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JUMP-ing with joy!

18 Aug

Gibba bloog boopaapa bi baap!

This is “Welcome dear readers” in Gobble-de-gook (for learning Gobble-de-gook in just 4.26 minutes contact the writer of this post)

When the last issue of Jump by Level 10 was launched, I was excited and wanted so very very much to review it! Especially the continuing adventures of Shotgun Sharma and Chappan Churi! I got the framework ready, scanned all the images I wanted to use and was all set to write it down, but sadly got stuck with something or the other, lots of office work came through at the wrong time, had a computer problem, I mean – everything that could go wrong – DID go wrong! Damn you Murphy!!!!

Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No! It’s the opposing team!!!

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Khair, when the new double issue was released there was NO way I would let this one pass, so here I am with my first Jump review for Comic Addicts.

For those who have never read any issue of Jump before or haven’t been following the stories, don’t worry, you can still go ahead and buy this one. This one wraps  a lot of things, so you can read the “Story so far” and then continue. You can always catch up with the old issues later.

When I opened the packet, I was very excited. It is a double issue pack (well… due to the fact that Level 10 forgot to launch it last month, so 2 issues were clubbed together!!! To be fair, we were told about this beforehand, so they escape the gallows this time). It is a seriously thick issue with the usual high quality pages and print quality – this one time, I got drenched in the rain with Issue 7 in my bag and the whole thing was wet, but the ink did not bleed, colors were steady, all I had to do was to let it dry and it was good as new.

Shaurya Cover – The times they are a-changin’

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For a 100 bucks it is a seriously good deal. Personally I won’t mind waiting 2 months if Level 10 can release this kind of issue every 2 months. Plus you save 20 bucks on the deal as 2 single issues would be 120! It has some 105-110 pages in total – don’t ask me for I have NO idea why don’t they put page numbers in comic books these days!

The cover is by Deepak Sharma who has done a brilliant job, as usual, with a bold letter ominous looking “Bye Bye Bangalore” written on the front face! For the uninitiated, this is a play on words signifying both the finale of The Rabhas Incidence and the shifting of base from Bangalore to Mumbai for Level 10!
Rabhas Incident – The final solution?

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The first story is the last episode of The Rabhas Incident. After a great spell lasting 8 issues, Rabhas has finally ended. For now! We are placed right in the middle of action where Col. Rafeeq is trying to get out of the city, trying save the last handful survivors. They encounter various hurdles and overcome all odds to try and reach the light at the end of the tunnel. The story moves to another set of people who are in the city for a completely different motive, and all these stories move individually towards a collective end.
Run for your life!!!!!

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As for the end, it is as unexpected as it can be. Rabha’s has been my favorite story of the lot by far and I am seriously hoping that “The End” on the last page is not really THE End. I would love to see it returns and continue either from where they’ve left it or even start a completely different arc. Whatever you do, don’t let go of RI, Level 10! I can start a signature campaign if that is what would make you continue!

A bonus feature in this issue is a detailed discussion about the covers of The Rabha’s Incident by none other than our fellow Addict – Mayank Khurana, who has given a brief history of the old covers of RI. You have to read it to enjoy it! I can’t really explain it in a review. Just check out the old covers of RI on Level 10’s website or their Facebook page and you’ll know when I’m talking about.

After The Rabhas Incident we move on to the 9th Volume of Shaurya, the bunch of young kids with extraordinary powers who are trying to save the world while trying to save themselves from an evil society Ah-Nirvan, which is trying to exploit them for its own selfish reasons.
Waiting for the news – Jay can’t handle the guilt anymore…

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The Gang was in the middle of a skirmish in the last issue, ambushed by the antagonist and his goons, Sid was hurt, chaos everywhere. The story starts bang in the middle of the action. Sid gets better – on account of being a robot with healing nanoites working their technological magic on his body er… armour… suit… whattchamathingy you wanna call it – someone else gets hurt badly. No. I am not going to tell you who (or should I say whom?), you have to read it to find out.

We are taken from the action to a more serious atmosphere where the hurt members are being treated and Jay is feeling guilty for having been duped by the Baba (Yes, there was a Baba too. See – you’ve missed a LOT if you haven’t read the previous issues, so go get them first Or wait. You can get that nice season 2 pack that’s being offered by Level 10 now!).
Oh Boy. You can NEVER guess who THESE guys are!!! Not on your life, unless you’ve read it already! Boy-oh-Boy! Woo.
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Anyway, so the whole story – from the first issue till now – is converging to an exciting end now.  Shaurya also ends in this issue – but at the point it was cut off, it is almost certain that it will continue in the next season. Or it should, if I have read the signs right. My only complaint was with the ending. It was a nice twist, but was a little clichéd and could have been implemented a little better. Maybe there were hints about this ending in the previous issues, but honestly, if there were, I don’t really remember them.
All-in-all, a pretty satisfying end of the chapter, and however clichéd it was, the end DOES promises to be interesting in the next release!

Finally after devouring these two stories, the Galactus in me was still not satisfied and my Silver Surfer found a new planet that had the capability to quench my never-ending thirst!
Cover: Batu Gaiden

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It was a small peaceful planet, inhabited by peaceful residents, all of them sportsmen, some students, some former players, some teachers, some caretakers all of whom have one thing in common. Love for Cricket… Woops. Kree-Kaht!

This chapter of Batu Gaiden is also, as usual, excellent. Some fantastic art work by Xong Bros. with the usual humor, manga action and excitement and a superfast pace. I can’t, or rather won’t talk much about BG, it’s still ongoing and trust me – You don’t want spoilers. You want to go and buy this one, or maybe just order it from Level 10’s website.

So you think YOU can play cricket?

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Lot of people have told me that they didn’t like Batu Gaiden, maybe because they can’t interpret the Manga in an Indian environment, or maybe they couldn’t comprehend the concept of Kree-Kaht in the oh-so-stylish Manga style – India is very sensitive about Cricket, you see, but say what you may, I found the story, art and the concept pretty entertaining and I wouldn’t mind seeing more Manga and certainly more Batu Gaiden in the future issues.

Oh, before I forget. There is another brilliant surprise inside this issue.
Bodyline! Gentlemen’s Game? Surely not…

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2 single page funnies! I am trying to convince the good folks at Level 10 to let me put up those funnies with this review, but if they don’t… Well… What the hell, I’ll just scan and upload it.

That’s all for now folks. 

Have a good one. Or should I say… Goo baa dda lla lal addo book!?          
Take a shot at THIS Dhoni!

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Exclusive Preview: Level 10 Teases Manga inspired work

20 Jan
Here are two exclusive Images that Level 10 has kindly shared with me:

This was labeled as : Roudrakinda

And this one as Nagavenni

What could it all mean? You know as much as I do at the moment. Expect some more revelations from Level 10 soon!

My own speculation is that is from the upcoming manga inspired project that Level10 announced some time ago! If yes, then these characters fit right in the manga genre. If not, then what could it be all about?

What are your initial impressions ? Share with us!

M Views: Review of Shotgun Sharma & Chappan Churi (Jump vol 6)

19 Jan

Shotgun Sharma and Chappan churi

Plot: The adventures two hard luck detectives find themselves into when they are tasked to find mother of a little girl who seems to have disappeared.
Okay, let me quickly get this out of my system – I LOVE THIS SERIES! It reminds me of “Motu-Patlu” and similar kind of comics. This is a complete entertainer – take a movie like andaz apna apna, run it through lethal weapon , spray just a little bit of sholay on top and you have SSCC!
This is just the kind of quirky little whimsical series that I enjoy very much. There is so much to love in this series , I just don’t know where to begin. I have chosen to be brief about this series when describing the plot because I want everyone to read it. Anything I say would not even begin to describe the nitty gritties of this comic , which is what makes this series enjoyable.
The titular characters Shubangi ( chappan churi) and Balchandra Sharma ( Shotgun Sharma) are the last people you would expect the protagonist to be like. Shubhangi is perhaps the most a-sexual female I have seen in comics and Mr Sharma is short and stout!  This itself tells you the kind of series you are getting into. However don’t mistake them for incompetent fools, this duo though don’t look the part, acquit themselves beautifully in crunch situations ( however hilarious)
It only gets better as it proceeds. You get egregious dialogues, some really hilarious situations ( mine is the interrogation scene  with Sharma), crazy villains, stipid motives, self deprecating humor, brave heroes and a gunshot to someone’s bum! ( reminded me of Gintama here)
Nothing I write here is going to even come close to the enjoyment I got from reading this. So just go out and sample this for yourself. You would thank me for it. There are even references to other comics and characters and the one about Batman was hilarious!
It is ofcourse obvious that I have become enamored with this series, but it is not without its fault.
The story is paper thin and like the other series in this anthology hits some standard story beats. If the dialogues and actions wouldn’t have been this funny, this experiment could have turned out so wrong. Luckily though it didn’t. But going forward I would expect some more character development and a slightly more involved plot.
The artwork is clearly manga inspired, yet not quite manga. I think we are seeing an original take which mixes manga sensibilities with older art styles of traditional Indian humor comics like biloo,pinki etc. I am as yet quite unsure of what to make of this style.  I think its going to be a while before I get used to this kind of art .
Having said that, I think the artwork can use some polish, especially when it comes to action scenes.
 Another thing I noticed in the art was the lack of backgrounds. There are hardly any backgrounds at all!! What’s up with that? I understand that Shreyas was the first to submit the completed series to Level 10 well before the deadline. I wish he would have taken the extra time to work on the artwork and background details. It would have made a great series even greater.
One last thing that I wanted to point out is that even though shubangi is supposed to be anti thesis to those comic women out there with huge busts , slim waist and short clothes. She should still at least look Female! At the moment, if Balchandra haven’t told me her sex, I wouldn’t have figured out that she was a female.
And what’s with the Kurta Pyjama? How many females do you see wearing kurta pyjama like that – 36B or no 36 B?
Having said all this, let me reiterate: I Love this eccentric series! Period.
Let’s have the next one! Soon!

Exclusive: Shotgun Sharma and Chappan Churi

21 Dec

Now talking about the third and final series being showcased in the Jump “independent special” – Shotgun Sharma and Chappan Churi by Shreyas Deshpande

                                                       Cover Courtsey of Level 10 Studios

The characters were created by Shreyas Deshpande with creative inputs from Deepak Sharma. Originally planned as a more mature series, the series was rewritten as an action comedy, at the suggestion of Level 10.
Here are the older designs for the characters.

The characters are mainly influenced by Buddy Cop Movies, Looney toons, and the Asterix comics. The artwork, too, is distinct from the other series it is featured with.

“It’s easier for me to draw stylised characters. I think stylised characters are more fun to look at, but more importantly more fun to draw! Making comics should be fun!” – Shreyas

I have to agree ! Looking forward for this action-adventure-humor tale.

Exclusive Preview : Rise of the Warblade

17 Dec

Yesterday we showed you rejected covers for the new comic series DAKSH by Jump. Today we reveal inside pages for the fantasy title – RISE OF THE WARBLADE….

This series is brought to you by:
 Story , concept & script : Akshay Dhar.
Pencils, inks ,colors & lettes by Swapnil Singh
Color assistance by Abhinav Kumar Sengar

Stay tuned as our exclusive Jump Special posts continue..

Exclusive: Jump reveals Daksh cover, we reveal rejected covers

16 Dec

Level 10’s Jump Vol six is an independent special, where we would see some new concepts from Indian creators. Today they have released the individual covers of the series being showcased in the volume. We replicate the covers below.

The three series for this edition are Daksh , Shotgun Sharma & Chappan Churi and Rise of the Warblade.
Now discerning readers would be aware we revealed the info about Daksh some time ago on this very blog at here
The three series seem to be from very different genre as well as art style. Am glad to see such variety on display here.

Now , we were lucky enough to get hold of some alternate colored versions of Daksh, which did not make the cut.

The covers are by the dynamic duo Abhishek Malsuni and Shashank Mishra (who did the Witchblade Pinup – here).
As we can see the art and colors are Top quality and Daksh certainly looks very threatening (befitting a “Dark” hero). Can’t wait to read this one.

Stay tuned to our blog for exclusive content on these three creator owned series to whet your appetite before Level10 finally releases the issue.

India Ink – Talking Indian comics

2 Dec

Thanks for a great feedback on the previous article on Indian comic scene…. as promised the beginning of exclusives from the Indian comic scene….

What’s Hot?
In last article we discussed Virgin comics. What we missed out on was that Virgin comics had shut down in 2008 (Thanks to Alok for pointing that out ) and has presently been reformed as Liquid comics with the same management. One of the writers of erstwhile Virgin comics – Shamik Dasgupta (Ramayan 3392 AD/Reloaded, Virulents, Sadhu) – is getting ready to launch his own creator owned series in India.  Here is the Teaser poster for it.

Details on the comic itself are sparse, but insider info is that this type of comic has never been done in India before. I also understand that this is going to be a one off initially, possibly followed by a five issue miniseries and would then become a regular depending on the demand. The best piece of news about this comic is that a twenty-one year old Indian boy has done the art, and it is rumored that this guy is going to surprise a lot of people when the comic comes out! I have had the opportunity to look at a couple of interior pages, and let me tell you they are Fantastic!

Warms my heart to see such bold experimentation being done in India.

This is going to come out by end of December and the publisher is just about getting ready to announce this title. Watch this space for more on this

Comic Convention
Last time we discussed a possibility of a comic convention happening in Mumbai. Well that has just been confirmed. I understand that the organizers are in final discussion with the dean of a reputed college in Mumbai. We may get this event as soon as January! This would be a milestone in Indian comic scene if this happens. I am cheering for this. Hope this is a big success

Comic Watch

Comic to read this month is Jump #5. This is the season finale of the comic anthology produced by Level 10 studios. And let me tell you, the twist at the end of “Rabhas incident” ( one of the series running here) makes this a must buy! This is how comics should be. Kudos for Level 10 for introducing new concepts in Indian market.
I would be doing an in depth comic review of Jump, and tell you why they are so important to the Indian comic scene.

Publisher Watch

Vimanika Comics is going global! They are launching their comic series – Moksha and Kalki at Twelve Gates Art Gallery, Philadelphia, USA. Always good to see Indian comics make a mark outside India. I wish them all the best in their endeavor. Catch the review of their comic Kalki soon on my blog.
For more information you can visit the link. 

This wraps up the quick 10 minute tour of Indian comic industry.I would be very interested in hearing from you all. What are your thoughts about this initiative and if there is anything specific you want to see via this column?

Indian Comics – Hope for the future

25 Nov

-By Manks
(This is second part of an article piece on Indian comics. The first one can be found at : here )

In the first article, we looked at what went before in the Indian comic scene. Now we are going to go a step further and understand what Indian comic scene looks like currently.

Present Scenario


Illustrated Orchids

Recently many more comics have started cropping up, some even backed by big business house, while Amar chitra Katha and Raj comics continue to hold ground.

Fluid Friction comics have partnered with an Indian firm to publish comics inspired by Indian mythology.
Illustrated Orchids , a company operated by Indian Singaporean diaspora has launched comics based on Indian mythology and culture. The artwork is based on Manga like art and is sold in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Europe.

Vimanika comics

Another company Vimanika has launched comics , again based on Indian Mythology for Indian and foreign markets, which are very good.

Do we see a pattern here? Yup, everyone seems to love Indian mythology. But enthusiasts  question the overabundance of such comics. However I cannot deny that Indian religion and allure of Indian mysticism sells, especially now that many Indians are settled abroad. They are also appealing to children in India, as they retell/ re-imagine the mythos that they have grown up reading about. So for business houses it makes sense to go with the safe and sellable product especially on foreign shores where there already is a comic culture. But what of our own comic culture? Will we never be able to look beyond religion and myth? Even Indians deserve variety. If the product is good, it will sell. Japan’s Manga industry is proof of this.

As if to answer this question, Campfire publications entered the market in 2009. They are publishing classics, biography and originals in graphic novel format.


Some Indians have also started independent foray into the world of graphic novels.
Corridor by Sarnath Banerjee is such an example.

Two more noteworthy additions to Indian comic scene are– “Jump” by Level10 studios and Comix.India who are trying to develop unique Indian content. The quality is debatable, though it’s a step in positive direction.

I am given to understand There are more on the way. Adventures would help unveil some of them as well 🙂

The picture is not all rosy however, and there is a long winding road to cover before victory.

An artist working freelance for one of these companies told me that by and large it is quite difficult for someone to work for Indian comic scene because they are not paid nearly enough. They need to have a full time job apart from comic industry to sustain them. Most of them are working in the growing Indian Animation scene as well. This is not true for all artists as some larger companies do pay well. But for a wider majority it is. Which I guess is true in any country. You need to have a certain level of skill before you can enter mainstream.

Additionally, Anime and Manga like everywhere else have caught up in India. With Anime associations forming in major cities. Though this is still at a nascent stage, their future is bright. I have randomly met two children of 8 years old who read Manga but are not aware of any other comics out there. Manga is catching them young. A feat that  may make many companies jealous. The reason is their free availability over Internet.


Companies like Dark Horse/Tokyopop/Viz may scowl at sites like Onemanga, but it helped introduce manga to country like ours where there is no availability of such items. When you contrast it to companies like Marvel and DC, not many people know beyond what they see on the silver screen.
Manga has infact started pouring in through select stores, especially in the south, and they are selling like hot cakes because of the readymade audience thanks to online availability.

The biggest news yet is an attempt at organizing a comic convention. The first ever for India. From what I know, currently the organizers are looking out for sponsors. But the thought is there and it may be very soon when we see it materialized.

For me, the icing on the cake was when I met an Indian artist working for TOP COW publishing, which clearly told me, we do have the talent, and we know readers seem to be growing. All we need is a big push from some more corporates to get Indian comic scene going again and things does seem to be going in the positive direction.

Here’s hoping for the best.

-Disclaimer: This is a reproduction of the article published at by me. All attempts were made to be faithful to timelines and publishers. I also realise that I might have missed out on some publications from South India. However If there is some inconsistancy or some periodical that you think should be mentioned, let me know and I would sort it out.