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

No comments: