Indie Comics publisher Won-tolla, founded by Chaitanya Modak is all set to launch their 32 pages graphic novel ‘The Oracle of Tripe’ at the Second Edition of Mumbai Film and Comic Convention. Aimed at mature audiences, this title is created by Chaitanya along with Benita Fernando, who took around 4 months to create the book.
AnimationXpress.com caught up with Chaitanya and Benita to know more appealing aspects of this book.
What is ‘The Oracle of Tripe’ all about?
Benita Fernando: The Oracle of Tripe is a serious cock and bull story. Or the other way to sum it up would be – a very meaningful serving of tripe. It is filled with things that are hard to believe. The story is about tough choices (the kind that startle you in the middle of the night), destiny, willingness and altruism in a man-eat-man world. On the brighter side (thankfully), there are plenty of beautiful women that will surprise you.
Chaitanya Modak: It is combination of Violence, destiny, choice and human will.
Please share about the characters that one will see in the book?
Benita Fernando: When you do read the book, you will find that there is practically a new character in every page! Having said this, the two principal characters are an unnamed criminal and the Oracle of Tripe. I don’t want to describe the Oracle. I think she is someone who you should take out for coffee and have long conversations with. You would love to get to know her that way. And she is easy to spot in a crowd. The unnamed criminal is young, full of questions; brave, levelheaded, casanova-ish…I could go on for he is a lot of things. And so he bleeds blood, not ink or words.
Can you elaborate more on the story line?
Chaitanya Modak: ‘Everybody wonders about their dying day. But no one wants to know. Imagine what it would be like to come to an end … imagine what a chicken feels when it gets up in the morning… you pot around thinking this is going to last till eternity and chop chop. But, the story is not about that. There are a number of concepts that are juiced together in our work – violence, ahimsa, death and hope –all inevitably related. The Oracle herself is a concept as well as a character. The story is pretty fast paced.
What inspired you to choose this concept?
Benita Fernando: Caste politics and socio-cultural food behaviours, initially. But the story has come a long way from just that.
Chaitanya: Why can’t a superhero be just a man? Not just any man of course! A combination of Socrates and Conan who can hold hemlock in his throat till it turns blue… Why can’t a chick with supernatural powers be just a woman? Not just any woman of course… but one who uses a machete to cut through red tape J
How is the look and feel like?
Chaitanya Modak: It is primarily abstraction combined with 3D backgrounds, figures that range from sketchy to blocky, it is an Indian palette of haldi, chandan, and spices. We’ve browsed through a lot of Indian Art, and photographs for instilling the look.
Did you face any challenges while creating the book?
Chaitanya Modak : A couple of principal challenges existed. One was to run away from the clichés that dominate Indian comics publishing and yet bring out a work that was set in ancient India. The other was to filter the character of the Oracle and rescue her from the abundance of stereotypes.
How was the research like?
Chaitanya Modak :We read Indian and non-Indian historians to understand animal sacrifice and non-violence in ancient India and commentaries of the Vedas. We even went to Tamil proverbs and Sanskrit chants. Then at some point The Matrix became the Bible. We even read what the Kamasutra had to say about courtesans – completely unrelated things which we found excuses for reading but which we believe contribute to your understanding somewhere. We read and saw so much over the year that we have lost count of the number of things!
Coming to reworking, yes, all of it! We tinkered and hammered and ripped things apart and reconstructed them – till we thought we had a good story at every level – plot, dialogues, visuals, transitions.
What is the software of your preference when creating your characters?
Chaitanya Modak : I’ve made used of Staedtler 2B Pencil and bleeding edge white paper combined with CS 6 Illustrator and Photoshop.
It is set to launch at Mumbai Comic Con in Mumbai and priced at INR 90. Also, it will be available at some stores like Kitab Khana, Loose Ends, Either Or stock Won-Tolla titles. We are also in talks with distributors to make it available in stores and as a home delivery. Digital editions will be available through Magzter and Readwhere.
What is your vision with this book?
Chaitanya Modak We can go only as far as The Oracle can predict. She has just taken birth in this issue. There will surely be more predictions, more stories. More seriously, wish to make a dent in the reader’s mind, show them possibilities, dreams and visions. Experiment and take apart the comic form. Punch and grapple with new ideas to wrench out the perfect form. Of course there will be t-shirts & merchandise and movie rights! What else is the point of making a comic right?