than leaving the story feeling incomplete.
The book is filled with names and locations that will be unfamiliar to most readers. Fortunately, the titular character is only recently into the world, so much has to be explained to him, in turn translating for the reader. While this works, it is also the one flaw in the book as it occasionally uses references from Western mythology to make comparisons. Given how vastly different much of the book is from much of the Westís stories, this does feel somewhat awkward.
The art, as with many of Virginís titles, is very well done. The two intermingling stories within the book come across as metaphors for one another until the truth is revealed at the end. This mixture is an effective tool for telling the story; it also makes the end of the story more poignant.
Hopefully, weíll see more India Authentic titles from Virgin in the near future. Goodness knows thereís enough material.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com
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