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Virgin Comics #0
posted April 18, 2006

Creators: Shekhar Kapur, Siddharth Kotian, Mukesh Singh, Deepak Chopra, Shamik Dasgupta, Abhishek Singh
Publishing Information: Virgin Comics, 20 pages, July 2006
Ordering Numbers:

imageI like the ideas behind Virgin Comics -- which I understand to be comics drawing on Indian mythology and a publishing philosophy predicated on working with International talent -- but if this is the best the execution of that idea has to offer, I'm not going to rush out and buy the result. Virgin Comics #0 contains sample sequences from two forthcoming series, Devi and Ramayan Reborn. The former reads a lot like half the CrossGen line: a very rudimentary narrative designed to get the lead character over, like it or not, that crosses a few fantasy elements with a basic superhero set-up. I always thought that was a dreary marriage when varous Image studios and then Mark Alessi's company embraced it; the superhero material, being more specific, almost always become dominant, and tempers the more interesting, dangerous and thematically ambitious elments one can wring from a straight-up fantasy. Nothing about Devi's little appearance here convinces me this won't be the case with that one.

The sample from Ramayan Reborn reminds of early Epic Magazine stuff like Tim Conrad's Almuric adaptation at best and the other half of the CrossGen line at worst. It's straight-up fantasy, but even in the few pages printed here it plods by overexplaining everything that's about to happen, letting the details seep forward like water into a muddy footprint rather than putting the oddities forward or allowing the characters to speak naturally. For something drawing on a completely different tradition than what we're used to seeing in comics, this all seems really familiar.