Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Rama for Beginners:  Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Jeremy Stoll
Indiana University


In the boom of recent comics scholarship, the comic art of India has received little attention compared to that of other nations, the United States, France, and Japan in particular. Through a basis in religious and folk narratives, Indian comics narratives, especially those published by the Amar Chitra Katha series, have worked to update folk tales, retelling them in a modern medium. By looking at the figure of Rama in the Amar Chitra Katha and other Indian comics, this paper will analyze the process and implications of this transformation. In particular, the analysis of Rama as contemporary hero will reveal how these stories help people to deal with daily life at the same time that they affirm another, older way of understanding the world. This paper will thus demonstrate how comics creators in India have adapted the comic book to effectively re-maneuver traditional tales as a modern, folkloric inheritance to future generations.     Continue reading “Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures”


Karen Dodge Tolstrup. “If Maine Had a Queen”: The Life of Brownie Schrumpf

Karen Dodge Tolstrup. “If Maine Had a Queen”: The Life of Brownie Schrumpf. Orono, ME: The Maine Folklife Center, 2008. Pp. 96, black and white photographs, appendix of recipes. $15.00 paper.

 Danielle Quales
Indiana University

Tolstrup’s very accessible and readable book chronicles the life of famous Mainer, Mildred Greeley Brown Schrumpf.  Schrumpf truly seemed to be a woman ahead of her time in the early to mid-twentieth century.  Known by her family, friends, and readers as simply “Brownie,” she was perhaps best known for her weekly newspaper column that ran from 1951 to 1994 in the Bangor Daily News.  Following her popular columns, her readers became familiar with her rural upbringing (to which many eagerly made connections with fond memories of their own childhoods).  They also received homemaking tips from her, and generally came to feel a real affinity for the writer.  Tolstrup shows how Brownie was a popular, relatable personality for so many women of her time because she was a role model for women successfully balancing domestic and professional or community interests. Continue reading “Karen Dodge Tolstrup. “If Maine Had a Queen”: The Life of Brownie Schrumpf”

From the Editor

Dear Reader,

In this issue Folklore Forum is pleased to present, after some delay, proceedings from the third annual collaborative conference between the Indiana University Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Associations and The Ohio State University Folklore Student Association.  The 2010 conference was held April 2-3, 2010 at The Ohio State University in the brand new Ohio Union.  Drawing students from universities as diverse as Arizona State University, the Eastman School of Music, and University of Jyväskylä in Finland as well as the two schools involved in planning the conference, the 2010 conference focused on the theme of contact.  Diane Goldstein delivered the keynote address “The Power of the Personal:  Appropriation and the Narrative Gaze.”

Participants in the IU/OSU graduate student conference have often remarked on the productive discussions produced through the small size of the conference and the high caliber of the work presented.  We hope that this third issue highlighting the conference will help to continue those discussions. Continue reading “From the Editor”