Meta Desi Comics gearing up for the fifth issue of ‘Holy Hell’ and their flagship anthology-‘Ground Zero: Volume IV’

Founded roughly in 2013, by writer/artist Akshay Dhar, Meta Desi Comics has created a delightful mixed bag of comic books that involved some of the talented Indian writers and artists – both known and unknown. Dhar and his co-writer (read: partner-in-crimes-and-comics) Zafar Khurshid along with illustrator Abhijeet Kini and artist/team-player, Anant Sagar, are now currently creating the fifth issue of their popular comic book, Holy Hell, to be out in 2019 during the Comic Con convention cycle. First launched in volume two of comic book anthology series – Ground Zero, it soon became a stand alone comic series owing to its popularity. “Holy Hell started out entirely as an experiment. Akshay wanted someone to bounce ideas off, and I wanted to enter into the world of comic writing. One or two sessions of mind bending absurdism later – Holy Hell was born. It became popular and we enjoyed writing it so much that it became a separate series,” commented Khurshid, a lawyer by profession.   Holy Hell is a weird comic which revolves around a city called Morfeeas Nagar, wherein, the two heroes of the series, Blue and his friend, Dara fight weird characters like aliens, monsters and even mutants to save the day.
From left to right:
Zafar Khurshid, Anant Sagar, Akshay Dhar and Abhijeet Kini with various awards for best comics, writer and art series for ‘Holy Hell’.
The issue five of this absurdist humour will continue its tradition of deliberate irreverence, down right painfully puntastic jokes, referential parody and a few good laughs along the way. Talking to AnimationXpress, he added, “Akshay and I just wanted a comic where we could write exactly what we wanted – bad jokes, silly puns, poking fun at pop culture and the occasional political satire. We wanted something that didn’t have to be defined by traditional narratives of what is or isn’t ‘desi’ humour – in the end it reflects our own mixed personalities and occasionally absurdist outlook on humour and storytelling.” Abhijeet Kini, who’s responsible for all the fantastic artwork that seems to aid the writing perfectly, has also won the best illustrator bronze for Holy Hell at the Comic-Con awards. Kini finds the humour of this project very different from his other works. There are hysterical jokes, which everyone won’t get. Holy Hell is weirdly different. I was pretty thrilled when this comic became a stand-alone. It’s fun working on this comic with Akshay and Zafar; our team work has worked out well,” Kini mentioned. The Meta Desi team is also working on their anthology series, Ground Zero: Volume IV  in 2018-2019. The upcoming volume will give readers a sample of many kinds of storytelling and comic artwork. “This anthology series is our flagship book that we started in 2012, in fact we got three volumes of that, but kept it on hold for other books. Now we’re finally coming out with the fourth one this year and this time it’s special because it’s going to feature all female artists and writers who have not worked for comics before, taking up various topics from science-fiction to food and cooking with different styles,” Dhar said during the conversation. Each anthology features a number of different artists and writers from all over India, and even the occasional foreign import. This is very exciting because this time Akshay and I have had the opportunity to take a backseat on the writing front and introduce and promote many new talents, which is exactly what we hoped to achieve when we first started with the idea for this series. This is a great way for artists and writers you haven’t heard of to bring their work to new readers, and it also lets us gauge what our audiences want to see more of. Who knows, we may have our next solo series hit coming up in the pages of Ground Zero IV! So far we have released three volumes of the series and we’re very excited to bring out volume four!” noted the writer-duo. With such talented people working on a single comic and an entire anthology, there’s sure to be ideas galore. The team is also thinking about taking it to the digital world in the form of animated series, which again, is a matter of time. It seems that our excitement has to wait! (This article has been jointly written by Sharmindrila Paul and Yugandhara Shete)