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Rooting for Ravan!

11 Sep
Call me odd (that will make the two of us) but there are times when I root for the bad guy. Always found that most good guys end up being, stereotypical Mr. Goody Two Shoes. The problem is that heroes are like open books. We know their past, their sufferings, their weakness, their strengths and their beliefs. Nothing is hidden from view. I mean, most superheroes even wear their underwear on the outside.

Most stories, irrespective of the format (movies, books or graphic novels) in which they are told, focus more on the hero. The villain is just put forth as a strong adversary to give the hero a challenge and a reason to exist. Not much is revealed about their lives. Or the parts that are revealed just add to their villainy. We know all the bad things Darkseid did or how naughty a boy Voldermort was.

So when Ravanayan was launched, I was excited. Based on the epic Ramayan by Valmiki (and not Ramanand Sagar as I grew up believing) this graphic novel story arc tells the story from the so called villain, Ravan’s point of view. It’s about time his side was heard.

I picked up the issue with great expectations and Holy Cow delivered the goods. And then some. The main highlight for me was the story. A complex character like Ravan needs a writer who is capable of understanding his psyche and put it forth in a manner that is not defensive. The job is to put forth the story from Ravan’s point of view. Not to turn him in to a hero. A good story gives you a moral. A great story gives you something to think about. I have a gut feeling Vijayendra will end up telling a great story.

After Bala from Nothern Song, Vijayendra has another demon’s story to tell. Looks like he will own this niche. A literal devil’s advocate. I liked the pace and manner in which the story was told. The twist in the initial part was unexpected. I knew of Valmiki’s past and yet was taken aback when the revelation was made. When you know something and yet the writer manages to catch you off guard, it can be safely said that you got a good story teller on your hands.

Moving on to the art. Vivek hadn’t lived up to my expectations in Werehouse 1. Ravanayan has made me raise my expectations from him. The art was amazing. Every panel seems like a labour of love and it shows. The initial fight sequence was especially very well conceptualized and executed. Apart from the illustrations, the angles and poses were also eye catching. The colorists, Yogesh and Komal have done a great job too. 

My own real grouse is about Ravan’s look! It is a tremendous improvement from Ramanand Sagar’s version but he looks too much like Geralt of Riveria. For the uninitiated, Geralt is the main character in the mind-blowing RPG ‘The Witcher’ and ‘The Witcher – Assassin of Kings’. But it is just a minor distraction, that’s all. The creators had mentioned that they have taken some liberties with the original script to take the story forward and the two fights in the first issue were part of the liberties I guess. I only hope these liberties are kept to a minimum. There is enough in the original script to provide an insight in Ravan’s motives without taking a lot of creative licenses.

The first issue is to me a tremendous effort. It really set the mood for the issues to come. I look forward to an enthralling story and great art. It might just be as good an epic as the original Ramayana.

Bat Week Roundup!

8 May

The Bat Week just ended and we aren’t ready to leave batty. We bat-ified both the FB Page and the blog for it. Now it’s time for a quick overview of what we did the whole week. Below is the blog archive for the week.

May 1, Sunday: Batman vs. Superman: The Battle for Ideals by Amanda White
May 2, Monday: From Bruce Wayne to Batman! by Vinay Pawaskar
May 3, Tuesday: Nish’s Notepad: Batman #500 by Nishkarsh Chugh
May 4, Wednesay: A Bat for Ages by Akshay Dhar
May 5, Thursday: M views: Why do we read Superhero comic books by Mayank Khurana
May 6, Friday: Stewart (and Lee)’s Slate: Batman and Robin Vol.1-2, Batman/ Punisher and Batman/ Judge Dredd Books by Stewart Loud and Lee Roberts
May 7, Saturday: Aalok deciphers DC – The Demon’s Head by Aalok Joshi

Next big thing is the MAIN EVENT QUIZ. 3 questions, many answers, no winner. Yes, nobody was able to answer all the questions correctly.. Here are the questions:

Q. Under which title and issue, Batman gained a mature appearance, according to his creator Bob Kane?
A. Detective Comics #33
W. Shashank Avvaru

Q. Gotham : Robin: Jason Todd :=: England : ? : ?
A. Squire : Beryl Hutchinson
W. Lee Roberts

Q. Why is May 1-7 celebrated as Batman Week?
A. The anniversary of Bat’s first appearance.
W. Lee Roberts

Another thing is that some freelance artists also drew for the Bat-Week.. Here are the artworks.

by Avishek Sarkar

by Anshul Chaurasia

Leaving you with all the fun we had on FB with bat here.. and an exciting news here! (via Akshay Dhar)


1 Mar

Long time ago ( really really long time ago!) I asked a good mate of mine to contribute to this blog .. Why? Because he loves comics (obviously) , has a sharp tongue and an even sharper wit.
The article was supposed to be about comics you see, since we are a comic blog! But the damn fellow finally sent me an article and writes about everything else BUT comics.. 
Had he sent me the article on paper, I would probably have refused to even acknowledge the paper print – ! but as it is, he sent it to me online.. and when I started reading it , the wit I spoke about earlier captivated me …. Hope he has the same effect on you 🙂

So without much ado, let me present the new addition to our growing team: 

–  Vinay Pawaskar

When in doubt, procrastinate. So I did. For a long time. M was single when he asked me to contribute to this blog.  He made the single most important decision that all men and women eventually come to regret (Cheers mate. You are so screwed!) and yet I couldn’t think of a single thing to write about.

I stared at an empty word document till the time I felt that the blinking cursor was trying to tell me something in Morse code. Inspiration treated me like all the girls I fell in love with have treated me. It went and settled down with someone else. Leaving me to stare at an empty word document.

Trouble with a word document is that you can delete the damn thing and use it again. Before Bill Gates sold his soul to the devil to come up with MS Word, we writers had to use pen and paper.  In bygone times, one would write something, think it is crap, crumple the damn thing, toss it and expertly miss the dustbin. You may think that it was a sign of frustration. I think it was a motivating sight.
Imagine after 3 hours of doing so, you have an empty dustbin but your floor is hidden under paper balls. You can think, ‘Holy shit! I need to work on my aim. But behold! I have thought of so many things and rejected them. I am a god damn perfectionist.’ Thus having your spirits renewed you can continue doing so for another 3 hours then repeat the process.

But not so with the word document. You type, edit, copy-paste some stuff, re-edit it and then delete the whole damn thing. Do that for 3 hours and you end up with a blank document and a blanker brain.  That was the state of mind my parents often found me in and it led them to formulate various strategies that ranged from calling in the exorcist to getting me married off before my IQ became a single digit number.

Apart from the lack of inspiration, I was also hindered by a conflict. My ego had issues with my basic instinct. My ego craved a meticulously crafted piece of literature that would find a place in the Smithsonian and even pick up a Nobel Prize or two on the way. My nature, however, is to ramble like a psychopathic drunkard on drugs. Guess who won? My ego now has an inferiority complex but I now have 6 paragraphs that I haven’t yet deleted!

I realise this article doesn’t have anything to do with comics, something that I really love to talk about. But we’ll get round to that in the next article. Somewhere deep within I feel my ego brighten up. ‘This article may have been all over the place but the next one will make Stan Lee want to shake my hand’ it vows. Know this true believer that in life, as it is while browsing porn on the internet, when one window closes another opens.  
(P.S: Vinay: Your next art + tickle better be about Comics! or else!  – Manks)