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KRISHNA by Shweta Taneja


Defender of Dharma

by Shweta Taneja & illustrated by Rajesh Nagulakonda

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-93-80741-12-3
Publisher: Campfire

An episodic but nimbly paced life of Vishnu’s blue-skinned incarnation, presented in high-action panels only occasionally showing explicit gore or violence, despite the high body count.

Cherry-picking the Mahabharata and other old texts, Taneja and Nagulakonda open with the threats of the demonic King Kansa of Surasena to conquer heaven itself. They carry the story through Krishna’s mischievous childhood, several wars, culminating with the Kaurava and Pandava clans’ wholesale mutual slaughter and the azure avatar’s eventual death by poisoned arrow. Along with barrages of hard-to-pronounce names (“…he crowned Bhagdutt, Naraka’s eldest son, the king of Pragjyotish and headed back to Dwarka”) non-Hindu readers may wrestle with moot pronouncements like: “A lie uttered to save a life, a king, or a marriage, is not a lie.” Nonetheless, Krishna’s exploits, which range from felling an elephant with his fist to sucking the life from a demon baby-killer through her breast, certainly make arresting reading. In the art, a supporting cast rich in rippling thews and exotically bejeweled costumes surrounds the androgynous but (literally) colorful protagonist.

Quick glimpses of one of the world’s oldest and most dramatic stories, with at least hints of its religious and moral underpinnings.

(Graphic epic. 12-15)