KOCHI: A petite fanged female spirit lives on a Pala tree with her pet black cat, Pucha. Clad in a white saree with long dark hair levitating mystically behind her, this jhumka adorning demoness tries unsuccessfully to lure lone men much to her dismay. Meet Yakshi, the not-so-scary comic character designed by Kochi-based illustrator Parvati Menon who was one of the participants at the recently held Indie Comix Fest in the city.
Ever since launching her Instagram handle @winged.peach last year, Parvati has given her growing followers a peek into her signature character’s world. Apart from Pucha, the adventures of Yakshi are populated with a vegetarian Rakshasa, a homosexual Gandharva and a four-eyed wolf-dog called Shvan.
Through short comic strips and funny punchlines, Parvati is attempting to raise awareness on issues such as mental health, LGBT and social media addiction.
“Comics are a very good platform to make people notice and get them to think about various issues. However, the messaging will not be too overwhelming because sometimes I just want the readers to have a good laugh after reading a strip,” says Parvati.
Parvati who came up with the idea for Yakshi two years ago was keen on creating characters who are essentially misfits. “I had many ideas that came together while creating Yakshi and her world. One of the primary influences is Infopark since I live close to the IT hub.
It is kind of a mundane place, not the most creatively stimulating environment. I have observed that people here are stuck in their corporate job schedules. So I wanted to come up with something exciting that would reflect my deep love for fantasy. But I also wanted the characters to be relatable and have issues that are very human. I was also particular of Yakshi having the characteristics of a typical Malayali girl,” adds Parvati, who works at a production house.
Sketching has been second nature for Parvati Menon since she was a kid. She calls it her gateway to happiness. “I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I grew up on animation, watching classic Disney cartoons and movies so even as a kid I would create little comic strips. When I was 13, I got introduced to Anime (Japanese animation) which inspired me very much. I wanted to do something like it because I thought it was very cool. So whatever I draw now is very much influenced by Anime. By Class VIII, I had decided that I wanted to study animation,” she adds. Looking to delve into illustration full-time, Parvati is planning to release a 24-page standalone comic book in the coming year.