Archive | Comics RSS feed for this section

Having a sit-down with Holy Cow!

18 Oct
 

You’ve all been aching to learn more about upcoming issues of Ravanayan, we’ve all been teased by art from Skull Rosary and been enticed by hints of much more still not revealed – well be at peace good readers!
We at Comic Addicts have finally nailed down the elusive creative head of Holy Cow Entertainment (HCE), Mr Vivek Goel himself along with some of his creative co-conspirators and now bring you an in-depth and honest talk about what in the coming months will make you exclaim “HOLY COW!!”
Thanks for taking out time to sit with us Vivek, its a real pleasure.
To start with, tell us how does it feel to be at the forefront of changing face of indian comics?
It feels great, honestly. Finally I have got the chance to do the things I always wanted to do, the projects, the kind of art, stories, experimentation with different art styles without being answerable to anyone. Also, I love teaching comic book art and with HCE, I finally can do that. Being a self taught artist I understand the value of time and if it took me 2 years to prepare myself I can cut short that period for my young interns to 8 months under proper guidance thereby infusing new blood in Indian comics which we seriously need at this point of time.
How did the idea for Holy Cow Entertainment germinate? what are you looking to do within that banner?
It basically started with a need and a want. A need to give myself a stable platform as an artist and a want to something unique in the form of projects of different genres, giving independent ideas a stable platform. Now is the time that creators take control of their own content and the only way possible is self publishing stuff.
Our basic aim under the banner of HCE is to unite the artist writer fraternity, to give them creative freedom so that they can deliver the best possible comics for the Indian market. The Indian comic industry is very disorganized and fails to understand that we need to work together in order to flourish together as comic making is a team work, no single person can rule it!

HCE is very much open to almost every genre and any art style, we don’t want our company to be branded into any 1 genre and that we why we are doing almost everything – 1 at a time. We started with Horror GN moving towards Indian Mythology and with our next GN “The skull rosary” being a noir mythology book and then to Serengeti Stripes – a one of a kind of project revolving around the animal kingdom!!! You name it, HCE has it.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)
Would all you comics now be coming under your own banner or are you planning to work with other publishers as well?
For now, we are solely concentrating on our own banner. HCE needs to be independent enough before venturing with any other brand.
Holy Cow began with the bang launching WereHouse v1 How has the reception been for both Holy Cow and WereHouse among the industry and fans?
Its been a wonderful experience till date and WereHouse Volume 01 has been received with a bang, I just cannot seriously imagine why did somebody not imagine doing a noir book till date, B&W has tremendous potential if used properly. We have learned quite a lot since vol.1 and now vol.2 which is due in the summer of 2013 is gonna be bigger and better, there will now be 5 awesome stories with 5 totally new writers penning them!
Tell us one of the comment you received for holy cow that you think validated your work.
Holy Cow!! (in the positive way )
You soon followed WereHouse up with your one of the most anticipated title : Ravanayan. We did an extensive interview for Ravanayan so wont talk about it in detail, but we ARE going to ask you, how was it received in the market?
Technically Ravanayan was planned to release before WereHouse but the GN was complete way before Ravanayan and we thought of releasing it first. We did not even have any proper ideas about how the distribution channel and network works and so we could not risk Ravanayan 01 to be blocked or face hurdles in the distribution system. Moreover, it was the start of a company and we thought that we should start with a fatter book in the beginning, so WereHouse was released. Tell you what, Ravanayan was our primary reason to start HCE in the 1st place, the publicity picked up pretty well for it and then we understood that it needs an independent treatment and no other person or company would be able to give that – its more like raising your own baby versus raising someone else’s baby and you always give your best to your own baby Ravanayan is being received with a bang by people, in face we have sold more than 700 copies of issue 01 on the internet itself. We are learning with each issue published, we face new problems and we overcome it and Ravanayan is reaping the benefits of it and the art and the story is getting better by each passing issue, in-fact from next issue onwards Ravanayan is going to be a double sized 40 page issue.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)
Post Ravanayan , there have been so many announcements from Holy Cow that its difficult to keep track. If I’m right, your next books are : Skull Rosary, Werehouse 2 and Serengeti Stripes, apart from continuing to do Ravanayan. How do you manage to do all of this?
Yes, Ravanayan will wrap up in April and “The Skull Rosary” is due in May (every year, May would be the time we would launch our annual GN’s), then from July onwards its “Serengeti Stripes” a 5-issue mini-series and Were House v2 is scheduled to launch in May 2013.
How do I manage all this? Well being unmarried has its perks… lolz. The basic rule of publishing an ongoing magazine, be it monthly or bi-monthly is: You always need to have a back up, you need to complete your work in advance. Or in simple words you always need to be ahead of schedule. I have been working to build up this company since May 2010 when I left Level 10 comics and have kept drawing since last one year, we launched WereHouse v1 when we had that complete, 4 issues of Ravanayan are completed and Serengeti Stripes is being brainstormed with The Skull Rosary under production.
The biggest challenge was to assemble an awesome team for this. Don’t ask me how I assembled all of them but with sheer faith and goodwill HCE is proudly working with 8 writers, 2 colourists and 3 pencillers. Being the founder, I have to keep myself at the centre of every single creative process and then comes the selling and marketing part and not to mention, I still draw 20 pages a month! All this leaves me no time to have a personal life but at the end of the day, the creative process I get myself involve and the continuous evolving nature of things we do in this business compensates for every single thing missed/loss.
Lets take each comic bit by bit and dissect : First up Skull rosary. what is it about ?
There is a reason why he is called the destroyer and The Skull Rosary (TSR) is a homage to his capability of destruction and regeneration. It’s India’s first B & W mythology revolving around Lord Shiva and what happens when something or someone gets on to Bholenath’s bad side!! The Skull Rosary explores the Lord’s unfettered dark side (and no, we are not talking evil here) and how it is a necessary harbinger of life. It’s a thought, a way of life, a philosophy crunched into a graphic novel. Without giving too many spoilers I would like to conclude that there is a very good reason that when everything else fails, even the highest of the gods have nowhere else to go other than Mahadev himself!!!! I have always been a strong advocate that a readable comic book does not need to depend on colours and the decision of getting a book coloured or not should be based on its genre. Since TSR has such a dark subject matter, it naturally demands a solid B & W treatment. The graphic novel plans to be an explosion, not of colours but of starkness, eeriness and darkness that lies just beyond human understanding.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)
Introduce us to the creative team behind Skull rosary?
Skull Rosary is HCE’s 2nd creator owned title after Ravanayan which means that profits will be shared between me and my writer, the super talented Shweta Taneja. We both wanted to do something that would bring out the dark, unfettered and even uncivilized side of Lord Shiva and while speaking with Shweta on the phone one day we both stumbled upon the same idea and decided to give it a go. Shweta and I have jammed earlier in “Its a dog’s death” in WereHouse v1 and found out that our work complemented each other’s. And so in a crux was the idea that is to become TSR was born! It’s Shweta’s story and the rest of the work and publishing dept. is mine, including the art. She is an insanely talented young writer and I am really proud of working with her on this project.
How much influence does Vivek Goel have over the story? What is is like working with “the writers”
It’s a very good question. See, with HCE I am playing 2 roles – one of an artist trying to meet his deadlines daily and other of a businessman trying to make a brand of his company and selling books. It’s a very delicate balance and I have to maintain this if I am to run a company and at the same time get work from 15 diff. people. Being an artist myself and still drawing the major projects of HCE puts me grounded most of the time, while making a product or drawing it I “have” to think like an artist only and keep the bossy aspect out of my mind, if I keep on catering my ego then I would fail as an artist. I still show thumbnails of the artwork to all my writers and take their approval before moving ahead with the final art as I am not making comics only for me, I am making comics for the masses, we also have editorial system and I am not the one pulling strings, I totally believe in the benefits of working an editorial system and understand the value of 3 minds (writer, artist and editor) working on a project, these 3 are the one’s who can make a comic book awesome as compared to a bossy fellow catering to his own ego, you cannot make/sell comics being bossy and we at HCE certainly do not do that 😀
Now lets ask the same question to Shweta Taneja herself – how has it been working with Vivek Goel as an artist? And how did this writing gig happened?
Working with Vivek Goel, the artist, is like sitting on a roller coaster of creativity. He’s that kind of a friend and mentor. I find it necessary to bounce ideas back and forth to create and Vivek is always open to even the sometimes crazier ones. As for his art, I am a complete fan, especially of his black and whites. His artwork inspires me to write and I don’t think there can be a bigger compliment (smiles). His strokes are confident and masterful and I always look forward to attachments from him in my email.
As for your second question, like Vivek mentioned, it all happened over a phone call really. Somewhere in my head, I wanted to work on a graphic rendition on Shiva’s darker side. I was in the middle of a big shot dinner when Vivek called up, excited about a sudden brain wave he had had. It was a kind of visual blast he had had while daydreaming on Shiva. Dinner forgotten, I started to listen in, barely containing my excitement. Something similar had been doing the rounds in my head and I had already begun reading on Mahadeva! Of course, it had to explore the dark side of the matter so to say. An hour’s discussion later, while my friends were patiently waiting for me to get back (smiles), we knew that we had a potentially bombastic idea in our hands. Of course coincidence apart, it wasn’t an easy ride. It took months of hardcore research to figure out what exactly I wanted to depict through this graphic novel. We are both believers of the fact that other than making it visually striking, a graphic novel has to have a solid story line. So it took a while before we finalized on a story line. And WHAT A STORY it has become! It might sound a bit philosophical or even loony but I read the script the other day and didn’t believe I wrote it. I think someone or something was writing it through me. I look at myself as a mere instrument, a medium through which this creation came. It’s that awe-inspiring.
Thanks Shweta for giving us that, now back to you Vivek – we’re not done with you yet!
People are trying to take comics into new arena, the latest example being Level-10 going fully Mature with their content. How do you see Holy cow entertainment?
Yes, the medium is definitely changing because there is a demand of such content and if you are to survive well you need to cater that. HCE is just three books old now, at present we are just looking to survive till the point where our success and the demand increases.
Serengeti Stripes… Our very own Akshay Dhar is writing that book with you. he has worked with you in the past on Werehouse v1 as well as other projects – how is it working with him? Why don’t you both tell us how you go about creating the book.
Vivek: He’s a leech, literally! He sucks the artist so bad that the poor artist is left with no other option but to give its best in the book 😀 He is made to do series and we have also done one more one-shot between WereHouse and Serengeti Stripes, but that’s a secret for now 😉
(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)
Akshay: What can I say? When you’re right, you’re right! I never thought I’d be ok with being a blood-sucking little creep, but in the sense that Vivek says it I don’t mind at all. Honestly, getting to create comics has been an utter and total blast and Vivek and I were fortunate that we just elected to work one day on a 4-pager on a pure whim and I have personally loved working with him since then. As an artist he is highly talented and is just barely breaching the barrier to his full potential – and I think this is one of the reasons we work so well together. When it comes to writing, I tend to brainstorm it a lot to start with, then sort out the details in excruciating minutae on my own and then start on making the artist do concept art which is just me making them work for free! All the while I hammer out a disturbingly detailed script that I get so much **** for from all the artists, but in the end I think it works out because I go into insane detail on layouts and panels and design and such, but always maintain that if the artist has a better idea for anything from a face to a whole page – Im willing to go with it if we both agree it is definitely better. About Serengeti Stripes I am very excited, one of the things Vivek and I noted after WereHouse was people felt we should have made a series – so we decided to do exactly that! And the secret project mentioned by him, I so wish I could share some of the magnificent art from it – it was a true experiment in visual story-telling in Indian comics I think, and a serious challenge for me to incorporate the detail and elements of the visuals so closely with the story I was telling; of course Vivek cursed me every single day over the soul-sucking I was doing to him on a project he was NOT planning on working on fully himself but the challenge of what I put I before him just could not be resisted! I think all Indian comics fans should keep a close eye on what’s going to be coming out of HCE in the coming year. Cheers all!
Now about Serengeti Stripes, post the release of the title and promo art, the book has drawn comparisons with “The Pride of Baghdad”, the famous BKV comic book. What do you have to say to this?
When it comes to animals – real, focussed stories about them and more importantly through them – there are very few to be found. Pride of Baghdad is a well written, and amazingly put together graphic novel that really was something unique, of this there is no doubt for anyone I would think. As far as its comparisons to our book go – the similarities are firstly, the narrative concentrating on animals as our characters in a ‘real’ and not fantasy/anthropomorphic capacity ;secondly, the choice of protagonist animals being big cats – and even in that there are difference because they had lions and we have tigers. Thats it. Its just barely a similarity and honestly only on the surface, its easy to assume they are the same thing but once you get down to the stories, the characters, the setting and everything from the intent, the themes, the styles and literally the feel of it all – they are vastly different. Because they are both animal-centric stories (which as already said before are VERY rare) they will however always draw the occassional reader who says its trying to be that or some such, but for anyone who reads it first and foremost for what it is will realise that its like saying Spiderman and all the later superheroes were nothing but ripoffs of the older tight and cape brigades – either you see it or you don’t.
Thanks Akshay, definitely looking forward to it!
Vivek, would you be willing to tell us – What is Serengeti Stripes all about?
Its all about the concept of bonding between two tiger brothers and survival and that too survival on such grounds which are technically not meant for Tigers to live in. I had an idea in my mind for the last eighteen months but was looking for the right person to write it. You see, its not easy to write animals, not every writer can do it, since SS is a story which has zero humans, its totally on and about animals, you need to think like one, draw like one!!! I will make the picture more clear, the whole concept of working with 3 diff. writers in WereHouse was to find out who fits best to write SS and enter our Jolly Akshay Dhar 😀 While attending at the 1st ComicCon in Delhi, I stayed in the awesome house of Akshay and that night (don’t get ideas!!) gave us the prefect opportunity to discuss the project. We brainstormed for five long hours and by 4 a.m. we were ready with the synopsis of all five issues! 2011 is the year of Ravan, 2012 will be the year of Tigers, I can guarantee you that because I am looking at the 1st five pages of SS issue #1 coloured in my PC.
Werehouse v2: when is it coming, who all are contributing stories now? Heard Shamik Dasgupta has one in there!
(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)
Werehouse v2 is lined up for May, 2013. HCE will be giving out six double sized comics and one GN every year with the GN coming only during vacation time i.e. May. The Skull Rosary is our 2nd one coming in 2012. Its gonna be fatter and better then the previous one since it now has 5 stories in it with 4 diff. artists working in each story. My good Friend Shamik is also writing 1 story in it and I will be drawing it personally.
How difficult is it to switch from creating a horror comic to a mythology comic , artwise?
Not at all, as a matter of fact I was doing mythology for a long time including Ravanayan and horror came in between. I have always been tagged as a fantasy/mythology artist basically because this is what I had got from publishers working in the past when I was a freelancer. I wanted to break that image and want to try my hand at every genre, therefore WereHouse happened. Art-wise, you have to be more careful with the blacks & whites in these kind of books as they are not gonna get coloured, you have to constantly keep reminding yourself of that, it pushes us to give our best. If you want to know how good the artist actually is, get him to draw you B&W stuff!
Holy cow is doing a lot of diverse projects, and a lot of them are in black and white. Is that a concious decision on your part? If so, why?
As I said in the previous question, I did not wanted to get myself tagged in just one genre and I would assume it would go for my company too. HCE will never be tagged as a company which deals only in a specific genre. We stared with horror, then mythology, all which will soon be followed by pure tiger awesomeness and then there is something special!!!! One needs to constantly keep changing the flavour to get the reader hooked. You name the genre, HCE will have it
So once more for the fans at home – When are all these fantastic books coming out?
Ravanayan wraps up in April. The Skull Rosary will be released in June and Serengeti Stripes will begin from August and these are final dates.
Advertisements

What You Should be Reading : Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man hits the Big Time!

15 Oct

(Click to enlarge!)
I’m usually not one for clichés, but Spider-Man and Wolverine are right up there in my list of all-time favourite comic book characters. The story goes that I came back to reading comic books three and a half years ago, a time when both characters were beginning with their respective iconic runs, with the rotating team of Web-Heads (Joe Kelly, Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente, Mark Waid etc.) on the Amazing Spider-Man and Jason Aaron (of Scalped fame) on Wolverine : Weapon X and later the new volume of Wolverine (and now Schism and Wolverine and the X-Men). For today though, let’s just save the talk on Aaron’s Wolverine for another day and concentrate on what Spidey’s been up to of late.
(Click to enlarge!)
The Run-Up
See, the story leading up to Slott’s solo run really starts with the Spider-Man crossover event One More Day , co-penned by the then ASM writer Joe Michael Straczynski, a.k.a. JMS (grudgingly) and the then Marvel Editor-in-Chief (and now Chief Creative officer) (Seriously, someone cast this guy as Perry White already, he loves being called chief) Joe Quesada. It involved Peter Parker making a deal with Mephisto (essentially The Devil) to save his (once again!) dying aunt in exchange for his marriage with Mary Jane Watson being erased from history. It was basically Marvel’s attempt to de-age Spidey and bring him back to his “more relatable roots”. Fans were obviously angry and plenty threatened to boycott the series. The initial year or so of Brand New Day, which was essentially what followed One More Day, was a critical disaster, as the writers were too concerned with establishing the new status quo and new villains, who felt a lot like rip-offs of classic members of Spidey’s Rouges gallery. However, once the dirty work was done,

a point which can be marked by the Character Assassination arc, the writers delivered one magnificent arc after another, making this title one of the biggest bestsellers in the market. The Brand New Day phase lasted a whopping 101 issues, thanks to the thrice-monthly schedule, and set the stage perfectly for Dan Slott’s solo run on the book, under the Big Time banner.

Dan the Man
Dan Slott’s strengths as a writer for ASM include his uncanny ability to combine the charm last seen in the 60’s on the title, under Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, with a very modern relatable feel. What this basically means is that he knows the universal time-transcending appeal of the character while adding relevance and contemporary concepts to his stories. The basic status quo of Big Time involves Pete getting a new job at Horizon Labs, getting a new girlfriend in the form of NYPD detective Carlie Cooper and juggling al this with his responsibilities to the streets of New York, Two Avengers teams as well as the Future Foundation. With a star studded revolving team of artist consisting of Humberto Ramos, Stefanno Castelli and Marcos Martin, he certainly has plenty of choice in regards to finding the right tone for each arc.
Click to enlarge the amazing!
Arc one
The first arc seeks to generally set the new status quo for ol’ webhead, while introducing a not-really-new goblin. It opens with Spidey leading the Avengers (yes, you heard that right) against Doc Ock’s ‘War of the Worlds’ inspired octobots, while we see Phil Urich take up the mantle of Hobgoblin. Fantastically written and illustrated, the arc serves the purpose of laying the foundation of what is set to happen later on while clearly distinguishing its tone from BND. It’s got all the trademarks and decompression and does take a while to read. 
(Click to enlarge!)
The Bad Guys
23 issues in the run so far, we’ve seen Slott go through plenty of villains from Spidey’s rouges gallery without falling into cliché or camp territory. The one’s we have seen so far are the Hobgoblin, Doc Ock and the sinister six, Spider-Slayers, the De-venomized and Re-scorpionised Mac Gargan, a new villain who goes by Massacre, Anti-Venom, Venom, Mister Negative and easily the villain most dreaded by Spidey Fans : <Drumroll> The Jackal. All very well (and awesomely) handled. 
What’s with Ock?
It’s apparent that Doc Ock and the Sinister Six are planning something big. There have been plenty of appearances in the Marvel Universe here and there to suggest that. First, he shows up in Amazing Spider-man #648, unleashing giant octobots on Manhattan as a diversion to infiltrate a military base with tiny octobots. Next, we see him dueling with the three smartest men in the Marvel Universe (Reed Richards,Tony Stark and Hank Pym) at different moments, basically trying to prove he’s smarter than them. We know Slott is going with the same approach as his team did in BND, with multiple arcs leading up to the big tent-pole event. My bet would be on the summer of 2012, with The Amazing Spider-man movie coming up.
(Click to enlarge!)
Spider-Island
Speaking of tentpoles, here’s the one currently stopping the presses. See, it takes a very different kind of writer to write a good Jackal, leave alone making sense of something as crazy (and awesome) as every inhabitant of Manhattan morphing Spider-powers. By using bedbugs, no less, the Jackal his given the people of Manhattan great power, without the lesson of great responsibility. With tie-ins that are actually good (Hello, Flashpoint), its being called the best event of 2011. Recommendation : Go catch all he back issues and catch up while this event is still on!
(Click to enlarge!)
The Shipping Schedule
One of the most revolutionary things Marvel did with Brand New Day was the three times a month schedule. This allowed one single path of storytelling in one single title, rather than multiple series confusing readers with their timelines. When Slott started his solo run, the series became bi-weekly, which coupled with Slott’s decompression abilities pretty much means you get half an arc in the same time Bendis’ Avengers talk around on their A-marked Dining Table.
Sister Books
When the run started, we were given two sister books in the form of Paul Tobin’s sadly cancelled Spider-Girl and Kelly Sue Deconick’s excellent mini series Osborn. We currently have Rick Remender’s amazing (adjective, not part of the title) Venom series, starring “Flash” Thompson as the symbiote’s new host. A must read even if you’re not much of a Flash or Venom fan. Also we now have Zeb Wells and Joe Mad’s Avenging Spider-Man, which will look at Peter’s role as an Avenger. There certainly does seem to be an effort to build up on Spidey’s corner of the Marvel Universe.
Predictions for The Future
  • Mary Jane retains her Spider-powers post Spider-Island
  • Marvel has hinted at the return of the Scarlet Spider via teasers. Not only that, it appears Bleeding Cool is aware of his identity and has released a list of contenders (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/09/30/who-is-the-new-scarlet-spider-we-have-the-answer-somewhere/) My guess? Mary Jane, Kaine or the returning Ben Reilly.
  • Venom goes on the run
  • The Osborns returns to Spidey Books. (Has been a while)
  • Ben Reilly is in the lab next to Pete’s at Horizon Labs.
  • Hobgoblin and Spidey discover each other’s identities.
  • The series continues its streak of awesomeness.

MARVEL NEWS: The Return of Soldier-X himself!

6 Oct

 

Welcome back to more wandering and wayfaring folks, its good to be back bringing you the slices of random awesomeness!
(Click to enlarge!)
I wanted to ease back into this after a month spent tirelessly and chaotically chasing down copies of the DC New 52 hot-off-the-presses and reviewing them after each week’s Wednesday release – whoah was that a ride! Never did we think (me and my cohort, Anubhav – take a bow man!) that we would actually have to make ourselves read comics just to get through them to review them on time!
But now it is past, and while we here at Comic Addicts will keep on bringing you news from whats up with the new DCU, today we’re venturing into other realms – more specifically Earth-616, or to the unfamiliar: The Marvel Universe.
Our topic for today is the impending return – in the centre of the next big Marvel-wide story arc – of arguably one of the most popular and definitely one of the most divisive and controversial characters among fan-dom. He has been known by many names: Nathan Winters, Soldier X, Nathan Summers, Nathan Dayspring Askani’Son, Priscilla (shout to to Deadpool fans!), etc, etc… but to most of the comic-reading and cartoon watching world-at-large he’s simply Cable.
I’m not going into the character history and all that – its way longer and more intense then I can commit to just this one column/article/whatever, so just follow my link above to his bio over at Marvel.com and check it out for yourself at your leisure.
In the meantime, down to business!!

A couple of months ago at the San-Diego ComiCon, the good folks at Marvel held a panel with writer Jeph Loeb (Batman: Hush, Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue) and artist Ed McGuinness (Deadpool, Hulk v4, Superman/Batman) regarding a teaser image showing this glimpse of our hero with the tagline “Cable: Reborn”. This was an announcement that has – as is the characters standard – generated a lot of buzz.

(Click to enlarge!)
Then all went quiet for a while with no more real news for a bit, until this image of the Avengers logo in cross-hairs hit the comic-world and everyone’s ears suddenly pricked up a little bit! Now, a couple of weeks ago they made another big announcement via a Marvel.com liveblog, and this time we got big news! Not only was Cable making a comeback, but he was coming back with a vengeance and instead of being limited to the X-family of titles he will be running wild across the Marvel-U and the Avengers are dead in his sights! That get your attention going? Yeah, me too.
(Click to enlarge!)
Even bigger was the added detail that Cable is going to be interacting a lot with all variety of heroes he otherwise would never have to deal/make polite conversation with and this four-issue mini series would lay the groundwork for the following entire years worth of Marvel comics. One idea that in particular caught my attention was the idea that Tony Stark who has been defined throughout his adult life as a futurist and one who’s very existence is defined by his the technology he can’t live without and has had to live with, here he will have to face someone much like him (Cable’s struggle with the Techno-organic virus), someone actually from the future coming back to correct mistakes among many things. Then of course there are these quote from series scribe Loeb:

“I always saw Cable as very much the Captain America of the X-Men. A soldier from out of time who cared deeply for the people he worked with.”

“What Cable is up to is not something that can be done quietly. It will raise the interest of some pretty important people and leaders in the X-Men community will have to step in at some point in the storyline.”

and this, from editor Tom Brevoort:

“The idea of Cable as a man out to protect his daughter by any means necessary gives the character an emotional heft and underlines everything he does. It’s richly fulfilling.”

It definitely gives one ideas on how the character is going to be approached by this creative team, my favourite quote definitely though, being from Ed on art duties:

(Click to enlarge!)
“I have yet to find a gun too big for Cable.”

Hell yeah!
Anyway – so this is Cable taking on the biggest and most awesome of the Marvel-U all for his daughter, Hope Summers, regardless of its repercussions on any-and-everyone else. Repercussions that are meant to be the starting points for much of the entire coming year of comic stories from the “house of ideas”, I don’t know about you but I’m beyond intrigued by how they are going to handle this one!
And of course one can’t forget THIS big announcement from late July this year which indicated a chance that at the end of the currently running X-Men: Schism mini-series, Cyclops (a.k.a. Scott Summers) might not make it out alive, leaving someone else to carry on his ideas and mission as one a leader of the mutant race itself. Could that man be Cable? Seeing how they are father and son plus Cable being a soldier and all that, I don’t see it being all that unlikely a stretch… do you?
So hope that was informative and got you guys interested – we’ll keep bringing you any news as we find it and remember: you keep reading and feed(back)ing us and we’ll keep bringing you the goods!
Cheers!

M views: Why do we read Superhero comic books

5 May
– By Manks

I have been a superhero comic book reader since I can remember, and I have often been asked what draws me into their highly stylised and unrealistic world?

Each person has their own answer to this question, and no single answer is correct.

One of the reasons why we come back to the Superhero comics are because they inspire us. These larger than life creations struggling daily through the worst the world has to offer them, and coming out on top. Their never say die attitude.. ….even after they are literally dead ( there’a  joke here somewhere on the state on Superhero comics – Blackest Night I am looking at you!)

Lets look at some of the tragedies that have befallen the Bat-Characters for example

Batman
The most poignant tragedy is perhaps the murder of Bruce Wayne parents, which drove him to haunt the criminals as Batman. This in itself is a commendable feat. But then



When Bane Broke Batman



 Bane conspired and used many of Batman’s enemies to tire him out and when Bruce was at his limts, struck and broke Batman’s back, paralysing Bruce ( Storyline – Knightfall)

Bruce fought through the depression of being beaten , the pain of paralysis and re-learned how to operate as a Bat from scratch (Knightsend).. He did not give up! 

I still remember the scene where after every new fight he would go to Gotham’s tower and attempt to jump, giving up each time. He just didnt have the strenghth of will left anymore. For the first time in his life he was scared. He thought he was invincible and Bane had shattered his illusion.

Richard Grayson ( Robin / Nightwing) : The original robin, after the tragedy of his parents death willingly followed Batman’s directions to become one of the most respected superhero amongst DC community. He IS the next generation leader of DCU heroes. He possesses all the skills of batman without the angst. In his career he has faced deaths of friends and family, yet he trudges on.



Death of Tim Drake’s (Robin) father



 Timothy Drake ( also known as Robin III) suffered a horrible fate when he couldnt save his dad (Jake Drake) from getting killed by the boomerang.
It is incredibly difficult for me to imagine anyone continue to operate under such immense grief and regret. Yet he still does.

Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle) is the epitome of courage in the Bat family. She was shot by the Joker in The Killing joke, paraylsing her forver. For a long time she was depressed about losing her legs and not being able to operate as Batgirl.

But then one day she decided not to mourn anymore, but use whatever she has to help in whichever way she can. She took the guise of Oracle and started using her techinical know-how to help all vigilantes. She even formed an all female Superteam called Birds of Prey to go where she couldnt and do what she couldnt.
She is now far more successful as Oracle in fighting crime than she ever was as Batgirl. She has become the information hub for all superheroes and a crucial member of the Justice League.
She took an awful incident and converted it into an oppurtunity. Inspirational stories doesnt get better than this!

Commisioner James Gordon has been suffering since he has come to Gotham. He lost his wife and son to a divorce. He was tortured by the joker and made to see enlarged pictures of his wounded adopted daughter Barbara Gordon in an effort to drive him insane. His second wife, Sarah was murdered by the Joker, which even let Batman to allow Gordon to have a free shot at joker if he wanetd to.Through all of this, his sense of duty and ethical compass has been unwavering. He is an inspiration to Batman himself .


This panel says a lot of things about the Bat-world, Two of most tragic personalities in Batman’s life : Jason Todd ( Robin II) and Hush ( Dr. Elliot) ..
We all know Jason’s story: He was killed by the joker , revived  by the vagaries of fate. Even though he is on the wrong side of the law, in his mind he is still fighting for the innocents. Even death couldn’t stop this now anti-hero
Catwoman
She’s been a villian, She’s been a hero, and then she realised someone tampered with her mind to subdue her criminal mentalities. So whatever she’s doing isn’t of her own accord. She also had to give away her child as it was too dangerous for the child to be associated with her. Is there a greater pain than being forced to split from your child? But she endures. 

And these characters are just the tip of the Superhero comics.. They get knocked down but they get up again, no one’s gonna keep them down..
If you aren’t reading superhero comics, you are missing out on inspirational tales that would shame many a “book” reader.
Remember: Nicolas cage , Jerry seinfeld and  Barack Obama all have one thing in common.. They all love superhero comics.. Don’t deprive yourself of these tales because they are just “superhero tales”. 

M Take : Why should you have picked up Nextwave when you had the chance..

28 Apr
Created by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.
– By Manks
Nextwave is one of the most unadulterated fun title I have read in my entire comic reading life. Sadly however , like most fun comics out there, it met an untimely demise. After Transmetropolitan this is my second most favorite comic out there by Warren Ellis.  And he is not even the reason to check this book out. Stuart Immonen has done his career best work to date on this title. Yes true believer, if you missed out on Nextwave when it came out, its time you rectify your mistake.

What is the series all about?
Nextwave is all about enjoying the Superhero comics for what they are. Unlike other superhero titles which are trying to mirror current situations and introduce faux seriousness and melodrama, Nextwave does not even pretend to take itself seriously. Nextwave  features extreme violence and comedy, and simultaneously satirizes and celebrates Marvel’s superhero comics.
 In an interview, Ellis said, “I took The Authority and I stripped out all the plots, logic, character and sanity”.”It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode”
One of the best bit about this comic apart from the irreverent take on the Marvel universe was that a complete story was told in just two issues, instead of the usual 4-6 issues. I rue the fact that this comic only lasted 12 issues and there is very dim possibility of seeing some fresh material on the stands anytime soon.
Anything that I say to convince you to track down the collection of Nextwave pales in comparison to the actual comic. So for once I would let the comic do the talking instead of me.
Let me introduce the cast of NEXTWAVE
Monica Rambeau, the former Captain Marvel and leader of Nextwave: 
Was with the Avengers once  and wouldn’t let anyone forget it. The following gives the glimpse of the reason why she couldn’t continue working with the avengers – According to her!!
Tabitha Smith, formerly of X-Force;
 Uses chat language (OMG, ZOMG, OHNOES) when talking
Also shouts Tick, tick, tick, tick– BOOM! when using her powers.
Oh and if you didn’t catch it she can make things go BOOM..
Aaron Stack, the Machine Man;
Breakout character of Nextwave. Ellis redefined the personality of The Machine man for a generation.
Calls humans fleshy ones and takes pride in his “Roboty ” parts
Favourate Phrase: My Robot Brain Needs Beer
Has a self absorbed attitude
Elsa Bloodstone
Monster Hunter extraordinaire
Made fun of by Tabetha
Ogled at by Aaron Stack
Is deadly serious about her work, perhaps the only one
The Captain
A new character
Previously called Captain ☠☠☠☠ (The obscured words being so horrible that Captain America allegedly beat seven shades of it out of him and left him in a dumpster with a bar of soap in his mouth)
Superhuman strength and flight
They were recruited by ( H.A.T.E Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort), to fight Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction (U.W.M.D.s).
Dirk Angstrom, Leader of H.A.T.E  (Nick fury wannabe )
But in reality H.A.T.E is Evil, controlled by the Beyond Corporation (TM) formerly S.I.L.E.N.T ( a terrorist group). Once Nextwave members figure that out they decide to take the fight to HATE and Beyond corp by destroying as many UWMD’s as possible.
If you would have read Nextwave when it came out, you would have seen  these images..
A giant Dinosaur-Dragon thing wearing Purple Underpants
The same dragon-dinosaur thingie wanting to put Tabetha in his pants
Cuddly Bears of Death





Stuart’s Amazing work ( yes these are Elvis head M.O.D.O.K s and Naked Ninjas)

I cannot even begin to tell you how fun this comic is, though I have tried to give you a slight glimpse of the awesomeness that is NEXTWAVE


Welcome Wayfarers!

20 Apr

In the immortal words of Théoden of Rohan, “How did it come to this…?”
 

Don’t get me wrong folks, Im truly kicked to be here writing a weekly column for all my fellow comic cravers out there, courtesy the fine folks on this site – guys I promise I’ll do my damnedest to behave and to hopefully not make you regret giving me this opening! Really, I mean it I do!
My quoting the Lord of Edoras was to convey the slight disbelief and simply wonder how it is that me, a good Indian boy working 9-5 in the business world have come the direction I have and today am contributing an online column about comics and graphic stories. C’est la vie non?
Anyway!
So, before carrying on any further and confusing you more dear reader(s?) – welcome to the first edition of the Weekly Wayfarer.
Here we will be reaching around comic-dom for the oddball, the intriguing, the unusual, the amusing and occasionally the disturbing – not for any other reason then simply to expand horizons. In a medium overloaded with folks in tights and dominated by The Big Two pretty much everywhere, we as fans must give a shot to the more unique voices, the off-the-grid talent that makes us look again and again and helps change our perspectives on what comics can do.
Now I would like to say this here and now so that there is no confusion about it – this is not an indie comic column. There will be everything from Superheroes to Silliness, covering any and every genre I can think off and for the sheer fun of it we’ll be following no linear reading time-line, instead jumping from new releases to golden oldies to ancient obscurities and all in between! And if this post runs a little long, forgive me but its my first time at bat.
So without further adieu, let us begin the first reviewing session shall we? After much thought (Ok pretty much off the top of my head..) it occurred to me that the ideal book to kick off with would be none other then the brilliant “Fanboy” by the legendary Sergio Aragones (“A Mad Look At…”, “Marginals”, “Groo the Wanderer”) and Mark Evanier, long-time humour comic writer and writer for the entire 7-season run of ‘Garfield and Friends‘. Yes I like to find and provide obscure details, its fun what can I say.
Released as a 6-issue mini waaaaay back in ’99, Fanboy is not a title too many folks are familiar with. Understandable given its nature as a parodic humour comic and famous yet not always familiar names as its creative team.
However I’ve always felt this to be a gem of a book that more comic fans should read. The term ‘Fanboy’ itself comes with various connotations meaning several things depending on who you ask such as (1) A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces or (2) A person who is completely loyal to a game or company regardless of if they suck or not or (3) A pathetic insult often used by fanboys themselves to try and put down people who don’t like whatever it is they like or (4) A person who loves something without question. Essentially all four guys from “The Big Bang Theory” can be seen as great examples.
Over the years its taken on a somewhat negative note but I think that like any number of things, its a term that most snotty fanboys and fangirls take WAY too seriously.

And THAT concept is in a sense what this book does – it shows you the cliché, the expected and then throws in a surprising turn, an unexpected moment of character and just that little bit of intelligence and clever wit that makes a good story and is a must for a good parody I think.

In the story we follow out narrator and first time star of his very own comic – Finster. He is the quintessential geek and fanboy – how he lives, his hopes and dreams, his fantasies and his outlook on the world and the reality he faces everyday.
Sure in India we don’t have exactly the same culture and stereotypes as America, but some things transcend the globe – be it the cool tough guy, the beautiful and unattainable dream-girl, the angst of youth and all the turmoil that comes with it… these are things that everyone can relate to I think. But Im sure at this point you are wondering what part of this is a humour comic? Well thats the beauty of it!
We have this average geeky life familiar to many presented before us in the Aragones signature style of art rendered in great form, and each issue is peppered with pop-culture references and loads of humour that drives the story forward as our hero Finster tries to navigate the hurdles of his day-to-day life. From biker gangs to crooked politicians to teachers to comic thieves (the fiends!) and the dreaded enemy of the geek – girls – we see him traverse them all in chortle inducing adventures mingling his real world and the world of mystery and imagination brilliantly as he teams up with some of his favourite comic heroes to win the day and learn little lessons that will serve him well down the road.
Each issue also has numerous guest artists that make this madcap adventure all the more entertaining – from Gil Kane drawing Green Lantern to Batman going through his entire evolution from the earliest days with the bat-phone et al, to the 80s grimmer Bats and so on and so on. Its a visual feast and for a fan it is indeed a treat par excellence. Guest art from Kane, Neal Adams, Brian Bolland, Bruce Timm, Dave Gibbons, Dick Giordano and MANY others.
But in the end the question I asked that made me want to write this piece was very simply: “what is the point of this series except the fun?”
Well plainly put – its about being who you are and being happy in your own skin no matter what. What I like about this story is that in the end it does not try and be high and mighty and impart massive moral lessons or the like. It just does what any form of story-telling should aim to do – draw you a picture you can relate to and let you take what will from it.
In the case of Fanboy to me it was about how we all react to so many things in so many ways, sometimes running, sometimes fighting and so much in between – its about how many of us retreat from the challenges and bullies that make life painful, and how to realise that life is what it is and we cannot simply lose ourselves in fantasy. Comics are most often a way to get away from the rat-race just for a little while, to return to childhood in a sense where the world was black and white and things made sense.
But in the end they are but a means to an end – life is still all around us when we put the book down and needs to be faced. Take heart and hope from our heroes in the books, gain knowledge, get ideas and get a few chuckles after a hard day. That is what fanboys (in the derogatory sense) tend to forget – its all in fun and created with joy and love and passion and should be simply taken as such. I don’t mean take everything thats hurled at you, a bad comic is well-worth getting ticked off about *COUGH*RULK!*COUGH!*… sorry, bad throat… but seriously, its good to feel strongly about these things and to have an opinion and declare it but it should be done in a fair fashion without getting carried away by your love of the material – because whatever else, at the end of the day these are just stories and like I said once already, sooner or later you have to put the comic down and face the world.
PHEW!! Wow, really went on and on didn’t I! Well, with this done, I will take your leave folks and if you find this kind of thing amusing and wish to see more, let us know and feel free to discuss stuff in the comments since we don’t currently have a discussion thread – and I’ll see you next week, Same comic time (probably)! Same comic channel (..er..site actually)!!!
Cheers!

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.