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Odayan Paperback – 2013
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Set against the backdrop of feudal Kerala, The mysterious criminal and vigilante known simply as ODAYAN, slowly amasses wealth and power through subterfuge and brute force and builds himself a criminal empire that ultimately challenges the reign of the Zamorin himself. The real intentions remain unknown, but the man behind the green face paint proves himself a master of Arcane Arts and a savant of Kalaripayuttu, as the Zamorin tries to put his best masters against Odayan and prevents this mysterious foe from garnering support and destabilizing the Zamorin's reign
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One who's not exposed to the original work of Malabar with real heroes some of whose names have been used here, this might appeal better - with those exposed to Unniyarcha, Aromal, Chathiyan Chanthu tales of 'Vadakkan Pattukal' & the lovely 'puthuram veettil pirannorellam...' legend, this might come as a twist or a shock. The name Odayan itself sounds closer to Othenan of 'urumi' & 'chekavar' fame. To the storywriter's credit, characters have all been declared as 'entirely fictitious'.
Suhas Sundar seems to have tried to tie together local ballads with all superheroes we have known, some puranic tales like Parasurama's, artwork from Kalaripayattu/Kathakali/Theyyam & some Paico Classics (saw almost an exact replica of a 'horror ridden face', seeming to come straight from one of the paico dracula illustrations).
May appeal to young crowd - parents, do check it out before gifting it to young ones as it is very graphic at points so caution may be better.
Part2 seems to be better than Part1 in storytelling aspect. Part1 is more like a primer. Well it's called 'Aarambham' so there you are.
The execution of art works are admirable and that the grey theme with only the facial highlight of Odayan, reminds me of Miller's Sin City.
The graphic novel lovers should try this series, with an Indian flavor.
It is a brilliant re-imagination of Mepayil Tacholi Manikoth Kovilakathu Kunji Othena Kurup, better known as the legendary hero Thacholi Othenan, who is believed to have lived during 16th century in North Malabar region of Kerala. The emotional turmoil that he goes through is something we can all relate to, as he searches for a clear conscience amidst the mists of doubt. And he even manages to inspire his enemies.
The slightly highlighted noir sketches help the mind to retract into a gloomy version of 16th century Kerala.
This is a must have for comic book enthusiasts who specialize in collecting and analysing Indian comics.
Read Odayan. Its to be seen to be believed. The sweep of text, the depth and vividness of the images, the darkness of story telling; all woven into one promising epic that hopefully will have a climactic end.
My only complain? Anywhere else in the world this would have been a 8-9 part series. god knows, lesser stories have had longer painful sequels & have been nominated for the Eisners. This series might not make it to No. 4. I waited for 2 years to read this sequel. god knows how long i'll have to wait for volume 3. Publishers have changed, as has print quality and paper (for the better in this case); but i hope that in the cash starved graphic novel industry of Indian origins, this epic doesn't get buried under balance sheets and negative cash flows. Else one of the greatest stories ever told could turn into one of the greatest epics never finished.