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Songs of our Ancestors 3: Tree of Love
India has embraced love and romance in its culture far more than most. From religion to popular cinema, a romanticism pervades it with a generosity that seems virtually unrivalled anywhere else in the world. However, Patrick Atangan's tale of a love that crosses economic boundaries - a classic prince and pauper romance - has echoes in old stories across the globe.
Like an Indian Cinderalla, Atangan's flower seller is a humble lass wooed by a prince with more regard for beauty and personality than economic status. But in a reversal of the Cinderalla story, the flower seller loses her memory and disappears after she's been won, leaving the prince to embark on an epic journey, sacrificing all to hunt her down.
The style of the unusual artwork is drawn from Indian culture and uses full panel paintings to progress the story. Rather than breaking the action down into further defined panels, the characters may appear several times on each page, in different locations on the background, to help move the story along. The speech balloons and text boxes remain thoroughly western, however.
Tree of Love is a short but satisfying tale and is certainly unique in its unparalleled embrace of Asian cultural heritage. The market for this kind of thing must be something of a niche but, if you happen to think there isn't enough romance in comics (at least outside of the doe-eyed manga titles aimed at teenage girls) then this could fill a tiny gap.
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