Sorry, blog’s not been updated much lately. Been busy with Mumbai Confidential pre-press work. It’s currently available digitally at http://bit.ly/mcfull on ComiXology and the print hardcover from Archaia will be out in March 2013. Issue #5 will be available on ComiXology tomorrow. So, buy, read, enjoy, and do leave a rating.
The digital edition has exclusive content not included in the print edition like side-quels (Animatrix style shorts), Illustrated prose stories and some kickass editorials by some of leading luminaries of both US and international comic book industry. You can read a free preview at the Archaia site.
Here are some blurbs for Mumbai Confidential:
“Gorgeously noir” — Ron Marz (Witchblade, Artifacts, Shinku, Green Lantern)
“Gritty art and powerful writing” — David Lloyd (V For Vendetta, Kickback)
“The original ‘bad boys’ of Mumbai” — Hindustan Times
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.
Once upon a time, Sid Kotian and I decided to create a pitch for a mix of mythology, post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy and a healthy dose of kick-ass action. The result was something we called HELHAMMER. We shopped it around (and trust me it garnered interest at some fancy places), but due to various reasons it didn’t make it through to the finish line. Sid and I moved on to other stuff, but this was always the one that got away
Lately I’ve started working again on the script for this, because I’m absolutely in love with this world and its characters. For that reason, I won’t give away much of the plot (but I’m sure the astute reader will make the connection after one read) Just let me wrap up with this: The story has feuding gods, a wasteland wandering loner with a mysterious past, a severed head that talks and (my personal favorite) mutant hill-billy goat people with shotguns.
So here’s the five page pitch that we prepared for shopping around. Do leave us some comments/crits
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.
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.
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.