I always wanted to have a female protagonist in my comic book, says Cobrapost’s Aniruddha Bahal

Cobrapost editor Aniruddha Bahal had sent out a sensational teaser to journalists on Monday promising an expose into the network of an international terrorist group in India. “Linked to the ISI and the Taliban, the group made a concerted effort to kidnap foreign diplomats and nationals in India. The group used the Delhi Golf Course as a hub for clandestine meetings. CCTV footage even showed some of them having discussions while playing golf,” the teaser said. A much-hyped “biggest expose” of politicians, terrorists and intelligence agencies by website Cobrapost turned out to be a release of his new fictional comic book The Adventures of Rhea: The Cobrapost Affair. “One day my daughter told me that I never write anything for young audiences, something they can relate to. That’s how I thought of coming out with a comic book. I started working on it three to four years ago and at that time I had wanted to do it in a free align style. After writing the comic, I decided to photograph some scenes for which we actually shot real models and the results were very encouraging. Then I started looking out for the illustrator and that’s how Neelabh clicked, who finally did the art work for this comic,” revealed Aniruddha to AnimationXpress.com. His inspiration for this comic is his two daughters. The comic book is named after his elder daughter Rhea, while the looks of the character are very similar to his younger daughter Esha. “I always wanted to have a female protagonist in my comic book. The character Rhea is very smart, spunky and a gutsy journalist. Other women should also learn from her. We didn’t plan anything but I feel this comic medium will definitely work as we have put in our best efforts. I personally don’t like fancy, unreal comics and there has to be some kind of story line,” he added. Working at Cobrapost is not an easy job. The intrepid Rhea Baughman, a journalist, an explorer and an all-round adventurer, is the sort of person who can sniff out a good story from a mile away. When she stumbles upon a mysterious lead about a drug-trafficking racket in Afghanistan, she finds herself embroiled in a web of deceit. Suddenly, her father is abducted and so are several international espionage agents. Are all these events connected? With the help of some new friends and a few old enemies, Rhea must rescue her father, dodge the ISI and solve a global crisis; all the while trying to unmask the Voice, a faceless, ruthless overlord with a sinister agenda.
Aniruddha’s experience in investigative and political journalism aided him in coming up with this fictitious adventure comic book. The printed book published by Harper Collins consists of 68 pages and is priced at Rs 199.  An e-book format will also be released on Amazon soon. For now, the book is in English but will have other Indian languages in some time. According to Anirrudha, such content is currently not available either in India or abroad. “It is in a Tintin broad format, not a graphic novel. It was an attempt to get back our childhood days through this comic. For this particular book, we have substantial marketing budget. We will also be promoting it on social media and at cinema theatres.” The next issue of the book will have some new exciting comic characters apart from the old ones. “We are working on the next issue and will be launching The Adventures of Rhea at Comic Con as well.” In the sequel, the fearless heroine will traverse the world of twenty- first-century politics with nothing more than an instinct for trouble and a thirst for adventure.