Drawing Bangabandhu's Life
"Although today is my grandfather's birthday, I feel like we're the ones receiving the actual gift," said Radwan Mujib Siddiq, grandson of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the trustee of Centre for Research and Information (CRI) at the launching of the graphic novel series on Bangabandhu's life.
The first issue of the autobiographical graphic novel, entitled "Mujib", was launched at Bangabandhu Memorial Trust on March 17, commemorating both the Father of the Nation's 95th birthday, and National Children's Day. In fact, the event itself was overflowing with children running all over the place, and trying to get a copy of the first episode of the graphic novel.
The event began by honouring Bangabandhu, with Masura Hossain, CEO of Bangabandhu Memorial Trust, welcoming the guests. Soon after, Radwan Mujib Siddiq took the stage, sharing a personal experience:
"I remember, at school when I would mention my grandfather, the kids my age would have no idea about him. Even my teachers instructed me not to talk about him," Radwan Mujib Siddiq said. "I've always tried to think of ways through which I can introduce my grandfather – his story – to the younger generation."
Following Radwan Mujib, the illustrators of the graphic novel, Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy and ABM Salauddin Subho took the stage.
"We've wanted to do a superhero comic book in Bangladesh for a while," said Tanmoy, who did the artwork for the novel. "But we weren't sure whom to draw. Then we thought of Bangabandhu, and who could possibly be a bigger superhero for our country than him? So when we got the opportunity with CRI asking us to execute it, we jumped on board!"
"Our initial plan was to publish the whole story together," said Subho, the colourist of the novel. "Then we realised that publishing it as a series – one issue at a time – would give us the chance to improve with feedback. With this first issue, we really are looking forward to hearing back from our readers, so we can make the next eleven issues even better."
Renowned cartoonist and editor of Unmad, Ahsan Habib, took the stage and talked about the implications of Bangladesh publishing a first official graphic novel. "It is a turning point for all of us. We hope that from here on the graphic novel community in Bangladesh hits a stable point," Habib said. "I'm glad that we're starting with this, as a graphic novel would be the best way for children to learn about Bangabandhu."
Eminent artist and cartoonist Rafiqun Nabi said, "I believe this graphic novel would be a good gateway not only for children, but adults too."
The cover of the graphic novel was then unveiled by Radwan Mujib, the artists, and the CRI team. A short video on events involving the graphic novel was displayed for who were present. Three children took the stage to talk about their own experiences with the graphic novel, and the insights they had gained from it. The event was organised by Centre for Research and Information and Bangabandhu Memorial Trust.