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Showing posts with label Dheeraj Verma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dheeraj Verma. Show all posts

Dec 31, 2009

Vimanika Comics - Moksha | The Sixth | #2 | 2009

It’s been long, since we last reviewed an Indian Comics initiative in detail. If you count-off the old classics like Tinkle and ACK, it’s indeed been quite a long time since we reviewed one such. In fact, it was exactly this same month, a year back, and it was about an initiative from the new kid on the block, Vimanika Comics, talking of their debut release (#0 & #1).

So, it is fitting that, when we thought of reviewing another title to close out the year 2009, we choose the #2 set from their stable, which was released early this year. So, without further adieu, here is the Moksha and The Sixth, with their second instalment.

Vimanika Comics: Moksha #2 Moksha #2 CoverMay 2009 | 32 Pgs | INR 40 | B5 | Color | Paperback

If you recollect, Moksha #1 detailed the re-entry of Lord Hanuman in the timeless valleys of Hindukush Mountains, as he saves little girl, Indi, and turns the guardian angel for her.

The issue also previewed the arrival of Parashuram, the other central character of the series, as he got a pupil Vimanika's depiction of Hellish Hellhimself, as he saves the Ashram from the clutches of evil forces.

Issue #2, picks up from the plot, where a Darker force re-enters the forbidden valleys, trying to stake its claim as the new master of underworld.

His first target, a place where the tortured souls lay rest, Hell ruled by Yamraj. And his goal, the incredibly powerful scythe.

By the time Yamraj knows about this hideous task, the darker force seems to have wasted the guards and retrieves his crown jewel, and makes way for its exit.

Indrajit Enters When the reserve guards try to unsuccessfully stop him on his course, the dark force is revealed as the Indrajeet, the son of demonic warlord Ravana, who was considered killed for good in the battle depicted in the Ramayana epic.

Meanwhile, distant memories haunt the Hanuman, as the visions of Sita’s Hanuman's Vision of Sita's Trialtrial on the court of Rama, flashes on his mind, as he witnesses the remains of Indi’s father, go up in flames. Hanuman promises that he would be the saviour of Indi, no matter what befalls on her.

Elsewhere, confusion reigns at the deserted plains where the Ashram of the Bhargawas (a sect in Brahmins) is located. The war of  words breaks out between the Brahmin sheers, and Parashuram, who has put an halt in there, on his voyage. Brahmins clearly don’t approve of Parashuram’s bloody ways, and call him as a threat to their teachings.

Parashuram defends his waysParashuram defends his methods, and warns them that the growing unrest Troubled clowds gatherwith Veesachs (a demonic group), is something to be faced with stiff action.

Just as he walks out of the ashram, he witnesses a sudden change in the weather, which forecasts evil. The same is witnessed by Hanuman too from the other side of the plain. Moksha #2 comes to a close, as the untold danger approaches.

Clearly the Moksha #2, is one of the best initiatives to have gone on the Graphic Novels class of India, 029in the past year. Eventhough, it can’t be termed as a GN, considering that it’s supposed to be a bi-monthly issue, spanning only 32 pages, the concept and the delivery are top-notch.

Guided under the watchful eyes of Karan Vir, the chief visionary of Vimanika, the script of little known Arnab Das, has been vivaciously brought to real life with the art of Dheeraj Verma. No wonder he was rated highly, when he joined Vimanika’s crew.

For examples, look at the depiction of the Hell by Dheeraj, which adorns the first page of the issue. Or the lavishing page, bringing the Court of Rama. The richness shows on the characterizations too, for instance the look of Yamaraj, has been given a touch of class.

Vimanika's Indrajeet DC's The Spectre At the same time, you can’t help but notice the similarity of Indrajeet’s look, with DC’s The Spectre. But, then again, even if it was intentional, don’t they say “Imitation is the best form of Flattery”? But the core lies, in the way, the character has been given a overhaul, with an Indian panache. Something, which has made it stand-out from the rest.

Golden Cursor Animation Awards 2009

The creative team has to be commended for mapping a whole new style of story-telling for Moksha. Now only time will tell, whether they would be able to keep the tempo and quality for the further instalments, which are due in the new year.

Recently Moksha was also in the news, as they received the newly constituted Golden Cursor Awards, for the year 2009. So, they have really set some balls rolling with their creation. Let’s hope the momentum is maintained, if not bettered.

The second one from Vimanika is The Sixth, which is supposed to hold the bigger brother status among the two. Did it really live upto the billing? is something which we will judge, after looking into the instalment.

The Sixth #2 continues the adventures and exploits of Karan Vir, as he tries to explore his roots, in order to know the reason behind his mysterious survival, from a terrorist attack on his life, which took place in Chicago Airport (Sixth #1).

Vimanika Comics: Sixth #2 The Sixth #2 coverMay 2009 | 32 Pgs | INR 40 | B5 | Color | Paperback

The exploration brings him to India, to the state of Punjab, and on his way to visit his childhood home, he faces a group Dev Daljit Singh in actionof men blocking the road, with a Sardar named Dev Daljit Singh, in the midst of action.

The well-built Dev, was about to massacre one of his attackers, as Karan intervenes to try restoring some peace.

Upon knowing that the conflict, was a result of a unpaid rent by Dev, Karan immediately volunteers to pay, to put the things to rest. Despite Karan’s help, Dev stays apprehensive about his money wielding habit.

Karan is denied access Moving on to his childhood home, an old mansion, located in the outskirts, Karan is denied access to enter the place, from an elderly figure. Karan knows that his long lost family still is located in there, but Divya, his secretary, consoles him that it could be because of his long absence.

On his road trip, Karan is haunted by a mysterious figure in his dreams, which reminds him again about his Karan is haunted by  Illusionsgoal, of Dev makes a Bollywood Stuntfinding who he really is. Karan is awaken by a road block, which brings two hooded  characters, who are hell bent on teaching him lessons for his intrusions in their land grabbing plans.

He gets an surprise aid from Dev, while despite the injury suffered on the attack, Karan suddenly shows phenomenal strength by stopping a barging tractor. Karan then decides to hire Dev as his bodyguard, and they leave Singhania entersenroute to Bihar, a place which Karan terms as the city of Knowledge and Wisdom.

As the Sixth #2 closes, the scene shifts back to New York City, as a business tycoon, and a supposedly gang lord, named Kuru Pratap Singhania, is introduced as the chief conspirator, behind the land acquisitions happening in the places, where incidentally Karan finds himself.

Frankly speaking, Sixth #2 is a great disappointment to me as a reader. The script certainly, is a big let-down, as there is no connectivity between plots and characters which are interwoven, with a lot of emphasize on action, then storytelling. A Bollywood style entry for Dev, and Singhania, doesn’t help the matter either. Arnab Das, really could have worked harder.

Dheeraj's Editorial To make things difficult, the artwork of Dheeraj Verma, who did a remarkable work on Moksha #2, fails to live up-to the expectation. Some panels are better illustrated, but the consistency is lagging, throughout this 32 page adventure, which at some places is clearly goes begging, for improvement.

In the end, it seems the overwork of Dheeraj, as he simultaneously had to illustrate both Moksha and Sixth’s instalment, had put the artwork of Sixth wanting (which he admits in his editorial). With the jumbled script, it couldn’t have gone worse.

Neither Arnab or Dheeraj no more work for Vimanika, but, it isn’t the end of the road, as Karan promises that the next issue of Sixth, is going to be a better product. In fact, it would be a full blown Graphic Novel, by the name of Legend of Karna, or LOK, as he likes it to be called.

The issue is currently out, and I had the chance to experience it, and should agree that it’s a phenomenal achievement, way better than any of Vimanika’s earlier attempts. But then again, it’s a topic for a different post, so we will see about that in the new year.

"Vimanika is pretty careful in not diluting the mythological legends, while devising their plots. In short, they stay close to the source, and invent within a rigid boundaries."

While taking an overall check, Sixth and Moksha #2, are indeed a way better instalments, despite their shortcoming, then the #1 set which came out last year.

There are some remarkable improvements, especially in the editorial, as the spelling mistakes, which was quite a sore sight in #0 or #1 issues, has now been taken care of, as renowned former Marvel editor, Nel Yamatov, freelanced for Moksha #3 LOK #1the #2 set. But, still those glaring spelling mistakes could be found in the other feature pages, which I am sure wouldn’t have passed Yamatov’s care :).

Both Moksha and Sixth #2 issues are currently available on sale in newsstands, with a bonus free #0 issue accompanying the package. So, pick them up if you would like to catch up on the action, before the #3 issues hit the stands.

Here are the Previews, for Moksha #3 and Sixth #3 (which would incidentally be LOK #1). I will leave to make your call, on the breathtaking Cover arts. I love them, and eagerly looking forward for the same.

With this I end our Vimanika #2 set review post, which had been long pending. I now feel a shy of relief, as I had to come up with a lot of excuses to Karan of Vimanika, for the post’s whereabouts. At the end of the day, whether he would a pleased man, with this review, is something which only he could reveal to all :)New Year 2010 FireworksAnd before I close, Tinkle Happy New Year 2010Wish you all a Happy New Year 2010, my friends.

New Year 2010May more and more comics shower at your doorsteps, and you be richer by more wealth and joy at your disposal :). Remember to spend quality time with your family, but also remember to chase your own dreams, at your own rights.

Here is a Tinkle Greeting, which I received today, and thought would be a nice way to share the joy, with some of the favourite characters, who made our childhood memories sweeter. Adios Amigos !!

Dec 25, 2008

Vimanika Comics - The Sixth | Moksha | #0-1 | 2008

Do you remember the last time we covered an Indian based Comics initiative at Comicology?  Well if you had been following Comicology regularly, that was back at the end of 2007, the time until which Bangalore based Gotham Comics were releasing their Virgin Branded Comics in India. 

The Sixth: #0Like their in-numerous attempts earlier, they went into hibernation ever since, and we were reduced to be reliant on the remaindered stock from European, Franco-Belgian, and American genre all the while.

The wait is no more, as we have a new player in the Comics/Graphic Novels biz in India, Vimanika Comics, which has made their foray with their two pilot series, The Sixth and Moksha

Vimanika Comics is the brainchild of its Mumbai based, entrepreneur, Karan Vir Arora.  Karan explains that he always had dreamt and visualized these concepts right from his childhood, which was instrumental in him digging down the mythological aspects to form his launch-pad characters. 

No wonder, why he has named his comic brand as Vimanika, as that’s the name of an early 20th century Sanskrit text, called Vimanika Shastra, talking about the construction of mythical ‘chariots of gods’.

Moksha: #0

Karan adds, “The objective of Vimanika, is to simultaneously impart knowledge as well as entertain the readers with exciting graphics and visual play, while understanding our roots with the mythology.” 

Assisting Karan on his mission, is a team of 20 members, who have been bolstered by the joining of Dheeraj Verma (billed as the first-ever Indian artist credited by Marvel), as one of the partners of Vimanika. Dheeraj is one of the famous artists from India, who is known for his work with Indian based Raj Comics, who rose to some fame when he worked for a US comics publishing company, for a short period.

As in the tradition of the new generation comics, the team has come up with Issue #0, which is a double-intro issue of both The Sixth, and Moksha.  Arnab Das takes care of the script-writing, while the artwork is at the hands of Deepak Sharma, Dheeraj Verma, and Sheetal. 

The Sixth: #1The Sixth, starts its roots from the Indian epic Mahabharata, where the scene takes us to the time when Karna was killed in battlefield, where we get to visualize is mindset as he nears his end. 

The scene then moves onto focus on NRI Karan Vir (I believe, Karan couldn’t stop himself from his childhood dreams of naming a comic character on him) who runs a business conglomerate in America. 

Moksha: #1As it is portrayed, he is the re-incarnation of Karna in the modern world, who is haunted by the images of Karna and his life-traverse, in his dreams.

The story follows his exploits to understand its roots, while he moves to his roots in India, following his mind-trail.

Moksha, has a different setting altogether, which is conceptualized in a unexplored time-space between two famous Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

It’s a double-hero storyline, following two most powerful Indian mythical legends Parashurama and Hanuman, picking up from where their stories are left untold, and re-imagining it with some fiction.  Dheeraj has personally taken the ownership of re-shaping the plot-work and characterization of Moksha.  

Look at the breathtaking artwork exhibited in the Issue 1 of the series.  The plot-work follows the storyline, as it is told either by the protagonist or the narrator.

Sample Artwork from “The Sixth”
Sample Artwork from “The Sixth”
Sample Artwork from “Moksha”
Sample Artwork from “Moksha”

Thus we get a chance to peek-in to the minds of the character which gives us a first-hand account of the action as it happens.  The plot is aptly assisted by the Artists, who breath life to the concept with the exhibition of art, colour and inking, not seen so far in Indian Authentic Comics.  (It was once promised by erstwhile Virgin Comics, before it was reduced to a state of oblivion).

At Comicology, we always try to have a balance in our review, so as to not be biased towards a certain publisher.  To live up to that promise, I can’t help, but mention about the few glitches I noticed in the first instalments of Vimanika:

  • Some panels of the art, look and appear pretty flat, which let’s down the incredible work on other panels. I expect these to be strengthened as renowned artist Dheeraj has assumed the lead role now.
  • There are few grammatical errors in the sentences, which catch your eyes as you flip through the pages.  Something which should have been avoided, when you are targeting an International audience.
  • We can’t ignore the fact that there is a little over-use of religion in some of the panels.  While, I agree that while digging through the Indian mythology, we are bound to side with the early beliefs, but shouldn’t they be made in a way which could be shared among a common base, which are toed together by a unique and far greater interest towards Comics?  I hope, that as we progress further through the series, this would be subdued to make it more generic with the present world, while retaining the essence of the original plot.

With that said, I must also credit the team of Karan and Dheeraj for their effort to breath new life to Indian Comics; where the other players safely distance themselves from the risk associated with original creative work, by utilising the borrowed content from already established Western players and brands. 

The pricing is also attractive (INR 40), as a same quality edition from an International publisher is normally priced over INR 100.  That’s the advantage of housing your publication in the country, where your targeted audience is.

The Issue #1 is currently on stands (Landmark, Crossword, etc.), and if you want to get a head-start you can always browse through the digital version of #0 available on  The subscribers do get a hard-copy of this issue, by means of which I obtained mine.  Grab them if you want to witness the revolution in Indian Comics industry.

Look at the “who-is-who” of show-biz who attended the launch party of Vimanika.  Karan Vir does know some big shots :).

Vimanika’s Launch in Mumbai 
In Pic: RanVijay (VJ), Darsheel Safary (Actor), Milind Soman (Model/Actor), and Karan Vir

Vimanika is no stranger to the hurdles faced by other other Comics initiatives, as they have so far launched only 2 sets (which includes the Intro series #0).  Their original plan was to make Vimanika’s series as a bi-monthly edition, but Karan explains that they were holding on their releases for that to be available across stands in India and other foreign locations at the same time, by bolstering their distribution network.  They appear to have achieved that feet, as their Issue #2, is slated to be released in India, US, and Europe, simultaneously.

On a final call, unlike any of its predecessors, Vimanika Comics can safely be terms as the only Comics brand which can call themselves as the “First Indian International”.  I am aware that, this statement might create ripples among die-hard Comicologists.  But save those emotions, as I have a strong case to prove the point. 

There is no doubt that Diamond, ACK, and Raj Comics, were the forerunners of Indian based Comic characters, but did they ever make a serious attempt to go global?  Let’s look at their contributions: 

  • Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), the whistle-blower inspired by Anant Pai, has now been reduced to reprints/republishing of their erstwhile stable.
  • Diamond Comics, even after boasting a superior distribution network, never really came out of the Pran Era, and still continue to target the young kids market.
  • Raj Comics, did introduce a stable of Indian Superheroes, and continue to publish their adventures.  But their long-time focus of catering to a single-language audience, and not so-creditable plot-work, have always restricted them from penetrating beyond their local base.
  • Virgin Comics, though the first to have really made an attempt to go international with some Indian origin, were actually controlled by Foreign authors and Creative team.  Which took the sheen out of their so called Original Indian concept.
    Then on, they went out of their initial focus, and tried to imitate Marvel and DC line of characters. The the result of which is there to see, with their present status.
    (For the starters, Virgin Comics management has now changed hands from Virgin, to its Indian visionaries, under the new brand as Liquid Comics, and their current focus seems to be holding-on with the movie rights of Sadhu and Ramayana, which was in pipelines earlier).

That brings us to the end of this post, and as a gift for those who read through this lengthy review, here is the Preview of what’s in store for you in the Issue 2 set of Vimanika, which is slated for 2009 release.  Good times are ahead us.

That brings us to the end of this post, and as a gift for those who read through this lengthy review, here is the Preview of what’s in store for you in the Issue 2 set of Vimanika, which is slated for Jan’09 release.  Thanks to Karan for providing the inputs for the synopsis exclusively to Comicology, and I am eagerly looking forward for receiving my subscription copies.

The Sixth #02: Friend or Foe - Teaser
Sixth 02 Teaser 

Follows the exploits of KV as he goes back in the memory lane during his trip to India. Does this lead to him to discover his own self or did he bargain for more than what he could asked for?

Moksha #02: The Forsaken Returns - Teaser
Moksha 02 Teaser

The Forsaken prince from the Hell returns to stake his claim and does he has anything to do with the evil wrapping around the two legends Parashurama and Hanuman?

That’s not all, Karan also adds that he is working on a special double sized issue on The Legend of the Karna, from the epic Mahabharata, scheduled for the new year.  And for those prying eyes which has noticed Dashavatar in the Launch pic, that’s their next major series in pipeline.  Indian Comic fans are in for a big treat, to say at least.

So, am I not right to call Vimanika with the anecdote of “First Indian International” ? Well, It’s for me to presume, and yours to debate; for which I would be eager to read your views, along with your thoughts about this post on the new player in Comics World.

Book Facts
Vimanika Edutainment | Price: INR 40 | Pages: 32 | Color | Size: B5 | Laminated/SoftCover


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