Comic Con Express Hyderabad Edition that is slated for September 21st -22nd will witness the launch of Chariot Comic’s latest ‘Vrica’ Graphic Novel and is also having a line up of promising comic treats.
AnimationXpress.com’s Zeenia Boatwala had a chat with Aniruddho Chakraborty, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Chariot Comics to hear more about its upcoming releases.
Please put light on the VRICA series and your very latest VRICA graphic novel?
The VRICA series is pretty much from where the idea of Chariot Comics was birthed. Even before we were officially Chariot Comics, we had worked on a pilot issue #1 around 5 years ago! So, yes, as our flagship series, VRICA is something that is very close to our hearts. We released the issue #1 as a free digital download at Comic Con 2012 and it has been one of our most consistent lines in terms of print and digital publishing with at least 3 single issues and one double issue. The series was very well received for us both commercially and critically and we have grown from there terms of quality of storytelling and artwork. The VRICA graphic novel is a culmination of all of the above and is due for release in September and will blow away all our readers in terms of the ending!
We would like to hear about the story line and characters of VRICA?
VRICA is an action adventure series that follows the story of Rohan and his F-INSAS Spec-ops team (that is later dubbed VRICA). Rohan through a twist of fate becomes a super-soldier much like the likes of Captain America – and the series follows their exploits (told in a flashback format) as they cope with the new world order, terrorist threats, the origins of their power – an element known as Vricadium and conspiracies galore.The graphic novel will take the readers through a journey which recaps the highlights of the previous issues and then jumps directly into the current story – leading up to an end, which I’m sure the readers did not see coming! The graphic novel sets stage for something big we are planning for the second half of 2014 both for VRICA and the entire Chariotverse!
What were the factors that made you choose this story line for Vrica?
VRICA was our original babby at Chariot Comics – and we realized that there was a strong need-gap and a market for an original Indian Super-team. We wanted to do something truly different yet familiar – something that would strike a chord with the Indian audience.
How many pages is it composed off?
We are targeting 80+ pages Graphic Novel for VRICA and it is aimed at 13+ audiences
Please share the credit list with us?
1. Producer: Aditya Dhaliwal
2. Story, Characters and Script: Aniruddho Chakraborty
3. Pencil and Inks: Tamal Saha & Tarun Kumar Sahu
4. Colours: Supreme Commander Chaksius
5. Editor: Kate A Lyons
6. Creative Director: Katyayan Shivpuri
If you were to describe the look and feel of this graphic novel, how would you present it?
We have gone experimental with both the artwork and the look and feel. You will see almost each section of the story having a different look and feel – be it in terms of art or the colors. Some chapters will have the modern comic book action adventure look in art and colors, similar to what you see in Marvel and DC titles; while some section follow the more vertigo look and feel in terms of shadows, color palettes etc.So yes, it’s an experiment we are risking and we hope the readers will love that.
What would you highlight in terms of challenges that you faced while creating this graphic novel?
Of course condensing the expanse of the story into 70 odd pages is a challenge. We wanted the Graphic Novel to be faithful to both our old and new readers. Meaning, anyone who has been following the series will find that the key elements of the story are available here, while there’s so much more progress in terms of story movement. Anyone new picking up the series will find that that they are up to speed and know the entire story of the series. Obviously this throws up a challenge of packing too much too quick, without any character development – but we have tried to allay that and I hope we have succeeded.
How much time has to taken to complete this graphic novel?
Six months and still working!
Would you like to emphasize on the research, inspirations taken for creating Vrica?
A lot of research has gone into the technology used, weapons, politics and technicalities involved with this genre. We wanted it to be fun and sci-fi while not being too outlandish. In short, more the Christopher Nolan, David Goyer school of storytelling is what inspires us.
Apart from that when it comes to the visual styles and story aspects, our inspirations include: DMZ (Vertigo), Losers (Vertigo), 100 bullets (vertigo), Captain America (Marvel, Ed Brubaker run), Marvel Seige (Brian Michael Bendis) and movies such as Universal Soldier, The Dark Knight Series, Man of Steel.
What would be the interesting aspects of the book which the readers should watch out for?
For me the most interesting part is the way the story seams together in a non-linear format, I would say on re-reading the series and the Graphic Novel the second-time you will find some interesting connects and conspiracies that throw up! And of course my favorite part is the ending. It’s outlandish as hell, you won’t see it coming; but when it does you will realize that was the only way it could have gone!
Please share in detail about the comic series that you porting on DVD?
That’s our smaller mini-series Damned which will be porting to DVD. The DVD will allow users to download and read the comics in PDF and CBR formats on their devices. Plus, it will be at a very competitive price point as well – so yeah that’s our offering in September on the digital front!
How many more volumes are in pipeline?
After this graphic novel we will continue the story in single issue which will be digital only and once that’s done expect an even better VRICA Vol. 2 Graphic Novel next year!
And, the big ticket release at Comic Con Mumbai, can we be the first one to capture a brief about this J
It’s still a little hush-hush at this point but all I can tell you is #BollywoodMovie, #Zombies and #Graphic Novel!
Are you publishing the book as well?
Yes we are. Chariot Comics will be publishing the book in both print and digital formats. It will be launched at Comic Con Express Hyderabad and we will be selling it at CC Mumbai, CCI Delhi and will also be available for online orders at Popcracker.com.
Going down the memory lane, how has the journey for chariot comics been till date, what were the hits and misses?
Oh we’ve had many hits and many misses! In fact, if that wasn’t the case, it wouldn’t be any fun making comics. VRICA and Templar have been big hits for us, along with initiatives like Free Comic Book Weekend which we loved doing. We even got to some good work for various brands like Hero Motocorp, designing their motorbike brochure in a comic book format – that was loads of fun!
Misses include our slow focus on the Damned title which we will be correcting this September. Our title Godslayer got a lot of flak for its controversial themes; however, we remain determined and expect to do something explosive next year on that as well.
I mean you win some, you lose some – the trick is to win the ones you lost the next time round. We believe we are still on the learning curve and the only way is up!
Your take on the Indian Comic’s Industry
Bright times ahead! I mean I love that we are getting out of standard mythological stuff we’ve always peddled and doing some great original stuff. I’m a fan of the work Vivek Goel is doing with Holy Cow, Jazyl with Beast Legion, Akshay Dhar at Metadesi, a lot of Level 10’s older work like Odayan & Rabhas and the entire Pop Culture Publishing Catalog. Its good stuff and I hope our struggles pay-off in the long term as the market grows wider and goes international.
What is your vision now with these releases?
We have been building stories and characters over the past two years and now I think we’re ready to move into the graphic novel format in terms of our titles. We envision producing at least 2-3 original Graphic Novels every year and I hope that the audience will love the sincere effort we are producing the content.