Gandhi turns into a Hulk-like su­per­hero in this graphic novel

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Soumi­tra.Trivedi @times­group.com

Ahmed­abad: The mad­der the Hulk gets, the stronger he be­comes — that is the sig­na­ture trait of the mean, green, rage ma­chine of the Marvel uni­verse. But what if his al­ter ego was Ma­hatma Gandhi rather than renowned sci­en­tist Dr Robert Bruce Ban­ner? J Michal­ski, a comic book writer from New York, and An­to­nio Rojo, a Span­ish comic book artist, have imag­ined such a sub­sti­tu­tion.

In their graphic novel ‘Gandhi: The Beast Within’, a frail fig­ure turns into a Hulk-like su­per­hero. The trans­for­ma­tions are trig­gered by anger or dur­ing con­fronta­tions with evil forces such as Hitler. The work will be re­leased only in Span­ish on Oc­to­ber 24.

The artists have been care­ful to avoid the ‘green’ image of the In­cred­i­ble Hulk, as the colour sym­bol­ises tox­i­c­ity of rage or jeal­ousy or envy. Such loss of con­trol would be an anath­ema to Gand­hiji. For Rojo and Michal­ski, Gand­hiji stays a brown man.

The In­cred­i­ble Hulk’s pow­ers were born be­cause of ex­po­sure to heavy doses of gamma ra­di­a­tion. In the case of Gand­hiji, Rojo and Michal­ski have spun an in­trigu­ing the­ory.

In the 1900s South Africa, dur­ing the Boer War, a young Gand­hiji is ex­posed to a mys­te­ri­ous alien power source. He dis­cov­ers that he has thus been for­ever cursed — when con­sumed by anger, he trans­forms into an censed hulk-like fig­ure!

“I came up with the idea in early 2013,” says Michal­ski in an email in­ter­view.

In the graphic novel, Gand­hiji has adopted non­vi­o­lence to curb his de­struc­tive im­pulses. He is spot­ted by Eng­land’s Churchill and Amer­ica’s Roo­sevelt, who are look­ing for the per­fect weapon to beat Hitler and his forces. Churchill and Roo­sevelt kid­nap Gand­hiji and use him as a weapon to de­stroy the Nazis. Gand­hiji is tied to a bomb and dropped on Ger­many. Gand­hiji’s ram­pag­ing self is un­leashed by the cir­cum­stances. Gand­hiji then knocks down Hitler’s evil ro­bot army and also fights his pet TRex and later be­friends it!

Michal­ski says his work of fic­tion is not to be taken too se­ri­ously. “Even though Gandhi trans­forms into a Hulk-like mon­ster, he’s still a good man who wants to help peo­ple,” he says.

Full re­port on www.toi.in

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