Within a week a hardback with a red and white cover will hit the shelves. Its will stand innocuously, among other hardback smelling as they do crisp new inviting. The imprinted profile of face on the cover will stare impassively back at you if you happen to pluck it from a stack.
But never judge a book by its cover. For there is nothing innocuous about the close too close the Tranquebar book of Queen Erotica. Edited by Meenu and Shruti besides 13 stories the book also has two graphic art works. One is by a Bengaluru based web designer. Who goes by the pseudontm Nilofer. It tell us the story of woman large bodied long haired naked who takes a shower sits on her bed pleasures her self and goes to sleep the last panel throws up a surprise as you see the woman’s partner another woman facing the other way sleeping.
And all at once, we are pulled into the world of a lesbian couple which like an other has individuals battling their loneliness and coming up with imaginative ways to satisfy their erotic desires. As the world observed Anti homophobia Day on May 17, in India graphic novels and graphic short stories are increasingly being used to depict the queer experience in the upcoming queen anthology on life post section 377, out stories from the new queen India edited by Minal Harjratwala graphic artwork by 24 year old Ishita. A new Delhi-based researcher depicts desire in six panels each panel speaks about desire in various gender identities and leaves the interpretation open to the reader to make with they want to it. The idea behind the book is to depict stories from a new queer India say publisher Shobhna S. kumar who will release the book next month.
In February Chennai based publisher Blaft came out with an anthology of graphic art which contained a story by 33 year old comics artist Bharat M. titled a Kovai Gay Story in it. Who mett in a bus later have sex in public toilet there are no speech in bubbles and story come from an anecdote the heard while sitting with a group a gay friends he then proceeded to imagine a little story around it he says unlike written stories when sexual experience are desire can be couched in euphemism graphic art reveals far more the fallout of such work is that it poses a direct challenge to homophobia for it lays bare the lives that queer people lesbian , gay , sexual among other lead and the very real concerns they face living in a straight world.
For 37 year old graphic artist Georgina who exhibited some of her erotic drawings at the Nigah Queer Festival held in November last year in Delhi the real world need not always the source for material for queer themed graphic art. Her works for instance depicted Tarzan and Batman I took old ideas and played around with them the queer subtext they are naughty and fun they are also co-opting the main stream she says of the work graphic artist who draw queer subject do not start off with the intention to homophobia but the fallout their work she agree is that it becomes subversive because of what is shown.
30 year old Nilofer began drawing graphic art in 2005 for scripts a Mumbai based magazine of alternative sexual group LABIA which allowed her a chance to explore the use of art depict of her way living. When the call for entire for the Erotica book went out last year Nilofer decided to give it a short despite never having drawn erotica before but her bigger concern was to escape stereotypical depiction of gay character it is easy to draw a butch woman we know what they look like but I try and break stereotypes I’d rather show a lesbian couple where both women have long hair rather then the stereotypical butch-femme couple I draw what’s real to me she says
Amruta Patil the 33 year old author what is considered to be India first queer graphic novel Kari feels something has to be said for comic character that are not for apologetic their for their being.
She proffers the example of Kari the eponymous character say I think what has stood in the books favour is that it does not apologise either for it self Kari neither argues the case for her own sexuality nor does she feel the need to hide or defend any of her decisions a new queer India indeed.