Wild Pig Mandibles and a Drawing is a short, self-published debut graphic novel, written and illustrated by Amitabh Deshpande. It tells the story of an unnamed narrator, who goes on holiday to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean, and spends a week travelling around, exploring these beautiful, barely-touched islands.
Most of the book is a travelogue, recounting the journey the narrator made and the things he saw along the way. This is a gentle narrative of exploration, but with a marginal tinge of threat: the narrator warns us that at some point in the story, something is going to happen.
The text is accompanied by beautiful watercolour pictures that capture the essence of the landscape. Characters breeze in and out but detail is kept deliberately sparse. This is a book about travelling for the sake of it, exploring a new place, and taking in the simple pleasures this provides. It uses a muted palette to great effect, with the sky and sea being a perfect bright blue, and everything else shades of brown. Every now and then a different colour seeps through, but it’s unusual.
This is a short, inexpensive book, worth looking at if you like travelogues with a twist. It doesn’t have enough substance for mass appeal but should enlighten and entertain those with a mind to explore untouched tropical islands, or who enjoy the stories of others who have done the same.