Sunday, September 17, 2006

Virgin Comics Overview: A New Age Cometh

Ramayan Reborn 1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.

Virgin Comics is the newest “mid-scale” comic book company to enter the industry. Having the financial means and great creative minds in place, this imprint is set to revolutionize the comic book industry. Unlike Cross-Gen, whose back to school approach worked initially but failed under weight of egos and business management, Virgin brings an independent approach and the unlimited funds that only Sir Richard Branson could provide.

According to their website, “Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation is the creative collaboration of writer Deepak Chopra, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, and maverick Sir Richard Branson.

Based in Bangalore, India, the company currently houses 50 artists and writers in a creative studio and is focused on two areas of development:

1. The creation of original stories and character properties that tap into the vast library of mythology and re-invent the rich indigenous narratives of Asia in a unique, compelling, and entertaining way.

2. Collaborating with creative talent from around the world - from filmmakers, to writers, to musicians, and other artists - to craft original stories and character properties initially in the form of comics and graphic novels subsequently to be developed into films, television, animation, gaming, wireless content, online, merchandise and more.

Envisioned as a creative exchange, Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation is also leading the transition of India as an outsourcer to a source of innovative and dynamic creations and creators. With an eye on the rapidly evolving entertainment market (550 million kids under the age of 20 in the next 10 years in India alone), Virgin Comics will strive to create properties infused with a mythic sensibility that resonate with readers and audiences around the world. Utilizing the powerful and bold Virgin brand, Virgin comics is positioned to carve out a unique space in the powerful character branded entertainment arena and create a new wave of global comic entertainment.”

It is really exciting for me as a reader to see this unique approach to the industry, unfettered by the old business model. Not confined to super heroes, Virgin Comics can be whatever it wants to be. Interestingly, because this business is not a United States based one, there isn’t a focus on entertaining just one country; instead there is a focus on the world that is unprecedented. Though DC and Marvel have been successful globally, Virgin Comics isn’t confined to the age old mentality of over six decades of inconsistent continuity.

The biggest struggle I see with Virgin Comics is entrance to local comic book shops. The Virgin Comics sampler was an excellent start, but already I am seeing resistance in my town’s retailer. In their minds, DC and Marvel are safe bets, but anything new is still very scary. With that in mind, I plan to order copies of all the Virgin Comics titles available. I realize that as one person, I am not in any position to change minds, but I at least want to show my support in the best way I can- with my dollars.

Titles from Virgin Comics are: Devi, The Sadhu, Snakewoman, Ramayan Reborn, and the upcoming 7 Brothers from Garth Ennis and John Woo. If you see any of these titles on the shelf and want to try something new, please get a copy and see what you think. The comics are high quality productions, with topnotch art and skillful writing.

I am thrilled to be at the ground floor of Virgin Comics’ offerings. I am even more pleased with the fact that the company is being treated like a business, and being backed by some of the greatest creative minds of this age. If you don’t believe me, go out and take a look for yourself.

No comments: