Tales from SDCC (Part 2) – Wonderful Willow Wilson and Magnificent M.K. Perker a.k.a My Life as a DC/Vertigo comic book character

Another day, another Tale from SDCC. 🙂 As I mentioned in my previous post about Phil Hester at SDCC ’06, I have some wonderful memories of the convention in the three years I’ve been there. As I get ready to attend my 4th straight year, here’s something that actually made me feel pretty special.

One day while we were chatting over IM, G. Willow Wilson (CAIRO, AIR, BUTTERFLY MOSQUE) fired off (what looked to me) an “unusual” query.

“Is Saurav a common Indian name?”

Hmm, considering I knew about 8 Saurav’s (different spellings included) during my school days and about 30 odd during college, my answer was the obvious.

“It’s common enough.”

I didn’t think much of it. Willow had then just released the critically acclaimed “CAIRO” with DC/Vertigo (with artist M.K. Perker) and was penning a (as of then) “secret project” (also to be drawn by MK) that went on to become the Eisner nominated ongoing series “AIR”. I read the first few issues of AIR and loved it. But that particular year was an “interesting” one for me not the least because I was slowly plunging into the wonderful world of fatherhood. Reading comics kind of percolates down to the bottom of the TODO list, superseded by more mundane tasks like changing diapers, midnight feedings and reading daycare brochures.

So fast forward to SDCC ’09. Willow is always a pleasure to chat with and She also did give me a most wonderful foreword for the DEVI vol 4 TPB too. Thus, I make it a point to swing by the DC/Vertigo booth at least once a day when she is signing to say “hi”.

So now wiser after my Phil Hester experience of SDCC ’06, I arrive at the DC/Vertigo booth armed with my sketchbook and as luck would have it MK was doing free sketches. I had never met MK before personally (though I’m a big fan of his work including the OGN “INSOMNIA CAFE” that he wrote and drew). So as Willow was doing the intro, she said something that blew my mind away.

Willow: Saurav, meet MK. MK, Saurav
MK: Ah, How do you spell your name?
Willow: Hey, you should know. Saurav is a character in AIR.

Wow! What? Did I hear that right?

Turns out, the reason Willow asked me if my first name was common enough earlier, was to include it in a line of dialogue where she needed an Indian first name. Heh, she had made me immortal, an eisner nominated DC/Vertigo comic book character no less. 😛 Here’s the panel in question.


click on the image for the full page scan

Heh, as I held my gaping jaw in place, MK then proceeded to draw me a sketch of Blythe from AIR (pictured below), with a nudge nudge wink wink reference to my fleeting fame as an off panel character.

So, thanks Willow and MK for making SDCC ’09 a special one and once again, thanks for the coolest thing ever. 🙂

As an aside, guess what’s the first thing I did when I came back home? Scoured my copy of AIR vol 1 TPB, to find the exact page where my name was mentioned, of course.

NYCC Panel Video

The full video of the NYCC ’08 Panel on Our Gods Wear Spandex.

Panel at New York Comic Con on April 19, 2008 on the topic of Christopher Knowles’ book Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes. Moderated by A. Davis Lewis, panelists include Christopher Knowles, Testament creator Douglas Rushkoff, Cairo author G. Willow Wilson, Virgin Comics writer Saurav Mohapatra and DC Comics legend Denny O’Neil. Panel discusses the archetypes of comic book superheroes, their function in modern culture and the future of the genre. Questions are also taken from the audience.

NOTE: I had a slip of tonuge and said “Holden McNeil” . I meant “Holden Caulfield”. You have been warned 🙂

"Graven Images" and "Graphically Religious"

Yay! Attended the “Religion in Comics” panel hosted by BU as part of their “Graven Images” conference yesterday. Had a whale of a time with fellow panelists Mark Smylie (writer – ARTESIA, Publisher – ASP comics), G Willow Wilson (CAIRO), Steve Ross (writer/artist – MARKED). The panel was moderated by A. Dave Lewis (writer – LONE AND LEVEL SANDS, SOME NEW KIND OF SLAUGHTER).

We had a pretty hearty discussion about how religion is portrayed in comic books and the challenges that lie in writing comics with religious and spiritual themes. One of the most interesting parts of the conference was getting to know about the reaction to India authentic in academic circles. It makes all my efforts worthwhile when people walk up to meand tell him that they really liked the INDIA AUTHENTIC stories and that it is being made into required reading in south asian studies programs 🙂 (details to come).

Later that day, I attended my first ever signing at the BU Barnes and Noble where we continued our earlier discussion in more casual setting as part of the “Graphically Religious” author meet at B&N. Here is a photo from the signing (more to come).

Barnes and Noble signing
From left to right: Dave, Your truly, Willow, Steve and Mark
Graven Images panel at BU
From left to right: Me, Mark (photo courtsey : Dave Moran)
Graven Images panel at BU
From left to right: Willow, Dave, Me, Steve and Mark (photo courtsey : Dave Moran)