When it comes to vastness, there’s hardly anything as unfathomable and mysterious as the Hindu mythology. It has penetrated deep into our cultures, traditions, daily life and even psyche. Science, on the other hand seems to have logical explanations to almost everything. So when artist Soumyadipta Roy and his wife Riddhi Joshi, a 3D interior designer, found themselves in an engaging debate over science and mythology, they knew it wasn’t going to end soon.
The argument raised questions like-“Couldn’t it be that mythology and science derive their opinions from the same thing? Could things be from the same source?” Thus was created Winter Child, a graphic novel based on a post-apocalyptic take on the prophecies on Kalyug, first of its kind in India.
Artist Roy, as he’s better known, chose this fascinating concept as the theme of his independent comic book as such a topic hasn’t been taken up before. “I chose to do it as this is a kind of story I would like to hear and found a potential as a creator,” he said.
The story is set in the distant future after the Ice-apocalypse has brought an end to the world. When asked more about the storyline he quoted, “ A team of damaged heroes come together to cure the last colony on Earth. Backed by NASA’s Un-ice age theory about the global shift in climate, I plotted the story on a science-fiction myth genre.”
Though this unique idea originated from the debate, it actually shaped up after the graphic-duo did some research and found some amazing correlations between prophecies and predictions.
The theory of Evolution was perhaps old news in Hindu mythology long before Charles Darwin explained it in The Origin of Species (1859). The ‘Dashavatar’ of God Vishnu as mentioned by the Puranas say that the first avatar was ‘Matsya (fish) Avatar’ which finds a parallel scientific explanation that life originated from marine life and then moved to land represented by the ‘Kurma (amphibian) Avatar’. The Darwinian process of evolution continues to find corresponding clarifications with ‘Dashavatar’ until the 10th avatar- ‘Kalki’,(the nemesis of the demon Kali as per the Puranas) which anticipates the ultimate transformation of the humans in the distant future as genetically supreme beings.
Similarly according to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Lord Krishna tells Ganga before the beginning of Kalyug that they have time just before the end. The same idea is reflected in words of Berger and Loutre who said that the current interglacial period ends, sending the planet into a glacial period of the current ice age regardless of the effects of anthropogenic global warming.
All these have intrigued the couple to delve deep into this genre for creating a story set in the post-cataclysmic world which anticipates the possible emergence of self-destructive man-eating monsters as ‘Kaluga’ predicts. “Being an innate storyteller, these informations sound amazing for a fictional story and must be attempted in India,” an excited Roy said.
Winter Child, which will be available both digitally and in print on reputed online portals, also has a bigger agenda involved. Born out of the love for comics and graphic novels, the project intends to reach out to every comic book lover on a global scale utilising the internet culture. “We’re going to reach children, students and art enthusiasts who could access the printed copy while in school, art classes, book shops or while travelling during vacation,” Roy added.
With experience in roto animation at international platforms and working as an animator in Harry Potter, World War Z, Disney’s John Carter for MPC (Moving Picture Company), Winter Child was initially supposed to be an animation series. Instead he chose to take a baby step by first making it into a comics. “We’re trying to bring a readership to this story and then offer them an extension of the story in the form of an animated series or movie,” the Bengali artist exclaimed.
Though he performed and participated in customs, traditions and rituals, Roy wasn’t very impressed by them previously. Failed to understand the reason behind the practices or mythology, he slowly drifted his interest towards superheroes which he could easily fathom and found himself influenced by Avengers, Thor or Hawkeye more than Pandavas, Bhim or Arjun. But while working in Stan Lee’s Chakra: The Invincible for Graphic India, he was amazed to learn that foreigners are more curious about Hindu culture and he did not have answers to the questions about his own culture.
It was then his wife Riddhi Joshi Roy, hailing from a reputed Brahmin family, introduced him to the deeper meaning behind our culture and mythology, that he started taking interest in it.
Of all the aspects and periods of this otherwise limitless Indian mythology, he’s most fascinated about the ‘Kalyug’ because it enables us to strive for a better future taking lessons from the past.
When asked about why did he choose this unique concept when comics are generally about superheroes saving mankind from evil, he noted “Superheroes are awesome. They save us from evil. Even our mythology has characters who have always saved us from evil. Rather, the evil within. In this comic book, we’re talking about the world facing an end, but what we’re really trying to convey is about the sections in society at its extreme struggle, teaming up together to find peace.”
A promising yet an ambitious project such as this sure comes with its own challenges. For Roy, the major challenges he faced for Winter Child, in the otherwise encouraging journey since the publication of his first comic book Death Retainer (printed by Diamond Comics India at Delhi Comic Con 2012), was designing the story with the most amount of correlations of mythology with probable science behind it. It was equally difficult to keep the pace of the story with the sci-fi genre and fit the entire gamut of information within the budget of 100 pages. “ I keep concerning myself with what I produce and try to make it competitive to my past works,” he further added.
The venture is currently crowdfunded on Wishberry to raise enough fund for its launch and has already acquired 27 per cent of it. Roy thinks he is still at a younger stage to give the IP to investors who have already offered deals. “I have almost exhausted most of my personal savings into it and am 60 per cent completed with the book. That’s when I started crowdfunding Winter Child to gather the remaining funds. Perhaps in the future, we will be involved in an animated series,” he noted.
Winter Child, which launches in either June or July this year, surprisingly derives its name from an incident at a family function that actually became the brainchild (even literally) behind this graphic book. It surely ensures a thrilling foray into the world of comics by being the wind beneath the wings of the industry.