For those who have never heard of The Ramayana, it is one of the two great epics in Hindu mythology. It involves a hero's quest, much like Homer's Odyssey, or Virgil's Aeneid.

The story follows an exemplary prince whose wife is abducted by a demon-king. His search for her takes him and his loyal brother through a forest where he befriends a band of monkeys. They join forces and go on to wage war on the demon-king and his island kingdom. In its most basic form, it is the consummate tale of good vs. evil. (Actually, it is a story of extremes – the good are sometimes far-too-good-to-be-true, and the evil are, well, let's say you wouldn't want to run into them in the light of day, let alone a dark alley).

It's safe to say that we Indians are exposed, and perhaps overexposed, to the Ramayana at an early age. It's a story that resonates with kids. It has princes with bows and arrows, evil demons that are larger than life, a ten-headed demon-king, magical powers bestowed on people by gods, and monkeys that can fly! And, it does provide parents with fodder for reinforcing good behavior – i.e. "Prince Rama always obeyed his parents," or "Prince Rama never fought with his siblings."

Children are bombarded with the Ramayana in a number of forms. It is depicted in plays, television shows, cartoons, books, movies, sculpture, paintings, and, my favorite, comic books.

My first exposure to the Ramayana was through a comic book. I remember reading that particular comic over and over again, enchanted by the depictions of massive demons, brave human-like monkeys, and flying chariots. I recall imagining what it would be like to be part of the story; to be Rama, or his brother Laxman. It was my Star Wars, before the film was released. It was my Lord of the Rings, before I could ever read the trilogy. And, despite having since read a number of versions of the classic myth, watching the television series, and seeing countless plays about it, I am still enthralled by the Ramayana. It is one of those stories that I will never get tired of.

Hence, I wanted to share some of that affinity through Vikram. . . Some of the similarities between the stories are obvious, and some, not so much. But basically, my thought while writing the book was, What better way to connect an Indian boy with his heritage than through a Ramayana-like quest?

I really wanted the book to capture that "comic-book" feel to it. So, there are thirteen illustrations done by comic-book artist Atula Siriwardane. He also did the original cover (my profile picture).

Here are some links to a few of my favorite Ramayana-themed comics:

http://www.amarchitrakatha.com/rama-504

http://www.liquidcomics.com/titles/ra...

http://www.holycow.in/ravanayan/

Have a great day, and thanks for your interest!

-Sanjiv
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Published on May 17, 2012 17:01 • 140 views • Tags: comic, india, inspiration, mythology, ramayan

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