WHEN SIR Alec Morgan, a famous British paranormal expert, lands in Kolkata for the launch of his latest book, he expects to find the unexpected in some of the city’s old corners. Accompanied by his able guide and teller-of-grisly-tales Joga, Morgan goes on a tour of the city’s most haunted places—sites of ghastly murders and tragic romances. However, the ‘oh-so-famous’ Morgan returns bitterly disappointed with the tour and publicly scoffs at the lack of ghosts and spirits in the city. But the paranormal crusader finally meets his match when he decides to pay a visit to St Mary’s Cemetery in the city after a mysterious man suggests him to do so.
Written and illustrated by Kolkata-based Harsho Mohan Chattoraj, Ghosts of Kingdoms Past attempts to clear away the dust and cobwebs covering Kolkata’s fascinating history. Morgan’s journey through the busy streets of Kolkata takes the reader on a quick tour of India’s colonial era, involving the British, the Battle of Plassey and the nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah. The illustrations and sketches are striking and manage to catch the eye. The fact that the story is condensed in just 70 pages makes it easy to read. Interestingly, the final pages describe the process and elements that go behind creating a comic, and this might be a useful guide for aspiring comic writers. The comic does manage to keep the reader hooked on for a while, but what kills it is the abrupt climax.