We need fear neither frost nor fire
When there is no room left for words
The mushroom shall inherit the Earth.
It is fitting that we mark this speculative conclusion of history with a beginning. We, at the TBLM, are delighted to launch our Graphic Fiction section with Appupen’s work. Enjoy!
— Anil Menon
The Bombay Literary Magazine
Artist's Note: The Cordyception
Legends of Halahala #10
It is customary to start with cave paintings when talking about visual language. Drawing was a part of us, and then we learned to draw letters.
Comics without words or silent comics have been around since the early 1900s. Frans Masereel’s stories without words in woodcut paved the way for Lynd Ward to take the art form to great precision by the late 1920s. It was beautiful but it was not the hottest item at the seller’s.
Stories without words may require keener reading as the story forms in the reader’s mind. Perhaps the popular reader prefers a clear narrative in writing. Once it’s in writing it’s final and official, we tend to think. Nevertheless, artists like Moebius, Don Martin, Sergio Aragones, Peter Kuper, Eric Drooker and Guy Delisle to name a few, have often forged new ground in the world of comics with their silent explorations.
In my imagined world of Halahala, silent stories have occupied prime real estate since 2005. I think of them like music without lyrics, jazz-like in the experience. The Cordyception is another riff on Halahala’s staple theme of nature, sustainability and our obsession with a certain ladder. An Attenborough documentary led me to these marvellous fungi called Cordyceps and the rest is pure Halahala. The fungi infect and take over specific insect-hosts – body and mind – commanding them to a high vantage point for dispersing spores.
I swear I drew this before the pandemic.
— Appupen of Halahala
August 01, 2022
Appupen is a storyteller, artist and comic creator.