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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!


Exclusive RAJ COMICS Preview: Antardwand

10 Oct
Antardwand. The inner struggle.
Bhokal – The protector of the fairy folk, the warrior who fights for truth, justice and freedom is back in a awesomely drawn issue by Hemant, with a story that looks extremely promising!
Continuing from Dhikkar, Antardwand promises to be an intruding tale of Gods, Demi-Gods, Sages, Saints, Power, Struggle and the ultimate attainment of Power.
Intro: Antardwand – The Inner Struggle

Prince Alop is after the Bhokal Shakti and has started an intense penance which will bring him what he currently desires.

This has caused some hoolaboo among the Devta Gan, who assemble to discuss the situation with Shiv.
The preview looks very promising and after Dhikkar, I am kindda excited to read all about Bhokal’s origin which in itself, by the way, is one of the first “Origin events” in the Raj Universe – all of which is happening after the actual character launch. Most of the origins until now have been given around the early starting days of the character, like Nagraj, SCD, Doga etc. This series is a new direction that Raj has boldly decided to go and that too for a character that is already well set.
So the inner struggle continues and I just can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

Bhokal initiates the penance!

Lord Shiv and the Devtas – Everyone stops and takes notice…
Time to decide…
Prince Alop on the steps towards the ultimate power!

C.C.E.MUMBAI Cometh!!!

14 Sep


It was some seven months ago I found myself roaming through New Delhi’s “Dilli Haat”, dressed as a cheap homemade version of Batman with a paunch, along with my little brother who was a much more convincing Wolverine. Some people were even staring at us as if we were recently let loose from an asylum and were being allowed to mingle with the general public!

Most of the stares openly showed their displeasure at this freedom being given to delinquents like us, but did we care? At that point in time we wouldn’t have cared if the public had started stoning us or even if the cops locked us up.
We were on our way to The Indian Comic-Con!!!
India’s FIRST ever Comic Convention!!!
This was something I had dreamt about for several years but had expected it to turn into reality in at least my lifetime! But hey, what do we know? Dreams have a almost nasty habit of being realized overnight, when you least expect it!

Something magical had happened a few months ago. Facebook had informed us that there was a plan for a potential Comic-Con in Delhi. The word was enough to get me interested and I started following it up. Joined the page, asked the questions, responded to each post, argued, gossiped and spread the word, forced people to join, made them aware and pretty much everything I could think of doing – short of walking on the roads with a biggammajammi banner over my head! And I’d have done that too, but just didn’t think about making/finding a banner soon enough.

Anyway, I digress. So we were at Dilli Haat, in full costume, walking towards our dream coming true – and what a fine realization of a dream it turned out to be!! There were already people in costumes moving about, talking to each other, getting their pictures clicked and all-in-all having tons of fun!

We jumped right in, registered and Wolverine got instantly popular. We had worked really hard on his costume (Eh, actually the “We” was more of a “They”, rather than “Me”, to be honest) and it paid off. He was easily the most sought after cosplayer! We had oodles and oodles of fun the entire day! Got to meet so many people, several of whom have become very close and dear friends today! The second day it rained like hell but we didn’t care! We still came out, got wet, got pics clicked and had a complete blast for two whole days! DEFINITELY two of the most memorable days of our lives!!!

Team “Ravanayan” autograph session!

Interestingly I got a chance to be a Comic Addict only because of Comic Con! I met Mayank, he used to write under the title “The Adventures of M” at that time. He read a few of my reviews, noted my enthusiasm on FB about all things comics and asked me if I would be interested in joining his blog? I was busy with several other things at that time – music, work and what not – so I apologized and clarified that I might not be able to give him the amount of time he would expect from a contributing member of the group, but offered to do some guest reviews from time to time.

After I wrote my first article for him, I realized how much fun it was and that I could probably take out some time out of my schedule for it periodically. Slowly but gradually other members were joining the gang and we migrated from a small one-man blog to a group where we had writers with varied interest and everyone was completely addicted to comic books! And Hey-Presto: The name was changed unanimously to Comic Addicts!

So although I was addicted to comic, I wasn’t technically a Comic Addict. But thanks to Comic Con, I was able to take that step and get involved, rather than just standing on the sidelines and observing!
Even apart from Comic Addicts, I met SO many people who have ended up being great friends now. I met artists whose work I had seen and appreciated even more. I met people whom I had known online, but hadn’t seen them even once! And trust me, it wasn’t just me. Pretty much EVERYONE made good friends, increased their social base, got a positive, confident confirmation that we are NOT the only Geeks and Nerds around! There are a whole lot of them!!! Some even Geekier and Nerdy, so much so that they are the cool ones in comparison!
And the nominees are…

All this is courtesy Comic Con India. It wasn’t just an event or a convention. It was a movement, a chain, a reactive sequence of events, a veritable phenomenon that completely changed all our lives forever. For the better (I hope!!)

It might sound cheesy, but just think about it! If you were at the Con, just make a mental list of fellow fans and creators who you were in regular contact with prior to the Comic Con, and then compare it with who you now know AFTER attending the Con! Simply do it. You don’t need to answer or justify anything to me. I already know the answer!
For an event that was totally awesome and fun – especially for Fan boys like us – two days of festivities seemed just not sufficient! In fact, it almost felt worse than not having a Con at all!!!

Before all of this I had imagined such a thing but hadn’t really experienced it. Once CCI 2010 happened, I realized how much was I missing in life!!! It was akin to a tiger tasting human blood for the first! I have tasted of the charged energy that is the life-blood of the comics industry and two days are simply not sufficient! I want more. WE want more, don’t we?

All those goodies… *drool*

Well… Your wait it about to be over! After the huge success that was Comic Con India 2011 and after getting overwhelming response for another Con next year, it was decided to host another fest. But this time in the event would not wait a year, no – it would travel to distant Mumbai, months before the 2nd Annual CCI in Delhi next year! 
The venerable organisers of the grand event in their infinite wisdom realised that twelve months was far too long and created: Comic Con Express! A traveling convention that would give us something to satisfy our cravings between the yearly gathering from across the lands!
Comic Con Express – Mumbai, 22nd and 23rd October, World Trade Center, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai.
Huh. What on earth are you still doing here!?!
Did you miss that last line?
It’s just a little more than 41 days from D-Day!!! Why aren’t you making preparations to reach Mumbai by the 22nd of October?
Great Snakes! You’re STILL here?!
The countdown has started my dearest fellow addicts, the clock is ticking!
So I’ll see you my friends, at the next Con… Be There
41 Days Remaining!

Rajat Reviews Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – Reloaded

21 Jul

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

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

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

Art by: Amit Tayal

Published by: Campfire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rajat’s Random Ramblings – Ravanayan Begins…

1 Jul

Comic Addicts has done it again. In an unprecedented move, we are doing, probably for the first time in India, a pre-release review of one of the most anticipated book this summer, Ravanayan.

This has only been possible with the cooperation of Mr. Vivek Goel the owner and the chief artist of the Holy Cow Entertainment, who was futuristic enough to realize the way cookie crumbles. Other Publisher friends… Ahem. We are waiting… Our public DEMANDS pre-release reviews!!! 😉

Anyway, as always, I get distracted and wander off to paths unexplored. Let us come back to the task at hand.

One of the 2 covers from Issue 1 – The inner turmoil – Sage Father, Demon Mother
Click on the image to view full size.

So dear readers, I was as excited as I can be when I found out that Vivek has finally decided to let Comic Addicts do a pre-release review of his upcoming summer blockbuster Ravanayan and couldn’t wait for it to be delivered. After signing and collecting it from my friendly neighborhood Post Man (he was bitten by a radioactive post during a field trip to the GPO, you see), I went deep inside my sanctum sanctorum, closed all windows and turned off all the lights except that one table lamp and sat down with Ravanayan’s double size first issue in my hands!

The first issue is actually a giant double issue, including 2 covers (YAY!!!) – that contains an awesome surprise! Especially for those who have pre-ordered the book. Good things come to those who wait, so be patient my Young Jedi.

The first cover is a beautiful artwork portraying Ravan surrounded with 9 demon heads (making it a total of 10, obviously) and has been colored vibrantly and brought to life by a young talented colorist Devayu.

The Demon Lord surrounded by his inner demons? Vibrant front cover by young Devayu
Click on the image to view full size

The story begins with an interesting character from Ramayan – someone you wouldn’t even dream of seeing in the story – who is in the middle of an exciting battle, which ends with a twist of events that leave him as confused, if not more, as he was before the battle commenced.

Okay. I guess after reading this sentence you might be as confused, if not more, as you were before this sentence started! 😛

Go on. Be confused. Make wild guesses. Threaten me, if you will, but I ain’t gonna give you any details about what happened or to whom. Nor am I going to reveal the slightest plot, because my dear readers, this is a book which you should own. There is no fun in just listening to the story or even reading it. You have to hold it in your hands, and watch the beauty and the magic brought alive by a team of young and extremely talented bunch of artists.

Kapow!!! An eye for an eye? I say aye!

The art for this issue has been done by Vivek singlehandedly. The special first part of the book has been colored by none other than our talented Mr. Pugaonkar. Incidentally this is the first storyboard that Yogesh has colored. Up until now he was being used exclusively for covers and promo arts. I must say going by the detail in colors and effects that he has done an impressive job here too. Not totally unexpected, mind you. He has obviously raised our expectations from him and might have to go even more extra steps to satisfy our hunger for awesome art now.

Catch me if you can… The Mace and the Face
Click on the image to view full size

We now move forward, leaving our bewildered character and all you bewildered readers behind – er actually, we will be moving backward in time. WAY back. A time before life became complex, before the world lost its beauty at the hands of man and demon alike, a time when things were simpler, easier to understand and adapt.

A time when 4 siblings were young, restless, happy and innocent. The chapter starts with a view of an Ashram in the middle of a jungle. Ravan, Kumbhkaran, Vibheeshan and Shoorpanakha are leading a peaceful and fun filled life in the Ashram, far from the maddening crowd. We are introduced to the 4 kids who are as similar to each other as they are different.

If we look back and refer to the original scripture, Ravan was the brilliant one, a Maha Pandit, a scholar and a warrior who had no equal. He conquered all the realms, beat even the most powerful Kings and ruled Lanka with a golden fist. Firm yet fair. His only downfall was his ego.

Vibheeshan, in the original story, was a kind hearted gentle man who detested violence and strives for peace. He is also sensible and level headed and has the head of a patience and logical man. He is the first to realize the consequences of facing a powerful warrior like Ram and also that when facing a superior opponent it might make more sense to compromise rather than fight and loose everything. His folly was poking at Ravan’s already inflated ego by telling a warrior of his caliber to surrender before another warrior, which not only antagonized him into sending his own brother in exile but also made him angry and mad. An infuriated warrior is prone to make mistakes, and so did Ravan.

Shurpanakha is the brat, who wants it all and goes right to her brothers whenever she doesn’t gets what she desired.

Kumbhakaran is the sloth and all he wants is to eat and sleep. Relatively simpler character out of the lot.

Alright. End of the lecture. Now that you have read this and revised your Ramayan facts, its time for you to forget all of them and be ready for a new outlook.

Yes, you will see familiar names, places, events but they are familiar only in name. In Ravanayan, you will experience new flavors to the same characters. Each carrying an aura of the familiar persona we mentally associate with them, but it is only a very small aspect of their personality.

All these characters have been drawn from the scratch, given life to and made to wear new clothes as well as new personality by the good folks at Holy Cow Entertainment.

The bond between the siblings, right here, forms the crux of the entire Ramayan and I’m sure that it will have a very important role to play in Ravanayan too.

We are introduced to a young Demon Lord who is just a kid right now, but already has the streaks of greatness, albeit tainted with an inherent darkness.

A quiet little boy, wise beyond his years, trying to look after his family and always striving to do the right thing.

A young brat of a girl, who is the apple of the eye of her brothers, who are ready to do anything and everything for the sake of their little sister.

A slothful, lazy boy who loves nothing more than sleeping and eating. No major surprises here, for sure. Or at least not at this point. Who know what will happen to young Kumbhakaran in the issues 2 to 10?

And as promised earlier, I ain’t gonna tell ya the story me hearties, am I? Hehehehe. Should have realized by now!

Terror in the Jungle… Young Demon Lord with his siblings
Click on the image to view full size

This Chapter 1 has also been drawn by Vivek and has been colored by Komal Surale. The art is as intricate as always and Komal has done a pretty neat job. Especially in this particular breathtaking action sequence full of blood and gore and a fantastic fight!

The effects for this issue are pretty good, although not really breathtaking, except in a few places. This might be due to the fact that all the art for Ravanayan 01 was done several months ago. Since then, however, all the young artists and colorists have come a LONG way. I have seen some samples of the future issues of Ravanayan and trust me boys and girls… If you think that the first issue is good, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

All in all, excellent script, very catchy, doesn’t get too slow or preachy at any point, except probably the first 2 pages, and keeps the pace even and steady all across the issue. The characters are well defined, given a very new and different aspect, despite the intense familiarity which any Indian child who was conscious during the 80s would feel with these characters. Ravan, Vibheeshan, Kumbhakaran and Shoorpanakha are familiar to all of us and thank to Ramanand Sagar’s turtle paced Ramayan television series a lot of us would have a pre-conceived notion about these main characters as I have already discussed earlier, but Vijayendra Mohanty manages to expertly dodge the comparison by keeping them distinctly different flavored yet bearing the same roots from the original epic.

It is a team of very young and talented artists, most of whom are working for the first time on a professionally published comics, and that is saying a lot. In fact, a little birdie told me that Holy Cow has worked with 9 virgin writers and artists already for their next few publications! Keep it up HC, we need the support of all our publishers to promote young and raw talent!

A sneaky peaky at things to come – keep watching this space!!!
Click on the image to view full size

Art work is excellent, much better than Were House, and as I had mentioned in my Re-Review of Were House, the type of art Vivek draws needs color to be able to express itself completely and become what was desired in the first place. The scenes and the places are very well drawn, the anatomy of characters is well proportioned and the best part is that art and story go along hand in hand at all times, without one leaving the other behind to seek individual glory.

THIS is what makes Ravanayan a book to take notice of. At the price Holy Cow has declared, this is a bloody bargain. If you like mythology, history, fiction, war, battles, kings, magic, fantasy, horror, gore or any other genre, this is a must have book in your collection.

And guess what? This is just the first volume!!! There are several more to come from the House of the Cow!! Moooooooooo!!!!

I urge thee, wait not, pre-order on Flipkart or just call Dial-a-book and get hold of this one before it goes out of stock. Watch out now, the day of reckoning is upon us and Lord Ravan is about to take over the world!!! Excellent comic, entertaining and fun to read and leaves you salivating and wanting for more. After I flipped close the back cover, the first thought that popped in my head was – Holy Cow!!! THIS is how mythological comics are done…

I am Kalki – The Silver Book – a review

21 Jun

After I got the book in my hands, I decided to first re-read the Golden book to refresh my memory in case there was any continuity involved, but since the Golden book was only a Preview Title, there was little or nothing in the way of a story line. This is particularly helpful for people who don’t have the first book. You can simply pick up the Silver Book and start from here. It all starts here!
The overall art work of the book is excellent and the print and paper quality meets the standard Vimanika has set for them in the industry today. I was a little surprised to find no artist name for the book, I am sure many people would be interested in knowing the artists behind the amazing artwork.

“I am Kalki – The Silver Book” Cover
Cick to view high quality image

Anyway, I digress. Let us come back to the matter at hand.  I am Kalki – The Silver Book starts with a small synopsis and jumps right into the story. The tale begins with 5 elemental Gods – Varuna, Vayu, Agni, Bhoomi and Indra – gathering on Earth and blessing a Yagya which is being held for some very special purpose, being conducted by the 8 Maharishis from our Indian mythology, spearheaded by Vishwamitra. The introduction of the Gods is very impressive in terms of Art and Effects and also includes a stunning 2 page spread of the 5 Gods jointly blessing the ongoing Yagya.

Indra and Agni
Click on each image to view them in high quality
 The 5 elemental Gods blessing the grand Yagna!
Click on the image to view it in all it’s high quality glory!!!

Post a small discussion between the 8 Great Sages, the story shifts to modern contemporary India, where a businessman has brought his 3 kids and his 8 month pregnant wife in a farmhouse / orchard in Eastern UP. Incidents lead to a spectacular event which will probably change the world as we know today. Nope, I ain’t telling you what happened. You have to buy the book to find that out. It can easily be ordered from Flipkart or Dial-a-book or just ask your friendly neighborhood comic store to get it for you. Oh, I almost forgot, we also witness the rise of a mysterious demon king from the depths of hell, a corner where even the most vicious demons fear to tread! Its turning out to be damn exciting folks, so pick this one up!!!
The rise of the mysterious demon
Click to view the high quality image

All in all, a pretty neat package. my only real complaint is that I would have expected a little more story in the book but the start is exciting and the story is varied and keeps you hooked. Deepam Chaterjee has kept a good pace and has done a pretty neat job of intertwining Indian mythology with our current – modern world to deliver a script that looks full of potential and hope.
The Birth of a God!
Click to view the high quality image

 Slight disappointment over the story ending so soon, but I guess that’s a credit to the script as well, in a way, as it leaves me wanting for more. Although for 80 bucks I would have liked to read a few more pages of story. Vimanika makes up for that, by including full page character sketch (fully drawn and colored) along with the actual history, albeit mythological, of the 8 great sages. But I would definitely have preferred more story in the book. That is the only area Vimanika needs to cover the ground in, apart from that, Kalki looks like a good book and The Silver Book is an excellent start to what will, hopefully, be a grand adventures of a Modern God!

Oh, wait. Almost forgot. There is a very cool poster free with this book too, so those who were apprehensive initially can forget that and buy it now.

Free poster with I am Kalki – The Silver Book
Click to view high quality image


PS: Another tiny suggestion. On the credits page, the names have been printed in a very dark grey color, against a jet black background, which kindda makes it hard to read. Just take care of that. I am sure, like me, most fans would like to know the names of the people who have worked hard behind any book, and their names should be easily readable. Just my two cents…

Durvasa Rishi to the Left, Chayavana Rishi to the right and Vedvyasa in the middle
3 of the 8 great Sages.
Click on each image to view high quality

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!



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!