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Rajat Reviews: Muhmmad Ali: The King of the Ring by Campfire

26 Oct

Who on earth has been aliveanytime in the last 50 odd years and hasn’t heard of the King of the Ring?Muhammad Ali, the one true champion of the masses.
Campfire brings to us thelegend of Ali in the form of a captivating graphic novel written by Lewis Helfandand beautifully illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma and it was launched in theComic Con Express along with Jungle Book.
Ali is considered to be a truechampion and one of the greatest sportsmen ever by many critics.
He was not only a Boxer butalso a philanthropist and a social activist. Ali, as most of us would know, wasborn Cassius Clay, but converted to Islam after joining the Nation of Islam outof protest against racial discrimination, which was predominant and popular inthe 60s in America, despite several laws and social protests against any formof racial prejudice.
Ali has been a legend and aninspiration to people of all ages and era, and not without reason.

Lewis Helfand has done afantastic job of compacting the immensely colorful like of Ali in a slightlyless than 100 page comic, which was then brought to life by none other than ourvery own resident genius, Lalit Kumar Sharma.

Click on the image to view full size

The first page of the graphicnovel seemed to me, immensely popular and not without reason. Campfire had organizeda competition where the aspiring artists were given a copy of the script forpage 1 and they had to draw their own interpretation based on that script.
We, at Comic Addicts, hadhosted an event in conjunction with Campfire and Mocha Trip where Lalit hadorganized a workshop to talk about composition, the making of a comic book andthe likes and we were also witness to some amazing art work from the MuhammadAli Art Attack Contest participants!
Click to view full size. Copyright Campfire
The story of Ali’s life is asinteresting as it is complex and Lewis has done a commendable job to bring itto us in a form which is easily understandable without losing its realsignificance and the finely hidden meaning behind Ali’s struggle and the thingshe did, the way he did it, and why he did it.
The book starts with the lifeof the young Cassius Clay, who although not as poor as many other blacks in thesame period, but had to endure the racial treatment which was displayed towardsall blacks in the 60s America. They were not allowed in Hotels, were seatedonly at the back of the Buses, and not allowed to work at several places, apartfrom the general preference of picking up white folks for pretty much anythingthat was considered worth doing.
Clay was initially puzzled andlater angry by this sort of treatment and even at that young age, you could seethe determination of the young boy to fight back against any kind ofdiscrimination.
No larger size available
He finds his mentor in the formof a kind hearted policeman Joe Martin who took Clay under his wing and gavehim the path and the direction he so desperately required to fulfil the destinyhe had selected for himself.
Martin not only taught him thebasics of boxing but also gave him important lessons about the right thing andthe wrong thing to do. He was a major influence on Clay, early on in his life.
Clay starts from the verybottom and rises up in the world of amateur boxing and then semi-professionalfollowed by an unknown entry in the Rome Olympicsin 1960, with Martin as his Coach.
Clay not only rose steadily, hewent ahead and WON the Olympic Gold Medal for Light Heavy-weight Boxing. Lateron he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after beingrefused service at a ‘whites-only’ restaurant, and fighting with a white gang.
Clay realized that his winningthe Olympic Gold did not grant him an automatic entry to the world of the“superior” white people and to find an understanding, if not an immediate solution;he joined the Nation of Islam under Malcolm X. Clay then changed his name toCassius X and then to Muhammad Ali.
This raised a lot ofcontroversies and many fans and critics admonished this change, but Ali, likethe true champion he was, just went on and on with his Wins and silenced hiscritics.
The story takes us through thelife and professional career of Ali as he makes up his way to the Championshipand is crowned the undefeated champion of the Boxing World.
We are walked through some ofthe most interesting matches in his career, like the bout with Joe Frazier,George Foreman and Ken Norton. Lalit has done a wonderful job with thefantastic artwork depicting the fight scenes with finesse and awesome detail.
We get to hear all the famousphrases of Ali, like “I’m the greatest, I’m the prettiest, I’m the best”, “I’mthe king”, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and many others (Yes. I’mnot giving everything away!!)
We also come to know about thelater part of Ali’s life and the work he did for society and sports in generaland is still doing his part, despite being riddled by Parkinson’s and sufferingvarious injuries in the course of his career.
This graphic novel is a keepand worth every penny. A great, sorry the Greatest Subject, coupled with agripping script and very well done artwork makes The King of the Ring a bookworth buying and keeping.
So go and get it for yourselfTODAY! I say Yay!

Comicon Express Mumbai : A Comic Addict’s journey from Delhi to Mumbai

22 Oct

It was a Friday night (yesterday, apparently) and the world was partying, while I was in the office, trying to wrap up my work as soon as possible so that I could go back home and finish my packing. After all, I was leaving Delhi early morning for Mumbai to attend the Comic Con Express – Mumbai representing Comic Addicts
Try hard as I might, it was 11.30pm before I could leave my office and reached home at 12.15am, past midnight, and was dead tired. Took an hour to pack up, another hour to grab a bite and rest my feet for a while and do my part of the preparation for the Comic Con. It was almost 3.30am by the time I was done, and the reporting time for our flight was 5.30am, so I decided not to close my eyes, coz if I did, I was pretty certain that I would miss the flight.
 At 5am I called Mayank and from his greeting it was certain that he had just got up!!! I told him to hurry up and left for the Airport. I reached at 5.30am and strolled around a bit and try to get some fresh air, for a change. I was expecting these guys to arrive any second. At 5.45am I called Mayank and he told me that he was just leaving his house!

Are you kidding me??? The boarding time was 6.30am! I took the PNR number and got the tickets, had 2 coffees while I waited for them. I was almost ready to just go and check in so that at least one of us would be there at the Con! Thankfully just as I was ready to walk in, a car stopped and out stepped the 2 addicts! Phew!

The Amazing sea link bridge
Cut. Check In. Cut Deposit Luggage. Cut Security Check. Cut. The idiots made me take my boots off. Cut. Final Call. Cut. Run. Cut. RUN HARDER. Cut. Running with my boots in one hand and the bag in the other. Cut. Just entered the feeder. Cut. Tied the boots while people stared at me as if I was a terrorist.  Cut. Finally got our seats. Cut. Stupid Security Drill. Cut. Take Off. Cut. Last minute Discussions. Cut. Final checks. Cut. Deepika Dozed off. Cut. Mayank too. Cut. I didn’t. Cut. Watched an episode of True Blood to keep myself awake. Cut. Landed in Mumbai. Cut. Got a taxi. Cut. Long way to the other side of the town. Cut. Hot Mumbai. Cut. Humid Mumbai. Cut. Crossed the magnificent Sea Link Bridge thingy. Cut. Thought it was a little narrow for a densely populated city like Mumbai (what were they afraid of? Stretching in the Sea, for God’s sake!!). Cut. Checked with a shop keeper. Cut. Reached the World Trade Centre. Cut. Wrong Gate. Cut. U Turn. Cut. Right Gate. Cut. Or so we thought. Cut. Got out of the taxi. Cut. Forgot my shirt. Cut. Went to the gate. Cut. Wrong gate. Cut. Right Gate. Cut. Enter: Comic Con Express –Mumbai!
The inauguration ceremony 
Oh man. What a sight it was! I was tired like a dog who had been pulling an ice sledge for the last 48 hours on my way here, just trying so hard not to sleep and as soon as I entered (which was from the Service Entrance, by the way), the first sight the hit me was a HUGE Avengers poster!!!
Zap. Sleep? What sleep!?! Tired? Who’s tired? Hurting? You can’t hurt me. I am Batman!
Headbangers Merchandise
Avengers blew my sleep and body ache! Next sigh, Headbangers Merc! Metallica, Slayer, Ozzy, Judas Priest Tee Shirts. Metallica Action Figures. Badges. Wallets. Everything Heavy and everything METAL.
That’s it. Who could even think of sleep after that??? Mayank and Deepika set up our stall while I went to wash my face and change in the Comic Addicts costume. It was such a rush meeting some old friends, some new ones, several ones for the first time after the Delhi Comic Con in Feb this year.
Akshay Dhar and Vivek Goel 
Saw Vijayendra Mohanty (Ravanayan), Vivek Goel (Holy Cow!), Akshay Dhar (Fellow Addict – Core Member no less, Retrograde, Werehouse), Shamik Dasgupta (another fellow Addict, Ramayana 3392 AD), one and only Kshiraj Telang (do I really need to introduce???), Abhijit Kini (UdBiMa!!!) and MANY other familiar faces.

Bombay Merch 

The good folks from Pop Culture were running all over the place trying to make sure that the cogs were running smoothly and that there were no gaps, nothing missing and basically plugging any last minute gaps. I was very pleased to meet some of our Bombay Correspondents, who had been introduced virtually – online but had never met in person. The cool Addicts who were holding the fort in Mumbai, and all of them have been doing a brilliant job, I must say, are: Aalok, Anubhav, Ashutosh and later joined by the funnyman Vinay and another really helpful volunteer and an honorary Addict, Aakash. Finally we set up the stall and your truly went for a prowl, both to click pictures for the viewing pleasure of all you good folk back home, who couldn’t attend this awesome event and of course, to scout goodies for myself 😀
I saw some really cool cosplayers and was pleasantly surprised! I was a little apprehensive after realizing the location of the venue that probably people might be reluctant to come all the way here just to attend a comic con, but I am SO glad to find out that I was utterly and completely wrong and I had severely underestimated the Comic fans in Mumbai!
Please consider this as a public apology for ever having doubted your dedication and love for the Comic books and all things comic!

There were girls and guys dressed as Fred Flintstones, Naruto, Snow White, Hit Girl, She Hulk (YES, You better believe it and see the pics if you don’t believe me), an awesome Darth Vader, Asterix and MANY MANY more coming in by the minute!

Indian comic industry together with Comic Addicts team
The event kick started with small introduction and lightening of the lamp by the Mr Prem Kamath, Head of Channel V, India. Coincidentally one of the first events of the day was a presentation by Comic Addicts! So ALL the Addicts present took the stage, growled the calling call to gather all geeks and Mayank delivered a power packed and fun filled presentation, taking the audience through the whole idea of Comic Addicts, what, why, when who and where, discussing all aspects we aim to cover and the expectations our fans have with us and what all do we aim to deliver in the coming months! Believe it or not, but our presentation ended with representatives from Vimanika, Level 10, Holy Cow, Pop Culture and Campfire on the stage, together for the FIRST TIME EVER!!! Yes, You’ll probably want to see the pictures before taking my word for it, won’t you??
Our presentation was pretty well received and people started flocking towards our little stall to find out more about us, which felt nice, if I may say so.
I started the whole clicking pictures and explaining people about Comic Addicts. I tried to cover as many cosplayers as possible. Some of them were just brilliant and these addicts need all the encouragement they can get!

Launch of Retrograde
After a while Akshay’s magnum opus Retrograde was launched by VJ Manish and Juhi from Channel V. That was followed by none other than Karan Vir taking over the stage and introducing people to Vimanika, and launching his new publication titled Shiva: The Legend of the Immortal. This was accompanied by a very cool soundtrack for Shiva, joined by a live performance by Shahbaz Mansoory on percussions. And guess who decided to join us in the middle of the presentation? None other than the Lord Shiva himself!!! Yes, I know. We have pics to prove it, so have some faith, won’t you?

Sufi Comics

There was also a nice session by Sufi Comics, Green Gold Animation, which I am sorry to say, couldn’t cover in their entirety because of a sudden influx of dozens of Cos Players who demanded all my attention. Especially someone familiar, who was dressed as none other than Captain Jack Sparrow! Last Con’s winner Daanish, who was dressed as Jafar, was dressed as Jack Sparrow and looked absolutely AWESOME! Initially I thought it was one of those official Disney Costumes, one can order for a fortune from their website, but Capt’n Sparrow took me through each part of his costume and explained how he used different things to look like something else! The sceptic in me scrutinized EVERY part of his costume in the minutest details and believe me, if I am nothing if not a critic and cynic and if I was finally convinced about the authenticity of the costume being handmade, it HAS to be genuine! It was just mind blowing! No wonder he was one of the most popular Cos players this time around too!

Wonder Bai
Oh, how could I forget something so cool!?! Duh! We also had a sizzling hot Wonder Bai between us too!!! She is the Mascot of this Comic Con Express and was a fantastic looking cos player who totally loved her part!
The crowd kept trickling in and there were around 2000 odd people by around 3.00pm. We then had a nice session by the good folks at Level 10 who introduced us with Batu Gaiden and we also saw a kickass trailer of a Batu Gaiden ANIME!! YES!! That’s in the pipeline folks and from the previews it looks totally awesome!!!

Session with Aabid Surti
This was then followed by a very very interesting session with none other than legendary Aabid Surdi, who needs no introduction! He is one of the pioneers and a living legend of the Indian Comic Industry. He has created characters like Dabbu Ji and Bahadur and he shared his amazing experiences with us, including some very interesting facts about Osho and Raj Kapoor being fans of Dabbu Ji and Inspector Azad!
After the captivating interview / session, we were visited by some surprising guests. Bade, Chotte and Bhigi Billi from the music channel 9xM who declared the winner of the Cosplay!
The 3rd place was by Tarzan, 2nd by Jack Sparrow and the 1st by Nighcrawler!
Yes, you heard me. There was a Night Crawler, a Tarzan, A Rogue and MANY other awesome cos players!
By the time today’s proceedings ended, I am pretty sure we were visited by more than 4500 people!!! Which was an astounding and surprisingly pleasant number of people!


The day closed with a performance of the band AGNI!!

Your humble correspondent (ok, NOT so humble after all) is dead tired but still not sleepy somehow! I just can’t for tomorrow!!! We have so many cool events lined up for Day 2 (sadly the final one too) and those who are in Mumbai and were unfortunate enough to not turn up today, this is an excellent opportunity for you to come and have the time of your life.
Trust me. Golden Kela Awards by Cyrus Broacha, Session with, launch of Jungle Book, Preview of Amar Chitra Katha’s Sons of Ram, session with Holy Cow Entertainment and MANY more cool events are lined up for Day 2 and if you miss this, despite being in the city, I indeed pity thee!

Signing off… Dead Man Ridge!

Comic Con through Campfire and brimstone!

22 Sep

Campfire’s experience at the last Comic Con
At Comic Con Delhi ’10
Fifteen thousand comic book fans gathered together in Delhi for India’s first ever comic con. The two-day convention was a phenomenal success, far exceeding the expectations of both the organisers (Twenty Onwards Media) and the participants.
Campfire graphic novels, for example, raked in more revenue during the first day of the comic con than in 10 days at the 2010 Delhi Book Fair.

Awesome covers! (Click for wallpaper size)
As it was an event that focused on Comics, the response was phenomenal. Campfire launched its Indian Mythology series at the Con, including ‘Sita: Daughter of the Earth’, ‘Ravana: Roar of the Demon King’ and ‘The Offering: The Story of Ekalavya and Dronacharya’.
The titles were sold remarkably well and the demands of the comic afficandos were impressive.
Mumbai next.
Speaks for itself I think!
We look forward to the next innings of Comic Con happening in Mumbai next month. We have a large readership in Mumbai and we are eagerly waiting to meet our fans there. We have added a large collection of titles in our Biography and Originals category, apart from the titles we showcased in the last Con.
With new titles like ‘Nelson Mandela’, ‘Ali Baba and the forty thieves: Reloaded’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ and ‘Muhammad Ali’ on the stands, we are planning to launch our forthcoming Classic ‘The Jungle Book’.
We have also planned something special for the launch, which will only be disclosed at the event.
Comic Con and the Comic Industry
Comic Con is a perfect platform to keep the Indian comic culture alive. As we all know that the Indian comic market is still in a fairly nascent stage and events like these are very important for the growth and success of the industry.

SPECIAL PREVIEW: Jason and the Argonauts!

15 Sep

Welcome folks to a special preview of one of the most unique looking books to be published out of the Campfire library.

Now, Greek mythology is one of the most widely known and the stories among the most respected and iconic across the globe. From the Trojan war to the twelve tasks of Hercules to the various tales that define their pantheon of Gods, among so many more, it is a rich and powerful family of stories that have inspired people for generations.

So it is small wonder that Campfire has taken it upon themselves to make their successful adaptation works finally touch on these tales of adventure and humanity.

Recently Campfire Graphic Novels has released a graphic novel on the story of ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ and their adventures trying to win the fabled Golden Fleece. Filled with very raw looking but intriguingly quality artwork that confounds with its combination of savage beauty, it all seems to suit the tale, the time and the place.

Courtesy the good folks over at Campfire we have for you today these sneak previews of some of the final pages from the graphic novel as well as an album at the end with loads of amazing black-and-white pages in high-res for you to enjoy and feast your eyes upon!

The Rundown (for those unfamiliar with the basics of the story):

The rightful prince of Iolcus, brought up in exile by the great centaur Chiron, Jason has just one goal in mind – to save his people from the tyrannical rule of his uncle, Pelias. Warned about his downfall by Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi, Pelias challenges Jason to do the impossible – retrieve the Golden Fleece from the kingdom of Colchis – in return for the throne. Thus flags off one the greatest voyages in Greek mythology – the voyage of Jason and his group of warriors, the Argonauts.

Overcoming tremendous odds, Jason moves relentlessly towards his goal. But he is not unaided in his mission. Insanely in love with him, the sorceress Medea ensures Jason’s success at every turn, while being unaware of the larger divine intervention at work. So then what is Jason’s achievement, what is his victory in a preordained world? Does Jason remain ignorant of the truth of his triumph, or does he come to terms with his flaws to gain a deeper realisation of his destiny?

Retold in the graphic medium with amazing visual effects, this enduring tale of adventure, comradeship, temptation, and betrayal makes one reflect on the true meaning and value of heroic success.  

And here we have an album brimming with wickedly awesome artwork for you all to enjoy! Have at it!

Preview Album
Till next time Addicts!

EXCLUSIVE! Preview of Shakespearean proportions!

9 Aug
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.” 

This line is one of the most iconic quotations of all time, heard and vaguely known even by those unfamiliar with its well-aged roots. 

For those unfamiliar, this is from the play Macbeth which some of us have had the fortune (good or bad is your call) of studying it in school in some fashion or other. Others have perchance seen it on stage, seen it parodied and in numerous other forms. 

We have exclusively for you good Comic Addicts out there, this exclusive preview from Campfire of their upcoming Graphic Novel adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s most respected and well-known plays, adapted by Jyoti Bhansali and illustrated by the clearly very talented Naresh Kumar.
‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ – so said three weird women in ghoulish glee, predicting a subversion of order in fair Scotland…

In the reign of King Duncan, Scotland is a just and hospitable land, with loyal, warlike thanes guarding the best interests of people…
…Till the very best among them, Macbeth, gives in to a fatal temptation and commits regicide. But will the crown of Scotland sit easy on his head? Will justice be restored to Scotland? Or will Macbeth remain invincible?

One of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Macbeth goes beyond a mere tragedy of moral order to a deeply psychological study of a mind preyed on by ambition, insecurities, fear, and regret.
Are you excited? Intrigued? Like the art? Share with us your thoughts on this next venture from the good folks over at Campfire!
(All images – click to enlarge!)

Rajat Reviews Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – Reloaded

21 Jul

Imagine the old country of Arabia with sand dunes, camels, blood thirsty thieves, a treasure cave, probably the first ever use of encrypted password in recorded history, theft, murder, trickery, dance, seduction, cleverness, victory and happily ever after and you will have the image of a story that everyone must have heard at some point or the other in their lives, in some form or the other.
I am, of course, talking about Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. It is a tale which has been passed down since time immemorial by word of mouth, from father to son, mother to daughter, from teacher to student until someone printed it and spread like wildfire all across the world. No one knows when or where did it originate, nor the actual author of the story, but it is as familiar to all of us as Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White, Superman, Batman and the likes.

Alibaba and the Forty Thieves Reloaded cover
Click on the image to view full size
Now image the busy streets of Mumbai with crowded roads, cars-bikes-auto rickshaws, blood thirst politicians-businessmen-criminals, a business-rich sea port, technologically advanced security vaults, theft, murder, trickery, dance, seduction, cleverness, victory and happily ever after and you will probably have just a little idea of what’s in store for you in this Classic: Reloaded by Campfire!

I am, obviously, talking about Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – Reloaded.
Written by: Poulomi Mukherjee

Art by: Amit Tayal

Published by: Campfire

This story is similar in bare bones to the classic tale, but Poulomi Mukherjee has given it a brilliant twist by placing the story in contemporary India, in the city of Mumbai. 

The city of Mumbai – Welcome to the Jungle
Click on the image to view full size

It is the gripping tale of Alibaba, a kind and decent Auto Rickshaw driver in Mumbai, who works hard to make his living and to make ends meet for his son and himself. He is living with his Brother Quasim and his – eh …dare I say evil – wife and works hard to make life easy for his Son.
Ali’s Brother and his Wife (Brothers’ wife, of course)
Click on the image to view full size

One day a stranger boards his Auto and gives him an insane amount of money to drive him to the docks at a breakneck speed. Showing good old earthly common sense(which ain’t really common at all) of suspecting people who are giving you money for no good reason, he followed him and found himself right in the middle of a twister, that takes him on a roller coaster ride and changes his life forever.

The art work has been done by Amit Tayal, who is a very talented artist. We saw his work earlier in The Swiss Family Robinson and The Three Musketeers, and he has surpassed himself in this one as well. Personally I just love the way he draws his characters. He gives it a nice bright touch and even his evil foul villains are made to look interesting only by the magic of his pencils. I, for one, have great expectations from this young one, and can’t wait to see more work that he delivers in the near future.

The marker on the door – remember that?
Click on the image to view full size

 On the whole, it is an excellent adventure and even though you know the basic story, it serves only as a framework for this book and the twists and turns will keep you turning page after page and then leave you wanting for more even after you’ve turned the last page. It is an extremely pacey storyline and does not slacks even for a minute at any point. The references to the classic story and clever homages to the original are a treat to watch. Some bits were expected, others hit you like a jack-in-a-box.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I can’t really tell you anything else about the story without actually revealing the plot, which in any case, you already are familiar with.

You will have to go ahead and buy this one, but trust me, Dear Readers, this is one graphic novel you will not regret investing into. Yes, you heard me. Investing. Not buying. For it IS an investment. You can read it today, give it to your parents to read, your kids will read it tomorrow and if you are a good book keeper, even your grand kids can read it and still enjoy it 30-40 years from now, just like I did it today.
“They all look the same to me!!!”
Click on the image to view full size
My only complaint was the book ended a little too soon, especially compared to the other releases by Campfire, but to be fair, since the story was over and everything was already taken care of and explained clearly, stretching it would just have been a senseless gesture.

So what are you waiting for? Log on to the Campfire website and place your order NOW!!!

Marjeena dances the dance of death!!!
Click on the image to view full size – I bet this pic will get the maximum hits!

Nish’s Notepad: Ravana- Roar of the Demon King

10 Jul

Another flaming title from Campfire, after Nelson Mandela comes to my notepad this week. I know you’ve read the title, so no marks for guessing the name. So, this is a mythological title, in a narrative style, from none other than RAVANA: THE DEMON KING.

Story: Abhimanyu Singh Sisodia
Art: Sachin Nagar
Colors: Sachin Nagar
Letters: Ghan Shyam Joshi

How many comics have you read on Ravana? Many. How many of them were narrated by Ravana himself? None. So the main difference between this Ravana and other ones published is it’s a narrative style graphic novel, and it doesn’t only cover the EVIL Ramayana part, but includes his whole life, birth-education-family-war and everything else. Abhimanyu Singh Sisodia has done a nice job in collecting the facts- which is a very important factor when you’re doing a mythological title. There are so many details about Ravana in the story, but the author has missed some very important incidents, like the one with Shroopnakha with it. But it’s not a major deal, since the title is “Ravana: Roar of the Demon King” rather than “Shroopnakha: Nose of the Demon Princess”. I’ll like comparing this title with Holy Cow’s Ravanayan, once I get it. The book is extensively researched, as I mentioned earlier. For instance, I did know about the boon Ravana got from Brahma, but never knew about the boon which Kumbhkarna asked from him. Another title, from which I’m gonna compare it is Sita: Daughter of the Earth, whose initial pages tell about her origins, much like this one. But I don’t know about the war. Maybe, it is from Sita’s perspective there.

So what’s more in this title? Campfire explores the journey of a half demon-half Brahman, a music expert, a great devotee, an intelligent Brahman, an immortal demon, who had only one weakness- he didn’t attend ANGER MANAGEMENT classes at his gurukul. This comic tells us how Ravana was killed because he was a “अमीर दादा की बिगड़ी औलाद “ . The end of this graphic novel is quite sudden, it seems like they took an year explaining his childhood, and in a moment of Vibheeshan’s speech(bubble)less action, it all ended. There should be more about it, and since it’s about Ravana only, something about his post-death events too. But it’s fine, since it’s SHORT and SWEET. ‘Nuff about the story, now let’s come to the art.

The cover, art, and colors, all are done by one talented soul: Sachin Nagar. I LOVED the art. It’s different, unique, and AWESOME. Look at the frame below, not less than a masterpiece. The art comes out of the book, to give the reader a 3D experience, and it’s not only in the above frame, it’s in the whole book.

There are some places in the novel, where the art seems a little sluggish, due to a lot of effects, as below but who cares when the rest of the stuff is amazing. There are tints throughout the novel, somewhere red, blue, silver, yellow, green etc. The effects are nice, but over of anything causes trouble, doesn’t it? Nevertheless again, I’m happy to give the art a 4.5, neither more, nor less.

There are many beautiful sceneries in the book, with a tint, as usual. The below frame of Lanka, which has a yellow tint- to give the GOLDEN LANKA effect is nice. One and only thing that I didn’t understand was Pushpak Viman, was not a ratha, it was a hi-tech glider. (O.o)


Nish’s Notepad: Nelson Mandela

18 May

Sup Mates? Last week, I had nothing to review on.. But this week, I come with a BLAZING title from Campfire. This week on my notepad is Nelson Mandela, a biographic title from Campfire Graphic Novels.

Author: Lewis Helfand
Art: Sankha Banerjee
Colors: Pradeep Sherawat and Debu Payen
Letters: Bhavnath Chaudhary

BLACK AND WHITE– Two colors that never blend and even if they do, it’s all GREY. Based on the time of racial segregation in Africa, this Graphic Novel is done in Black and White, on Blacks and Whites. The art by Sankha Banerjee could be much much better, as compared to other works but it goes well with the dark theme. On some pages, the art is just BRILLIANT! (as below)

There are a few colored pages at the end too (6 to be more precise).. and believe me, it’s AWESOME..

Enough about the art, Lewis Helfand did a good job in collecting all the facts. Even small small facts aren’t left in the novel. From Mandela’s birth to arrest, education to job- you have everything. So many dates, so many names, so many places- Hefland has done a commendable effort.

Overall, Nelson Mandela is a nice Graphic Novel, a nice biography and from this week, I’m having an overall rating system too..

ART: 3.5/5
STORY: 4/5
QUALITY: 4.5/5

Till Then

And yes, don’t forget to attend Comic Addicts’ first event in association with Leaping Windows and Mocha- THE LAUNCH OF WEREHOUSE VOL. 1 @Mocha, DLF Place, Saket on 21st May 🙂

Comicon Retrospective: Campfire Graphic novels

25 Feb

Chief Editor Campfire Graphic Novels Andrew Dodd shares his perspective of Comicon with us. 

Comic Con India 2011
It has never happened before, but it’s sure to happen again. Last weekend, fifteen thousand comic book fans gathered together in Delhi for India’s first ever comic con.
The two-day convention was a phenomenal success, far exceeding the expectations of both the organisers (Twenty Onwards Media) and the participants. In its inaugural year, this annual comic con provided a much-needed platform for publishers, retailers, writers and illustrators to meet with each other, and with their fans, in a relaxed environment.  Most of the 35 companies present boasted sales much above what they had anticipated. Campfire graphic novels, for example, raked in more revenue during the first day of the comic con than in 10 days at the Delhi Book Fair, whilst Level 10 Comics and Vimanika sold out of all their stock by half way through the second day.
Sales, although important, were of course only one aspect of the event. A programme of workshops, activities and book launches literally took centre stage in a dedicated area at the hub of the venue. This allowed the publishers to showcase their work to the public in a fun and interactive way.
The location itself acted as the perfect backdrop for this kind of event. Dilli Haat is a venue which has been created to replicate the feel of a traditional Indian marketplace. It offers handicrafts, food and cultural activities from every part of India. Therefore, the infrastructure necessary for a comic con was already in place, with catering, parking and the stall setup being taken care of. Holding the convention in such a place allowed the comic book industry to increase its exposure to the general public. With thousands visiting Dilli Haat on a daily basis, it was great to see people previously unaware of the comic book medium being drawn in by what they saw. There was a perfect blend of lifelong enthusiasts and curious newcomers, and it was awesome to see them mingling.
Some of the enthusiasts made a particular effort to stand out from the crowd – and did so brilliantly. Inspired by the chance to win one of various prizes, many attendees turned up in full costume, as a comic book character of their choice. From American superheroes such as Superman, Wolverine and Harley Quinn to local Indian heroes like Chacha Chaudhary, all those who dressed up appeared to be having a great time.
In addition to the costume contest prizes, and of much greater importance, was a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Anant Pai.  Anant Pai is the founder of Amar Chitra Katha, the most successful comic book publisher in the history of Indian comics, and his work in converting Indian epics, mythology, history, folklore and fables into the comic book format is unprecedented. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to him by another legend of Indian comics – Pran Kumar, the creator and illustrator of Chacha Chaudhary. With both the old guard and the new innovators of Indian comics all present in one place for the first time, this festival and celebration of comic books had a true feeling of completeness.
With India’s comic book and graphic novel market still in a fairly nascent stage, this was the perfect time for the subcontinent to have its first event of this nature. The air of optimism regarding the current state of Indian comics was tangible to anyone in attendance. There was a buzz about the place, and a real feeling that this is the kind of platform that will catapult the comic book format into India’s public consciousness.
That said, most Indians are not totally unfamiliar with comics. Since the late 1960s, publishers such as  Amar Chitra Katha and Diamond Comics have been hugely popular with a large portion of the Indian market. However, the popularity of the medium plummeted in the 90s, with the advent of satellite television and, more specifically, animated series on Cartoon Network and Pogo. This, along with the prevalence of games consoles and the internet, has meant stiff competition for all varieties of publishers – not least those focusing on the comic book medium.
And that is why the recent steady growth in the popularity of this medium, culminating in the industry’s ability to stage such a successful comic con, feels like the start of a renaissance period for comics in this part of the world.
All the signs from this spectacular weekend are positive. From the attendance figures and the sales revenues to the press coverage and the general excitement of the public, comic con has certainly proved that there is a place for comics and graphic novels in the hearts and bookshelves of people in India, and that big things lie ahead for all those involved.
Here’s to next year, and an even bigger and better Comic Con India in 2012.

Press Release : Campfire on Comicon Experience

22 Feb
Below is the press release which the gracious folks at campfire have provided adventures.
I have to agree with what they say, Comicon was a blast and Campfire was an integral part of its success.

Here’s wishing campfire all the best in the Indian Market and hope they return even stronger at the next con.

(click the image below to see it full size)