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.
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.
Damn! This $shit is addictive. I’m trolling on GreatBong’s site posting as Jimmy Zhingchak. Basically I’m just copying pasting from Rediff.net postings on the review of Three Idiots that GB has put up pretending to be someone who speaks exclusively in SMS-es (“Lyf lyk gud” and all that).
Man, people do take the anonymity of the web way too seriously. The comments started as snide and gradually decayed into plain old assault and battery. I’ll just keep at it till I get bored.
Maybe there’s a column in this somewhere
[UPDATE: Obviously, I’m doing this with GB’s knowledge and with a fail-safe button he can press for me to stop anytime he wants.]
[UPDATE2: (11:44 EST) – now the abuses have turned personal and really bite-y. ]
[UPDATE-3 (11:49 EST) — now trying a direct confrontation route ]
[UPDATE – 4 (11:53 EST) — okay, now I’m officially bored. The funny thing was this post showed up as a trackback/ping on the thread I was trolling and every post I had made was linked back to this website. Still, I guess cyber cojones give steroid rampage level meanness to people (especially with all the anonymity). Halting social experiment. Will proceed if there are any other responses.
My favorite part was posting a completely out of context Sachin Tendulkar career stat
So the interactive part of this experiment ends here. Thanks GB for being such a sport and allowing me to post/troll on that thread
Now I’m pretty sure, there’ll be responses to my earlier trolling posts even after I explained that I was trolling in this post.
JZ was a real blast to write. I have fond memories of writing it. The character of Bhappi-da, the last of the DISCO gods is hands down my favorite ever, closely followed by Fukku Bhai from Mumbai Macguffin. Last I heard (from semi-realiable sources) UTV was making a movie out of it. Wonders of work-for-hire! I’m not involved in that. But will go watch the movie when (and if) it gets made.
Oh! and I used to maintain a kind of scrapbook of Zhingchak sightings on the wild wild web. You can find it here.
About Jimmy Zhingchak
JIMMY ZHINGCHAK – AGENT OF D.I.S.C.O., written by Saurav Mohapatra and drawn by Anupam Sinha, is a spoof and a homage of ’80s bollywood disco zeitgeist, detailing the adventures of a disco dancing superspy who fights Sir John and his evil F.I.R.A.N.G. for the Dept. of Internal Security and Covert Operations (D.I.S.C.O.) [more..]
By the power vested in my by the armored pundits and people who put the goat in there, I have hereby declared July 25th (fri) at San Diego Comic-con ’08 as BENNY LAVA DAY. For those who came in late here is a look at “Benny Lava”.
Video Link (in case you can’t see the embedded video above)
So if you are going to be at SDCC on Friday, join me in this ode to Minor Bun Engines, Pooping Oliver and Your broter Ed who loves to be inside, wearing a Benny Lava T-Shirt. Take your pick at CafePress and proudly flaunt your Benny Lava look. ( Looks like Zazzle also stocks Benny Lava stuff).
I’m in no way related to the folks selling the fine Benny Lava merchandise nor do I endorse them, I’m just another benny lava fan looking to spread the word.
Mail me your photos at mohaps AT gmail DOT com, videos and I’ll put them up here.
Help us spread the word, use this banner on your page
Just copy paste this code into your webpage <a href="http://www.mohaps.com/?p=125" mce_href="http://www.mohaps.com/?p=125" title="Benny Lava Day"><img src="http://www.mohaps.com/images/benny-lava-day.png" mce_src="http://www.mohaps.com/images/benny-lava-day.png" alt="Benny Lava Day" width="430" border="0" /></a>
Bring out the bell bottoms, pump up the disco music and prepare for a blast from the past – Jimmy Zhingchak-Agent of Disco is the latest superhero to dance his way into a graphic novel by UTV Spotboy and Virgin Comics.
Filmy clichés abound in this tongue-in-cheek comic series that has Jimmy right out of a 80’s Bollywood masala flick.
So you have the quintessential villain Sir John, the old mother a la Nirupa Roy and then you have the dialogues that defined Bollywood in the 70’s and the 80’s. And best of all, Jimmy’s weapons of choice are his disco moves, just like a certain Mithun Chakraborty who has written the foreword.
Now, I ain’t one to crib (much), but would be nice to have an itty bitty mention somewhere in all this deluge of Zhingchak Euphoria.
The comic is replete with other Hindi film references, dialogues and situations: Mithun’s sidekick-turned-girlfriend is Agent Mala D; his nemesis is Sir John (who looks like the villain from the film Ram Lakhan) and Jimmy even has a separated-at-birth brother, Johnny.
Hindi film stars are ideal comic book material, says founder-president of Virgin Comics Suresh Seetharaman, because they are already larger-than-life.
[Vikas] Bahl [COO / UTV SpotBoy] says his organisation is going the other way and has an eye on the Mithun comic’s “extendability” into other media. “We would like to follow up the comic with a motion picture, a TV show, an animation series and maybe even a game,” he adds.