Saurav Mohapatra - comic book writer

author, artist and bona fide geek

Category: Personal (page 2 of 13)

Pain Management

tl;dr: Pain is your body’s way of telling you what you shouldn’t be doing. If you block pain completely by using analgesics, then you might end up doing more damage as you’ll push your body in to doing weird things.

I’ve had back pain for a while now, which culminated a month or so ago into a slipped disc that pressed into the spinal nerves. This caused an amazing amount of pain in my right leg and a couple of days ago, I underwent surgery. My medicine cabinet is now overflowing with pain medication.

When I had a chat with my doctor before the surgery, I explained to him what my take on pain management was and he was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t subscribe to the “pill popping” school of pain management.

My philosophy is simple. I take the bare minimum pain medication necessary to allow me to function. I do believe strongly that at any given stage in life, one has a choice : one can either choose to function or not. There have been great men and women in the history of mankind who have overcome debilitating injuries and handicaps. I don’t claim even a fraction of their mental strength or character. But I do know this: no matter how bad things get, I’ll always choose to function.

Suck it up, Tom Hanks!

My humble contribution to the “We have a hulk” meme.

Elaine of Blueberry Lane

Long back, I had written a silly rhyming story / poem for my daughter Adya called “Elaine and the Bug-eyed Bugaboo“. It was different from all that I had written before and I had a whale of a time writing it. Since last year, Devaki Neogi has been adapting it into a kid’s book that we hope to publish as an interactive app on the iPad once it’s done. I’m really impressed by all that Devaki has been able to do with the source material and breathe life into it. If we have a good response to this, I plan on expanding the series into a bigger narrative called “Elaine of Blueberry Lane“.

The first story is about a little girl and her invisible friend who along with her dog rescue the bugs of the meadow from an evil tyrant.

The Witch and The Warrior – Frank Frazetta Homage

As I mentioned earlier, Saumin Patel and I had collaborated on creating a short comic book homage to the work of the late Frank Frazetta for Chitrakatha website – a project by Saumin and Alok Sharma to produce a documentary about comic books in India.

Both Saumin and I are big fans of Frank’s work and personally for me, the first mental image I envision for high fantasy or sword and sorcery themes is always Frazetta-esque.

Don’t know if it ever made it to the Chitrakatha pages. Here it is in its entirety , for your viewing pleasure.

[issuu width=420 height=311 titleBarEnabled=true backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=120102061419-1528408e71d64396a07ef6c156859c6e name=the_witch_and_the_warrior_final1 username=mohaps tag=chitrakatha unit=px id=e42973f3-2456-0c79-b262-a8028f46e577 v=2]

The comic is hosted on issuu.com and needs Flash to view. For iOS devices, you can go to http://issuu.com/mohaps/docs/the_witch_and_the_warrior_final1 and choose to download the comic book in PDF format.

On the skyrim waterfront…

My contribution to the “Arrow to the knee” meme inspired by Skyrim (also can be thought of as a LolBrando :D )

Blast from the past and other updates :)

I got my first big break writing comics when I cold pitched Gotham Chopra, EiC of Virgin Comics in 2006 after reading a news article on his foray into India themed comics. Luckily, he liked my spec script (what’d later become INDIA AUTHENTIC #2 – KALI) and signed me up to write a series of Indian mythological stories with forewords by Deepak Chopra. Somewhere down the line, I was offered DEVI and THE SADHU and then onward to some stories based on characters and storylines I cooked up (e.g. MUMBAI MACGUFFIN and JIMMY ZHINGCHAK – AGENT OF D.I.S.C.O.. It was a work for hire gig (meaning I don’t own the rights to any of the stuff I created), but it was great fun while it lasted. I got to work with industry legends like Ron Marz, built up a decent sized portfolio and got to work with some awesome artists like Sid Kotian, Saumin Patel, Dean Hyrapiet, Abhishek Singh and Shounak Jog etc. I also became friends with other writers/artists working on the Virgin titles like Samit Basu, Mukesh Singh and Vivek Shinde. The Virgin editorial staff consisted of seasoned industry hands like MacKenzie Cadenhead (WOLVERINE: SNINKT) and Mariah Huehner (LUCIFER), movie industry veterans like Seth Jaret and a bunch of young energetic first timers like Sana Amanat, Michelle Gomes and Gaurav Sikka.

Then came the event that we, the Virgin Comics alumni, jokingly refer to as “The Great Deflowering” and just like that, Virgin was no more. The founders of Virgin Comics, namely Sharad Devrajan, Suresh Seetharaman and Gotham, effected a management buyout of the Virgin portfolio sometime later and came back as Liquid Comics. I did a few more work for hire gigs for them and also branched out to doing one off gigs for Moonstone (PHANTOM), Top Cow (WITCHBLADE). Vivek and I went on to create our creator owned project MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL and I had some hijinks/misadventures with some other Indian publishers on work for hire projects.

All in all, I look back very fondly of my time spent with Virgin Comics and I greatly appreciate Sharad, Suresh and Gotham giving me the chance to write comics (I mean write freakin’ comic books and get paid doing it! :) ). My dayjob (as a co-founder of the web conferencing startup Dimdim) started taking more of my time as did my two kids – Ayan and Adya. So I dialed down the writerly activities a lot in 2010 – 2011 and regrouped. MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL started gaining traction (in no small measure because of Vivek’s fantastic art) and I also started working with Siddharth Panwar on DHURANDHAR – a modern day magic realism tale set in small town India.

So, I was pleasantly surprised recently when Liquid Comics launched Graphic India – a digital comics platform aimed at India. Featured were two of my books – MUMBAI MACGUFFIN (an action-adventure-comedy caper which was co-created with Saumin and inspired in no small measure by Guy Ritchie’s movies SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS) and MYTHS OF INDIA (a repackaged INDIA AUTHENTIC). I always considered the old Virgin Comics gang kindred spirits who wished to bring kick-ass comics to India and Graphic India is a great reinforcement of that belief. So I wish them the best of luck. (Do check out Samit and Jeevan Kang’s UNHOLI – an original serialized digital comic book exclusively created for the site).

To top off the week’s great news, Times of India posted their list of notable Indian comics and turns out two of my books – DEVI and MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL made it to the list. So that was just delicious icing on the cake. :)

Social, mobile, local … but what about “humane”?

Yesterday, I got the sad news that a friend of mine in India passed away. I had never met him, but he was a collaborator on a couple of comic book projects I had worked with and we were facebook friends too. Even though we lived a few continents apart in the “real” world, the wonders of social networking kept us in touch. Facebook would keep me abreast of his life, one news feed item or tagged photo at a time. I knew when he got married, what new projects he took on and most importantly his “mood” — being a true artist, his posts would reflect the infamous ups and downs of the artistic whim. His forte was horror and the supernatural. He could tap into some dark cavern of his subconscious and come up with monsters and dreamscapes like only a few gifted ones can.

I got a mail from one of our common friends in the weekend that he had suddenly passed away. It was a shock on many fronts. But, as the day progressed, something even more shocking happened. Our friends started posting on facebook and remembering his work and life. He had influenced quite a few friends and fans and some of them (actually most of them) started @ tagging his facebook profile in their posts. Everytime I logged into facebook, it was a bit creepy to see his name hyperlinked to his profile pop up on my ticker. He’s survived by his wife and I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she must live through again when the same items pop up before her (a tagged photo of my friend smiling, an image he worked on, condolences from a common friend). Loss is something we all have to deal with, but I can’t help but cringe at the thought of the connected social/mobile world of ours scratching the tender wounds of a departed loved one again and again and again.

We hype our world as being connected, social and mobile. Everything is converging, everyone is connected and everything is shared. But that is not necessarily a good thing… always. :(

Image from here

Let’s all do cartwheels…

Once upon a time, when my daughter had just mastered the “inside leg outside leg” style of walking, I took her out to the lawn. It was a beautiful New England Sunday afternoon. I threw in a soccer ball and proceeded to instruct her in the fine art of soccer.

Not that I myself was a passable soccer player (hey, since when did that stop me? :)), but it was a thrill to pass on whatever little I knew about kicking the ball. I explained to her the basic mechanics of the game and before I knew it, I was deep into explaining the “zen of soccer”, babbling on about “drive”, “ambition” and even a healthy dose of life lessons about what she had in store for her.

After five minutes, she gave me a bemused smile and ran to the middle of the lawn and started doing cartwheels (well, the toddler version of it which is sort of a cross between a full cartwheel and a monkey roll). The first one was unintentional (She stumbled as she ran and tumbled head over heels in the grass). But the next three dozen or so were definitely not. I stood there feeling vexed that my fatherly wisdom had been cast aside so casually and her attention was now focused on such a cavalier pursuit. I watcher her roll over and over again in the grass, giggles turning into full belly guffaws with each passing revolution.

After a while, I gave up and joined her. We rolled around in the lawn for quite some time and my neighbors looked at me like I had lost my mind.

It was surprisingly fun.

Sometimes in life, we tend to overthink and overact.

Maybe the answer is simple.

Screw the soccer lesson, let’s all just do cartwheels. :)

a moment…

Sometimes one poses and postures, trying to create an appearance that satisfies one’s ego and the basic psychological need to appear “Cool and hip”. That path usually leads to… well, ultimately stuff doesn’t work out as you plan.

Sometimes lightning strikes. A moment of spontaneity occurs that captures all that you embody as a person. :)

This photo that my wife took today at the beach is one such moment. I hope my daughter grows up and looks at this one day and remembers our time together when she was little.

Reviews for Graven Images – Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels Anthology

As I’ve mentioned before, I had contributed to an anthology edited by A. David Lewis and Christine Hoff Kraemer titled “Graven Images – Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels” (as a continuation of the aforementioned panel discussion at Boston University. Looks like it’s out from Continuum Books and available at Amazon.

A couple of reviews for the book:

  1. Gods in the panel by Rebecca Buchanan at Sequential Tart
  2. Review of Graven Images at Eternal Haunted Summer by Phillip A Bernhardt-House

Money quote(s):

“Moore and Morrison also share the stage in an essay from the first section, Saurav Mohapatra’s "Echoes of Eternity: Hindu Reincarnation Motifs in Superhero Comic Books, " where he deals primarily with Moore’s Supreme and Morrison’s Animal Man in a most intriguing fashion. Mohapatra is one of the several comics writers whose contributions to the volume enhance its appeal greatly.”Phillip A Bernhardt-House at Eternal Haunted Summer
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