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A quick word with Abhijeet Kini, doodler extraordinaire!

12 Oct
 

Hi Abhijeet. Its great to have to speaking to us today hopefully we’ll get lots of info out of you on whats ahead!
So its been almost nine months since the Delhi Comic Con, and we are now edging towards Comic Con Express – Mumbai. Excited?
Totally! Having the comic con come to my city was something I had always been waiting for, and here it is!
The horror… (Click to enlarge)
What made you decide to take a booth this time around at the convention and what can your fans expect to find there?
I had a lot of interactions with people at the Delhi Comic Con, without a stall to start with, and it was nice to see people finally being able to put a face to the names they’ve read in bylines – mine being one of them. So I decided to go for one this time around and have people know where to come and find me. Also, I’m going to be having some limited edition merchandise, featuring my artworks on it. Also on sale is an ambitious project I have been working on along with talented Delhi-based writer Anupam Arunachalam, called “Milk and Quickies”. We are completely looking forward to have people read this one!
Whats next after UBiMa? We have heard rumours of a sequel and there are definitely fans of the character looking to see more Bee-hari action – any light on the horizon?
Haha, I have heard similar rumours about the sequel too. And if they are true, well, the Bee-hari hunk would be back soon…we’ll have to wait and see. Besides this, I have been busy over the last few months with a couple of comics for Tinkle (more on that soon) along with the usual Tinkle stuff I do (Butterfingers, Defective Detectives, Sea Diaries, etc), and also some independent projects, one of them being “Milk and Quickies”.

Are you planning on or currently working with Adhiraj (Singh) on any other product? What was it like working for a loon like him?
I’ve been interacting with Adhiraj since early 2009, as a contributor to Random mag. It’s always been fun doing so, as with his writing one can never expect what’s to come next. If you liked Ubima, there are some crazy stories in Random you need to check out, which I had fun illustrating.
UbiMa with his creators! (Click to enlarge)
Currently I guess both of us are busy with our own things, especially with the comic con round the corner, but we’re in touch. So let’s see what’s on the anvil.
Tell us about the birth of UbiMa and how you became a part of it all.
Ubima has been featured in Random a couple of times in the past, under the “Badly Drawn Comics” section. There was even a special feature booklet released along with one of the Random issues. I had always been reading it, thinking this to be one of the strangest comic creations, and always doubted the seriousness behind its creation. But when Adhiraj and the folks told me about their idea to revamp the series and release it as a full fledged comic, I was excited about it. They wanted a new-ish look to the character, all polished up, and yet keeping it edgy, staying true to its original “badly drawn” nature. I came up with something they liked, and hope the people liked too. As Adhiraj puts it, the first time he tried drawing up an Otter faced man, it ended up looking like a dog. I kinda kept that consistency(?) and maintained the “dog-faced-Otter-Man-thingy”. Don’t ask
What are the things keeping you busy these days?
Like I said, “Milk and Quickies” has kept me quite tied up in the recent past. It’s a very different read, considering the tone of the short stories in it. Very twisted at times. Anupam has provided great stories for it, and not to mention, the title 😉 In fact one of the stories from the book was picked by Warren Ellis and featured it on his website along with some other entries for a 3 panel comic competition. To us that was huge! The comic is called the BOX. It will be a part of “Milk and Quickies” and we would be having a limited number of prints at my stall at the comic con. Besides this, Tinkle projects have been on my schedule. I also illustrate for magazines like Timeout Mumbai and Dimdima. And of course, Comic Con. The Mumbai skyline crowd shot was done by me for the Twentyonwards/ComicCon guys. So yeah, been a packed last few months.
(Click to enlarge)
Do you think you’ll do more creator-based/owned projects down the line or would you prefer working through the publishers as is the more common and practiced route?
I would love to have my own series, that I create and own, that is. I have a number of ideas, but I haven’t really pitched them out yet. I feel they aren’t ready. One of my such creations would be featured on my merchandise. He is called “Gryll” and I have a storyline ready, called “Out of the shadows”. Gryll has always been my best bet for a pitch, and he has been featured in Sunday Midday, in a feature on Indian Superheros. Let’s see if that concretises sometime. Tinkle has published my “Julius and Bork” series for 3 episodes. These are my characters and I do the scripts for the same. That’s another series I would want out in the market. Till then, I have my plate full with the common and practiced route.
Is there anyone in the current crop of comic creators in India you would like to try a project out with?
I’m open to any good scripts/concepts/writings/writers/creators.
Have you thought of a purely Hindi Project as an option? Being the most widely spoken language and mother tongue and all, you can’t get more coverage than that, can you? Does the language matter to you as an artist?
It did when I was younger, as a kid. Somehow, Hindi comics weren’t quite there for me as a reader. But I was wrong. The reach is superb and some of the concepts and storylines are far superior than anything we have read in the English stream. I don’t have any issues with the language used in the comic. After all, it’s the concept that matters to me. UbiMa, though not 100% English, isn’t a vernacular book, but it’s very different from all my earlier works. Language wouldn’t matter at all.
If we could just side-track a little bit – what is it that makes you want to draw comics? Where do you get the passion for this medium instead of more acceptable and profitable artistic careers?
I have always been an avid comics reader and collector ever since I remember. And I always loved scribbling and drawing ever since I remember. And I’m glad the two perspectives met. Also, I am thankful of the fact that I have supportive parents, and not those who would flog their kids into becoming a doc or an engineer. I was left to choose what I wanted. Plus they never said “No!” to buying the comics I wanted…ever 😀
Wicked!!! (Click to enlarge)
Could you tell us a little about your art style and your approach to the process?
I kind of experiment with style. Butterfingers in Tinkle is way different than an UbiMa. The stuff I do for Timeout is extremely different than what I used to illustrate for Hindustan Times Café Mumbai. My major influence is MAD magazine. I have been reading MAD since I was in class 3. Sergio Aragones is someone I have idolised. So when it comes to the funny, quick stroke styles, I kinda keep Sergio in mind, “What would he have done” sorts. For Random mag, I had a blast illustrating the stories, as that was the closest I got to unleashing the MAD humour illustrations.
How is it dealing with publishers in the Indian industry for an aspiring artist like you once were?
It wasn’t great first up. There were rejections from people who showed themselves to be supportive. Firstly, the main challenge I faced was to convince people that I do a decent job at illustrating, though I haven’t received any sort of formal art training. I am self taught. That fact suddenly used to make them back off. I played it safe. I started freelancing for newspapers and mags. JAM was where I had my first freelance break while in junior college. Mid-Day happened when I was in degree college. So I could build my portfolio there. Got my by-lines there. And then treaded carefully into the comics domain.
Before we take your leave, any parting advice and tips for comic artists in the making?
They have it much better today. A lot of people are open to comics as a means to make a living, both as contributors and publishers. Comic forums have multiplied, the Comic Con has a following now, new comic series launched every month. We didn’t have it this good back in our day. I’d say make use of what’s out there and don’t screw up!

Thanks so much for making the time for this Abhijeet, we’re sure all your fans appreciate it – we know we did! One last thing before you get back to bringing great stories to life, could you tell us some of your favorite artists, writers, characters in the current era, india, global and all-time?
Sergio Aragones. All time fave. Almost all the artists of the 80’s era MAD were great. Pick an old issue and see if you can stop laughing just by looking at the art, forget reading. I am a Gary Larsen fan too. His humour is out of this world. Back home, I’ve loved collecting Mario Miranda’s works. I think his art is exceptional.

All the best for the convention, we hope you find loads of success there and after, and we will see you and all you readers out there at the convention as well!

 

Calling all Vimaniks! Your leader speaks!

28 Sep
 

HELLO ADDICTS!!
Excited? You should be, Comic Con Mumbai is inching closer and closer with every passing second, minute, hour and day! 
And in the continuing spirit of comic-camaraderie and sharing the joy, we have managed to secure an interview today with Mr. Karan Vir – the envisioner of and man behind Vimanika Comics. He takes time from his busy schedule to share some of his insight and thoughts on comics and the convention(s) and even was good enough to provide quite a few lovely art samplings from some of the beautiful books Vimanika has in the works and on the stands. 
So enjoy it all folks and remember: you keep reading, we’ll keep writing!
 (And as always, remember the images can be clicked for big-ness!)

ComicAddicts: You were at the 1st Delhi Comic Con, how was the experience?

Karan Vir: Very Exhilarating!!
CA: Now we are having another con in Mumbai – do you think its too soon or just right?
KV: Yes we are! I feel its the right time. Its about time! Mumbai needs one.
CA: What are your plans for Mumbai Comic Con ?
KV: We, as Event sponsors of the Mumbai Comic Con Express, have lots of plans under our sleeves – but for now we are launching two super titles there!! Will keep you updated of all other plans as they become concrete.
CA: With mumbai being the hub of entertainment / advertising industry and Comic Cons focus on these two as well (see our last interview with them), do you think comics may get lost or is it good for comic industry?
KV: I think it can be more than a hub for the comic industry, but only if we keep our focus on what we want to achieve and stay united to attain it.
CA: What are your expectations from the Mumbai Con and the fans?
KV: Well I am expecting the best and preparing for the worst and hoping the latter does not turn into a reality!
CA: What one thing are you looking forward to the most?
KV: To our Shiva-TLI Book I launch 🙂
CA: Since you are based in Mumbai, what local flavour are you looking forward to in Mumbai con?
KV: Well the local flavour will be in the crowd/comic fans itself who are coming there .
CA: What are your views on the burgeoning comic scene and Comic Con India ?
KV: Its growing but is only the tip of the iceberg,there is lot more to achieve and to create that culture it needs a consistent unity of all the comic publishers/artists/writers & the most important, the fans ! We still need to learn a lot.
CA: Next steps for you from Comic Con Mumbai?
KV: Well getting ready for Comic Con Delhi !!! What else?!
CA: Any plans for Comic Con Delhi already decided?
KV: Not concrete yet but the plan has started to take form in my mind already, will keep you guys in the loop as they get confirmed! 
So there you have it folks!  More to look forward to and more comic-y goodness to hold you over until you make it to the Convention and all the new comics and big announcements finally seeing light of day! 
So stick around, we’ll be back soon – same comic site, same Comic Addicts!

Mumbai Comicon Express : A roundup with Comic Addicts

19 Sep

 
Welcome addicts, to more inside news for the Comic Con Express! Today we speak with the organisers behind this event, the brains and the brawn making it all happen, and we bring it fresh off the note-pad to you! 

1. We were there at the last con and it was a huge success, a sortie of comic addicts from around India! Did its success spur you to create Comic Con Mumbai or was it always on the cards?

   The decision was certainly based on the reaction of the fans and the participants, we felt we were in a position to make it happen and we did.

2. Is it going to have a different flavour from Comic Con Delhi or is it essentially the same dish in a different city?

   Its bit of both actually. The format is essentially the same, with exhibit spaces and workshops/sessions taking place every half hour or so. However, the feel of the event will be very different, unlike Delhi/dilli haat, this is an in-door venue in the heart of South Mumbai, we are trying to bring in local flavor. As Comic Con India we believe in promoting local talent and a lot of our talent is based in Mumbai

Apart from local flavour, the focus of Comic Con Mumbai is different from Delhi since we are incorporating  the entertainment and advertising industries into the con since both of these industries are big in Mumbai.

You’ll find the confirmed/announced participants on our site. Again, our approach is the same as it was 6 months back, the focus is on Indian comics, on the Indian industry. And this will be the first such event for Mumbai so like the first ever convention in Delhi, we’d like to highlight what’s happening in India, showcase the talent here.  

 
  
3. Heard Comic Con is going all out for Kids in Mumbai. What can they look forward to ?

   First tell me where did you hear this from? But yes we got a lot of complaints that ‘kids’ weren’t looked after last time, so we are planning a few childrens activities and there will be quite a few vendors catering to their needs. Lets get the kids hooked on to comics at an early stage!

4.Thats an excellent thought. Three cheers from Comic Addicts on this!
You guys have been doing rounds of various cities promoting Comic Con through workshops. How has the response been to this so far?

   On the whole, its been awesome, we face turn-out issues at times, but as we went out to different cities, the response was quite nice and completely unexpected. 

5. We would be looking forward to that. By the way which comics are launching in Comic Con Mumbai?

   So, far there are 7 titles! Which is awesome! We were worried that since the last convention wrapped up just 6 months ago and we hadn’t announced Mumbai at that time, there wouldn’t be too many launches, but its 7 confirmed already and a few more in the pipeline. We would be revealing the titles soon here.

6. Are you planning to get some international artists/creators at the Convention ?

   For Mumbai, no, we don’t want to shift the focus from Indian talent. Lets realize that beyond our fan circle, comic artists and writers aren’t recognized by the general public, even though they should be, which is why we are hell bent on making sure the best and the brightest in the industry are present at the convention in Mumbai 

7. Who all from Indian comic industry would be there?

   Pretty much everyone from last time and quite a few new names, which is quite encouraging. Lets hope our conventions spur more people to jump in. 

8. In the last convention, there was an after-party wherein Pran sir was given a lifetime achievement award, are there some plans for a similar after party?

   If you’d remember that was because the venue got rained out. Yes we do have a networking cocktail dinner planned in Mumbai for the participants and invited guests. But no awards. 

9. Tell us one thing that as per you is a must see – must do at the Mumbai Con?

   The feel to Mumbai is completely different from Delhi, one should check out all the exhibits and stay the whole day! Some really awesome workshops and sessions are planned. And we have some really innovative activities planned with our partners and yes, the prizes for different contests are bigger and better than Delhi! 

10. How big is cosplay going to be ? Any special prizes for cosplayers?

   Well you’ll certainly see all of our team out in costume, that should motivate a lot of people to turn up in costume, cosplay details come out next week. We are planning a special “make your own costume” workshop as well, since there really aren’t any costume vendors in India. There will be a lot of incentives for people to turn up in costume.  

       
11. Any plans for expansion to other cities?
   
   The next comic con express venue city is in the works, we are considering quite a few options.  

Thanks for talking to ComicAddicts. We hope to have a blast at Comic Con and wish you all the best!

A day in the park with Daksh’s creator!

6 Sep
Welcome back addicts! Today brings an EXTRA special treat for one and all!

We have for your pleasure, an interview with Shamik Dasgupta, Indian comic scribe extraordinaire, and uber-brain behind the already iconic “Daksh”.
In our last interview with Shamik he promised that he would be revealing all about this new comic that has built a whirlwind of energy around it, to us here at ComicAddicts. And true to his promise, here he is in a candid conversation with us on Daksh
(Also, we have been graciously given some sample pages of spectacular art to preview especially for all of you – click them to see them in all their wicked glory!!)
(Click to enlarge!)

CA: Shamik, thanks again for taking the time to be here. If you don’t mind we’re in total fan-mode and will dive right into the deep end!

CA: After a stormy start and a lot of great fan-approval, Daksh has finally reared his head again! Admittedly, we couldn’t have been more pleased, except perhaps if it had been sooner. Where has Daksh been so far and why did it take so long for him to come back again?
SD: Well actually there had been some disruptions after the first issue which took us some time to get back in gear, but when we did we went full steam ahead. There were speculations whether we would follow the usual conventions with Daksh and keep it for all ages or we should go completely mature on this title. Finally and thankfully Level 10 decided to establish their brand Comic Jump as a full fledged mature oriented magazine and my shackles were broken. This is possibly the most fun I ever had writing a series with no holds barred.

CA: Whats the master plan for Daksh now? Are you thinking mini-series, ongoing, whats the future?

SD: Daksh Season 1 will be three issues of 44 pages each, coming in three separate instalments in Comic Jump. Each issue is gonna be bigger badder and better than the consecutive one. I cannot reveal much, but Daksh will be integrated in the ‘Level 10 Universe’ more organically in near future
CA: Daksh was seemingly a magnet for controversy from the moment it saw print, is that still the case or is it past?
SD: First of all I do not believe in that controversy to begin with. The person in question was contacted by me personally and I was in favour of settling the disputes. I suggested the best possible solution months back and now I am still waiting to hear from him regarding his decision. However the first issue has gone for print and henceforth whatever solutions I was interested in are not viable anymore since he never reverted back to me.
CA: Do you expect anymore of a backlash from any of the audience/other companies regarding Daksh?
SD: All I can say is everyone is entitled to their opinions and the freedom to voice them out. I can only keep on working harder trying to entertain the readership. To me they are the judge, jury and executioner, to me they are GOD. If Daksh is destined to be a success it will be because of them. If they decide to reject Daksh solely on the merit of the quality of story, concept or art I will humbly accept that too.
CA: What should all the fans be looking forward to in this new volume?
(Click to enlarge!)

SD: A bold step ahead in presenting a super-heroic/supernatural character shedding all inhibitions and going full throttle ahead breaking all norms of Indian comic book characters. I will reiterate this comic book is definitely not for kids. Kids can f#*k off and bury their bratty heads in video games and Harry Potter. If someone comes to me and complains why this comic is not meant for kids? or perhaps one kid picked it up and learnt some slangs from it I will humbly flip the bird at that individual since he/she is an illiterate and cannot read that big ‘Rated M – Mature Readers’ written in bold on the cover. He/she shouldn’t have bought it for his/her kid in the first place. This is possibly my best vengeance against people who believe comics are meant for kids. Daksh is a very personal creation of mine and I have created it for people who thinks like me and shares a similar mental space.

CA: We have to ask now, what is the first issue all about? We’re dying for some peeks at what to expect!.
SD: Well here’s a bit of a spoiler and slight advance disappointment – the September 2011 issue of Jump will contain two stories of Daksh, one we have already read in the December 2010 Jump Independent special, the beginning and origin of Daksh and the next one will be spanking new, featuring one of the adversaries we had glimpsed at the end of the first issue. However the first issue that will be printed in this one will be the uncensored version (rated R), this is how it was meant to be…with an explosion of expletives, some more skin show and the print quality and format will be far better than the previous one. This will also help bringing in the new readers, the number of Comic Jump fans have grown considerably in the past few months.
CA: We heard that Devmalaya Pramanik is taking over art duties now. So what happened to the amazing Biboswan Bose who brought the first story to such amazing life?
SD: You have heard right, Devmalya Pramanik is helming the art of Daksh henceforth. Biboswan Bose unfortunately cannot continue as he has chosen academics over comics (which is quite practical if nothing else *chuckles*), pursuing his B.A degree in history and does not have the time to dedicate in the sequential art medium.
CA: Are we likely to see Bibo’s artwork anywhere else in comics in the future?
SD: The last I heard he is interested in doing independent pieces like covers and pin-up art but sequential pages will be a bit hard on his busy schedule.
(Click to enlarge!)
CA: How has it been, working with Devmalaya?
SD: Possibly the best experience in my life and I have considerable experience when it comes to collaborate with artists. The other very enjoyable team-up I had was with Jeevan Kang on Ramayan 3392 AD Reloaded issues 1-7, working with Dev is very reminiscent of that. Devmalya has an impeccable perception of reading my mind and sometimes it freaks me out since he is as telepathic as a kid version of Charles Xavier when it comes to me. He is possibly the hottest new talent out there and the amount he is improving with each page is phenomenal…all this at the age of 20. He is presently working on the 4th issue of Daksh and I can vouch that it is nothing but international in quality. I am really proud and honored that I have him on board as the artist for Daksh.
CA: Can you walk us through the day-to-day creative process for Shamik and Devmalaya, that brings the comics from thought to paper to the final-page?
SD: Like I said there is very little to this creative process as his skills fit over mine like a snug little glove, whatever I write he visualizes it perfectly. I am an extremely finicky bastard when it comes to art but to my amazement I have very little to say when he finishes each page and sends them across to me. Honestly most of the times I am too awestruck to say anything and very few artists have that effect on me. Also I would like to mention Neeraj Menon, who has been like a pillar of strength and has collaborated with the same dexterity with his colors as he did in the first issue. Last but not the least Tazeen Shaikh whose letters bring life to the world of Daksh. Did I forget to mention Jeevan Kang whose incredible cover graces the September issue of Comic Jump? Fie on me!
CA: Before we begrudgingly take our leave and let you get back to work, could you in 5 lines or less tell everyone out there why people should read Daksh?
SD: Hmmm…two lines – Nothing like this has ever happened in the pages of Indian comics which so far have been dominated by directionless do-gooders. You might love Daksh, you might absolutely despise him, but once you read the September 2011 issue of Comic Jump you just cannot ignore this BASTARD anymore! 

Till next week Addicts! 

Brainstorming with Bibo Bose

7 Jul
Biboswan Bose – the name that has been making people crazy since his first work on Level 10 Comics’ “Jump Independent’s Daksh” is the subject of our interest tonight.
This young art star was recently interview by another youngster Anupam Sarkaar – who is a budding artist himself. Here is the transcript of the same:
A brilliant rendition of Zombie by Bibo!
Click on the image to view full size





Anupam Sarkaar: Let me start by asking the usual question, how did you get a break in comics?

Biboswan Bose: I always had an interest in comic art, and have been doodling indefatigably since I can remember. However, it was during my high school years that I met Shamik da (Shamik Dasgupta) through a social networking site, and it is through him that I got to draw Daksh later on. Although we are not currently working together, I would like to express my gratitude towards Shamik da for letting me work with him.

A still from Shamik Dasgupta’s Daksh
Click on the image to view full size


AS: All of us have seen your brilliant artwork in Daksh. So, how was the journey while making the characters come to life?

BB: I am not sure whether my artwork on Daksh can be described quite so effusively (or should I say, generously), since it has a rather large number of shortcomings, but I can attest to the fact that it was challenging.
 During the designing stage, we had a surprisingly short amount of time, and I am still not sure whether I would have gone with the same designs if I had a different deadline. Shamik da helped me a lot during the process, and Yama (who I believe has the best design of the lot) is basically his design with a few twists that I added during the final stages while pencilling the panels.
 In conclusion, I must say, the characters ended up looking quite presentable (which, I have an inkling, has a lot to do with Neeraj’s colouring), and I was glad to have the printed issue in my hands.

Talking about bringing images to life…
Click on the image to view full size


An awesome artwork by Bibo – Satvar
Click on the image to view full size



AS: Who have been the biggest influence of your life?

BB: If I were to even attempt drawing up a list of the people who have had a bearing on my life, I believe it would occupy a rather obnoxious amount of digital space. Suffice it to say that it is what one could call an eclectic mix; one that includes parents, cousins, friends, teachers, artists, film makers, authors, musicians, historians, and philosophers and keeps growing with every passing day.



A FANtastic Fan Art of Batman vs The Joker!!! Totally rad!
Click on the image to view full size and don’t view it for too long if you’re weak of heart or nerve…


AS: Any future comic projects you are planning to do?

BB: Currently, I have no comic projects that I am working on. As far as the future is concerned, I suppose one always plans or at least hopes for projects to come her or his way, but for me that wish is yet to be realized.



The portrait of a King
Click on the image to view full size


Mahishasur – Concept art by Bibo the Brilliant!
Click on the image to view full size


AS: Ah…The final question has finally come, how do you think the indie scene is holding up lately?

BB: This is a tricky question for me, since I am quite new to the scene and have very little idea of the indie comic situation. Although I have to say, judging by the people I have had the pleasure to get in touch with during the process, that the indie scene has a powerhouse of talented and dedicated individuals who are constantly trying to push the quality and market value of these titles. I can only hope that with such people buttressing the scene, indie comics will find its own niche soon enough.

 I don’t believe I have had the chance to thank Comic Addicts for their gesture yet; so yes, I would like to say that I really appreciate this opportunity that you provided me with to answer your questions. It has been a pleasure, and an honor.



Pencils for Daksh. Keep watching for more Daksh in the next issue of Jump
Click on the image to view full size

… and if you liked Daksh, you’re surely love his Dad!!! Yumm! Hungry, anyone?
Click on the image to view full size


About Bibo:

Biboswan Bose
Age:21, State: West Bengal, Nationality: Indian(Isn’t it obvious! J)
Favourite artists: Hussar, Min, Joe Mad, Nic Klein, Dex, Nox, Jason Chan, Marko Djurdjevic, Min Yum, Phil Hale,etc
Specializing In: Digital painting, Comic Pencilling
Tools ‘O Trade: Wacom Bamboo, Pencils(HB,2H)
Previous Works: Some private commissions and stuff
Visit him and check out more of his awesome art athttp://vritrasdemise.deviantart.com/

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

26 May

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

Dheeraj Verma Speaks from Seattle Emerald city comicon!

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

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

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

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

Dheeraj Verma