Well it’s time to read about a super hero in a Turban – Agent Deep Singh, who is all set to kick evil’s ass. The co-creators, Eileen Alden, who converted herself into Sikh while working on this comic and Supreet Singh Manchanda, says they can actually vouch for this comic.
“It’s been amazing to watch a response from the community. Many people like our ‘Super Sikh’ idea and as the pages come alive we are getting a great response. You know, it’s been the culmination of two years of development. Eileen and I met a couple of years ago in the SF Bay Area, and at the time she was making screenplays. I had suggested she write a story with a Sikh protagonist and after that, she started writing comics, so this story was a natural progression to the comic book format and we decided to take it in that direction,” expounds Supreet to AnimationXpress.com
Sikh religion is the 5th largest religion, with 20+ million followers not just in India but all over the world. Its values are equality and justice for all people, regardless of gender, race, caste, or creed.
Eileen comes from a finance background and got into comics in the 90’s. She has grown on comics/graphic novels like The Tick, The Watchmen, Blankets and Persepolis. She spends most of the time in writing or making films and music over weekends and late nights.
“It has been so important to launch this set of comics. There have never been any modern Sikh heroes that children can relate to and given how much bullying the sikh children go through, it was important to create a positive hero that counters all the negative imagery of people with turbans in the mainstream media,” adds Eileen.
Supreet who is a senior executive in Silicon Valley always had a great love for comics. He explains: “Comics were what gave flight to my imagination and in some ways were my constant friends. Human friends changed but comics always stayed with me.”
Deep Singh is an everyday Sikh who has a cover job as an ordinary ‘I.T. guy’ in India, but is actually an Elvis-loving evil-fighting secret agent. Exhausted from all of his work, he decides to take a dream vacation to visit Graceland, home of Elvis, in the US. However, one extra-crazy Taliban crew who is tired of Deep thwarting their evil plots, decides to follow Deep to the US to get rid of him once and for all!
Along with Eileen and Supreet the art-work has been done by award-winning Comic-Con India artist, Amit Tayal. The team also invited four most popular Sikh artists – Vishavjit Singh (Sikhtoons), Raj Singh Tattal (Viva Las Vegas) Bhagat Singh (Al Amok is Not Amused) and Jagmohan Singh Villkhu (The Crisis and the Chardi Kalaa) to do limited edition variant covers, one for each comic in the first series.
Each comic is 24 pages long, full colour and there are four comics in the first series for the story arc of Deep Singh’s journey to America. They have also planned a series on Deep’s cousin Gurpreet Kaur; she is his armourer and gadget-making Scientist and also a ninja master in her own right.
One can go to Kickstarter and support them to develop the first four comics and can also win numerous prizes and perks. Supreet expounded: “We plan to have an initial run of 1000 comics per issue and with digital editions in multiple languages. We are looking at different distribution channels worldwide, so we haven’t set a retail price yet. But if you support us on Kickstarter which ends 3 February, you will be the first to get the comics, for a pledge of $7 for each issue, and we will ship worldwide.”
Their first venture was a seasonal comic, Santa vs. Aliens, which has been well received and issue #1 is available in digital format via the Madefire app. They are all geared up for the second issue by winter.
“I think when it comes to actually creating unique characters and situations, we knew we had to make them very specific, because otherwise it is just propaganda and preachy. We decided to imagine a guy who is a truly good guy with amazing skills and tools to fight villains, on the level of Batman or James Bond, but more down-to-earth. And we gave him some personality, so that he wasn’t just cardboard,” exulted Eileen.
Deep grew up in Africa with his parents who were doctors on humanitarian missions, but were mysteriously lost on one tricky mission, and so he became a big Elvis fan because it reminds him of his dad who was a big fan. He is a person who is full of life and has an urge to do justice. “We put him into situations that we experience in modern life and dealing with the kind of crisis we read about in today’s headlines. And we would ask ourselves, ‘What would Deep Singh do?’ Sometimes there would be a funny outcome, which shows Deep’s sense of humour, and sometimes they would be serious and highlight his Sikh values.”
Supreet on other hand believes that Comics and social media are all about creating dialogue and discussion. And they allow children to expand their imaginations by providing images and stories. As yet another medium they actually help create a more lasting connection that one can keep and cherish.
“We are a media company and of course we would like to be able to grow and create more diverse and interesting characters and stories. We think there is a whole universe of Sikh superheroes just waiting to come to life and we want to make that happen,” ended Eileen.