COVID-19 lockdown was agonizing for all classes and sectors alike. We were Locked in our homes, schedules were disrupted, and work from home was a new norm. Many of us had more time on our hands to learn something new.
I had been contemplating reading a graphic novel for some time. It was the perfect time to start the journey. The one I zeroed upon was ‘Sandman’ by Neil Gaiman. 75 issues in its original run from 1989 to 1996, and each issue at least 24 pages long, it was already a daunting task.
Sandman, to the unaware, is a story about ‘Morpheus’ (‘The lord of dreams’). He is captured and learns how change is inevitable. There are other characters of his family known as ‘Endless’ who have a role to play as the story continues.
Every noon I sat to finish off an issue. Half an hour daily, and slowly I was marching on, but not without hiccups. There was this whole arc of Morpheus meeting Shakespeare, which did not appeal to me at all. There were days I was stuck on one issue. On other days, the captivating art style and the witty dialogues kept me hooked. In almost 3 months I had wrapped up the Sandman. This led to a domino effect of a newfound love for Graphic novels. In the next couple of months, I wound up Uzumaki, Black Hole, Berserk, From Hell, and Incal to name a few.
An art, that for me, had been limited to comic book strips in childhood, evolved towards the frontier of more adventurous and rich storytelling.