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Having a sit-down with Holy Cow!

18 Oct
 

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

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

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

Exclusive: Daksh inside peek….

22 Dec

This post ends our exclusive coverage of Jump independent specials with the reveal of inside pages for Daksh in all their glory!
I for one cannot wait to get hold of this one! Enjoy!

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.

Exclusive: Inside look into Shamik’s new title..

6 Dec

In last edition of India ink we showed you this image..

Now , here is the unveiled look.

This is a creator owned titled by Shamik Dasgupta and as yet unnamed artist. All we know, the artists is a 21 year old boy and this comic’s protagonist is a “Dark Hero” on the lines of Spawn, Darkness etc. In India there isn’t any parallel, except maybe Anthony from Raj comics.

And now, for the first time on internet anywhere, Adventures unveils the inside panels of this new comic..

The art is undoubtedly brilliant..and the character design of the hero exudes “dark”!

Damn you Shamik for making us wait this much…Just unleash the hell, consequences be damned.