Eh… whats up doc?

The title of this post pretty much sums up my life’s state of affairs at this point.

Not in the “im having trouble” kind of way, more in the “there’s so much happening that I need to figure out whats up” direction.

Its actually been an excellent few months the last couple. Listing out the upsides:

1) I now have 2 short and one full length comic stories that have been published. And happily all intended not for kiddies! Two of them were:

Its fun to try my hand at different styles. between the first three and the ones yet to come Im covering full-fantasy, sword and sorcery, slice-of-contemporary-life, adventure and a little scifi. With any luck I’ll be able to really push the boundaries of what I can and cannot write. Of course, what I need more of is feedback but Im sure that will come – both good and bad!

2) Im partaking in a workshop for India’s first very own Comic-Con during which I’ll be launching my first mini-series (which luck willing gets enough positive feedback to write more), conducting a workshop for writers just prior and will get to have two days of comic madness! Its like a dream come true.. sniff..

3) Ive been getting back into the writing swing amid multiple weddings on the horizon, always present personal matters, the day-job hassles we all live through and my own brain electing to take a vacation when I need it most.
The biggest step in getting back on the writing track? Threw out my TV. Yep, DVD player, set-top box and all has been given early retirement.
(oh and in case its not obvious from choice of image, Im a bit of a Banksy fan)

And since Ive been doing the whole mixed blog post thing – lets go for a bit of a segue and check out some more of Banksy’s work shall we?

I love his street art, his sense of humour, the commentary – in some cases the subtlety and in others blatant point-making. He is a truly exceptional example of creativity and using it.

This one below in particular is an example of him doing this as more then just fun too, its from Palestine. Interesting no?
This one, well this one is just really cool!
But things have been interesting. Suddenly Ive got things going from stagnant and plodding along, to be more like the leopard in this image who’s broken out and could either go on a rampage or be hunted down!

So the challenge for me and my fellow comic writers and artists here in India? hmm… honestly I think it comes down to doing our thing, to stay true to our ideas and our voices and not give in to the pressures that will inevitably come as and when we gain popularity. Telling stories filled with blood and gore, with adult themes, with risque imagery, etc, etc.. these are the things people love to pick fights on – using them as nothing but a stepping stone to their own (oft selfish and small minded) agendas.
But that only time will tell.


Next up I want o do a review. Yes a review. Its been a good long while but I think its safe to attempt this again and besides, this is a book that deserves it.

Hush Trailer from manta ray comics on Vimeo.
This is a motion comic style preview of a recently released graphic novel called “Hush” (this link for buying online) by a new Bangalore (change the name all you want govt twats, to me this is what it is!) based company called (surprise!) Manta ray Comics.
Now Id heard a lot of hubbub about this book. But unfortunately had not gotten around to reading it. As an aspirant to the scene I did feel a bit traitorous that I had not gone out and shown my support to the comic community but that was a fleeting moment of emotion. I did however want to check it out for what it was.

I was very graciously loaned a copy by a friend who had it but had not enjoyed it much. I offered to buy it off him but he insisted otherwise. Thanks friend!

After going through it once, and then again, I came to a few conclusions about the book. Some very good, some not so much.

The Good: First and foremost, it is a very beautifully rendered book. Full points and respect to the artist for creating this simple black and white world for is about a story filled with shades of grey and to be as powerful as some of it was. What needs to be known at this point is that the entire story is sans dialogue. It is an excellent example of visual story-telling.

But dont mistake me, I take nothing away from the writer, to be able to create such a story and script it for a comic would not be easy and to do it well even less so.. Kudos to the creators for truly doing what they intended to do which is to push the boundaries of what the medium is capable of – it is for that reason more then most that I think creators love it. It is a medium with a world of potential that other mediums cannot manage with the kind of ease and fluidity that comics and graphic novels allow.

The Bad: What I felt was flawed in the book was one thing and one thing only really.

Its a powerful story, tackling issues that dont get addressed in most mediums and are the stuff of sad news stories to be watched/read and soon forgotten – of tragedies that we know exist but do not know how to face, how to answer for..

But as a story it felt incomplete. It builds well. It sets itself, it gives you the picture and you can see how everything was set in motion but somehow it feels rushed. It feels in some pages like just space being left unused for no reason.

Simply put it feels far too concise, too short.

By itself it is worth reading by one and all. But would I like to tell people to readily part with Rs.150 – initially almost 200 – for this? Im not so sure. As a simpler comic (or floppy as some call them) priced at a more reasonable 60 bucks, give or take a bit, I wouldnt mind so much.

In the end the flaw is that though it is sold like one, it is not a graphic novel. It is a comic. I one-shot comic short story which it has been called already.

And though I understand wanting to cover your bases and be realistic about wanting to cover your investment – hey all of us in comics right now are in it for love of the medium, in some respects we are building a new form from scratch – we must be careful not to let our hesitations cost us.

As a comic fan I believe in supporting the industry especially since unlike a great many others it is not a massive money-making machine (unless you’re talking the big names like batman, superman, spidey and the like but thats a whole other league!) and is very much fan oriented. So for those of us that save and regularly go out to buy comics and graphic novels and use our money to take a chance when we can on something untried – well it should feel worthwhile.

Hush – a great book. No doubt. But Ive heard more then one person say this and I cant disagree with them, is it worth it? really?

To all comic publishers in India right now – take this not as harsh criticism, just remember that while profitability is the corner stone of business, happy and supportive fans and repeat customers are the cornerstones of the comic business. Treat them well and as history has shown several times in the west and is definitely showing here these days, they will go all out for you too.

In parting, another image of loveliness – but seeing how comic centric this post has been, here’s a lovely piece from Deviantart (bloody treasure trove that place is!) showing the various Wonder Women in the DC Universe.

Till next time, cheers folks!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Ridge says:

    >Perfect. EXACTLY my opinion.Not a bad book, but too short, too expensive and definitely not a Graphic Novel.Good attempt, but I would have been much happier paying 50 bucks for it, instead of 195. It's not just the money, it's the value for money.I could have got 3 editions of Level 10's Jump and got 9 stories, all bigger and more substantial than Hush.That being said, I haven't completely given up on Manta Ray. Lets hope they come out with something more satisfying the next time.

  2. The Dude says:

    >Hey, thanks man!And I havent given up on them at all either. Manta Ray hasnt really done anything wrong in my view except be too cautious. Its understandable. The key is to learn from this and do it better the next time. Also, Im glad you caught the point about value being the thing not literal price. cheers..

  3. >Hi Dude I am LOVING the new look!!! Congrats on the cool stuff you've been doing and thanx for the post I'm a massive Banksy fan 🙂

  4. The Dude says:

    >@ddthanks! I keep getting in and out of blogging, guess the rare and limited feedback is a bit disheartening but I want to get back into it. So I figured, fresh start!glad you dropped by, always liked your blog, nice to meet a fellow banksy fan – theyre rare in my neck of the woods, most folks I know never even heard of him. drop in more often (or whenever I get my ass posting!)cheers..

  5. mystic rose says:

    >im not at all into comics…

  6. The Dude says:

    >to each his own mystic 🙂 you spread your word by verse, I do it by outlandish stories! ;)I will say this, never completely close your mind to any creative medium, unless its just plain offensive and unbearable!cheers..

  7. >Hey Dude , I may not always respond but I drop in often ( you posting helps!) – so the comic con looked awesome reminds me of my fav sitcom : The big Bang Theory – seen it? As for Banksy there's a cool documentary out about abt him – I think you may like to watch how he rolls . Maybe you can use your comics the way he uses his art … to force people out of their comfort zones … looking forward to checking them out.

  8. The Dude says:

    >@ddwell thanks all the same and for being a follower. 🙂 I'll try and post more often but life and time dont always permit and Im afraid I dont live an exciting enough life to post about that like some folks do. I hope to use my comics and stories in that way, some of course are just for fun but you gotta balance it that way. no?Will definitely look up this documentary and try and track down a copy. thanks for the heads up about it. cheers..

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