HYDERABAD: Like every school-going kid who gets an adrenaline rush at the thought of Superman and Batman, Rajeev Tamhankar too was enticed by them, so much so that he would create his own comic strips. He would pull out the middle pages from his notebooks, staple them together, write the script, sketch the caricatures and then marvel over his ‘authored books’.
While the dream of authoring books was fulfilled with ‘Get Corporated before you get fired!’ in 2015, the IIT Roorkee graduate decided to turn his scribbles into comic strips while penning his second book.
“Initially, I wanted to write it in the form of a novel but then realised, there is so much happening, it would be much more fun to depict it graphically. That’s where the comic books startup clicked,” says the author and budding entrepeneur. “Plus, a comic is no longer a kids-only thing,” he adds.
But why Indianisation? “We have grown with Batman, Superman, Spiderman, but I always felt there is a dearth for Indian superheroes – something which we will all relate to much more easily,” says the 26-year-old.
Rajeev is also of the view that it is due to lack of Indian content in comics space the children are glued to gaming consoles, mobile phones or cartoons. “I believe that comic books will help inculcate reading habit among children,” he says.
New age superheroes
One of his superhero characters is Varun, whose adventures revolve around the world of aquatic humans in the submerged city of Dwarka. “Varun is for a more mature audience and I do not intend to explore mythology.
These comic books are not directly covering mythology as such; but surely, a few characters will have their origins based on mythological timelines,” he clarifies. Unlike Varun who fights the sea dragon, Ved, is a hero without super powers. Portrayed as the most intelligent human ever born, raised by a magician, Ved learns creating optical illusions, art of ventriloquism, and relies mostly on intellect, science and technology to solve the mysteries. Indian version of Batman? “No. Unlike Batman, he is neither rich nor wears a mask.”
As much as we love the heroes, one can’t dismiss the bad guys that make the heroes. Varun’s super villains are largely based on supernatural creatures. Ved’s super villains are largely based on psychopaths, evil scientists, mafia and techno-terrorists.
Dash of humour
While the heroes will invade our lives come May, three comedy comic strips starring – HRs and bosses, rom-com and babysitter series will hit the stands in the latter half of the year. While the Get Corporated series will be primarily oriented on situational jokes with marketing, bosses, HR, the second revolves around the adventures and fancies of a group of teenage friends. But unlike adults or kids, this age group is generally more drawn towards gadgets and pimples than reading, so how does he plan to tap them? “I believe it’s only because there is lack of content. And we hope to bridge this gap.”
Unlike scribblings on scraps of paper, to establish a comic startup and get it running has been quite an uphill task, says Rajeev.
Thought Bubbles Studio has a small team of four people that is based in Bengaluru. Sketching, inking, colouring and printing have been outsourced and have zeroed on print-and-online model of publication. While Get Corporated will be launched on Facebook, www.facebook.com/getcorporated, the superhero series will be published in paperback.
The comic books will be priced at `30 and “annual subscription will be available for less than the cost of a pizza.”
Favourite superheroes: Ved and Batman
Favourite villain: Dr. Aqua (from Varun series) and Joker.
What next: Start fan clubs, for discussion and sale of merchandise.