Monthly Archives: October 2011

The New Age Desi Graphic Novel Industry

I grew up reading my dad’s awesome collection of comic books which consisted of Diamond Comics, Indrajaal Comics and vintage DC/Marvel comics. Later, I got into Raj and now defunct Tulsi comics — and my collection became the ever growing one. In between many small publications came around and went out of business the only because Raj and Diamond comics had a hold on the market for the respective age groups.

The sole reason behind other comic bookcompanies unable to grow up was lack of marketing skills and advertising options. By mid 90s crappy movies based on Marvel and DC comics had started coming, with no connection to the actual comic book interpretation, with simply having the characters from those comics. And even when these American comic books had their own shows on TV,Indian comic book industry stayed in the print area. By this time, Amar ChitraKatha kept printing issues with constantly improving artwork and stories and the only superheroes we had on TV were Shaktiman and Captain Vyom, which failed to create wonders in print. Also, Gotham Comics started bringing Marvel DC and other publications at genuine price, good enough for people to actually buy them, and read them.

Time passed by and during 2006 Gotham comics took a historic step that was said to change the graphic novel scene entirely. Gotham comics tied up with Marvel, and started publishing the story of Spiderman in Indian context. The story about a middle class teen, Pavitra Prabhakar, facing the usual problems of an Indian Teenager; it had marvellous artwork and story.Also, Gotham tied in with Virgin comics and a new line of comic books started coming in under titles, Ramayana 3392 AD had a new futuristic take on the classic story of Ramayana, coming out from the brilliant minds of Shekhar Kapoor and Deepak Chopra. Shekhar Kapoor also created Snake Woman a modern take on legends of Ichadhari Naags,Shakti, Devi, Sadhu etc. For a while everyone had an idea that this is going to change the graphic novel scene in India forever but sadly they all stopped publishing after a while and we returned to the same rusty phase.

After a gap of 2 or 3 years with new ways to advertise and better use of Internet, with the hype around social media, and blogging, we finally have a new breed of writers and artists who are ready to take chances. This started in 2009 when Shreyas Srinivas formed level10 comics and their first comics “The Rabhas Incident” a zombie story based in Bangalore came out. And after all this, the biggest game changer came out — as the first Comic Con India in 2010, Delhi on the lines of American Comic Book Conventions. Comic Con India proved to be a platform for comic book lovers as well as various Indian publishers, to promote their stuff.

Among the many awesome graphic novels, few of the notables are works published by Pop Culture Publishing, which consists of Ud Bilav Manus, Retrograde and Zombie Talkies. While you are reading this, Flipkart would have delivered me my copy of Ud Bilav Manus who is India’s first Bhojpuri Comic Character.

The Most notable name right now in the field of Graphic novels is Vimanika comics which has got a huge fan base in short time. They create modern interpretations about mythological figure with less violence making it suitable for readers of all ages. Their first graphic novel Mokshawas a huge success and they plan to do the same with Shiva and War of Independents. Jungle Book is coming in a new avatar by Campfire graphic novels and Holy cow Entertainment is on with Ravananyan.

While the creative content for these comic books arepretty original, the creators need to take care of the names of some characters, which don’t really sound original.But, anyway, the point being that we are competing right now with international players and a live action movie is needed soon. Two years back a Doga movie was too much in hype but then it all went off.

Comic Con India is the best way to promote but then there can be other ways too,like I got my first issue of Virgin comics after winning them on a radio contest. I also wish someone to reboot the Shaktiman Comic book franchise in their own style and rest of the stuff should look close to the modern Indian society– a graphic novel on CID or Rajnikant won’t be a bad Idea and a lot of work is to be done in the horror field, too. There are parts of Indian mythology which haven’t been touched.

Fans need to support these creators by not comparing them to western books — we are and will be a standalone genre of our own.

RaOne the Hollywood copycat………

Its been a while we have been reading things about RaOne being a cheap copy cat and a recent news said that RaOne got sued because apparently they copied a already copied idea. Now the thing is what stuffs the movie is copied from other comic books,Games,Graphic novels etc etc etc.

1. The Poster :
The Poster here obviously isn’t copied from Batman Begins because Batman Begins was a epic movie and sorry but RaOne doesnt looks like one. Batman has a suit in the poster while SRK is still seems not confident being about his special RaOne suit or whatever it is,And Look its not the Iron Man’s Arc Reactor on his chest,obviously not because he is a Robot in the movie (A robot who can sing and Dance). Also VFX is used a lot in this movie the poster itself says so with SRK’s six packs.

2. Its not the Iron Man’s Arc Reactor

In RaOne’s First theatrical trailer at 0.09 sec you will see the first image something that powers up RaOne. Now that isnt Tony Stark’s arc reactor that he keeps on his chest which looks like image 2nd and 3rd because that arc reactor keeps Tony Stark who is way cooler than whoever in the first image is  and the Arc Reactor keeps Tony Stark alive and acts like a pacemaker while the thing in first pic (dunno what they call it) is just like a battery which helps a robot run.

2. The Costume doesn’t looks like G.I Joe/Iron Man Amalgam Costume

What if Iron Man had a Costume inspired from various G.I Joe characters with an Arc Reactor slightly moved to right side of his chest What would it looked like. The Answer is not like RaOne because we wont find a arc reactor on right side of chest of SRK glowing in the same way as Iron Man’s costume does. Take any G.I Joe Action Fig and compare it to RaOne it will never match. Also those electric shock waves are not copied from Black Box or Electro and please not Thor

3. Flying off Cars is so cool

The Final Battle of X-men 3 movie makes Magneto use his power to throw cars in Air and Pyro Blasts em off. I didnt got a better snap shot of that fight but it was nothing like RaOne. Someone using their hand to powering up and throwing cars in the air is not like Magneto at all and then the cars aren’t even blasting so not copied at all.

4. Knives coming out again so cool

Thanks to Hugh Jackman adamantium claws became so cool. But The knife coming out of Arjun Rampal’s sleeves is not Adamamentium claws because then there would be an excuse about a single claw that does not comes out from fists. So What it certain characters in Manga Action do this and villains in Elektra do this and it happens frequently in Assassin’s Creed.

5. Tattoos make a perfect villain but wait whats that?

Is that a scene from Gajini,No no thats our own supervillain RaOne with a Hitman barcode Tattoo below his neck and some more Manga Tattoos designed elsewhere That’s something creative just awesome but again not copied from anywhere.

6. I always wanted to be a Ninja

I was not sure which image to insert with it,Not because it will be a shame on those wonderful Ninja movies because in that case I would not have inserted other pics as well but still this doesn’t has any resemblance with The Warriors Way or Ninja Assassin.

7. Whats That Iron Man ?

Well that’s not Iron Man Landing in his signature move though any comic book nerd will recognize the scene from the same movie but its not. Its our very own RaOne with is very on Signature Landing style nothing comparable

8. What Happened to you Taskmaster

So what they both use the same skull face mask the attire is not copied from taskmaster. And what if they both have their eyes glowing at times its still not taskmaster because taskmaster is one of the greatest villains of marvel comics who defeated whole team Avengers by alone. This villain (RaOne) cant be the world’s greatest strategist and mercenary he’s just wearing a glowing skull.

There are still stuffs that RaOne didn’t copied from like a train fight sequence being hyped in every trailer not giving the feel of Rajnikanth’s Robot, or SRK Jumping like The Hulk and flipping like Spiderman. For rest wait for the movie to release and find out what else RaOne didn’t copied.

PS: I am not supporting RaOne by this blog,was simply trying to be sarcastic in which I am so bad.

PS. Sorry for my mistakes and Bad Grammar got no one to correct this time

Marvel Cosmic Universe – Post Avengers New Trilogy

The genre of Space Epics was kinda made famous by George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise. It was one of the first of its kind. A space opera with some old age hollywood themes thrown in awesomely. A classic tale of good versus evil and good wining in the end. These were the selling points which made it so popular and a cult classic even till today.

Right Now, there the Space Genre is like non-existent. We have nice mash-ups like Cowboys and Aliens. Transformers was a nice try but then most of it took place on Earth and it was only the action sequences that held on. There was no real story being told.

So, the question arises how is Marvel Studios gonna get into this franchise. till now, they are still in the ever so generic Super Hero genre with entries like Iron Man and Captain America. Thor was a mix of the fantasy and cosmic aspect but in his first film, the cosmic aspect wasn’t explored so much.

Thus, the direction that first must be taken would be to introduce the full blown cosmic aspect through Thor. Other than making use of his fantasy background to introduce guys like Doctor Strange, his cosmic side is the one which can really pull in awesome storylines like Annihilation into the film world.

Now if we think this through, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was introduced by Iron Man in his debut film with Shield and the Nick Fury post-credits sequence. The same thing can be done in the Cosmic Universe. Simply to say, Thor 2 just needs to function in a similar fashion by introducing the theft of the Infinity Gauntlet by Thanos.

However, that won’t be enough. The way Iron Man 2 expanded on the genre with further Shield Involvement.

A better way would be to incorporate the Fantastic Four into the story. Their discovery of the Negative Zone and their experience with Super Skrull will then help to introduce the Kree-Skrull empires.

What’s more Galactus and his heralds can then make an appearance. These are key players of the Annihilation storyline.

Following which, the big guns then come in. An introduction to a new slate of characters. The first character which should be introduced into the line-up should be Star Lord since he should be seen as the leader of the coming Guardians of the Galaxy film.

Then, we can introduce the other characters one by one with Drax the Destroyer, Major Victory etc. Of course, the beginning team lineup should be around 5 to 6 members to prevent an overly large team (X Men etc.) that compromises story development.

In the midst of these single films, the common threat of Thanos should be introduced to get a build-up to the final showdown.

Of course, Thanos would be Major Villain while Annihilus would be as the final showdown

Following which, the Guardians of the Galaxy film can then be thrown out. This itself will span a trilogy which means that the sequels to the member’s individual films would have to be put on hold.

The first film should tell about Annihulus starting the Annihilation Wave which targets Klynn, leaving Richard Ride, Nova the sole survivor. He would be the introductory figure who decides to assemble a force to take on this threat. They attempt to deal with the threat but they are too late in preventing the death of several of Galactus Heralds who are trying to protect Galactus as well as the sacrifice of Quasar to defy Annhilus.

The second film will then deal with the expansion of the Guardians of the Galaxy to start the formation of the United Front to tackle the threat. However, the destruction of Klynn from the first film released to Proemial Gods, Tenebrous and Aegis who have allied themselves with Annihilus to destroy the remaining Heralds of Galactus. The film becomes a race of time against the actions of the Proemial Gods which finally result in the death of the two Gods and the final agreement between the United Front, the Kree and the Skrull, Guardians that Annhilus and Thanos must be destroyed.

The third film will deal with this final confrontation with Galactus deciding to unleash the Galactus Wave that results in massive destruction and in the process , weakening Annihilus and Thanos. Eventually, the combined efforts of Phyla Vell and Nova result in the defeat and death of Annihulus while Thanos makes an escape. This helps to set up further adventures if needed (Maybe even Conquest)

So, let’s get back to perspective

Phase 1

– Thor 2 introduces Thanos
– Fantastic Four introduces Silver Surfer, Galactus, Skrulls, Kree

Phase 2
– Star Lord
– Major Victory

Phase 3
– Guardians Trilogy

Phase 4
– Potential Spin-offs and Sequels

So what we are looking at are around 10 over films and if done correctly, can make the Star Wars franchise nothing in comparison.

Even if Galactus,Silver Surfer,The Skrulls and Fantastic Four still being with fox and Marvel unable to get hands on them they will make a way out of it with introducing the Inhumans,Celestials and Eternals and going with the Infinity Gauntlet Storyline other way round and bringing Beyonder instead of Annihilus.

Anyways guys at Marvel Studios know their job and if they go for it they will make it awesome

Things the next Spider-Man game should include

A free roam in New York city to web-swing around, more and better boss battles, select-a-Spidey, and more ideas I think Activision and Beenox should use to restore Spider-Man to video game greatness as they used to be.

Let’s face it, the most likely new game we’ll get for Spider-Man will be based upon the 2012 reboot, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, next July. But to be perfectly honest, I’d rather that Activision and Beenox, who have gotten hold of developing Spidey’s games since the recent “Spider-Man: Edge of Time” (which I admit, I haven’t played yet, so please keep that in mind when I refer to things about the game even though I haven’t actually played it yet), put just as much effort, if not more effort, into their next Spidey game based on the comic books. The problem is, the recent games have been severely lacking that original, fun quality past Spidey games have had. I’m going to break it down, nice and simple, and point out what SHOULD be done for Beenox’s next Spider-Man game. Here are my Top Ten things the developers should keep in mind when making a new Spidey game:

There’s a reason why “Spider-Man 2: The Movie” video game is still considered by fans as the best Spider-Man video game to date, and it’s because of the free-roam web-swinging you could do through the streets of New York. From what I understand of “Edge of Time”, most of the game-play takes place inside the same place: in a building. And if you think about it, that’s pretty peculiar to lack that in a game about SPIDER-MAN. He’s SUPPOSED to be swinging over the city. While “Shattered Dimensions” and “Edge of Time” have been fun for gamers, both have been frustrating to Spidey AND gamer fans alike for whatever reason, whether it was repetitive game-play or bad camera angles or whatever. But what most, if not ALL, Spidey fans want to see is Spider-Man going back to the free-roam style where you get to FEEL like you’re Spider-Man when you web-swing over the city streets. I mean, Spider-Man is known for web-swinging and wall-crawling, so both qualities can be used in needing to complete certain levels to keep things fun and not too repetitive. Why not give the people what they want, by having Spidey go explore over a free-roam environment of New York instead of through a building?

Everything needs to have a good story, because without it, your product is nothing. (Hear that, “Green Lantern”?) And from what I’ve read, “Spider-Man: Edge of Time” has its plot holes and can at times be weak in its story. The next game needs to have a good foe for Spider-Man to chase through the city to stop, because that’s what Spidey does: he fights bad guys in present day New York and swings from place to place. It can be a challenge to have a believable, realistic plot for a Spider-Man game when so many of the characters are superhuman characters in colorful costumes. Then again, that doesn’t mean we need aspects of the game-play that can be too repetitive and have the story be too short or too long. It’s a balancing act, yeah, but past Spider-Man games have proven if you keep the story simple, to the point, and fun with a few Easter eggs tossed in along the way, you can’t go wrong with a working formula for a Spidey game. Besides, what Spidey fan wouldn’t love going back to the free-roam style and explore places in New York like the Daily Bugle or the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building hideout or Stark Towers or may be Avenger’s Mansion? One thing’s for sure: flipping switches and jumping through hoops have to go in a Spider-Man game.

I don’t care how it’s done, these guys need to stay put. Period. From what I’ve read, Barnes and Keaton are THE reasons for getting your hands on “Edge of Time” because of the chemistry between the two. Fans can argue who’s the better voice actor for Spidey and who should voice WHICH Spidey forever, but the fact is these guys ARE the voice of Spidey. The voice acting is rightly considered the best aspect of “Edge of Time” and I can say that because I’ve seen the clips released for the game. The jokes, the delivery, and Barnes’ classic “MARY JANE!” yell… from what I’ve heard, it’s all there. One of the things I miss, though, is the fact that Barnes hasn’t voiced the PETER PARKER Spider-Man since the popular Fox Kids “Spider-Man” animated series of the 1990s and I hope he voices the “real” Spidey for the next game, whatever it may be. Hopefully, if there’s a Spidey game where there’s multiple-alternate reality Spider-Men again, we can see Barnes as Peter Parker/Spidey, but one thing’s for sure: Barnes and Keaton should be in the next Spider-Man game in some capacity. If it ain’t broke…

This was one aspect of “Edge of Time” I was as intrigued by as I was irritated: the alternate Spider-Man costumes. Sure, Spidey’s had many suits over the years, but do we have to have so many variations in the game? And on the subject, why do so many of them have to be “exclusive” and “downloadable content when you pre-order it from (store name here) only”? It’s annoying and it’s ridiculous. The two “Spider-Man” games for PlayStation 1 got it right: you can have a select number of suits in the game, and THEY’RE ALREADY THERE. No hassle, no need to have a previously-saved Spidey game to unlock it. Some suits should be there, like armored Spidey or even Octo-Spidey, who I don’t think has ever been done in a game, because they’re from the comics. Then again, I don’t know how many people are lining up to unlock The Amazing Bag-Man alternate suit. Better yet, here’s a follow-up idea: how about you can select not only which Spider-Man you get to play (Ultimate, 2099, Amazing, etc.), but WHO THE VOICE OF SPIDEY IS TOO? Come on, you can pick a character’s suit. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could pick who the voice actor was, too? These guys record alternate dialogue for games all the time, so it shouldn’t be too far-fetched to have different actors do the same character’s lines but have the gamers pick out which actor voices him, right?

I was very disappointed when I found out about the lack of boss battles for “Spider-Man: Edge of Time”. Anti-Venom and Black Cat 2099 are bosses, sure, but the main boss isn’t someone recognizable and iconic like the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. Instead, we got… Dr. Walker Sloan? Really? Also, I wasn’t fond of the recent reveal of the “Atrocity” character, which mixed Sloan, Anti-Venom and Doc Ock. Mainly because that character was better in every conceivable way the first time around when PS1 introduced him as MONSTER OCK, when Carnage’s symbiote bonded with Doctor Octopus and gave us one of the best final boss battles in all of Spider-Man’s video game history. Atrocity is just… well, an atrocity. It’s ugly and seems to be ripping off an exclusive-for-the-game character of a past game. If you wanted a symbiote to bond with Ock, why not just bring Monster-Ock BACK?

Here’s what the next Spider-Man game should do: include more boss battles and use more of Spidey’s classic rogues. As I’ve said before, I’m surprised all of Spidey’s main enemies have never been in the same game together. This next game should have them ALL in some capacity and as either a minor or major boss battle for Spidey – Chameleon, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Lizard, Electro, Mysterio, Green Goblin, Kraven, Scorpion, Rhino, Shocker, Hydro-Man, Hobgoblin, Venom, Carnage, Anti-Venom, etc. And if you got characters to meet up and fight in an area best suited for their powers as a challenge for Spidey to stop them, like fighting Sandman on a beach or Mysterio in a movie studio, Spidey fans and gamers would likely get a kick out of it. People say that someone like Doctor Octopus, Venom, or the Green Goblin should be the final boss in the game. I say, I don’t care who shows up as the last boss for players to battle – can’t we just have them all in there somewhere?

Wouldn’t it be fun to go into a warehouse to take down some crooks and you instead find a hidden door that reveals a Goblin hideout, complete with gliders and pumpkin bombs? Better yet, why not drop by Forest Hills and check on Aunt May in her home for a visit? There are so many possibilities of what kind of Easter eggs you could do, like dropping by the Baxter Building and hang out with Johnny Storm or going by to foil a robbery, only to find Daredevil’s there and you get to briefly chat since he has already stopped said robbers May be an X-Men Reference or Hell’s Kitchen tour. I don’t care what Easter eggs the developers ultimately use, one thing’s for sure: there was a real lack of them in past Spidey games, and they need to make a comeback.

I’ve said this before, but then again, it bears repeating. Sometimes, some of the voice actors chosen for certain character roles can seem… off. Just look at “Web of Shadows” for proof. You need a good cast for all things Spidey, and video games are certainly no exception. If you’re going to bring in some of Spidey’s best baddies for the game’s boss battles, why not use guys that have voiced the character before? John DiMaggio has voiced Hammerhead, the Rhino and Sandman for past Spidey games and animated series, so why not have him back as the voice for at least one of those villains? Daran Norris has had involvement for past Spidey games and cartoons too, such as voicing J. Jonah Jameson for both the PS1 “Spider-Man” game and “The Spectacular Spider-Man” animated series, among other Spidey characters. Who wouldn’t want to hear “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” voice actors like Maxwell Caulfield and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as Alistair Smythe and Hobgoblin, respectively? Or maybe get Michael Dorn and Lisa Loeb to reprise their roles as Kraven and Mary Jane after voicing the characters for MTV’s “Spider-Man” computer-animated series. Or perhaps, get Peter MacNicol and Xander Berkeley back to voice Doctor Octopus and Mysterio, respectively, after they previously voiced the roles on “The Spectacular Spider-Man”. Heck, you could even get voice actors for the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon to come onboard, like Steven Weber as the voice of Green Goblin and J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. The point is, these guys are still here and still contributing their voices to recent Spider-Man games. The problem is they’re usually playing either alternate reality version of the characters, like DiMaggio voicing Noir Hammerhead for “Shattered Dimensions”, or someone else entirely, like Berger voicing Kingpin for “Web of Shadows” rather than Mysterio. The possibilities are endless and besides, people like nostalgia. I know, this isn’t the first thing that’d come to gamers’ minds on their own wish list of what they’d like to see in a Spidey game, but I think it’d be cool to have Neil Ross back as the voice of the Green Goblin or Vanessa Marshall back as the voice of Mary Jane. Oh, and more Stan Lee narrations for the next game, please. We need more Stan the Lee in Spidey games. Lots more!

Sometimes, after you’ve beaten a certain level or even the game itself, it doesn’t really feel like you’ve accomplished much. One thing that was fun about the “Spider-Man: The Movie” game was that you could play as the Green Goblin after you beat it. I honestly don’t know what would happen if you beat the “Spider-Man 2” movie game, because, as fun and beloved as it is by fans, I have no clue because I don’t think anyone’s even BEATEN it yet because the challenges like jumping through hoops and stuff within a specified time limit can be so blasted hard. When you beat this Spider-Man game, give them something to show for it to have the replay factor be fun for gamers, whether they’re Spidey fans or not. You could unlock an alternate Spider-Man like the previously-mentioned Octo-Spidey (it’s Spidey with Doc Ock’s tentacles, folks – imagine the combo attacks NOW!), a different character like a close Spidey hero (Black Cat, Daredevil, etc.) or villain (Venom, etc.), or something to that effect. But the point is, it has to be something special, something that makes you feel excited and say “I’m glad I beat my game for this!” instead of asking in disappointment, “I beat my game for THIS?” They should take examples from X-men Legacy where Deadpool is unlocked after you beat the game or Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Just trust me on this one.

One word that’s being described for “Edge of Time”, from what I’ve read, is “boring”. And “boring” should never, EVER be mentioned in a review of a Spider-Man video game. The web-swinging and combat moves should feel fun and fresh, the levels and main boss opponents of the game should be challenging but not hard enough to make you want to break the controller in a Hulk-level bout of rage, and have the repetition of level tasks kept to a minimum. Granted, repetition is inevitable, but it should still be fun and make you want to replay the game. You could even bring back some old aspects of past Spidey games, like taking pictures for the Daily Bugle to earn money for webbing like the Sega Genesis’ classic “Spider-Man” game, or add features from the comics to help complete tasks in levels, like letting players use Spider-Man’s spider-tracers to track down escaping enemies or using Spidey’s belt beam Spider-Signal to look around darkened rooms. The point is, mix things up a little next time around. Players should get a thrill out of not just playing a Spider-Man game, but get the feeling that they ARE Spidey whether they’re swinging over a sidewalk or knocking Doc Ock’s lights out with a punch to the jaw.

Granted, this editorial would’ve helped me make my point a lot better if I actually rented and played “Spider-Man: Edge of Time” first, but I’ve simply lacked the time to do so. But from what I’ve read about the game, even if I HAD played it first before I wrote this, this review of mine might’ve still been written just the same.