Thiruvananthapuram: The second edition of Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL’19) held at Kanakakkunnu here witnessed the conversation on ‘Is Graphic Novels the future of literature? With whispers of reading taking a dip, especially among the young generation is Graphic Novels the future of literature?’ at the venue Black Box on Sunday. Corinne Pearlman, the creative director of UK- based Myriad Editions, Dr. Nicola Streeten, a known comic artist from London, Priya Kuriyan, illustrator and comic author, and George Mathen aka Appupen, a visual artist and comic creator, participated in the session.
With the help of slides that showed images of the comics created by the participants, the session moderated by Corinne Pearlman looked livelier than ordinary conversations. Priya Kuriyan has illustrated a comic on Indira Gandhi which is a combination of fiction and non-fiction and belongs to the young adult category of books. The story is narrated through the vision of a teenager. She has also associated with Appupen ‘A Killing’, a comic on the real incident in which a hornbill was killed on its way to feed its female bird and nestling.
People say that there is a lot of dark humour in George Mathen's comics. George Mathen would like to be addressed as Appupen. In his opinion, superheroes are created in order for marketing purposes and are a type of branding. He also criticized the common perception that comics are meant for children only. In fact, the audience for comics includes a wide range of age groups and is enjoyed better than texts. Images silently carry meaning without too much text.
Nicola Streeten started creating comics after the death of her son Charles as bereavement. Her memoir ‘Billy, Me and you’ is a graphic book which was published by Myriad. It was a career launch for her and she went on forming women’s comic collective ‘Laydeez do Comics’ along with other similar ventures. She also emphasized on the point that graphics and comics can convey meaning much better than other medium. She also shared having seen a PhD student doing the entire thesis in graphic format.
Summing up the conversation, they said that graphics contextualizes history and even social messages can be easily conveyed with the help of images. After the session, Corinne Pearlman handed over a memento to Priya Kurian and Nicola Streeten handed over one to Appupen.