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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!

Crowdfunding: The Circle Graphic Novel

16 Aug

Crowdfunding is when a whole bunch of people you know and most likely don’t know, have an opportunity to support your project. Whatever the project might be. From a short film to a tuition fee to get you to a special course to further your skills, to getting a new computer application off the ground.

Recently there has been a huge variety of websites across the West doing really great things for Creators and Artists as well as for amateurs.  So, I decided to give it a go to see if I could get support to get my graphic novel printed.

(Click on here for my project on Pozible.)

Having tried to get onto the US Kickstarter website, after the initial acceptance of my project, I found out I had to live in the United States or have a US bank account to qualify. So, when I heard about the Australian site, Pozible.com which is a bit closer to myself here, in New Zealand, I decided to have a go.

As a creator, we spend a vast amount of time creating and refining our project/s and if you are anything like me, you just want to move onto the next project. Most of you who have been following my weekly post here or  my Facebook page, know I like to work on several projects at the same time. I haven’t figured out whether this is because I like the idea of working on different projects at the same time or whether I don’t like finishing projects. Despite that, I did however finish one project, The Circle.

The Circle has been like pulling teeth from the beginning. I know most people say how excited they are about working on their art and creating a masterpiece. But, this one was a killer. Imagine sitting there for hundreds of hours in front of your CRT screen with a mouse and PhotoShop, just clicking away for 2 days a week and other time I could spare, after getting home tired from work in a very busy retail environment, having the pressure of selling thirty five thousand dollars of product a week, only to get home and hope that what I was doing would end up printed and in someone’s hands.

Well, after 2 yrs of working on it, and a year of promotion on myebooks.com, I am now ready to get the book printed.

I spent the past 4 weeks, back and forth on emails trying to get quotes.  Trying to find the best option in page numbers and print size wasn’t the easiest job. There are many options if you have the money. But, if you don’t? Well, you know the rest.

Deciding that since this book was my first and hopefully not my last, I placed a promo on Pozible. So, now its up to folks on Pozible to see what they think of my graphic novel and whether they believe its worth getting printed up. Fingers crossed. You can, but try after all.

Check out the website and see whether your project meets the guidelines and who knows you may get that masterpiece funded too.

Catch up next week, Aru

Aru (Aruneshwar Singh) has a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media -Digital Film-making. 
Always writing and illustrating and currently working on a graphic novel about the 30yrs of Institutionalised Slavery of Indians in Fiji from 1885 -1915. 
He also has a weekly graphic serial on Facebook called
Zero© and also on his blogsite.

The Inhabitants by the Sheehan Bros.

1 Aug
The Inhabitants, a graphic novel in four parts by the Sheehan Bros – Kelly on script and Darren on art – is an overwhelming escape into a nightmarish dream-scape of strange creatures and wondrous characters. The story opens with us being introduced to a young man named Tom who happens to suddenly gain the ability to fly, or float, depending on what your thoughts are about whether Tom is in a dream or has walked into another world – much like Dorothy or Alice. It is important that you keep in mind these two characters of lore as the story is very visual, much like Oz, and Wonderland.
I bought the four issues as a set because I wanted to make sure I had the entire collection to read in one sitting as I am of the mind that its better to have the whole story to read rather than an issue at a time, but we all know that sometimes that is not possible. But I was glad that the Sheehan’s had the singles and sets for sale. The cost for this amazing work of escapism and graphic story-telling was NZ$18.00 for all four. Of course if you just want to read it, it is available on their blogsite.


Now back to the story. Tom’s sudden new-found skill has him run into some new friends who like himself are very skilled, such as Jimmy Dynamite who has the ability to make fire with his fingers. Jimmy himself is a caricature of a 1960s Afro-maned hippie. Tom is welcomed into the group of familiars and shown the ropes, so to speak, regarding his skill, where he is and what is happening.


Much like Tom, I felt none the wiser as to what was unfolding before me – like Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere or even Clive Barker’s Weaveworld. The vast landscape in which the story is set is amazing. I loved the representation of landmarks, like the Auckland City Library which was so easy to recognize having myself spent many months in 2007 reading all the graphic novels the Library had on the shelf and some, like Alan Moore’s The Girls, hidden in the back. The landscape is also reminiscent of Gaiman’s London from the aforementioned Neverwhere.

The Inhabitants is very much like walking through a dream as you try to work out who the characters are and what is happening. Which of course is not easy to do when you are reading a graphic novel these days as there is always so much publicity about it you already know what you are in for before you even start. But reading the The Inhabitants for me was like breathing fresh air, while at the same time trying to wade through the story and figure out – much like a puzzle – what was happening and how everything fit together. 

The illustrations dominate the book much more than the story itself, becoming the visual descriptors for the minimalist foray into the graphic. Each page is filled with new and interesting cityscapes and streets with buildings from the two different worlds. Being privy to seeing the artist draw for future works, I loved seeing the pencil and line work on the pages. No sign of a digital tool is found in the panels as each illustration is finely hand drawn and set out in a very simple yet powerful way. No tone is used in the black and white graphic novel.

As mentioned already, the story is told more through the art than the words itself which for me – though a very visual person – as a writer I found hard, as I wanted to be told what was happening at the turn of every new page. But I was forced to focus on the artwork for new information, which is what sets graphic novels apart from contemporary literature such as novels.
You can find out more about the Bros. and also on the graphic novel on their website which has some amazing webcomics, as well as Flash based motion comics, The Longman and Go Gorillas.

For story and art I give this a 4/5 Stars as its very rewarding to read, but still I found it a little lacking in originality and felt more needed to be explained. But thats me – I would suggest you give it a go yourself and decide.




(ARU), Aruneshwar has just finished his Bachelors Degree in Digital Media -Digital Film-making. Having decided to become a teacher so he can see the world, he has just begun a Diploma in Digital Media -Multimedia. On the creative side Aru, is writing and illustrating a graphic novel about the 30yrs of Institutionalised Slavery of Indians in Fiji from 1885 -1915. He is a prolific script writer and writes in all comic book genres which include several graphic novels for his own company, Rising Sun Comics. A weekly webcomic Zero©can be found here.

A Hell(Blazer) of a week.

22 Jul

I have been reading comics as mentioned the other week for close to 30yrs. And a small portion of that time I have spent a small fortune buying, selling and re-collecting, after my first collection was burnt in a fire. Amongst those were the Uncanny X-men run from #180-295. Some of the greatest X-Men stories told were written during those years. But I am digressing. Anyway, I restarting collecting 10yrs ago and haven’t stopped since. As well as you know writing and creating my own. 


Hellblazer Pandemonium Jami Delano is a Must Read.





One of my top 3 fave non-super-powered is John Constantine, Hellblazer from Vertigo, (Batman and Punisher are the other two). John was created by Alan Moore back in issue #37 in Saga of the Swamp Thing. That character has is the longest running non-hero comic book. I had a couple opportunities over the past few years to get my hands on #37, but due to lack of funds or having already committed myself to other books, I missed out.


Hellblazer: Rare Cuts is a good starting point.

   The character of Constantine is so rich with lore and mysticism that there is so much that you can do with him with ruining the history as long as you stick to the archetype. John is the Trickster, the Court Jester and The Magi all in one.  It was this that after setting myself to reading from Hellblazer #1 to the lastest that was available in October last year that led me to write Black Waters, my own take on John Constantine,


Intro to Black Waters©, by Aru Singh. 2011

 Writing a 148+ page Hellblazer standalone graphic novel based in the Fiji was not something I gave much thought to. I was waiting for my plane ride back to Auckland from Nadi Airport, after a stressful trip back from my ex’s father’s funeral and I guess I needed to clear my head and so I just started writing. It was messy but after some rewriting it came together. I have no idea what I am going to do with it. I did have a guy consider working on it, to see if we can get DC Vertigo to look at it, but after discussing it I thought to let it rest for a bit. And who knows, I might illustrate it myself after I get Zero completed.


Thats the background to how much I like the John Constantine Archetype. The following is 3 amazing events which took place in the last 6 days.


Event 1.
  Last weekend while at Zinefest I stopped by a comic shop and bought the DC Direct Collectible Figure of John in his Hellblazer set-up. It wasn’t in the store but they would have it the following week. This  was an out-of-the-blue purchase.

Event 2.
  Having gotten home and still feeling unwell I had stayed up and was browsing comic on an online auction site and came across Saga of Swamp Thing #37 from June 1985. It was on Buy Now for $5 + $3 for Delivery. I actually have my comic shop guy, Jeremy at Gotham Comics here in New Zealand looking out for one. I better tell him I got a copy now. This comic goes for around US$30+ and around US$90 on milehighcomics So, I was quite excited about this. 



Event 2.
   If you look in the letters section of this months Hellblazer #281 you will see at top right hand side my very own letter. I have never written a letter, that I can remember to a comic company about one of their comics, so when I heard talk that they might be bringing Hellblazer in to the main DC Universe with Superman and Batman etc. I thought I better send a message. So, I can’t remember when but a couple weeks back I got on the Vertigo site and left a message. 


Hellblazer #281



Now, you are probably wondering why I shared this with you guys? Well, I thought you guys might like to share in my hell of a week. 
-Aru


Further info John Constantine, Also, Straight to Hell. Both sites were helpful when I was writing the graphic novel. 

   


Who is Aru, anyway?

13 Jul



A little History… 


Archie Comics, Walt Disney, and 2000AD

The first memory of ever seeing or reading a comic book was in, Nacovi, Nadi Town in Fiji. It was two different ones, an Archie and a Walt Disney Comics, with Goofy etc. Its reading these comics at the age of 7 or 8yrs old that has become the focal point in my life. 

The second memory is, when having moved to New Zealand with my mother in 1981.  A tent created with my knees under blanket at night, a small torch lighting the 2000AD comics, my friend had lent me.

Who would have thought that the from the age of 17 to 21yrs old would see myself spending thousands of dollars on comics and then losing then to the fire in 1999. And then I didn’t pick up a comic again till I began my studies for a Bachelors Degree in Digital Filmmaking in 2003. I got back into the comics as a way of meeting/making news friends in a city, Invercargill, New Zealand. I also started trading in them and also collecting as an investment. And have continued that trend up till now 8yrs later.  

A Writer is Born
The previous 2yrs I had watched all the Star Trek Next Gen, Voyager, Enterprise, Deep Space Nine,

and then the best Sci-Fi series in the universe,

. And having read almost all the Babylon 5 novels I became inspired to write my own Sci-Fi series. (I have written the 1st Pilot and most Season 1 and will at some stage, will illustrate or get an Illustrator it for a graphic novel.  


The Circle Graphic Novel
The highlight of the studies was making my own 90mins length Student Feature Film, which I wrote/directed and shot on a HDV Cam. It was this that U decided to turn into a graphic novel and I then spent 2.5yrs using a mouse with Adobe Photoshop turning the film into a 148 page graphic novel, called The Circle. A crime/drama story about four male students. Which had, up till last month 55000+ hits with 8 to12 months on myebooks.com until I took it down as I want to get this printed.

Incredi-Girl  Comic Book Series
I then decided to write a Superhero book especially for my niece who was 6yrs old at the time and Incredi-Girl was named by her and an acquaintance who I had given a PC drawing tablet to work on it only did the 1st issue before ended all communication with me. 

Months later while asking for an Illustrator to help complete the artwork on DeviantArt.com, I was able to find Mike Burbbeck, who completed 6 of the 7 issues, which I decided to Color (my 1st time) and Letter it. I still need to finish lettering and coloring it.  
(art by Mike Burbek in pics, left & right, all others are by me.)


The Girmit Graphic Novel

Last year I separated from my wife after 9yrs of marriage and did two university papers in Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts. For one of the papers I decided to put my 5yrs of research I had been doing on the history of the Indians in Fiji Islands. I wrote/illustrated/colored and lettered the first volume.  I have several trips to Fiji for this book. I have started work on the 2nd volume, but since this volume is very emotional and has a lot of painful ordeals in it I want to be in a right set of mind to write and illustrate it. 





For the past 10 weeks I have been doing a weekly single page upload of a comic book series on to a Facebook page about a world parallel to ours, only 25yrs ahead of ours. It’s a Sci-Fi political drama with the main character being a radio talk show host.  I am hoping to have this in print after I have completed the first pages.

Scriptwriter/Storyteller
 I have written and completed several movie and graphic novel scripts. And having created the world of Zero © I will be including some of those as part of Zero©. My strength lies in script writing but due to necessity I have also started doing my own illustrations. 

For Scriptwriting I use a programe called CeltX. I have been using this app for over 6yrs and I find it very user friendly and since they add the Comic set-up bit its made comic writing so much faster and easier. 

As far as stories go, I write in nearly all the genres; from Science Fiction to Crime to Horror to Dramas. 

Artist 
I actually don’t like illustrating as it takes too much time and I like to utilize my time writing, but due to costs involved in acquiring an Artist to work on my projects I have started to work on my own work. And so, from now on until I can afford to pay someone I will carry on working on my stories myself as I have enough stories to keep going for 10yrs.  

Software
I work on a Windows OS HP DV3000 Notebook and a MacBook Pro Snow Leopard OS 10.6.8. Manga Studio Ex is the Software I use but I also use Photoshop CS5 and Illustrator from time to time. But I find the best software for illustrating, lettering and design for comics is Manga Studio EX 4. I also use a Wacom InTous4 Drawing Pad 6″x9″ which for me, due to my wrist injury is flexible to use and using the pad makes the process of drawing digitally so much easier.

Freelance Comic Work
I am looking for work as Freelance as a Letterer and Graphic Designer for Comic Book logos and layouts. I have an extensive background in Art and Graphic Design and am fluent with several Creative Suites.
  
Well, that’s my comic addiction in a coconut shell. 

I am off to Zinefest over the weekend and so next I am hoping to have some video interviews and pics from the festival. Zinefest will have lots NZ comic book creators around promoting and selling their works.  

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)

RATING:

The Itch You Can’t Scratch – A Re-review

6 Jun


After the Comic Con 2010 ended, we were all on a high. My cousin had won a bundle of free comic as the 2nd prize, and he had left the entire thing at my place for me to consume. For all you foreign readers – It is an age old custom in India that whatever a younger brother wins, he has to share it with his elder brother. For reference, read the wiki about Draupadi. Yes. It is true. That is what we still do in India :P. For the non-American foreign readers, well, it’s just this arrangement between my cousin and I. He is the keeper, so I read and then he takes them, reads them and archives them. I am a mess and nothing stays safe with me.

Anyway, I digress. Among the lot, the first book I started reading The Itch You Can’t Scratch by Sumit Kumar (one of the writers for Savita Bhabhi, which was ONE of the reasons I picked this one up first) and I must say, it turned out to be a pretty interesting read, contrary to all my apprehension.

Main Cover: The itch you can’t scratch






People who claim to have the so-called Indian Values embedded in their spine and those who think sex is a taboo and so is speaking openly about your family and friends… well… You better stay away from this book; it’s definitely not for the likes of you. Seriously! Run away. Hush. Shoo, go watch some lowly reality Television show to satisfy that pervert voyeur within you or something, nothing here to interest you. GO! NOW!
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Now that the Cult of Ekta Kapoor has vamoosed the hell out of here, let’s continue with the review.
Inside cover



It is a book / comic / er… graphic … novel (??), if you may, which describes the life of one Sumit Kumar, born in a middle class family, his father working with SBI making him move a lot because of the transferable nature of the job and with him going through various changes in life, getting stuck in unfortunate and sometimes idiotic and totally dumb situations, trying to get a hold of his life, trying to live up to his personal expectations, trying to materialize his dreams of having a “creative career”, getting stung en route, getting wiser, better and finally like any good old Boy Scout Superheroes, He conquers all hurdles to ultimately live his dreams. Well, the dry ones at least. (I am guessing that all the wet ones were utilized for those 3 scripts for Savita Bhabhi)

Personally I loved the content of the book (despite the crappy art, which I kindda liked, but that’s mainly because I can’t draw to safe my life from a homosexual orgy. The real artists might have a different opinion)

The book is shocking, revealing, funny and totally understandable. It is witty, crude, bitching, abusive, gross, revealing, genius, pathetic and crazy in parts. If I have to use only one adjective– It feels Familiar.

It’s one of those books which ANY average North Indian male, born in the 80s can associate with. The life with your typical family, stress on education, especially on becoming an Engineer or a Doctor preparing for IIT, MBBS, IIM, IAS, patronizing attitude of all adults – is all too familiar to me and everyone else who has had the pleasure and torture of growing up in a quintessential Indian Middle Class family.

It’s like those Beatles songs, which every teenager in love thinks was written specifically keeping him in mind. To use an example closer to home, it’s like Pehla Nasha from Jo Jita Wohi Sikander. Every High School kid in love thinks that the love he is feeling now is the one! That’s it. Nothing will ever top it – Until the next love or better still, sex comes along- and that this song was composed totally for him and no one else but him!

You can see the authors’ attempt at some honest humor coupled with the bittersweet symphony of the pain entwined with that humor, his success in achieving it, his honesty, his references, his lousy attempts to hide those references all too clearly in this 178 page bundle of fun.

His-story in the making? Sumit Kumar bares it all… (Click image to view full size)





Once I started it, I could not put it down. It reminded me a little of Douglas Adams and Peter Cook and Monty Python and Eddie Izzard for some reason. It has a very non-indian sense of humor (more towards British Humor) despite being an out and out Indian book, complete with grammatical errors (most of them deliberate), a complete potpourri of Hindi, English and part Rajasthani, with fake edits, numerous errors and all that jazz. The forecomic (sic) part is brilliant.

The characters are full of life, so –so familiar, you can instantly associate with them. A Chacha, who was a bitter drunk, another relation who died poor, a matriarch who holds the reins of the family tightly and firmly, the references are countless!

After Savita Bhabhi, I had very high expectations from Sumit Kumar, and he certainly lived upto them by delivering this gem of a book, which every Middle Class Indian fanboy should own. It is worth the price. I have already read it twice, once in its entirety and the second time – in part – some bits which I liked a little more than the other bits.

To be fair, I didn’t buy the book, I got it as a part of the prize goodie bag for the Cosplay on Day 1 that my cousin (the Wolverine) won, but I’m going to order one for myself too. I would like to keep one copy for myself.

If you like humor, if you want to seriously enjoy 178 pages of brilliance and craziness all rolled into one, go buy The Itch You Can’t Scratch!

Let me finish by saying – He is indeed one of us!

He sure is… Or that’s what we want him to believe…





As our good friends at DCP often say… Like It? Buy it!


‘nuff said!