24 July, 2021

A Corridor Of Capers

Sometimes shoddy marriage of hurried sketch and pedestrian photograph. The matrioshka style of nested storylines becomes exhausting at points.

A Corridor Of Capers
The Wandering Jew has been a goldmine for storytellers for centuries. Legend says he was a shoemaker, condemned to live until the Second Coming, punished for taunting Jesus as he was carrying his cross. Sarnath Banerjee is perhaps the second graphic novelist (after Mike W. Barr) to employ this itinerant immortal to tell a tale unfazed by human lifespan.

In The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers, Banerjee has discarded his first book’s patchy story-telling, its dependence on kitsch for charm and has expanded on Corridor’s embryonic exploration of human obsessions. Here he records whimsical and often hilarious vignettes of Calcutta’s founders and citizens across the centuries and curates their finer madnesses, from enthusiastic, organised debauchery to a love for the sound of priceless glass breaking.

Banerjee’s gift as a flaneur, a sharp-eyed, witty loafer, is seen to advantage in several wonderfully inspired panels. As in Corridor, he combines line drawing, poster art and photograph. The results aren’t as good as they could’ve been because of...

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