Friday, September 27, 2013

Graphic Novel Released at Comic Con

Hyderabad Graphic Novel Released at Comic Con Express Hyderabad
Every city has a voice, it just needs a medium to reach people, and Hyderabad Graphic Novel penned by Jai Undurti and Jasraman Grewal is doing the same.
This amazing graphic novel that tells the tale of this four century old city was released at the first Comic Con Express Hyderabad. had a tete-a-tete with Jai and Jasraman, Writer and Creator of Hyderabad Graphic Novel to know about the interesting aspects of this book.
What is the ‘Hyderabad Graphic Novel’ all about? 
400 years of legends and myths of Hyderabad, weaved together in one narrative is the story line of this graphic novel. Our central premise in this 128 pages book is that “Every City is a Story” and “Every City is a Language” .Our attempt is to ‘translate’ the city into a sequential narrative and comics, which allow the reader to luxuriate on each visual is an ideal medium, unlike film etc where the reader cannot go back.
There must have been some inspiration?
Hyderabad city itself inspired us. Just like “population density” of an area, the “legend density” of Hyderabad is very high. Every street, every stone tells a story. Travelers’ to the city, who want an insight into the soul of a city, not just a travel guide will enjoy this book.

So is it a series of graphic novels?

Yes! This is an “Issue 0, the starting point of a series on Hyderabad. We wish to present certain elemental truths, not just about Hyderabad but cities in general.We wish to continue this concept to other cities like “Bangalore Graphic Novel” or the “Madras Graphic Novel” are waiting to happen.

Can we have a credit run down?

Writers & Creators: Jai Undurti & Jasraman Grewal
Lead Artists: Harsho Mohan Chattoraj & Federico Zumel
Colourist: Neeraj Menon
Letterist: Aditya Bidikar
Designer: Karan Talgeri
Please put light on the making of this book?
Initial ideation and photography for the book began in 2005; project began in earnest in 2010 and was completed by mid-2012. After the initial scripting, the challenge was to get a team together. For example, the second artist Zumel is based in Argentina while Harsho is in Calcutta. Once we got the workflow right, it became a process in which we would take photographs or source other reference images, send them to the artist, then he would send back sketches and thumbnails, which we would use to tweak the script and so on.

Could you share more about the look and feel of the graphic novel?

The book is divided into four stories each having its own look and feel. Harsho has  a muscular, dense style relying on his unique blend of hatching and cross-hatching. Zumel has his equally distinctive style. As the stories are set in different eras, we were able to use these stylistic changes to indicate the changes in the time period. The cover by Mukesh Singh imbues the whole project with a certain classic sensibility and a key strength of the book is the colouring by Neeraj Menon who has given “European” look to this novel with his highly individual and unique palette.
Were there any challenges?
Yes.Our original idea was to crowdsource the anecdotes and legends from long-time residents. That did not work very well because the graphic novel medium is still unfamiliar, so this is an “Issue 0″. We hope that it will spur people to contribute their stories so we can build a sequential narrative around them in the future.
What was the research like?
Hyderabad is a silent co-writer in our project.Photography in the old city, interviews with long-time residents, searching for archival photographs, paintings were researched at this city. Most important was simply taking long, extended walks through the city.
Where can we get it? 
Introductory price for the Special Edition is Rs 500.Right now we have adopted a slightly unorthodox approach – it is available in Cafe Anavila in Hyderabad.We are exploring online retailers too.

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