Archive | March, 2011

Exclusive Project Reveal: Retrograde

28 Mar

As promised we reveal yet another comic project in the making!


Writer – Akshay Dhar
Artist/Penciller – Avik Kumar Maitra
Inker – Swapnil Singh
Twenty Onwards Media  Ltd
Release Date – April 

Synopsis – as humanity faces the future we are living with the fastest evolving life-form on the planet – technology. Growing and changing almost daily. Today the world as a whole is becoming wired together. The future is a glittering computer console gateway to tomorrow.

Retrograde was a concept born out of the question: What would we do if the world would shut down tomorrow? Imagine waking up in a world where only the most rudimentary tech would work. What would humanity do? How would our world change? A group formed by chance is our prism to tell the story of this likely improbable but likely ever-so possible tomorrow.

The good folks at twenty onwards media have graciously shared the team roster for Retrograde (Click to read in full glory!). What do you guys think?


Our take: 

First Look: We have rarely seen groups in Indian comic industry, so its a welcome sight to see a team comic coming out, and that too a non-superhero one ( from the looks of it)

Concept: It goes without saying , the concept is an appealing one. This series asks the question, what happens when technology fails us? It seems its a dystopian world, and would be interesting to see characters interact with the limited or Neanderthal tech at their disposal. 

Potential: We expect a survival comic with a lot of twists. Like The walking dead, this series has the potential to really scream at us from the character’s voices. The best part about the walking dead are the character interactions, and this comic too will rise or fail depending on whether these characters can draw us in. It might also be interesting seeing the world in a new light – one without technology. 

We Indians are a dependent lot on our IT and allied industry. What do you do when all that goes away? Forget that! There is going to be a war fought over basic amenities..

The team roster has a mix of varied personalities and nationals, which could make for an interesting dynamic if they are played well against each other.

We might be over-reaching with just one teaser shown, but we are guessing there would be a reason why the Tech went away. The author may or may not chose to reveal that !..

Lets wait and see what twenty media has to offer!

Comics are for Kids: A Guide on how to respond

25 Mar

Let us introduce our newest addition to the team – Amanda White 🙂
Amanda White lives in Augusta, Maine. She has a BA in English from UMA. Amanda has been going to conventions and has been a comic enthusiast ever since she was a little girl. In this article she answers the question we all have faced “at least” once in our geeky life
 


Comic Books Are for Kids
-By Amanda White
It is a common dilemma among comic readers to hear this from time to time, “Comic books are for kids,” or “Comic books are trash literature,” It’s troubling to be enjoying something one minute and then criticized for your reading choice the next. The question is always, “How do I deal with the insults?” It is a tough question, and unless you have a degree in literature you’re not going to be able to give them an answer that will satisfy them. Then again who truly wants to battle wits when you’re enjoying yourself? What business is it of theirs what you choose to read?
Sit tight cause help is on the way. I’m going tell you how to stand up for yourself when these criticisms come flying your way. Not only that, but they will be comebacks and arguments that will give even the snootiest of critic time for pause.
First lets look at the reason comics get a bad rap. There are a lot of reasons given for why comics are “trashy”, but ultimately it boils down to one simple factor: the pictures. Pictures send an image to many people of a kids storybook. Let’s face it, unless it’s a great illustrated classic version of a work of major literature it pretty falls under the category of children’s story. Sad and narrow thinking yes, but it’s the way comics are perceived.
Alright then, if pictures are the issue lets start there. Artwork is the foundation of a comic book it’s true. If you don’t think it’s true think about a story where the story was great, but the artwork ruined it for you or vice versa. There are many factors accompanying the artwork. As is the case with any great painting hanging in the museum many questions are asked of the piece. Does the art enhance the story or subtract from it? Is it in color? Does the color add or take away from the story? Are the panels in a format that helps the story move along smoothly or does the layout hinder the action? All valid intelligent questions that on a subconscious level we all consider as we’re reading a comic.

Then there’s the comment of, “The stories are all the same just the names change,” WRONG! The stories are intricate plots that interweave and overlap with other characters and other series with that character. Many comic stories are very powerful such as the X-Men title ‘God Loves, Man Kills’.
The text within comic books can be looked at and analyzed like any other piece of literature. An English major could easily map out the plot as well as they could ’The Great Gatsby’ or any work of Shakespeare. There are plots, subplots, foreshadowing, moral issues, conflict, and many other standard story devices. It’s also easier to relate to the issues brought up by comics because they’re more relevant to our daily lives. Most of the “great works of literature” take place in a time when class was everything and women married to improve their family status. Not quite so much of an issue in modern day America.
The two major continuums in the comic industry have their own devices that make them unique in how they bring these issues to light. Aside from the characters that is. The Marvel Universe is known for using its characters and storylines that mirror current social situations. On the other hand the DC Universe focuses more on lineage with their heroes. Don’t believe that’s true? Look at it closer. X-Men, overcoming and dealing peacefully with being different in society. Batman, took on Robin to have someone to continue his fight when he’s gone.
The point is that comics are every bit as good of literature as the tired old titles that fall into the basic literary cannon. They’re just not given a fair chance. Perhaps someday, but obviously not now.
So here’s what you say the next time you get criticized for reading comics:

“Actually I find that this particular title has unique characters that I can identify with as well as having artwork that enhances the overall message. True it is the age old struggle of good vs. evil, but ultimately that’s what we’re surrounded with. This particular writer also chooses to focus on a specific moral and/or social dilemma that is a current concern. Overall the symphony that is art and text make for a very enjoyable reading experience,”
If nothing else you’ll get a couple of moments silence as they stand there stunned from getting that sort of answer from someone that assumed was of low intelligence. If they press you for more of an explanation just remember what we talked about. Ultimately though, when it comes to what makes you happy, you have nothing to prove or explain. 

Stewart’s Slate: Review of Elephantmen

23 Mar

Review of ELEPHANTMEN Volumes 1-3
Collecting #1-23

Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Moritat
Publisher: Image comics

Review by Stewart Loud

Lets be honest. Elephantmen is a slightly comedic title for a comic book. And a bunch of 10 feet tall humanoid wilder beast in roles as investigators, crime lords and policemen in L.A. doesn’t sound like a plot with much potential for greatness. So when I started reading the series I was a little confused as to what all the fuss was about, with the back of each graphic novel being emblazoned with five star review scores and quotes from reviews singing it’s praises. Having now read volumes 1-3, I’m definitely a fan of this startlingly original sci-fi epic.

I know I don’t normally do this, but this exceptionally well written story is so impressive in the scope of the characters, locations and time lines that it weaves together during the course of each graphic novel, that I don’t think it would be very easy or fair to review and score each book as a stand alone publication. So I’ve decided to review the series as a whole and then give you an idea of what you can expect from each book.
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it. Probably not a comic for fans of ZAP! and POW! Style action but anyone who likes an immersive story with great characters and often breath taking art to get their teeth into should definitely give this a go.

THE STORY:
To begin with, like the movie Pulp Fiction, parts of the story are thrown at you out of sequence like pieces of a puzzle. Each one telling very different tales involving different characters and locations, some years apart, some days and weeks apart, that slowly begin to knit together into an incredibly rich world with an intriguing history. At the start this can be a little frustrating as you find yourself wanting to know more about story arcs that aren’t explained in great detail to begin with but you soon get into the flow as each separate yarn is gradually fleshed out and you get drawn into all of them as you realise how they are all linked together.
The year the story uses as the present tense is 2259. Nearly 20 years after the war between China and the Central African Alliance for control of Europe after its population was devastated by the FCN virus. During the war, Africa employed the use of the Elephantmen. A race of towering Genetically engineered human/animal hybrids, created by the North African company Mappo, to be the ultimate soldiers. Incredibly resilient to physical hardship, immune to all forms of chemical and biological attack and mentally programmed to be completely remorseless in the carrying out of their orders, they were the perfect weapon to use in the now sparsely populated and plague ridden Europe.

When the war ended and Mappo was shut down for their terrible crimes against humanity committed during the research and creation of the Elephantmen, the remaining 15,000 Elephantmen were rehabilitated through years of therapy and then spread across the globe to integrate as  constructive members of a society that still largely hates and fears them because of their bestial appearance and the stories that emerged of the terrible things they did during the war.

Some are cops, restaurant owners, gangsters even celebrities. Some are good guys and some are bad guys and if you imagine Blade Runner but with Harrison Ford’s part played by a hippopotamus,  you’ll go a long way to imagining what you can expect from a large part of what this comic is like.
Apart from the animal appearance of the Elephantmen, the concept of their creation is almost identical to the Genetic Infantrymen of 2000ads Rogue Trooper comic strip. They too were created in a lab to be emotionless super soldiers hardened to anything physical or biological that might be thrown at them on the battle field, who would follow any order without question so they could be put into service in the toxic environments of Nu Earth. Anyone who liked Elephantmen: War Toys or likes the war flash backs in this series should check out Rogue Trooper: War Machine if they can find it. It was originaly printed in Heavy Metal, not 2000ad so some parts of the story may vary but it’s a great book.

THE CHARACTERS:
Ebony Hide and Hip Flask, an elephant and a hippo who work as crime scene investigators for the Information Agency. Obidia Horn, a rhinoceros and owner of a casino and hotel chain with a criminal reputation. Trench, a hard boiled, leather rain coat wearing, zebra cop. All the Elephantmen characters themselves begin as a novelty, because of their appearance, but fast become every bit as deep and interesting in character as well. Some you’ll grow to like others you’ll grow to like a great deal more.

The Elephantmen are usually accompanied by incredibly attractive, young (in some cases teenage)  female groupies who all seem to be obsessed with the idea of having a physical relationship with the gargantuan beings. Horn is even engaged to a woman called Sahara, who helped with his rehabilitation when she worked with the UN. Apart from the fact that they look like hippos and rhinos and the sheer scale of the creatures would mean they’d have to have cocks like lamp posts, it is mentioned a few times that they were all castrated in the labs at puberty anyway so they couldn’t ruin any of these young girls even if they wanted to. This sub theme of bestiality running through each book is a little odd and it puts me in mind of some questionable Japanese material I’ve seen but it is a comic book I suppose so what the hell.

Even characters that don’t seem important to begin with soon become integral parts of the Elephantmens world who you care for and want to learn more about. It’s them and not just the plot that makes this comic so interesting to read. In volume 3, when more details of the hardships Sahara, endured during her childhood are revealed, I actually felt a physical reaction to how sickening and sad it was as well as a swelling hatred for her father Serengeti. This should give you a good idea of how well written it is.

ART / PRESENTATION
A lot of effort has gone into making these books. The majority of the wonderful artwork is done by Morirat but there’s a lot of sections done by an almost countless list of guest artists in a variety of different styles. From pencils to paints and even one section that looks like it was done using soft water colours, Each different story has a different atmosphere all of its own. The front covers scattered throughout the book and at the back in the gallery sections truly are works of art. With many of them having been drawn in a way that makes them appear old and weathered giving them even more character.

Each one of the three volumes has its own specific art theme for the backgrounds and borders for the covers and quotes between each issue and credits and columns at the beginning and end of each book. This may seem like a small thing but it all adds to the overall richness of the experience.

Each issue is preceded by a quote or out take from a poet, intellectual, historian, important document or historical figure that may bare some relevance to the story at that point. Some of these are welcome and interesting bits of information about current laws regarding genetic experimentation or pearls of wisdom from Albert Einstein or Napoleon. Some on the other hand are meaningless, asinine little bits of nonsense that represent some of the worst examples of what happens when you give idiots who think to much of themselves a platform.
Examples:

“Any one who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” Marshal McLuhan.

I get that he’s trying to say that education can be fun and entertainment can be educational but the way he’s said it is arrogant and doesn’t make any sense if you think about it for 10 seconds.
Here you go then, jackass. If you call something entertaining it’s because you enjoy it. Anything that entertains you does so because it is interesting and/or fun. Education can sometimes be interesting and fun but not always. Like learning how to bleed a radiator or mix cement. Is that entertaining? No it isn’t but those two things put two massive ticks in the education box.
I honestly don’t know who Marshal McLuhan is. Or was. Or whatever but if he said this then I’m not interested.
Another one:

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent: That’s the essence of humanity.” George Bernard Shaw.

Again, I see what he’s getting at. It’s a shame when people don’t give a shit about the suffering they see. But seriously? Were the Nazis indifferent to the Jews during the second world war? If you could choose between a crowd of people being indifferent to you or punching you in the mouth as hard as they could, which would you choose?

I think the reason it makes me so angry is that some people, hopefully not many, but some people will read these things and think that they’re incredibly clever without questioning them, just because they were printed on a page. I’m as open minded as the next guy, and I swear to god I’ll punch anyone who says otherwise, but I know bullshit when I see it and some of these steamers should really have been left out.

A slightly weird thing I wanted to point out is that, as each volume is about as thick as your average telephone directory, you may think you’re in for a mammoth read but appearances can be deceptive. The pages are so high quality that they’re three times as thick as that of a normal comic and at least 20% of each volume is devoted to sketch galleries, front covers, short comic strips about robotic frogs and French monkeys, essays written about how great Elephantmen is or miscellaneous quotes and out takes. So each book wont take you any longer to read than an average graphic novel. Make of this what you will.
Still. Very nice looking, high quality books. A feast for the eyes!

Now I’ll attempt to give a brief description of each volume without giving too much away.

Volume 1: WOUNDED ANIMALS

Introduces all the main heroes and villains and the roles they play in human society as well as outlining the history of the Elephantmen, how and why they were created and tells the story of their liberation from Mappo by the UN through a series of flashbacks.
Interesting and intriguing throughout, as the story begins to take shape in the well written, wonderfully drawn series of scenes shown out of sequence, apart from the large section at the end devoted to a story about some pirates and a fairy that Hip, tells to a small girl. Although this section is beautifully illustrated, it has a lot in common with the pirate story in Alan Moore’s, The Watchmen. It’s crap, boring and it should have been left out. I read through this entire section in case it mentioned something important, but it really doesn’t, so feel free to skip this bit, if it bores you.

Volume 2: F AT AL DISE ASES

Introduces Trench, the uncompromising, one eyed tough guy of the piece before descending into a  couple of issues worth of fictitious comic strips, written within the Elephantmen universe, telling wild and fanciful stories of the comics main characters having science fiction and action orientated adventures that have absolutely no bearing on the main story whatsoever. You could skip these bits too and you wouldn’t be missing anything. At this point I was begging to question whether or not this comic was in fact the literary masterpiece it had been billed as. But then…..Shit gets real!
As more and more of the story is revealed and fleshed out, I began to see just how expertly all the different characters and arcs link together. I found myself not being able to get enough of character story lines that previously I didn’t much care about. At this point the pace seems to change quite dramatically too, becoming far more exciting as meteors crash to Earth, hit squads attack hospitals and it starts to look like certain characters might get killed off.
Even the flash backs get more intriguing as more of the unpleasant, gritty details of the stories history get revealed. After I finished this one, I couldn’t wait to start the next.

Volune 3: DANGEROUS  LIASIONS

The series hits its stride in this volume! With a  couple of gut wrenching stories about Tusk and Sahara, Hip becomes closer with some of the female characters who all want to sleep with him for some reason. He’s a hippo for gods sake! And the reader is walloped in the face with yet more intrigue and unanswered questions as it transpires that the North African company Mappo may not be as out of the picture as first thought.
This volume really does end on a cliff hangar and there’s a brilliant epilogue which just raises more questions !

This is a great series. I honestly don’t think things really get going until about half way through volume 2 and there’s definitely a few bits they didn’t need to put in there (although I’m sure there’s a few people who’ll disagree with me) so it’s a bit of an investment to get there, but it’s well worth it. Once you’ve finished all 3 volumes, and events in the flashbacks have been more thoroughly explained, you’ll want to re-read the early stories armed with the knowledge you’ve gained.
Another thing I liked about this series, is it’s nice to know people are still coming up with really original ideas to write comic books about. I will definitely be getting the next one!

OVERALL SCORE 8/10

Artist in the making : Devmalya Pramanik

22 Mar
A regular column, wherein we invite all upcoming comic artists ( or an artist who should be working in comics!) and showcase their talent for the world to see. If you are an upcoming artist and would like to be featured here, please contact our team. 


For the first edition of Artists Gallery lets meet:







Devmalya Pramanik



Q:What got you into comic books?
A: How do you fall in love? there is no answer… it just happened..Ii used to read a lot of comics when i was around 13..used to draw using references…and then i started to see comics for what they really are…started analysing how this stuff is done.. i started to take it seriously when i was around 16 or 17….comics are my first and last love…hehe..cant even start describing how important comic art is to me….


Q: Who is your favourite comic book character?
A:Till a time it was wolverine….it is even now but he got replaced by two characters- deadpool and the darkness..Deadpool is a character u just have to read, a very underdoggish character, but vey worth a read!!




Q: Who are your major artistic influences?
A: Hmmm…let me see….was very inspired by Leinil Yu….to tell you truth, reading Superman: Birthright was a turning point in my life….some other major influences are Doug Mahnke, John Romita Jr, C.P Smith, Tomm Coker….seeing their art makes me feel like giving my best….One of the most influential persons in my art life is Biboswan Bose….without him my art would not have been what it is.







Q: What comics do you currently read?

A: Currently been busy so am not getting time to read a lottta comics, hehe….but am currently read Batman:Under The Hood, awesome stuff by Winnick, Mahnke and Paul…..plan to read all volumes of Sandman….love Neil Gaiman’s works. read Watchmen and dug Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons….




Q: What are you currently working on?
A: Am currently working on a project, cant unwrap that piece of news right now….am also working on a storyline of my own design, hope to turn it into a creator based property someday….


Q: What would be your Dream Project?
A: dream project…..lets think…working for Mark Millar on one of his stories…..he so rocks man!!!!!!!!!!! he 

has really bowled me over with Kick Ass, Nemesis, and Superior




Like what you see?? Dev can be found at his fb moniker: 
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001486550800


Do you want to be featured here? Drop us a line below!

Double Take: Review of LOK II

21 Mar



Editor/Script: Deepam Chatterjee
Art: Hemant Kumar
Cmpositing: Tabish Shaikh and Deepak Rawat
Cover Art: Amit Tayal and Abdul Rasheed
Color: Abdul Rasheed

Publisher: Vimanika comics

Take One: Review by Anirudh Singh

Andy is a veteran western comic/Manga geek. With the rise of Indian comic scene, he has ventured back into indigenous comics from his self posed exile to speak about Indian comics

Ah finally Indian comics are foraying into territory left alone for so long, using source material handed down over the ages in the history of our own people. There are so many stories and tales of unsung heroes in our mythology, it would be a sin to ignore them for too long. Amar Chitra Katah tried it once long ago. Capturing glimpses of wonder and amazement as they told the epic of Mahabharta. Vimanika does it again with the Legend of Karna. 

The book rightfully titled “The Sixth” takes us back across the ages and eons. Into an era when darkness and light were not defined by science, rather were defined by magic. Before anything else even impacts the reader the artwork does. It is magnificient in all aspects. Character designs blend seamlessly into the narrative and the visual imagery is quite stunning. 


The story is also an eye opener. This is not the tale of Karna as we remember it from Ramanand Sagar’s televesion epics. No there are layers to this story. The start is fantastic, with a begining embroiled in primal legends of a demon who sought and won a great blessing from the Sun God. The story churns on and familiar faces start to appear imbibing you with a sense of mystery. It is after all a story of how deception and intrigue created a rift between two brothers. And how the destinies of these fated heroes embroiled even the Gods in their tangles.

One scene which truly stood out was the birth of Kauravas. The idea of a hundred sons being born from one mother was always fantastic concept but “The Sixth” takes this concept further, the feeling of unease is thick within these panels. And you can instantly tell that the product of alchemy as foul this has to be foul itself. It is no wonder that the sons of the Kuru clan turned out filled to brim with malice. Shakuni is a character to watch for, the schemer from the epic takes on a new visage as he is shown to be a man in command of nefarious powers. Part necromancer, part sorcerer Shakuni can be seen taking an eerie interest in his nephew’s lives from an early age. In contrast the birth of the Pandavas is heralded by the presence of a God. For indeed it was the union between God and human that gave birth to the five princes. The contrasting births and the contrasting destinies of the kindred princes is set up beautifully drawing in the reader and setting up for an epic launch.

However,just as I was getting engrossed into the amazing narrative and artwork. The story decided to skip. And when I say skip, I mean skip completely to the modern age. Now, I like clever narratives, I like scene switching, multiple timelines the works. But to pull it off you have to really careful. You see whenever you skip from one time to a completely different one you break off the flow of the story. To reconnect the flow one has to place a few familiar elements, or gradually introduce you to the new characters elaborating the relationship with the old ones. This book doesnt have that. The time – skip hits you in the face with all the politeness of a brick wall. And stops u short of enjoying the story


.The story afterwards is not in any way lacking than the one before the skip. Its interesting, has the same artwork and a lot of interesting characters and I’m certain given time and more books in the series I would enjoy that part too. But right now with the book as it is, It reads off more as two separate stories in the same jacket than one continuous one. 

Legend of Karna, The Sixth is no doubt a classy book in a classy series. But it suffers sometimes from glaring abruptness in its narration. The artwork though fantastic,  blended in perfectly when the story was somewhere in the BC, it does not go so well with the mordern setting. Perhaps as I read more of this series the narrative will right itself and once more build up its pace to perfection, 
A valiant effort,  might one day evolve into a work of art.



Double Take: Review by Nishkarsh Chugh
Nishkarsh is a veteran Indian comic blogger and fan and the youngest member of our team 


The awaited Legend of Karna Book II has been launched recently at Comicon but as they say; “देर आये दुरुस्त आये”..

During the Con, it had great sale, due to which Vimanika was sold out on Day 1.. The trend continued on Day 2 and that was when, I got my copy.. 

The cover was extraordinary, by Amit Tayal (who is an illustrator for Campfire too) and Abdul Rasheed. However, the first main difference between LOK Book I and LOK Book II was the inside art. Amit Tayal was replaced by Hemant Kumar, but I still feel the former was better.
Nevertheless, the story was AWESOME and continued from where it left, when Karna was abandoned in River Charmanwati. However, there was a short (7 pages to be more precise) introduction about the demon Dambhodbhava and Nara and Narayana, a prologue to how Karna got his armor.

 The main story began with Chapter 2: Childhood featuring how Karna was adopted by Adhiratha and his wife, Radha and the life of Karna as a child. It also featured the birth of Pandavas and Kauravas and 
associated stories.
The main feature of LOK Book II is that it revealed the villains of the present time, who were none other than the Kauravas- Dusshala, Duryodhan and rest of the gang.
The story ended with Dev Daljit Singh, beating up some guys who came to kill Karan Vir. Amazing action, I must say.
Now coming to overall rating, I really liked LOK Book and I think this has a great future potential and if the series continues like this, it may live upto the expectations of the fans..

Dheeraj Verma Speaks from Seattle Emerald city comicon!

9 Mar
Dheeraj Verma with Great Phoenix Jones
It was a really very nice feeling at ECCC and lot of fans were there, city was freezing but the welcome by the organizers was very warm, I love that.

Seattle is one of the best city I found in US after the San Diego. City was small but very pleasant to live there. Beautiful place and surrounded by sea and got a chance to meet so many people like Max Brooks, sitting next to me, as well as the team of Avatar Press,  Dave and Keith, both are such a nice persons and as usual Mike Wolfer and Jason.
Dheeraj Sir with Poison Ivy

People were looking to enjoy  for 3 days and am sure they enjoyed the show. I am puttin some of the pics I took , especially of real time Hero : the Great Phoenix Jones, a real super hero who fights with the criminals in Seattle streets in night and when I met him I was not aware that who is he, but when Keith told me about I was really amazed that we have such peoples in here on earth who are real time Super Heroes. A big salute to him, while to saving peoples he faced the guns and other weapons of course but he is tough guy and no doubt again a Super Hero.

Bye for now and will keep you update time to time. 
Till
Chow,

Dheeraj Verma

Nikesh Murli and Vinay Brahmania on Veera the Gaurdian

8 Mar

The team of  Veera the Gaurdian, Nikesh Murli and Vinay brahmania gives us their perpective on the graphic novel and shares some exclusive interior pages with us. ( click them to revel in their full glory!)


1.     Where many people shy away from Writing / working from comics, what made you think of doing this project as a graphic novel?

 NM:I have been writing and publishing short fiction for over a decade now and I teach fiction writing at university. For me comic books represented a new challenge in story telling because of the unique marriage between images and text.
I am a keen student of story structure and I do a lot of workshops/seminars for budding writers. When the opportunity for Veera came via an open call on COMIX INDIA blog, I jumped at the opportunity because I have been waiting to study the genre for a long time and here was a golden opportunity to combine what I knew about fiction with the conventions of comic books. I devoured books by Alan Moore, Will Eisner and Scott McCloud on the theoretical aspects and went back and studied everything from PREACHER to THE DARK TOWER graphic novel adaptations which have a prominent place on my book shelf.
Working with a major daily like DinaMalar and an uber talented artist like Vinay was something I couldn’t say no too.

 V: I accept that not many people want to be writing or drawing comics because its not very economically beneficial yet. The credit of getting nikesh and me together goes to dinamalar. They were launching a weekly magazine for kids, nikesh had a story and I was itching to draw


2.     What was the inspiration behind the concept of Veera ?
V: Honestly, The inspiration credit goes to nikesh it is his concept totally I just visualised and drew him
NM: Veera can be described as the hero’s journey in Slum Dog Millionaire + the emotional journey of characters in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek.
I wanted to add emotional depth to the protagonists while still framing their journeys using Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
I also wanted to tell a story about children who are neglected and abused, irrespective of the social class they are from, and the strength it takes to face the past while battling the present.
While I have used techniques from comic book storytelling to bring the world of Veera to life, the series is written like a TV show, not only in terms of the 12/season episodic structure, but also the way each issue has been broken, to ensure that there are no boring story beats
I think the positive buzz from the first few weeks have justified my decision to attempt this fusion of dramatic storytelling devices.
3.     The synopsis sounds very kid friendly. What is your target audience?

NM: I had strict instructions from DinaMalar that they wanted a series for kids. The impression I got from speaking to the editor was that he was looking for something that was traditional but strong enough in the story department to keep the MICHAEL BAY generation hooked.
4.     What do you think is one of the most attractive features about Veera.

NM: I think the emotional journey that the characters undertake will resonate with children and adults alike. Not to mention the awesome action set pieces!

Veera wants to escape his wretched life in the slums and his abusive father but his sense of responsibility and love for his mother and brother, holds him back.

Nayana’s psyche has never healed from the trauma of a childhood event and she doesn’t view the role of a Guardian as a divine duty, but a burden that was imposed on her by the man who rescued her and adopted her as a child.

Vasu does not understand his anger and the sense of disgust he feels towards the poverty and filth that surrounds Veera. He feels responsible for his father’s death and knows deep in his heart that he may never measure up to his father. Add to this, the fact that he is overly protective of Nayana and loathes Veera’s friendship with her, we have the potential for conflict that can be mined for gold over several seasons.

V: I think Murli has explained beatifully, what I can add is the fact that the contrast in Veera’s Character from a humble downtrodden rag picker to being a chosen one is totally fun to see. I love it.

5.      How was working with Each other? did you guys argue about certain things or was it a seamless partnership?

V: I feel things went way too smoothly between us. We both saw the concept almost through the same lens. Whatever revisions happened were logical to the story line

NM: I can’t praise Vinay enough for his professionalism and talent. I am in awe of his abilities and the way in which he has visualised my story.

6. Artwise, Why did you guys chose this particular style?


V: Well when it all began I did character sheets for all characters and nikesh was comfortable to take this style to the final drawing board


7. Vinay, your father is associated with Bahadur comics. Any plans of Bahadur in your future?

V: Yeah bahadur was dads dream hero we all loved him very much. I would love to work on bahadur but it is being handled by Mr Abid and my younger brother pramod they are doing good stuff.


8.     It’s been some time since its release. How has the response been for Veera?

NM: It is very humbling to be a part of a great tradition of comic book storytelling in India.

I have been informed by the publishers that the response was amazing and that they were inundated with telephone calls and letters, praising the new venture, so much so that Dinamalar printed a thank you in their daily edition to recognise and appreciate the support

Tamil comic book bloggers have said kind things about Veera.
9.     You are givin the entire novel for downlaod for free? Whats the idea behind that?
NM/V: It was DinaMalar’s idea. Siruvar Malar, the supplement in which Veera is published, is distributed for free. So it made sense to give it away as a free electronic download. I think it has paved way for increased readership. It looks gorgeous on the IPAD! Btw, the link to download Veera is :here:
10.  In 5 lines or less, Why should I read Veera?
NM: If you like epic quests set in fantastical worlds where brave protagonists battle inner and outer demons to find the meaning of what happened in the past and seek a destiny to light their path in the future, you will LOVE Veera! Don’t be fooled by the fantasy tropes, Veera is and always will be about the inner journey of the human psyche.
 V: It is a bundle of action adventure and fantasy. It’s a great story and I have tried to do justice to the art I have played with colors to keep it bright and interesting to kids. I promise it is worth a dekho. 

9.  Whats your next projects?

V: I am individually working on another series of comics for kids (fantasy adventure),one mythological based character series and one mature reader comic about an anti terrorist group. I am planning to complete all three than look for interested publishers
NM: Once the Tamil run is complete, I will be publishing Veera ‘s English edition.Hopefully, Season 2 of Veera. We have just skimmed the surface in terms of exploring the characters and their journeys and we haven’t even met the key players in Kaal, who want the conflict to spill into that world. Without giving away any spoilers, season one is not gift wrapped and delivered to your door in a neat package, it is messy; the Guardian’s have stirred the hornet’s nest. And there will be blood to look forward to.

I am working on a lit fic novel for my PhD and also developing several other novel length projects for YA and children. Also on the lookout for an artist to collaborate on a 7 issue comic book targeted at girls for an American company. If anyone is interested, drop me a line.