Friday, January 25, 2008

Morrison and Bond's Vimanarama

Gang, bear with me while I get some comic book itches out of the way

Morrison and Bond's Vimanarama begins in Bradford, England. A storekeeper calls his father to tell him he's trapped under several boxes of Turkish Delight. Even as his father is taking the call, his younger son Ali grabs his bicycle and rushes out on the street. His father calls after him at which the younger of his two sons mounts his bicycle and says "Ali to the rescue".

Its a two page panel at this point - Ali is in the middle framed by the street and its middle class housing. Smiling girls are so intent on dancing in tandem, they play a half hearted game of ball. A couple of cops are in the middle of nok-jhok. A couple of smiling faces are watching the scene. And its raining.

As it stands its a terrific way to start your comic book - its an introduction to the main character, his surroundings, the announcement of a new genre and a tip of the hat to Bollywood.

Vimanarama the graphic novel is a collection of three comic book issues written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Philip Bond. Ali is being set up for a possible wedding with a girl he's never met before - the ultimately charming and lovely Sofia. Both together stumble on a hidden city underneath Ali's family store. There accidentally they unleash a set of demons that belong to Ull-Shattan. Fortunately they also manage to summon the Ultrahadeen - a set of divine beings who are the world's only hope of survival.

The Ultrahadeen are led by a tall, magnificent man who calls himself Prince Ben Rama. And he must stop the demons before they wake something called the Black Vimanas. Ben Rama is already in love with Sofia - who he sees as an incarnation of a past love. But Sofia is falling for Ali.

Destruction and confusion abound. And almost everyone dies in the end. Wait, I shouldn't have said that because it isn't quite true.

A current of wicked, dry humor runs through Vimanarama that keeps the comic book humming. Sure there are one or two minor cultural faux pas' but they are easy to overlook. By matching the superhero yarn with equal parts romance and psychedelic human drama, Morrison manages to create a novel that's fun to read and remember.

No comments: