Vaitarni River
Karma Komix by Ken Coupland color imagesb/w images

color : inspiration :: b/w : comix

Vaitarni River is a graphic novel which takes its name from a single, curious poster discovered in an Indian spice shop on lower Polk Street in San Francisco (it was Christmas Day, but that's another story). The poster's subject matter attracted me for various reasons. For one, I've always been fascinated by the idea that the most inconsequential actions (like, not wearing a condom) could lead to the most dire consequences. For another, I've always found cruelty and indifference amusing. The poster's imagery seemed more reminiscent of the weird postcards that Mexican bus drivers plaster on their dashboards than the saccharine icons of conventional Hindu pop mythology from the subcontinent that I'd seen.

Vaitarni River, meaning - what? the river down which we all travel? - is a serial work and was created at the rate of about a page a day and faxed to a select list of admirers as a form of "fax harrassment." The novel developed in topical fashion, and closely follows the fortunes of the entertainment industry during the time period (early 1996) in which it was created. I have been told that the character of Screenwriter bears a passing resemblance to the author.

This is the first of four instalments scheduled for the site. Look for further instalments in the ensuing months. Because the work develops linearly in true novel fashion, it is best appreciated from the beginning. Anyone wishing to discuss the finer points of this work in progress, please contact And if you know of any other efforts by the artist who created the poster, by all means let me know.


Vaitarni River is a production of Karmix Korp. (c) Ken Coupland 1996. All rights reserved.