Ok, the ans to that is you’re not a real Salman Khan fan unless you’ve read or own the official Yashraj comic books of Ek Tha Tiger. Aha-caught you there didnt I? Well, if you were as ignorant as me about this genre to begin with-let me grab your attention by pointing out that the worldwide comic book market has crossed 700 million $ annually at last count. Yes, that’s right!
For those who think that the comic book genre is limited to Superman. Batman and Spider-Man, think again. We now also have our Bollywood heros in graphic comic book formats-whether it’s Salman, SRK or Junior B and Uday Chopra.
Comic books have been around in the Indian scenario since ages. We all learnt about Indian mythology and life lessons from Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle magazines. Our Indian superheros- Phantom, Tarzan and Chacha Chaudhary are still embedded in our culture and consciousness and that in itself should give us an idea of how powerful this genre is.
So when I heard the 700 million $ statistic and about the second Comic Book convention which recently hpnd in India in Oct 2012 I was intrigued. But when I spotted Salman and SRK in comic book format and heard from fans of the graphic comic (and film) Sin City, I was completely hooked and I knew i had to find out more about this.
My research lead me to Div 91-which is right at the top spearheading the second wave of comic books in India with its young and brilliant team which works closely with Yomics (the comics division of Yashraj) and with Red Chillies Ent.
We managed to pin down Div 91’s brilliant young CEO Vishvesh Desai to tell us a little bit about this exciting and upcoming new genre. Vishvesh is ex-Gotham and Virgin comics and started Div 91 just 3 yrs ago.They are also the team behind the Dhoom case files (which features the adventures of Jai (the character played by Junior Bachchan) and Ali (Uday Chopra’s character) and also comic books for Ek Tha Tiger and Ra1.
I read a couple of these comics and was hooked. Salman carries forward his super cool persona into the comic world and come to think of it-can’t think of anyone more suitable than him in Bollywood to be remoulded into a Superhero-in-a-comic-book format.
Incidently, Bollywood is just one part of what this genre is all about and Div 91 has also delivered creative services for well known brands like Colgate and Kellogs (so have I-my creative services include modelling for these brands :)) They are currently working on launching their own original characters and comic books.
As always, any questions on this (for Vishvesh) are welcome and am signing off with some trivia about the comic world and also a really cool graphic pic I found of the Indian gods and godesses.
PS-Did you know that
-Popeye-the Sailor Man was officially hired by the US Govt during the Great Depression of the 1930’s to promote spinach as a meat substitute and also as a way to popularise canned food.
-The King, Elvis Presley who never hid his love for Captain Marvel took from the Captain’s costume not only the famous short capes he wore at the back of his jumpsuits but also his famous TCB logo which bears a marked resemblance to the Captains lightening bolt.
-Sir Richard Branson has tied up with Deepak Chopra,film maker Shekhar Kapur and leading publisher of comic books, Gotham Entertainment to launch 2 new companies both looking at this genre and one based out of India