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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Through Time and Space

Graphic novel Continuum traces the life of a hermaphrodite trying to understand the purpose of existence

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: September 5, 2013 2:31:52 am

Have you ever wondered if there might be people from the future walking amongst us? Now imagine if it were someone who’s close to you? Perhaps a friend,a family member; and what if this person was here for a purpose,carrying out deliberate and calculated actions towards it,” asks Mumbai-based writer Vineeth Nair.

The 25-year-old,who along with his friends started toying with the idea of an abstract concept for a graphic novel just over two years ago,found himself following the journey of a man who is not restrained by the shackles of time or space. Arguably one of the first graphic novels in the country with a hermaphrodite as a protagonist,Continuum traces the life of a man — later revealed to be an anomaly of a hermaphrodite — who is taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger female self,before he undergoes a sex change. He turns out to be the offspring of that union,with the paradoxical result that he is his own mother and father.

“It is a story with no beginning or end,just a loop of events through infinity,” says Nair. “This is signified in the opening scene where the protagonist stands outside the hospital before kidnapping a baby,voicing his thoughts — ‘If someone asked me where it all started… I wouldn’t know where to begin’,” quotes Nair in the novel. He explains that the idea is structured in such a way that it is like an infinite helical loop.

Twenty three-year-old Nayan Bhadra has worked on the page layouts for the graphic novel with Nair. The artwork and inking is by Satyaranjan Bisoi,who is also a colleague. “Our venture took an unexpected turn during the making of the graphic novel — it helped us start our own design studio,” says Nair. The Mumbai-based studio Incept Art helps with the pre- and post-production for commercials,music videos and audio visuals .

While Nair has studied engineering and film editing,Bhadra,also a film editor,has worked in Bollywood feature films and television commercials. Continuum’s illustrator,28-year-old Bisoi is a Fine Arts graduate from Orissa.

“The trick really was to come up with a style that is unique,but at the same time ensuring that the layouts are familiar enough so that the readers don’t get lost,” he explains about the process of writing his first graphic novel. Nair’s project has already generated interest online,especially among the comic and graphic novel communities.

The subject also delves into the world of a hermaphrodite,a near non-existent and forgotten human form,who battles a transformed life as a man in the quest to understand the purpose of existence. “Who knows? Maybe hermaphrodites are the future of human evolution,” Nair muses.

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