Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Emraan Hashmi’s Mr X

Emraan Hashmi’s Mr X to feature in Chacha Chaudhary comics!

Emraan Hashmi’s Mr X to feature in Chacha Chaudhary comics!

The makers of the superhero film have teamed up with creators of the popular comic character for a special edition ahead of the film’s release

In an era where filmmakers are ready to venture new avenues to market their films, Vishesh Films has teamed up with a famous comic character who has ruled the hearts of millions over the years. We are talking about none other than Chacha Chaudhary, who has been kids’ favourite over the years. We hear that Mr X Emraan Hashmi will feature in a special edition of Chacha Chaudhary comics to solve an unsolved mystery.
Shikha Kapur, Chief Marketing Officer of Fox Star Studios says, ” The character of Mr X is an intriguing one – cloaked in his invisibility powers, he dares to use the law in his own way to correct the wrongs that have been unleashed in the system. We found a relevant and engaging connect with one of the most endearing icons in Indian popular culture -Chacha Chaudhary – the tireless crusader of justice and beloved of children for so many years. We are really happy to have Diamond Toons to partner with us in this unique association: to come up with an exciting comic book featuring Chacha Chaudhary and Mr X – two characters separated by age, but united in their intentions to fight crime rampant in our society.”
Mr X directed by Vikram Bhatt starring Emraan Hashmi and Amyra Dastur is all set to release onApril 17 and we hope that the film manages to strike a chord with viewers, just like the way Chacha Chaudhary connects with his readers in an endearing way

Monday, March 30, 2015


Ready for some action?

Ready for some action?
A welcome deviation from the world of mythology, an indie publishing house has come out with a military-superhero comic 

Set in a land that is almost India but not quite, Vrica is a military-superhero action comic full of guns, blood, gore, histrionics and cussing. In an attempt to steer clear of themes that usually define the current Indian comic industry, Vrica takes the path less travelled by indigenous comic creators. Without gods, fantastical elements and pseudo-intellectual opinions clouding its pages, Vrica is a comic void of pretentions. It is a comic that serves no higher purpose. It doesn't preach and it doesn't even try to teach. What it tries to do is entertain the reader and nothing more. 
"Essentially, we wanted a comic that could go mainstream and appeal to the spandex fans as well as introduce elements of politics, military and technology in the narrative. We also wanted to break out from the mythology-fantasy hangover and give readers something that may sound generic prima facie (but was previously untapped). Plus, it is something that keeps one guessing," explains Aniruddho Chakraborty, co-founder, Chariot comics and writer, Vrica. 
Reminiscent of a first person shooter (FPS) video game, Vrica does indeed draw inspiration from one of the most epic FPS games ever created -- Call of Duty. With the characters and action setting the mood for what can be considered the beginnings of a political thriller, Chakraborty says that the action will lead to one major plotline that will develop over the years. 
A world with terrorist threats, innocents dying, dirty politics and state-of-the-art weaponry are all a part of a scenario most video game nerds (and Jack Bauer lovers) are familiar with. But what makes Vrica worth reading is the fact that an independent comic publishing house dared to make a comic that doesn't rely on popular characters from mythology, history or pop culture.

With the Vrica series, Chariot Comics introduced us to a whole new breed of superheroes who thankfully have some not-cliched stories to share with us.
All in all, Vrica as an idea is quite impressive. The characters are memorable, the dialogues well-written, the panels and lettering well thought-out. You have the typical tank, the brain, the brawn and the sexy to add spice to the plot. But this doesn't mean that it is perfect. The biggest problem with Vrica is thoughtless art: secondary characters in panels are drawn carelessly; colours are too dark and lines too many. But, having said that, for an indie publishing house with financial challenges, pulling off Vrica is impressive. After all, we have seen plenty of hackneyed stories supported by terrible art and colouring being published by giants of the Indian comic industry. 
But thankfully, Chakraborty has learnt quite a bit from the already published episodes of the series. "Of course, we were still on the learning curve with Dawn of the Wolf and we've made mistakes. But I think that's healthy, it's only natural and has allowed us to step up the game for the next instalment!" And even though money matters are of concern, the publishing house firmly states that they have quite a long way to go before they even consider selling out to mythology. Chakraborty and his team are happy doing whatever they love doing even if it requires them to have two jobs to pay their bills. 
With the new drafts of the forthcoming Vrica episodes looking better than the previous ones, here's to hoping that this league of extraordinary super people get their due recognition. With more and more publishing houses turning to depict military comics these days, it is only fair to respect those who set the trend. 

The author is the co-founder of StripTease the Mag, a magazine about comics and graphic novels from all over the world

Chacha Chaudhary to Kalki

Chacha Chaudhary to Kalki: Transition of Indian Comic Book Heroes

You are about to take a journey into how the concept of comic book heroes has changed over the decades. Starting out with the classics, we move to the more recent super heroes where it seems that Hindu mythology has taken the Indian comic industry by storm!
1. Chacha Chaudhary
Super famous and loved by all, Chacha Chaudhary was the cool comic book kids used to spend their pocket money on in the 80s and 90s, when it was immensely popular. The series even had a TV show in the 90s. In 2009, Diamond comics tied up with License India to produce an animated series. The comic follows the adventures of Chacha and Sabu as they deal with different situations where Chacha uses his wits and Sabu his strength to defeat the bad guys.
2. Nagraj
image 2, comics, nagraj
Nagraj is one of the first super powered super heroes to hit the Indian comic book shelf. Created in the late 1980s, Nagraj is one of the longest running Indian action comic superheroes. He has super abilities like immortality, super strength, venomous breath, acid spit and the ability to conjure snakes from within his body.
3. Parmanu
image 3, comics, parmanu
Started in 1991 by Sanjay Gupta, Parmanu is another product of Raj Comics, adding to the ever increasing number of Indian superheroes on the comic medium. The story revolves around Vinay who acquires a super suit which makes him Parmanu (Atom). His suit gives him the ability of super speed, super flight, atom blasts, teleportation etc.
4. Super Commando Dhruva
image 4, comics, dhruva
First published in 1987, Dhruva is seen to mostly be associated with other superheroes and groups. He was born into a couple who were trapeze artists at a circus, where he acquired most of his acrobatic and martial arts skills. Although Dhruva does not possess any inherent superpowers, he makes up for it with his detective skills, scientific knowledge and acrobatics and martial arts.
5. Odayan
image 2, odayan
Odayan is a dark-hero series by Level 10 Entertainment, published in 2010. Odayan is the story of an underprivileged child, who takes control over most of the 15-16 century Kerala with his might and fierce Kalaripayattu.
6. Ramayan 3392 AD
image 6, comics, ramayan
Based on the Ramayana, Ramayan 3392 AD was written by Shamik Dasgupta and his team in 2006. The story deals with a post-apocalyptic world where the last kingdom of humans is fighting against demons to survive. The human prince, Rama alongside his brothers, aim to defeat the demon lord Ravan in order to bring balance to the world.
7. Munkeeman
image 7, comics, munkeeman
Inspired by the 2001 New Delhi incident when a Human Sized Ape like creature was rumored to be terrorizing the capital, Munkeeman is explained as a misunderstood Superhero who was the result of a failed scientific experiment. The series was released in 2011 by writer and director, Abhishek Sharma.
8. Kalki
image 8, comics, kalki
Kalki stands for the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, meaning holocaust. Created by Karan Vir, Kalki is shown as a dark, slender, handsome and youthful boy in his mid-teens who holds extreme hatred for all things unethical, corrupt and inhuman. He behaves like any average boy but in the night he goes hunting down the enemies of humanity- the modern day demons.

We need to invest more in India's comic book industry'


Sunday, 29 March 2015
  • Image credit: Vimanika Comics
Vimanika Comics was the first Indian company to launch a graphic novel in the India and the US. Their comic books and graphic novels are based on India mythology. Vimanika Comics is a part of Vimanika Edutainment Pvt Ltd, the company that aims to create stories based on characters related to the Indian, Asian and Celtic mythology. Their stories aren’t limited to the printed word; they also dabble in animated films, live action films, games, merchandising, and toys. 
The company began a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo on March 9 to raise funds to preserve the comic book genre in the South Asian region and UK, and to expand their geographic reach to Europe and North America. The thought behind the campaign is to create stories based on characters related to the Indian and Asianmythology – characters that reflect virtues that were considered common during that era, but aren’t as popular anymore. Each story professes to have a moral in it, and the claim is that the research is 100% accurate and backed by a professional team of professors, archaeologists and researchers. The campaign will come to a close on April 24, 2015.
In conversation with Karan Vir Arora, Vimanika’s CEO and founder. 
Why a crowd-funding campaign?
A crowd-funding campaign achieves the double objective of exposure to global audiences as well as raising funds for the cause of preserving comics in India. No other campaign is more efficient in its outlook and, therefore, Vimanika chose to start this campaign.
The comics’ scene in India seems to be attracting enough buzz. Is there a need to save it? 
Most people think that the comic scene in India is not that bad. However, if one observes closely, one sees that most comic book companies that were on the comic scene about 20-25 years ago no longer exist today. Those who do, such as Amar Chitra Katha, have a massively diminished presence. A few promising independent comic brands that launched their companies a few years ago have either diversified into other mediums for their content/characters or have shut shop. As a comic book company, we feel the need to galvanise this sector so that it gains the same status that the sector enjoyed about 20 years ago. For that, we need to invest more in financial terms in the Indian industry so that there is room for more publishers to enter.

Image credit: Vimanika Comics
Do events like Comic Con and books tours, or video games and other merchandise, help in the launch of a new comic?
Yes, comic con and similar activities showcase new comic work as well as related talent to the general public and comic book enthusiasts. These activities provide a platform for publishers as well as artists to launch new work, exhibit concept comic works as well as advertise existing works.
Indian and Asian mythology has been a strong theme in comics that do well in India. Why so? 
Both Indian and Asian mythology is grounded in culture and religion. Unlike the West, our part of the world has strong mythological role models due to which comic books with mythological themes have traditionally done well in Asia, particularly in India. At Vimanika, our core focus is Indian mythology/ancient history but we do have plans for books that are fictional in character based in our alternative banner Kalapani Comics.

Image credit: Vimanika Comics
Vimanika’s comics and stories have a strong emphasis on morals. Why?   
Morals never change. It would be incorrect to dub morality as either an old fashioned or a modern phenomena. The morality that old fashioned characters exhibit are very much in vogue today amongst those of our present generation, but probably in a different form. Those of us who are ethical in day to day life abide by the same moral themes that some of the older characters from mythology exhibit.