Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its sixty-ninth choice, These Savage Shores by Ram V and Sumit Kumar, published by Vault and reviewed by Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
These Savage Shores
Writer: Ram V
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colourist: Vittorio Astone
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Today’s choice is horror romance These Savage Shores by Ram V and artist Sumit Kumar. Ram V is a writer who has been in the ascendancy over the last three years and he is now the regular writer on DC’s Catwoman as well as writing Justice League Dark for them too. Vault is a company which has become one of the best purveyors of modern horror comics too. These Savage Shores is an elegant and very sophisticated tale of the East India Company, who are bent on doing new deals with the rulers along the silk route. But they haven’t counted on Bishan, a mythic figure and his lover Kori, who find themselves in the middle of the war between the British and the Indians. The story also throws a particularly nasty vampire figure into the mix, who acts as a catalyst for events and you have a very exciting and pacy horror romance tale with a dash of history and adventure.
Ram V has constructed this tale with style and nuance. It feels like a very canny hybrid of Kipling, Stoker’s Dracula and the Arabian Nights with a very contemporary feel at its centre too. He tackles the intrigue between the British and the Mysore inhabitants with a deft hand. Bishan, the timeless figure who may or may not be a monster, is a genuinely intriguing figure. He may well be a monstrous character and he sometimes behaves like one but then he seems to achieve redemption through his love for Kori. Kori is a creation that Ram V brings to life with aplomb, a woman who finds herself at the heart of an obsessive love affair, one which is doomed to end in tragedy. She feels like a classic literary archetype.
Artist Kumar is fantastic, creating sweeping India vistas and equally at home drawing people as he is with the environments they inhabit. Colourist Vittorio Astone manages to bring his lines to life with the deep richness of his tones, really giving this an extra layer and letterer Aditya Bidikar rounds out the package.
Tales of vampires and timeless creatures have been around for centuries but Ram V and Kumar with the sizeable assistance of Astone and Bidikar have synthesised all of these familiar elements to create something which feels fresh yet which includes all of the elements that are present in classic adventure stories to connect with the reader.
Ram V already has an individual voice as a writer that means he will be around a long time, already progressing through the industry, and Kumar is the ideal artist to bring his vision here to life. These Savage Shores is visceral, smart and strangely modern despite its period setting. Even though it has only been around for four years, Vault has already shown that it can offer exceptional comics and graphic novels and These Savage Shores is a statement of intent that can’t be ignored.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far