Amar Chitra Katha which is India’s largest selling comic book series has long been a part of the comic industry. Initially promoting Indian culture, it has now expanded its genre with humour as well. The various brands which fall under the ACK Media arm are Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle, Karadi Tales, Brainwave, Bright Start and National Geographic. Amar Chitra Katha has come up with many comics around the lives of great warriors who fought for the freedom of our country like Shivaji, Ashoka, Tipu Sultan but now it is bringing out a special comic based on the lives of a few select individuals from the Indian Armed Forces, who have been awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the ultimate honour displayed for the courage and selfless devotion to duty, while defending the borders of our nation. The title of the comic is a namesake of the highest military award – Param Vir Chakra. The story is about 21 fearless heroes, for whom their lives were less important than the sovereignty of India. The comic will tell the life story of these soldiers, right from their childhood to the battle in which they proved themselves as victors. ACK Media – Publishing CEO Manas Mohan spoke to us on how they came up with the idea of the comic: “Param Vir Chakra is true to the Amar Chitra Katha’s philosophy of presenting best of Indian heritage. It is one of the important aspects of modern India’s military heritage where soldiers have gone out to defend our country. The interesting part about this comic is that it’s the first time that ACK has done a story on living legends who have contributed immensely towards saving the nation from exterior forces.” Amongst the 21 soldiers who are featured in the comic, 3 of them are still around to relive their stories of courage and valor. These inspiring stories took about one and a half year to get completed; wherein scripting, art and everything was going on simultaneously. 11 artists, 5 script writers along with 6 colourists have worked together. The original story writer is Vaneeta Vaid, who lives in Delhi. She was the person who was in touch with the Indian army to get validated documents and facts. She wrote the story in a prose format and the script writers then narrated them into comic form. This isn’t the first time that a comic based on army officers is being released, The Sinking of INS Khukri by Major General Ian Cardozo and Yeh Dil Maange More by Aditya Bakshi are few of the comics which were also seen in the recent past. What sets this comic apart from them is the fact that those were single comics and this is a collection of all the 21 heroes in one book. “Everyone has their style in writing; Amar Chitra Katha has its own storytelling approach and a diverse technique to illustrate art. We are very keen on being authentic when it comes to the story, especially these kinds of stories that touch a poignant chord. We were precise with the kind of weapon, the tank, artillery used. Authencity is what sets us apart”, exults Reena Puri. The ADGPI which is the PR wing of the Indian army and also PR wing of Indian air force were instrumental in making this venture possible. Officers from both these places were constantly looking at the script and art of the comic so that there won’t be any misunderstanding of the issue at hand. Social media, 45 retail outlets spread across India and an extensive online marketing drive has been chalked out by ACK Media on its own website. Currently the comic is available only in print form but soon it will also be available in the digital front. On future plans for the comic, Manas adds that there might be a short animation film in the pipeline but right now that are not quite sure on the feasibility of the same. Coming up with merchandised products to promote comics is no surprise these days. But it seems like we won’t be seeing any merchandised products related to the comic. The reason behind it was explained by Manas. “ACK is the label of love for us and we don’t look at it as a commercial product. This particular initiative is not something that we are eyeing to make profits around; this is our contribution to modern India’s defense force and to our country. We don’t want to take away the essence of the stories by commercializing it. This is almost like a prayer from our side that this is what our force is all about and that they deserve a lot more respect than what they are currently getting,” he signs off. Along with the 45 retail outlets that Amar Chitra Katha has all over India, the product will be available at online shopping websites as well. The book will be launched tomorrow across major platforms.