Things of minor import

The Lagaan Box set has had its price reduced to Rs 999. Half of its initial cost. Well, what are you waiting for?

Slightly old news: Virgin Comics closes shop. Sort of. They claim there are plans to relocate to Los Angeles to be “closer to Hollywood”. Personally I think it was the mediocrity and the hype that did them in. Most of the comics I read were a confused mess. I doubt the writers involved even knew who their intended audience was. On one hand, they insisted on the strong authentic Indian experience, hyped up the reliance on Indian mythology, and came up with lumps of derivative storytelling that had more in common with fantasy cliches. Have you tried reading Ramayan 3392 AD or Devi? One was a puerile fantasy story that made the characters we know “edgy”. The other was a Witchblade rip-off, with Indian police inspectors wearing trenchcoats and skyscraper-ridden towns called Sitapur. The Sadhu, another series is described by some unknown user on Wikipedia as “comparable to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman“, which made me laugh out aloud. At the end of the day, Virgin comics was basically packaging superhero stories coated with a thin Indianised veneer and decked up with a lot of Photoshop filters. The irony is that the unavailability of the releases in non-metros in India. I have yet to see issues in any major bookstores in Hyderabad. ( MR had some second-hand copies, last I checked.)

Currently reading Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991 by Scott McCloud. Zot was a comic book published in the 80’s, written and drawn by McCloud before he took on the task of writing his trilogy of comic-book treatises. In a way, it’s a brave venture, bringing the series back in print after you’ve preached to the choir about various aspects of sequential storytelling – in the introduction, McCloud says the same thing, about his nervousness at laying bare the follies of youth before readers who are accustomed to seeing him as a comics guru. I have just begun the book, and it does not disappoint. There are glitches, obviously, but the overall package is a sturdy little relic. McCloud is vocal about the manga influence on this early work, and it shows in the pacing, the panel layouts and the action sequences. The storyline deals with a superhero from a comicbook universe arriving on “our” world, the work playing against the innocent Silver Age sensibilities of the character against mundane, real-world elements of the latter.

Two-morrows publishing, the folks who bring out really cool books and magazines on comics and comic creators, are having a sale on their site. Magazines like Rough Cut, Write Now and Comic Book Artist are on sale for 2$ each ( a 71% discount!), while the book section has upto 50% discountson them. Good stuff, wish the shipping charges to India wouldn’t be so high…

On a similar note, Top Shelf Comix have their annual $3 sale, where a number of bestselling graphic novels are offered at that price and quite a few others have discounts on them as well.


One thought on “Things of minor import

  1. Anonymous says:

    Spirituality and Comics make poor bed-fellows

    Inspite of Deepak Chopra’s behind the scenes efforts, the Virgin effort was a dud from the beginning.
    Read a bit of Sadhu but apart from the intial pages, nothing else was any good. Wonder if the Nicholas Cage starrer based on it is still on the way!

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