By Ila Ananya
Bangalore: A Graphic Novel, to be out in July this year, is all about capturing the essence of Bangalore in all its contradictions. The book has nine stories by 18 artists and writers, and in an interview with Scroll.in, author and journalist Jaideep Unudurti says he began the project with the idea that a city is an “act of the imagination.”
The book has got a lot of well-known graphic artists, including work by Prashant Miranda, Ramya Ramakrishnan, CC Salamander, and Appupen (George Mathen). But for a book that many have lauded as a book on Bangalore that avoids all the clichés, it’s a little surprising that its cover has a woman dressed in the annoying, hypersexualised way that we are used to seeing goddesses depicted. Perhaps the rabbit and the ruins behind her, and the phone in her hand is supposed to divert our attention away from these clothes. Totally not clichéd. She reminds us a bit of the female superheroes in Marvel comics, fully sexually objectified, large breasted and scantily clad in a shiny, short clothes. Basically, they might be strong female superheroes, but they’re also objects of desire, and like the all too familiar male gaze.
Off the top of our head we can think of a whole bunch of women drawn by women graphic novelists who don’t look like this. Do you remember Amruta Patil’s Kari, or Priya’s Shakti and the wonderful women in Zubaan’s Drawing the Line? Isn’t there any other way in which graphic novelists can draw women? We’ll reserve judgment on Bangalore: A Graphic Novel as a book itself, but really, what’s with the strange cover?