I am not really an expert in Graphic Novels.. with reading count still lingering in single digits. But as a reader I do have a say on them. Like any novel they are supposed to have a plot.. just because there are graphics ala cartoons ala comic.. doesn’t mean you just string the various solo comic strips or events and TA DA here is a novel. At the end of the day you need a plot but I don’t think cartoonists can manage that alone. They are good at capturing facial expressions, body language, comical dialogues and presenting events as satires but somehow they lose the plot of the NOVEL. They can manage the short of it but stumble with the long of it. I accept the author was funny at places – but that is forced laughter as those incidents don’t support the plot or the story. They are just ranting and ramblings of a frustrated cartoonist.
So what is a novelist cum cartoonist trying to prove – that you can draw funny stuff. Sir I do not doubt that at all, especially when I cannot even draw a straight line to start with. But there is difference between a cartoonist and a graphic novelist. Creator of Superman, etc and even our local Pran of Chacha Chowdhury fame, are pure and simple cartoonists, they have super heroes and their series of adventures. They don’t intend to be graphic novelist with deeper characters and plot lines. In that case I would vouch for Marjane Satrapi who puts life into her characters, funny situations and well etched stories.
For me ‘The Itch you can't scratch’ was not a Graphic Novel – it was a string of incidents shared in comic form. The author felt like sharing his life since he was born to till date in a comic form. The good, bad, ugly parts were all funny because they were cartoons. But was it really FUNNY, NO. was it really a COMIC, NO. Was it really a STORY, NO. I always had complaints with comics and graphic novels that they finish too fast. But this one just didn’t seem to get over. The journey of author was so confusingly complicated that I could not really sympathise with him or accolade his dream work.