INSIDE VIRGIN COMICS: Ramayan ReloadedJune 28, 2007
In Hollywood, movie studios refer to their big summer blockbusters as their “tent-poles.” These are the movies, ala Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Shrek, on which production budgets can far exceed the $100 million mark, with marketing budgets to match, and are expected to make that much in their opening weekend. The scale of the whole business has become so massive that these blockbusters, you’ll notice, are now almost entirely sequels, remakes of familiar titles (The Dirty Dozen is in the works), or built off of big brands (Transformers). The point is that building a new “franchise,” as they call it in the biz, is virtually impossible because, to enter the game, you’d better come with a big wad of cash and be prepared to lose it all. That’s a pretty tough sell.
Thank God the comics industry plays by a different set of rules! At Virgin Comics, we like to say that money is no issue because, in a sense, we don’t really even have budgets. As a creator, if you want to create the Universe on page 3 and blow it up on page 4, so long as you can make that organic to the story, I’m all for it. In Hollywood, they’d run the numbers first, price out the scene and it’d be more than likely that it would never happen.
The re-launch of our series Ramayan 3392 AD is our equivalent of the tent-pole movie. The scale of the story is massive. The Universe of the story is massive. The main characters themselves are Gods–hence they are massive. In turn, to produce it, to “reload it” as we say, we needed massive talent. That’s why we’ve brought in story editor Ron Marz to guide a creative team that includes stalwart Shamik Dasgupta (the original series’ writer) and Virgin titan Jeevan Kang (artist on Spider-Man India and John Woo’s Seven Brothers). We know that Ramayan 3392 AD, which is based on India’s seminal 3,000-year-old myth, is not an easy story for the unexposed reader. It’s full of exotic character-names and settings, and a different type of story-telling than much of what you’ll see at your local comic shop. But that is what makes it so special–it is a legendary tale of honor and sacrifice, tragedy and amazing triumph told through a different lens that, we think, our readers will find themselves connecting with despite the newness of it all.
We’ve crafted the reload as a fresh beginning, so that new readers can come aboard now and not feel lost. We encourage you to go back and read the “prequels,” if you will, out in trade paperback this summer. But we also assure you that not doing so won’t get you lost in the matrix. And here comes the interesting twist of fate, Hollywood is waking up to it. Some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest seem to have got their hands on our crazy comic Ramayan 3392 AD. I know too well the perfect storm of scenarios that is required to get a movie made in Hollywood, so I am not making any predictions, but watch out Spider-Man 8 and Pirates 5– our Blue Boy (read the book and you’ll get the reference) may be showing up at a theater near you very soon.
Chief Creative Officer