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.
Like parents, creators are duty bound to say that they love all their children equally and like parents, creators always have their personal favorites. One thing I love about being a writer is creating characters. Somehow, I get more pleasure out of creating zany, off-beat supporting characters than the protagonist. Guess growing up on a staple diet of Hindi/Bollywood potboilers had to take its toll somehow. In most Indian movies made between 80-90 (the halcyon days, IMHO — low budgets, huge casts and broad intended appeal) mostly the hero was a cookie cutter avenging angel or an all around nice guy trapped in a bad world. These stories were populated with an unbelievable cast of “Helpers” and “Villains” — those that either helped or hindered the hero in his quest to either change the world or achieve the zen of family wholesomeness.
Long story short, I enjoy designing bad guys and supporting characters.
When working on creator owned projects like MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL or DHURANDHAR, I have the freedom to build the world and its inhabitants from the ground up. So I can craft each character and add whatever oddities I feel like to make them more “human” . But as a “work for hire” writer, the properties one deals with already have set personalities as protagonists and antagonists. So as a creator, I always felt that one way I could leave my stamp in those projects was to create some characters around the main cast who’d provide extra flavor.
Enough talk, let’s get down to business. Here’ a list of some characters from the ones I’ve created so far for my Work-For-Hire projects. I shall be writing a series of these dealing with one of my favorite characters in each.
I created this character for the Virgin comics one-shot MUMBAI MACGUFFIN, which was written by me and illustrated by Saumin Patel. I had visualized the story as THREE DAYS OF CONDOR meets SNATCH and set in Mumbai. It’s an action-comedy about a CIA operative who comes to Mumbai to hunt for a downed satellite and ends up facing a cast of weird characters.
Saumin and I created the gangster Ali Shah Jung Bahadur Fakruddin Sheikh (aka Fukku Bhai) as a larger-than-life mob boss who rules over “Chor Bazar”, the secret market of thieves deep inside the slums of Dharavi. We gave him a disability (he’s wheelchair bound) to humanize him, yet made him cold and hard as Megatron’s balls. Fukku Bhai is a John Wayne fan and watches old westerns all day long. He carries an antique colt in an authentic wild west holster and doesn’t hesitate to shoot people who irritate him. He’s the king in his kingdom and you mess with him at your own peril.
Rather than being the antagonist, Fukku is sort of the local bigwig and plays a part in the story that suits his stature as the undisputed ruler of Chor Bazar, where his word is law.
Now, Saumin’s visual storytelling (having worked with him on a bunch of projects) is perhaps amongst the best I have seen. So for a change, rather than working from a “Script”, he free-styled some sketeches/roughs with a basic story idea in mind. Our goal was to use some iconic Frazetta imagery, in a story reminiscent of those that he provided covers for. I then took a crack at tightening the story and the images into a 11 page script with dialogue and Saumin came back with astounding pencils for it. The pieces are now lettered and ready. Once Saumin finishes inking and coloring them, we’ll post it on the web.
But while we wait for that, pictured above is a rough lettered version of the cover for your to drool over. Hope you like it (as much as we did creating it).
Last time I was there we were all sitting at pretty much the same table and this time around the seating order was not much changed. I haven’t had this much fun just shooting the breeze since college. So thanks guys, look forward to next time.
Towards the end, I walked around and traded books with other pros attending. Mark Holmes gave me a smashing print that I shall be scanning and putting up on the blog soon-ish. Jackie drew me a DEVI pinup that she couldn’t complete on time, so looking forward to receiving that in mail sometime soon (will post scan as soon as I have it). Paul Harding also sketched a mean Punisher for my con sketchbook.
Mumbai Macguffin is sort of like Three Days of Condor meets Slumdog Millionaire meets Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Writer: Saurav Mohapatra
Artist: Saumin Patel
A high-octane adventure through the never-before-seen underbelly of Mumbai, ace CIA operative Ike Flint finds himself out of his element and out of his depth when tasked with recovering a downed NSA satellite deep within the biggest slum in Asia. None of his experience can prepare him for the wild and dangerous characters his salvage uncovers: a wheelchair-riding gangster kingpin hooked on John Wayne westerns; a brilliant bar dancer who can solve calculus problems before breakfast; a trigger-happy cop who shoots criminals with the same nonchalance as if he were grocery shopping; a religious cult that will do anything to protect its phallic totem; and a crack team of Jihadists searching for the very thing Ike is seeking.
Mumbai Macguffin – a 48 page one shot I wrote is out in stands today. It’s a fun action-comedy title about a CIA spy tracking a downed spy sattelite through the underbelly of Mumbai. It’s my first Mature rated title — so a lot of cussing both in chaste mumbaiya hindi and english
The story has a crazy mix of russian mobsters, a cult led by a figure called Sky Baba, a gangster named Fukku Bhai…. you get the idea… Shantaram meets Snatch
Anyways here is the comixology snippet on the book.
BTW, if you live near Worcester, MA, you can pick up the copies of the book signed by me from the shelf at That’s Entertainment.