Archive | May, 2011

Manga Mondays presents…Dreamland!

30 May

Dont you just love it when authors cross across universes and find a means to tie up everything neatly together. If you do, like myself then Dreamland is the manga for you. I am a little confused at calling this a proper manga. The author is french, a certain Mr Reno Lemaire, this is also his first published work. But the work in itself, ah words escape me.

Rarely ever has the blending of the fantastic to the real been so vivid and yet polished. Dreamland as the name rightly advances is about the land of our dreams. Dreams of you, me and everyone else. There are certain rules in place, and those few gifted enough to overcome fear in their dreams gain the ability to traverse this dreamscape at will.

They become travelers, of spirit and dreams.

Of course the standard manga tropes are a plenty, powers for instance are much more clearly defined that one might expect in a dreamland, and the villains are shown up front. Or at least the chief antagonists, maybe a shadowy villain or two are yet to appear. But the telling of this tale is fantastic on every page. It reminds me of the few works that touch upon the magical with such convincing that one has no choice but to believe.

And believe you will, if not in the hero and his rather unheroic resolve, than at least you will in his companions…each with an agenda and a motivation backing them. The character development is mature and rich. With even characters seeming unimportant at first being later shown to have multiple facets to their nature. This adds a depth usually absent in the more popular manga of today.

The world of dreams itself is well detailed with vast regions to be explored, leaving for creative monsters and cannon fodder. Intriguing characters are around aplenty. Including an enigmatic pipe smoking wise man who somehow manages to be at the right place mostly at the right time. And the mysterious Toro Picana, a vastly powerful traveler who has returned to the Dreamland after a long time. Timely appearances by such characters hints at an underlying greater story to the manga than simple episodic hooks and thus increases the appeal of the tale manifold. There are the Nightmare Lords, rulers of realms in Dreamland and maintaining a precious balance of power between them. And then there are our heroes, a fresh group of travelers bent on exploring all of Dreamland, each for their own reason.

All together the recipe for delightful chaos.

Dreams are one of my favored subjects and the last time I was entranced by the world of dreams so was when I was introduced to Neil Gaiman’s masterworks. That does not mean I am comparing the two works. However that does mean I hold this manga in the same vein. It is a compelling and spiraling tale of grand heroics and sparkling humor. Rounded off with a hint of love and loss, and dazzling characters.

Dreamland the manga, catch it while its hot.


30 May

Angry rant by Stewart Loud

I attended London’s May MCM Expo convention at the Excel center this weekend and, man, it was a fantastic three days! Most of you have probably seen the hundreds of pictures of the wide variety of incredible cosplayers and stalls at the event that I’ve posted on our facebook page, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. No, today I’m writing about how I had my wrist band taken away from me on the final day and got refused entry for the rest of the event. Like so many of the events in my life, the disappointment and sadness has quickly turned to bitter resentment and anger. I didn’t think it would help much at the time if I argued with the apes on security or the MCM official who explained in great detail how it was all my fault so I’ve decided to vent my frustration by writing about it and you lot can make of it what you will.

I bought a weekend pass online which gave me access to the event on the Friday as well as the Saturday and Sunday. The site was relatively quiet on Friday due to it only being open to weekend ticket holders so I quickly had my ticket scanned by the friendly MCM stewards and was given a paper wrist band as proof that I had paid so I could walk in and out of the venue. All day Friday and Saturday morning the wrist band checks were carried out pleasantly by MCM stewards and after a few times through they began recognizing me (probably due to my Punisher outfit) and just waved me through with comments like “it’s ok Punisher I’ve seen yours”

Half way through the Saturday though, someone thought it was a good idea to put a separate team of overweight, bored security guards on the entrance and suddenly the event wasn’t just organized, it was policed! The friendly polite checks were replaced with white shirted goons aggressively Bellowing “ARMS IN THE AIR! WRIST BANDS ON DISPLAY!” at all the mild mannered comic and anime fans as they neared the entrance. These ass holes even started doing wrist band checks outside and kicking cosplayers socializing with their friends off the site.

Anyway, half way through Sunday I was walking in with my wrist in the air when one of the security guards grabbed me by the arm. He’d spotted the tape on my band where, having cut it off carefully each night to shower, I’d taped it back on each morning. He called another guard over who took it from me and explained “we can’t let anyone through with a taped band” I’m assuming in case I’d just picked it up off the ground or something, but this seemed a bit unfair as the MCM stewards had managed to remember me all weekend. they weren’t interested when I tried to show them my ticket and directed me to where I had my ticket scanned in the first place. There I met one of the event organizers (I think. He seemed to have more authority than the other MCM people) who told me that when I was given the arm band I was told numerous times that it had to last me all weekend, I was fine to shower in it and not to cut it off.

I WAS NOT TOLD THIS. I like to think I’m a reasonably intelligent person so if I had been told this I wouldn’t have found myself in this situation.

When I arrived on the Friday the place was almost empty so It’s not like I had trouble hearing what the friendly MCM people said to me as I had my ticket scanned. The guy who gave me the arm band just said “here you go mate”. In fact when I returned on the Saturday I went and asked a member of staff if my arm band was still valid before I went in. But no, even when I presented my ticket and my drivers license to prove I was the ticket holder (after I’d sent a friend in to the venue for me to retrieve my bag and wallet from the cosplay stand) he refused to give me another band saying that my only option was to queue up for half an hour to buy another ticket which I couldn’t have done even if I wanted to because I’d spent all my money. The guy even said he’d just said the same thing to a twelve year old boy.

So what could I do? Well I could probably tell you a few things I wish I’d done but like I said I didn’t think it would have helped so I just sat outside and ate my lunch before I left. While out there I did have an interesting conversation with one of the stewards who having seen the guards collaring me earlier came up and told me how he thought it was bullshit as he’d been letting me through all weekend and that most of the MCM stewards hate the security guys as well because of what a negative atmosphere they create.
His words: “they know we wont cause any trouble so they make trouble.”
I also spoke to a number of other cosplayers who said they hadn’t been told what I was suposed to have been told about the wrist bands.

Don’t get me wrong before all this happened I had a fantastic time and all of the other MCM Expo staff were really nice people I just had to vent a bit on here because it seemed so unfair. But what do they care, they’ve already got my money right?

Please link this article to as many friends as you can! I wanna know if anyone else had a similar experience!

A call to arms: Talking comics with Level 10

30 May

Comic addicts announces a team up with Level 10 studios!

Do you ever wonder whats going to happen with Major Rafeeq of Rhabas incident?
Did you want to know why has level 10 been changing the art for Shaurya so much?
What is the future of Batu Gaiden?
What goes behind opening a comic studio and running it in India?
What are level 10 future plans?
What other comics are we going to see?

You can know all of this and any other question that comes to your mind , through our monthly segment .

All you have to do is drop the questions that you want to ask Level 10 studios as a comment in the post or on our facebook page ( …

We would collate these questions and endeavor to get you answers from Level 10.. The answers would then be posted on the site

So what are you waiting for ? Ask away…

(Please frame your questions that is non-offensive to level 10 and comic community at large, else they would be removed)

A Hero to Salute on Memorial Day

29 May
With it being the Memorial Day weekend we thought we at Comic Addicts should salute a hero who is the embodiment of the core values of not just the armed forces, but of what attributes a partiot should have. Many of you must be thinking that we’re referring to Superman, but this particular individual HAS NOT renounced his American Citizenship and never will. Today we’re going to take a good look at Steve Rogers, aka Captain America.
Captain America fist appeared in 1941. A frail Steve Rogers wanted more than anything to join the military and serve his country fighting the Nazi’s. Unfortunately for Rogers he was a 4-F and rejected. So when the chance came to participate in an experimental super soldier program Rogers jumped at it. Even though he knew it could kill him he figured that if nothing else the sciensts would be able to benefit and perfect the syrum. However, the syrum didn’t kill Rogers. Instead it turned him into Captain America. Where once puny 4-F Steve Rogers stood now there was a man who was the peak of human physical perfection. Rogers also learned several forms of martial arts including American boxing making him one of the best combatants on Earth. The only weapon he carries is his vibranium shield. Then he was frozen in the Arctic, but thawed out to become the leader of the Avengers.

Captain America proudly wears the red, white, and blue as he battles threats to democracy and human decency. Although, lets be honest for a moment. Captain America came about as a sort of answer to all of the Nazi Propoganda that was being put out. Captain America was a way to get the kids involved on fighting the Nazi threat. It was amazing that suddenly America had this hero who couldn’t be defeated no matter how hard the Third Reich tried. It was inspiring to think about. However, don’t misconstrue us. Even though he came about as a piece of American propaganda Captain America has proven himself time and again that he is an amazing hero.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast for a little bit. In Superman: Earth One it’s all about how depressed Superman is because he has these amazing powers and he doesn’t know what to do with them on and on. Captain America has to constantly be at the peak of his game because it’s his job to inspire and lead the American forces in WWII. There is a lot on Cap’s shoulders because he is the first and only one of his kind. Not only that, but Cap doesn’t really have any powers. He has enhanced human abilities. So while Cap and Superman my share the title for biggest boyscout and carry the weight of the world on their shoulders Captain America is a mortal man while Superman is a superpowered alien. Imagine being the poster boy of truth, justice, and the American way, but without all of the superpowers. Although the biggest difference between Captain America and Superman (besides superpowers) is that Cap is a soldier trained to kill if necessary while Superman won’t kill pretty much under any circumstance (Doomsday aside of course).

Captain America is one of the few people who can bring down the Hulk. Isn’t that astounding? Hulk may be strong, but he’s not smart. Cap also butts heads with Tony Stark on a regular basis. Tony is a mechanical genuis, but Cap knows when to put him in his place. Having courage like that is admirable. Then again that was one of the attributes that made Steve Rogers appealing for the test was his bravery.

On July 22 Chris Evans takes up the shield in the new movie Captain America: The First Avenger. Believe it or not Cap has been on the big screen before:

Then of course Cap has been on the small screen as well:

So as you celebrate Memorial Day remember to thank the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. Then after thank Stan Lee for giving us an icon to look up to as he has two feet firmly planted on the ground.

It’s a Bird…

28 May

Today, we take a break from the ‘chronological’ DCU & delve into a daringly different iconic treatment of Superman.
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Writer: Steven T. Seagle

Artist: Teddy Kristiansen

Sat down to arranging my trades & singles of…, the “World’s Greatest Superhero” in proper order…….and came a lot of different iconic interpretations of the World’s first superhero….THE KENTS, a western history of the ancestors of the Kent family by John Ostrander, Timothy Truman & Tom Mandrake, SECRET IDENTITY, the story of a young man from the normal world who just happens to be named Clark Kent by Kurt Busiek & Stuart Immonen, BIRTHRIGHT, a re-interpretation of the origin of Superman by Mark Waid & Leinil Francis Yu, and this little ditty called IT’S A BIRD by Steven T. Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen.

Jokes apart, when he was created, way back in 1938, by two Jewish Immigrants, he wasn’t the all powerful, oh so tough character he is built up to be nowadays. He couldn’t fly, just leap really high. He couldn’t fly faster than light, sound or time (Note: Even today, what Superman’s powers are is really open to interpretation by the writer of the current story)

But what makes him tick? How can a man be so goody good all the time? These aren’t just questions in the mind of the popular public, but also in one of the writers of the title, Steven T. Seagle (Not to be confused with the movie star)

When departing writer Joe Allen (meant to be “Joe Kelly”, one of the stalwarts who brought about the new look of Superman) gives Steven T. Seagle the opportunity of writing the Man Of Steel in one of his flaship titles. Unforeseen by any of us, Steven refuses as he cannot identify with the character. This is where the story actually begins.

What follows is a romp through the life of writer Steven as he reminisces what makes him have unpleasant memories of the ‘S’ on Superman’s shirt, struggles relationships with his girlfriend, brother and father, and thinks about what would actually make Superman a hero. At one point in time, he even belts the erstwhile writer of Superman over a disagreement. How he eventually comes to terms with his life and Superman is what forms the crux of this story.

The specific things that I liked here are Steven Seagle’s memoirs…..he seems to be so honest, so unashamed, it actually hurts. Steven’s father has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease (also called Huntington’s chorea or St. Vitus’ dance) and the chances of it being passed down to him and even further make him wrestle with his life. Being from the medical profession myself, I appreciate how easily the writer explains the disease so that the readers are not left bewildered. The art is wonderfully simplistic. Teddy makes the use of simple images to convey the bleak aspects therein. The charm here lies in knowing where to stop….the minimalist pallette employed actually suits the story. Just check out this image as a quick sample.

Writer Steven shows considerable depth here, in contrast to his actual Superman run with artist Scott McDaniel. Steven wrote this book based on how he felt when actually offered the title. Also, most of Steven’s other work is pretty funny, like AMERICAN VIRGIN; in contrast this book has pretty serious overtones.

On top of everything, this is a VERTIGO book. I love the fact that only the idea of Superman is the topic of a mature readers imprint. Just shows how deep you can go with comics, generally called “kiddie books”. If that’s what you can do with Superman, think of how lengthy volumes written simply on the ideas behind THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK & UNCANNY X-MEN can be.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 10 out of 10 points

Published as a graphic novel, 17.95 US$

Vinay: Monkey Man Cometh Part 2

27 May

I dropped the dame at her hotel and headed to John’s Freak-X Show. A motley bunch of nomadic entertainers who had set up camp nearby. Where else could one find a monkey man? Plus the monkey man’s sightings over the past 3 months had always occurred in the vicinity of the camp. There had to be a connection. I knew John quite well. He’s a good friend. Only tried to kill me twice.

We overcame our differences over the years and John eventually came to disclose his deepest secrets to me. Helped a little by alcohol. John claimed that he didn’t run a mere freak show. He said that most of his freaks had inhuman powers because they weren’t human. I scoffed at him but didn’t totally disbelieve him. There was something weird about this group.

I approached John’s trailer, the one with the big X in a circle, and knocked.

“‘Jonathan. Open up old man”

“Dad’s not in.”

Kal startled me. He has this knack of sneaking that would drive the hardiest ninja to commit seppuku in shame. Kal’s the physical manifestation of the word ‘Dork’. Loose clothes, thick glasses, oiled hair and extreme introvert behavior. Acne was the only thing missing apart from the usual 180 plus IQ. He’s too normal a nerd to hang out with a group of freaks.

But Kal was the reason the freak show started. John claimed that Kal was rocketed to earth from a dying planet and had crash landed in John’s fields. John and his late wife Martha didn’t want to hand him over to the authorities. So they abandoned their identities to keep Kal safe. They dedicated themselves to finding and protecting others like Kal. Quite a collection they had now!

“I’ll tell him you had come around.”

“No. I’ll wait till he has made up his mind about the huge creature that was dragged into his trailer by 6 men!”

Kal scratched his head. “You have x-ray vision too?”

“Who else does?”

“Uhhh. No one. Not me for sure! No sir. No x-ray vision or heat vision for that matter! Errr…Just wondering how you guessed it.”

“Six sets of footprints leading to the trailer and away from it. Large part of the grass is flattened as if something huge was dragged. Plus the trailer’s wheels have almost sunk into the ground because of the weight. Unless John’s put up around 200 kilos, I assume there is something else that is causing the trailer to sink. It has to be a creature otherwise why not discuss it outside instead of dragging it in?”

“It’s Samson the strongman.”

“Never met him earlier”

“He is a recent addition. We took him in around 4 months back. He’s got anger issues.”

Strongman. 4 months. Anger issues. The angry monkey man who beats people to their death with his bare hands made his first appearance 3 months back. Maybe I can solve this case by dinner time.

“So what is Jonathan doing about him?”

“Discussing the matter with Chakram and his creepy friend. They think he is the infamous monkey man.”

Chakram was the old crone who considered himself the resident herbalist. He once tried to palm me a potion for regaining vigor at a cost that made me lose the vigor I had left. He always seemed a bit too greedy for his own good. Now he seemed to have attained a creepy friend to add to his charm.

“You might as well go inside. You’ll probably guess everything standing out here anyways.”

Kid’s got smarter. Probably had some of Chakram’s potions. I knocked the door again.

“Let me in John. I could help with Samson.”

The door opened and a haggard looking John beckoned me in. First thing I noticed inside the trailer was that I couldn’t see the inside of the trailer. It was hidden around a giant lying prone on the floor. Two others had somehow managed to squeeze themselves inside besides the giant.

Chakram looked like a witch whose favourite cauldron got stolen. With them was one of the most indescribable men I had ever seen. Though ‘creepy’ as Kal eloquently put it wouldn’t be a bad start. He exuded anger, strength, cruelty, cunning and a lack of personal hygiene. He did all this from the confines of a wheelchair. He had the air of a man who would eat his own child if it was needed. He snarled at me.

“What the fuck you looking at old man? Never seen a cripple before?”

“Never saw one with such sunny disposition before. So John, old friend, are you redecorating? A new rug would have done wonders for the floor. A dead giant is not to my taste though.”

“Oh no no no no no no no. Samson’s alive. Just unconscious. I have concocted a special gas to knock him out. He is too angry to be kept conscious. Isn’t he, Mr. Savage?”, Chakram whined in his nasal tone.

Savage. The name suited the man in the wheelchair. Matted dirty hair, unkept beard, bloodshot eyes and scarred muscular arms. He looked like a caveman brought back to life. He snapped at Chakram.

“No names in front of strangers Chakram. Don’t make me remind you again.”

“Yyyyyes. Mmmmmister Savage…….Ohhhh….Ssssoory Mister Saavaa….I mean….I think I’ll shut up now.”

Chakram would have been an amazing ventriloquist. He hardly spoke from his mouth.

“Hmmm. So what is an unconscious giant doing in your trailer John?”

“What’s it to you old geezer? You stay out of our business. John has too much on his mind. Don’t you John? Escort this man out.”

Clearly something was wrong here. John was old but he was tough. For 15 years he had dealt with and managed people who seemed to possess super powers. Yet he was letting Savage boss him around.

“Fine. But John, we need to talk about Wayne. Come out for a bit, will you old pal?”

Wayne was John’s other adopted son. He was a trapeze artist like his parents before him. John adopted him after his parents were shot dead while returning from a movie. Wayne never really got over the incident but dedicated himself to the show and to John.

John accompanied me outside. He seemed too tired to ask me anything,

“Sorry. I don’t have anything to tell about Wayne. But you got some interesting company in your trailer. Samson is a telepath. Chakram is a kidnapper. Savage is the monkey man.”

"Virgin comics was both a boon and a bane on Indian comics" – Shamik Dasgupta in a tell all interview

26 May

Comic addicts got up close and personal with the talent power house Shamik Dasgupta, well known for his hit series from erstwhile Virgin comics – Ramayana 3392 AD , and his latest collaboration with Level 10 comics – Daksh.
Shamik speaks about his career post Ramayana 3392 AD , Irkin comics , the Daksh controversy , his current work and provides his perspective on Indian comic scene.  
Q:. After your stint with virgin comics is level 10 the first Indian comics company you have worked
A: No, I have worked previously with Arkin Comics, a Pune based company which came out with
a bunch of interesting content in 2009-10. I was writing for their flagship title ‘Irith’ which is about a
band of Indian super-soldiers designed specifically to combat a newly emerged terrorist outfit who are
packed with alien technology.
Q: Sounds interesting, what happened with your work with them then?
A:: Arkin management had shut down in mid 2010…as it is with most new fangled comic publishing
houses they ran out of money. We had published around two issues of Irith and had work done for
almost five issues but they never saw the light of day.
Q: How did this opportunity with Daksh and Level 10 came about ?
A: Level 10 had announced their creator owned content for Jump Magazine #6 in mid 2010, I thought
of it as an opportunity to showcase the art of a very talented and young artist from Kolkata called
Biboswan Bose and establish a property based on an anti-hero or a dark hero.
Most of the superhero characters in India are squeaky clean; hence it was more like proving a
point for us. Money was not an issue; it was kind of an obstinate rage that fuelled the completion
of the comic. I am immensely indebted to my artist friend Biboswan, colorist Neeraj Menon, letterer
Tazeen Shaikh and publisher Level 10 alongside celebrity guest artists like Abhishek Singh Malsuni,
Shashank Mishra and Jeevan Kang for their contribution and helping this small independent project to
reach the height of being almost an event.
Q: That issue was unique form Indian perspective, as it had creator owned content and the highlight was definitely your work on Daksh. But soon thereafter, Daksh was embroiled in a controversy. What is your take on the entire thing?
A: Good things always come with a dash of spice and perhaps the so called controversy was the
spice that was sprinkled on Daksh.
Q: What is the status quo of that controversy now? Are things settled between Shadab/Raj and you?
A: There are no matters to settle, Daksh has a different outlook to a plot that is wholly not original
altogether, and the basis of the story is built on a poem by Kalidasa called ‘Meghadutam’. There have
been no legal issues between myself and Raj.
Q. Does that mean, we are going to see Daksh again sometime soon?
A: Perhaps. No one can tell! But all will be revealed on this space in due time.
Q: Well, if you are being sly about Daksh right now, let us ask you what are you working on these
A: Currently I am working with a media house in Mumbai who are planning to venture in the unknown
and mystical realm of comics and animation. Presently things are under wraps once we are ready
there will be a major announcement.
Q: Are you working/planning to work in an comic related project in the future?
A: Yes Indeed!
Q. What is your perspective on the Indian comic scene right now?
It was in a deplorable state a couple of years back, but thankfully things are picking up. What this
industry needs is a major boost financially.
Q: You have a long history of working in comics and working across publishers. What has the journey been like?
A: Come on dude, don’t make me feel like an old man (though I sometime feel age is finally catching
up on me). The journey so far has been wonderful. I started working with the people who actually
seemed like the messiahs of comics in India…namely Virgin Comics. I started working with them even
before the inception of Virgin comics and perhaps those were the most passionate days of my life.
Virgin actually proved the point that international level talent and potential is actually present in India,
the fire was burning from the beginning and all it needed was a bit of fanning of the green paper.
Virgin finally brought the much needed fan to ignite that fire and by jove it spread like wildfire. But as
you know the messiahs had proven to be false prophets and after a great beginning the company fell
flat on their faces in mid 2008.
It was a severely wrong management decision to market content created by and for Indians in a
foreign market and try to compete with Titans like DC and Marvel. Virgin learnt the lesson but in a
hard way and with them they brought down the great glass castles we all built in our hearts. Virgin
was both the boon and bane for Indian comics. Boon in the sense it gave exposure to a lot of Indian
talents on a global platform and bane in the sense after Virgin no other large corporations are going to
burn their hands in the same fire.
A strong belief was growing that comics cannot be possible in India but good people in Level 10, Raj,
Campfire are proving it wrong gradually. Still there are very few players in the market and we have a
long way to go…a really long way to go, I am not talking in terms of miles I am talking in terms of light
Q: What are your suggestions for making comic scene more appealing for readers and creators alike?
A: My first and foremost demand is quality…not only in terms of story and art but all over. Comics
has to become a symbol of cool for the young generation the way MTV has become and that is
not possible only through retelling of Mythology or classics. There has to be the presence of strong
intellectual properties which can transcend to games, movies, animation, merchandise…the works.
People who say comics are back dated, should realize so was radio and vividh bharati until the fm
channels started flooding the air. There has to be a huge influx of talents, finances and consciousness
for the medium to make it a success and yes we must take bold steps. Gone are the day when
mythological retelling in graphic format ruled the market and still does(that gives us an idea how
stagnated we are when it comes to imagining and creativity). It is time young blood is injected in this
much neglected medium.
Q: What are you reading comic wise these days?
A: I have bought the entire Swamp Thing run by Alan Moore which comprise six TPBs and what a
pleasure it is to read the master at work. It simply takes you to another world and another era.
Q: Who is your favourite character out there?
A: Awww…I can tell you the characters I hate, but the characters i love, it is such a long list that you
will need a separate java scripting to fit them in all
Q: How did you end up doing comics?
A: It was nothing conscious, and I cannot do anything else but comics…I am totally useless otherwise.
In 2003 I saw an advert published in one of the Gotham comics, they were looking for people
interested in making comics and they were hiring. I could not resist and ended up in bangalore. It
was a small place, an operations office and studio combined and I met Jeevan Kang, the erstwhile
studio chief there. He showed me some of his concept arts on Ramayana, and that was it I wanted
in. I couldn’t believe Ramayana can be told in such a cool manner. I tried beyond my capabilities and
finally was accepted after eight months as a studio co-ordinator in Gotham Studios. Years passed
by and finally the dream of doing Ramayana and that also with Jeevan as an artist was fulfilled when
finally we made Ramayan 3392 AD Reloaded together in 2006. The rest was pure awesomeness
Q: What would be your dream project?
A: I had already worked on my dream project Ramayan 3392 AD, it was my most extensive and
acclaimed work till date but the comic was discontinued after Virgin closed down. My dream (which
mostly will be unfulfilled) is to complete the epic someday. Au revoir….

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t."

25 May

In case any of you were wondering, this weeks title is a quote from Polonius, Hamlet Act 2. Hey I wouldnt expect a Shakespeare quotation in a comic review without it trying to be pretentious either but here it is amazingly apt.
If you’ll but bear with me a little you might be intruiged.
Today we are gathered here folks to talk about a series that apart from its curious name did not appear to me to be anything but another Fables like rip-off or parody or some such and thus I avoided it for the first couple of issues.
Of course me being me I could not contain my curiosity (I swear if I was a cat Id be long out of lives by now!) and had to give it a shot – the book I refer to is an intruiging new title from the fine folks at IDW, which incidentally is one of the more interesting publishers out there in terms of alternative content. Like Image and Dark Horse these guys also publish a vast mix of things from books like Peter David’s lovely, morally ambiguous, noir-like and fantasy laced Fallen Angel stories (I really like em, maybe one of these weeks if you guys are intrigued enough…?), some basic stuff like nicely rebooting the G.I.Joe franchise (better then that steaming pile of a movie…) – alongwith numerous other franchises they’ve been putting out nicely like Tank Girl, Underworld, 24, CSI, Tranformers, varied Doctor Who books including by Grant Morrison among many and recently even Godzilla! Then they have horror books like the 30 Days of Night series, carrying on TV properties like the Angel franchise (which I thought was so much better then its parent program ‘Buffy’) and of course completely independant and intriguing new titles like Fallen Angel and… the one which this post… is supposed to be about…
So on to the book then before I meander off again!

On this week’s mental menu is a recent ongoing by writers/creators Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery and lead artist Andy Belanger with lovely cover images by Kagan Mcleod. Yeah I know, sounds a little like a Highlander or Braveheart character list (sorry but to me it did at first, in a good way! I love em both!!)
This is a crazy book called Kill Shakespeare and is literally all about that. Not the easiest concept to explain and believe me if I can say that then its a weird one alright! But in all seriousness, this is a truly masterful piece of story-telling and re-telling as it takes characters and ideas from all over the vast world of Shakespeare and throws it all together in this marvelous mix of fantasy and literature with dashed of high adventure intrigue and power-play. In its way a fitting tribute to the Bard himself who is the inspiration and glue that holds this world together.
As the official website of the comic Ive linked above states, this is “An epic adventure that pits Shakespeare’s greatest heroes against his most frightening villains.” 

In this book we see amalgamation of various aspects of the Bards many works – our primary heroes are Hamlet (seemingly between Act 4 and 5 of the play itself which works because in Act 5 he has aged to 30 in which case he should have been made king when his father died – I realised this after some random online research! Clever me!) and suprisingly Juliet, here without a Romeo who is apparently dead as at the end of that play whereas she did not in fact die but survived.
 The roles of vile villains is aptly filled by the iconic (to fans) Lady Macbeth and King Richard III.
Banished from his kingdom after killing the wrong man, the aforementioned Polonius, in a failed attempt to kill his uncle the king to avenge his father who’s ghost has been haunting our young hero, (for those who did not know it…) Hamlet is on his way to a new land – England. Morose and fatalistic and lost, our hero is besieged by demons both within and without and eventually finds himself on a quest for his new friend Richard III because he is apparently special, referred to on several occasions as the “Shadow King”of some prophecy who is the only man who can find some special magical being called Shakespeare who is either (a) a threat to all things and evil tyrant to be destroyed or (b) the saviour of all – depending on who you believe of course.
And so we follow the journey of Hamlet and discover all the intrigues and subtleties and plans within plans at play around him and we come across a plethora of characters, some obviously familiar from the get go like Othello, and others not necessarily so to folks with limited knowledge of the plays.

In addition, the art is surprisingly suitable to the narrative as the artist has a good grasp of the characters and the visuals needed, nicely complementing the dark, gripping and occasionally violent story as it unfolds. Vibrant and unflinching, the covers also suit the feel of the book perfectly – each one a lovely and enticing work that again has the percfect feel of a modern graphic story mingled with a classic Shakesperean image.

There are people who have shown issue with the series and cry foul using their scholarly standing to belittle and pick at this book, and there have also been those who have praised it among those self-same circles.
Personally I feel that while it may not be the greatest work ever, it is a truly well written and interesting read that works so well bridging in a way the old world of Shakespeare and his works and the newer worlds of story-telling that we have now.
I would recommend checking this to any and all fans of fantasy and high adventure and of course to fans of the Bards may works – however if you are a tight-arsed purist who must have only the original English and can make no allowances in altering the sheer perfection that was Shakespeare… dont bother and possibly reassess your mind-sets.
Everyone else should have a rollicking good time regardless, whether you know the originals or not, a 12 issue saga nearing its end (#11 releases this week) that is a clever and fun adventure filled with its share of great story-telling and art.

Till next week then folks, stay shiny!

Delinquint Soul Part 2

24 May

(Continued from part 1)


Beezlebub is a delinquent manga with a twist. Oga, the brutishly strong student of a high school is one day trapped into making a contract with Beel. Beel being a baby demon, and the son of the King of Demons. Oga now has to look after Beel, and keep him safe until he grows up. At which point he will destroy the world.

Quite the twist isnt it?

However despite the apparently morbid tone of affairs this manga is nothing but a laugh riot. From chapter one it is clear that this is a comedy manga. And boy does it deliver. I found myself giggling nearly constantly as I read through chapter after chapter in my quest to find out for myself, what happened next to Oga on his adventures. The characters are not too deep, but then depth is not something you would want out this manga. They sure as hell are funny, newer stronger challenges are introduced to Oga who grows of course at typical shonen pace. Ranging from tough delinquents who wish to take a swipe at Oga’s growing reputation, to Demons come out from hell wishing to take down the Baby Beel before he can fully mature.

All through Oga protects his ward and finds out that there might be benefits to allying himself with the prince of demons after all. Drawing on Beel’s powers Oga can amplify his strength to even greater levels allowing him to wreak havoc and destruction to any foolish or unfortunate enough to get in his way.

A laugh riot with a magical twist. Delinquents and demons and a baby for good measure. This one is a must grab.

Further reading

Cromartie High School, a manga that essentially is a gag manga on Delinquency. It makes fun of the concept with an intensity that is hard to match. The protagonist an honor student forced to enroll in a high school famous for its delinquents adapts to life around him in a series of hilarious adventures.

Kyou Kara Ore Wa!

The title of the manga translates to “From today on, its my turn”. And that’s exactly what the manga is. Two students moving into a new town and a new school, greatly impressed by manga and stories of Banchos and Delinquents decide to become the greatest delinquents ever in their lives. From today onwards of course. Hoping to get an image that matches their heart’s desires they both head to a barber to get some badass hairstyles. And that is how the saga of Itou and Mitsuhashi of Nan High begins. They meet at the barber shop, then again at school in class. And from there their wild adventures takes them off to dizzying heights. For despite the fact that neither of them knew a thing about being delinquents they were both naturally strong fighters. So when push actually comes to shove, they find out that on teaming up they are nigh unbeatable.

An uneasy friendship develops between the honorable Itou and the devilishly evil Mitsuhashi. And the two of them carve out a reputation for themselves in the entire town. Of course not before they have their fair share of pain, heartbreaks and challenges. When I found Beezlebub I was greatly amused and thought it would be hard for a comedy manga to top this. But Kyou Kara Ore Wa! Is exactly that. A manga so good at its core that it will have you hooked from the first chapter. It is a laughter bonanza. You will be laughing so hard that your stomach will hurt. With Mitsuhashi, the Devil contributing to most of the laughs. The characterization in this manga is surprisingly rich with an elegant balance between the comedy and the drama. Of course at its heart it is a comedy manga and that should not be forgotten. The art might turn off a few people but trust me on this, the art is not this series high point. Its the story and the never-ending laughs. This is a not a manga you ought to miss.

Or Lord Mitsuhashi is gonna get you.

Further reading

Angel Densetsu, the tragic tale of Seichirou Kitano born with the scariest face imaginable but a golden heart. A comedy manga that traces Kitano’s attempts at becoming recognized by his fellow students as an equal and the hilarious ways in which they get freaked out by his every effort to approach them.

So as you can see, there is a lot of manga to be read. A lot of stories to be heard, a lot of art to be seen. So what are you still doing here?

Time’s a wasting.

Nish’s Notepad: Werehouse #1

24 May

After 5 days of fever, I finally managed to attend the Delhi launch of Werehouse Vol.1, organized by the Comic Addicts team itself! an hour late though. I missed the fun they had, but grabbed my copy, which is Holy Cow‘s debut title. So, here I go!
Werehouse has 3 were stories at the price of 1, so you get 3 reviews for the price of one too.. 😀

1. Gaurdian Demon

Script: Akshay Dhar
Art: Vivek Goel
Colors: Yogesh Ravindra Pugaonkar
Letters: Komal Surale

Guardian Demon is the first story in the first volume of Werehouse. The beast here is a guardian, a savior, an not an enemy. The family of the protagonist dies in an attack, leaving him behind. Alone, he wanders in the home of dangerous beasts and realizes it when an animal attacks him. Luckily, another beast defends him, but that is no ordinary beast, its a WERE-BEAST, half snow leopard and half warrior.

She teaches him the skills of a warrior, and then comes the time for the test.. This is my favorite part, thanks to Akshay for adding the mythological twist. The protagonist gets the power of Shakti-Ma and becomes a Were-Leopard himself. The rest is for you to figure out 😉
Now to my views, Gaurdian Demon is a complicated story, with a nice blend of drama and mythology in it. The art, do I even have to say that it’s awesome? Everyone knows Vivek Goel has no match. The only thing I wanted more in this one was a nice end. There was an abrupt end- which was overshadowed by the amazing story. Nevertheless, GD is a must read, an awesome story blended with awesome art.


Script: Soumya Das
Art: Vivek Goel
Colors: Yogesh Ravindra Pugaonkar
Letters: Komal Surale

Mousetrap is rather scary and a little more violent. The beginning is a little kiddish, where a newly hired maid is EATEN UP!

Nevertheless, the art in this part of the book is the best. The protagonist here, goes to the doctor and complains she has hallucinations, about a Were-Rat! The doctor fears that the protagonist’s husband has something fishy in him, goes to inspect him. On reaching the home and his room, the shock comes. Here ends the kiddish story, and it becomes rather SPOOKY..
The end here is fantastic, but I didn’t like the beginning much. The story is an easy one, but at the same time, full of suspense. I’d not rate it above GD, nor below. Both are awesome, BUT both have flaws- the end, and the beginning respectively.

3. It’s a Dog’s Death

Script: Shweta Taneja
Art: Vivek Goel
Colors: Yogesh Ravindra Pugaonkar
Letters: Komal Surale

The third and the final story, written by Shweta Taneja, who is I think also working on the next-to-next upcoming title by Holy Cow, The Skull Rosary is again complicated. This story is future based, and the first page of the story tells the story of several hundred years in one go. Robots (namely Biobombers) control the Earth. To survive, humans inject themselves with the blood of Dhole’s. So, there’s not one or two were-dogs but a whole gang of them (or should I say, a pack of them).
There is an unusual timer starting from the first panel, the logic behind which, I didn’t get till the end of the story.

So, in the beginning of the story, the hungry protagonist runs into a human girl, but crushes his feelings of eating her because she reminds him of his old days (and think she’s cute 😛 AWWWWWW). So, to save her from the biobombers, he takes her to his caves, where other Were-Dhole’s live and battle with ’em to to save her. Unfortunately, he’s too weak to battle all of them and in the second last page, other get hold of him and are about to eat the girl WHEN.. your time to read now 😉
To begin with my views, both the beginning and the last page of this story were amazing, but what was between them not so good. It’s a Dog’s Death is as complicated as Guardian Demon, but it lost its track in the middle, which I didn’t like. Nevertheless, super beginning and end brought it equal to the former ones.

Overall, Werehouse has increased the hopes for Ravanayan, by turning out to be too good. Best of luck for it, and I hope that it turns out to be even a greater hit with its first double sized issue coming this July.

ART: 5/5
STORY: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.3/5

Stay tuned as we’ll have another take at Werehouse by Rajat :D.
P.S. For the next week, I feel like itching. Itching what I can’t. 😉