Gopalakrishnan, Gokul T. "The Indian Comic Strip Dialectic. A Postmodern “Double Talk”". National Seminar on Popular Media and Culture: 18.–19. Aug. 2011.
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|Resource type: Conference Paper
BibTeX citation key: Gopalakrishnan2011
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Keywords: "Double Talk", Comic strip, Gender, India, Metaisierung, Padmanabhan. Manjula, Postmodernism
Collection: National Seminar on Popular Media and Culture
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Manjula Padmanabhan’s comic strip “Double Talk” which ran as a weekly strip in Bombay’s Sunday Observer (1982–1986) and then as a daily strip (“Suki”) in Delhi based Pioneer (1991–1997) remains the only indigenous comic strip in India to be created by a woman cartoonist. Exhibiting a strong female sensibility that placed the reader on a completely unfamiliar turf, it had Suki – a single, twenty something city woman as its protagonist; another first for an Indian comic strip.
Considering it to be grossly reductionist to limit the discussion of the strip merely to its femininity, this paper proposes to delineate how Manjula’s strip was informed by the idea of postmodernism, with special attention on her use of Meta fictional devices.
From the very first strip, Manjula draws the reader’s attention to the status of the comic strip as an artifact or a constructed reality and continues to adopt a self referential tone throughout the series. Suki identifies herself as a character in a comic strip and even introduces her so. She is seen fretting over speech balloons and the shape of panel borders, addressing the concerns of a harried reader “bored” with her “neurotic obsessions and inconsequential views” and even performing a cabaret so that his demand for a funny and entertaining comic strip would be met. The strip flaunting a quirky sense of humor also indulges in regular doses of parody, pastiche and irony.
Being unconventional, without antecedents and far ahead of its times, the strip however met with stiff opposition from unprepared readers who wrote angry letters to the editor demanding that it be banished from the paper. Using “Double Talk” as a case in point, this paper also seeks to address the perennial problems faced by the indigenous comic strip creators in India; that of lack of demand and critical appraisal and the challenges posed by the economics of the syndicated western strips.
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