ROVOLT COVERED IN THE PIONEER
Remember the last minute hassled email that you sent off to your third cousin twice removed, the one studying some thing at some university in the States (you don't really care ). You have begged him to get you the latest edition of Captain America comic book ? Also you have requested him for the 50th anniversary issue of the Amazing Spider-Man , with an elongated pretty please thrown in. And when the distant cousin comes back home without your prized editions of the comic book, haven't you torn your hair is desperation and wished for an Indian comic book? One that is readily available and does justice to the kid within you, with its graphic and a riveting plot. Well looks like your prayers (and million others) have been answered. Finally we have a full fledged home grown comic book series. The Legends of Aveon 9, The Train to Vexadus (Rovolt) spells respite for many comic fans in India. Written by Shamik Dasgupta, its a rollercoaster ride into a land of fantasy, sci-fi, human/alien emotions, with action thrown in for good measure. Shamik, is no stranger to the graphic world, having previously written the Ramayan 3392 AD. "After Virgin Comics shut down in 2008, I worked with other comics. But after Ramayana 3392 AD, I missed fantasy" said Shamik. "I believe even the original one was also fantasy. Some things must have happened, but I don't think a god like figure of Ram or the demon Ravan would have existed."
Shamik then shifted his gaze to the Indian comic scene. "People would only want Avengers for kids kind of things. But we can't beat Marvel and DC at their own game. They know their superheroes," said Shamik.
The Aveon series has inspirations from Chandrakanta, the famous fantasy novel written by Devki Nandan Khatri. One also sees presence of the Western sci-fi element. The Lord of the Rings also sneaks in at times. "We - Abhishek Malsuni (the artist of the comic) and I were not interested in another interpretation of the Myths. We took the raw structure of Chandrakanta, and took the story to a much larger scale. The Steampunk, a sub-genre of sci-fi is also used," shared the writer, who is a self-confessed Ringer. (The term used to denote fans of The Lord of the Rings)
Steampunk? Is that something to do with listening to Punk music while enjoying a steam bath? "No, replied Shamik thoroughly amused. "It's a sci-fi genre which has intensive usage of steam power, and is usually based in alternative time period, like the Victorian era."
The comic series is the story of Human settlers in Aveon. "The story is set in the future, the earth has long been destroyed. Aveon also has aliens, red skinned creatures called Gnorms, which are like the Red Indians of America. The Train to Vexadus is the first episode of the series. There are seven episodes in each series and 60 pages in each episode," shared Shamik. The comic book has been edited by Ron Marz, the creator of works like The Silver Surfer and Green Lantern.
Shamik feels that Indian comics lack depth, and that is the reason for its stagnated fan following. "There is no evolution of the characters. Nagraj is still the same. He fights the villains, and its repeated in every offering. Whereas if you look at Spiderman or Batman, they have evolved with time, and it reflects in the story. Indian comics have been very feudal," expressed Shamik.
The next offerings from the Aveon series has the villains surfacing. "They have their reasons to be bad, which might just be noble at times. You will hate to love them. The same way, Tez, the protagonist of the series, is an alien and a shape shifter. This offering deals with the journey of Tez and other creatures to the capital of the Kingdom of Vexadus. There the real drama unfoldz. Betrayal and love, both are on the cards," added Shamik. He continued "That ways Tez is a very Indian Super hero. He is an alien but very human in his approach and character, with his conflicts and flaws. And this is the reason that Indian heroes work. That's a global trend , you have had Batman and superman also becoming more vulnerable."
ROVOLT COVERED IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
The concept of digital comics and graphic novels is fairly new in India. Gurgaon-based Rovolt Entertainment, one of the country's fastest growing family media entertainment company, believes in working on generating original content. Mamta Sharma spoke to Manish Sinha, the CEO of the company which is in the process of creating IP in domains like graphic novels, comic books and animation videos by synchronizing local and global talent.

What was the big idea about Rovolt?
Rovolt is based on an idea to bring high quality stories and art that appeals to the new generation of audience across all formats and markets. We believe that in an environment where information and awareness is moving at a rapid pace from one corner of the earth to another it is important to conceptualise stories with a universal appeal through design, language or characters. At Rovolt we are working on various product formats that will be entwined with local sensitivities and the best of global practices. This synchronization of local and global talent will help Rovolt to establish itself as a truly global family entertainment company from India.

How different is your venture when compared to other players?
We are all about generating original content. Our uniqueness is embedded in the team that works to bring out the global product with a focus that every product of Rovolt will appeal to universal audience. Our formats are spread out starting from knowledge imparting tablet games like 'Tiggou', superheroes like 'Aren' and 'Zooman', 'The MetaFreakz' a team of supernatural kids and 'Aveon9'.
We also distinguish ourselves in the way story is communicated by ensuring that the value systems of life are central to audience influence. Our stories display modern values of the new generation that is all about freedom, self respect, equality and professionalism, and of course a keen sense of adventure and exploration with a positive outlook.
We are leveraging global collaboration of creators to innovate and deliver superb quality. There are artists from seven countries working on Aveon9 and other Rovolt projects (from USA, UK, Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Denmark and India)

What made you choose Gurgaon as a location for your venture?
Gurgaon as a location was ideal for us as we could get required talent immediately. Gurgaon is also a publishing hub and has an entrepreneurial environment that helps in everything coming together in a very professional manner. The city also has a global audience base who have settled here and are working in various corporates.

Any opportunities for the local artists from the city?
Of course yes. In our business we are always on lookout for best talent colorists, illustrators, painters, sculptors, artists who have innovative ideas to present the world with something different and enjoyable.

Potential you see for your venture in India?
With economic development and integration of knowledge and awareness that transcends geographical boundaries the expectation of audience is much more evolved. This demand is leading to innovation in terms of content, design and medium across all levels to ensure the value for money. India is uniquely poised as we see that acceptance of smartphones and tablets are becoming common. This is good for our business as it will help us to embrace richer and wider audience base at a rapid pace. We know that youth in India is well aware of global characters like the Green Lanten, Hell Boy, X-Men, Batman etc and that they have already exposed to global expectations.
Fortunately for Rovolt this is the right time as we are now easily engaging with an audience that has global outlook and appreciates quality universal products. We believe that we have something very interesting here that will meet their expectation and they will also be able to culturally identify with our stories.

Who are your target customers?
Rovolt is a family entrainment company and all its products are targeted to family audience. In our scheme of things we have stories for ages across four to 35 years. We are also working on formats that will be integrated with smartphone and tablets.

Initial investment that one might require for such a venture?
For such a trans-media venture in publishing and gaming one could start off with $3-4 lakh. We have committed to invest around $2 million to deliver the best to our audience.

Your suggestions for those who want to enter this field?
If you have something really interesting and new then focus on quality and work really hard. Learn from the well-renowned talent from US and Europe and try to match and surpass their quality. Remember that a lot is written and only a handful is remembered.

You have recently launched a graphic novel called The legend of Aveon9- the train to vexadus. Tell us more about it.
The legend of Aveon9 is the first installment in the seven series. The graphic novel is now available through popular online e-commerce business and offline distribution network. It has a compelling storyline that travels through various human emotions. The format is new as it has blended ageless learning of our own legends with that of western scholars. So the reader will find that Aveon 9 characters derive inspiration from the classic writers like Vyasa, Valmiki, Horner, Khatri, Dickens, Wells, Twains who have deep impact on our thoughts that shape our present and future. It's a family together novel that can be enjoyed by across all age group.
INDIAN COMICS CAN ACHIEVE SAME LEVEL AS US OR EUROPE: RON MARZ
Bohni Bandyopadhyay New Delhi, Sep 14 (PTI) American comic book writer Ron Marz, who has worked on popular titles like 'Green Lantern' and 'Batman/Aliens', says Indian comics have the potential to reach an international level by embracing a juxtaposition of the epic heritage and sci-fi. Marz, who has teamed up with Indian comic writers for a new series 'Aveon 9' published by Rovolt, said that a good story always clicks no matter what its influences are.
"The talent in India is vast, and there's no reason Indian comics can't stand shoulder to shoulder with comics from the US or Europe or Japan. "Indian comics should embrace that epic heritage and culture, just as they should engage in the fantastic creations of science fiction and fantasy. A good story is a good story, no matter where it comes from," Marz told PTI. 'Aveon 9', set in a mystical planet thousands of years in the future, is the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers and a native as they fight against evil forces.
The series, inspired from Indian classics and western sci-fi, has a team of Indians and Americans working on it. "Working on literally opposite sides of the world, the team has put together what I think is a seamless creation," said Marz, who brought back popularity to 'Green Lantern' and has written for the 'Star Wars' series.
INDIAN COMICS CAN ACHIEVE SAME LEVEL AS US OR EUROPE: RON MARZ
Bohni Bandyopadhyay
New Delhi, Sep 14 (PTI) American comic book writer Ron Marz, who has worked on popular titles like "Green Lantern" and "Batman/Aliens", says Indian comics have the potential to reach an international level by embracing a juxtaposition of the epic heritage and sci-fi.
Marz, who has teamed up with Indian comic writers for a new series "Aveon 9" published by Rovolt, said that a good story always clicks no matter what its influences are.
"The talent in India is vast, and there"s no reason Indian comics can"t stand shoulder to shoulder with comics from the US or Europe or Japan.
"Indian comics should embrace that epic heritage and culture, just as they should engage in the fantastic creations of science fiction and fantasy. A good story is a good story, no matter where it comes from," Marz told PTI.
"Aveon 9", set in a mystical planet thousands of years in the future, is the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers and a native as they fight against evil forces.
The series, inspired from Indian classics and western sci-fi, has a team of Indians and Americans working on it.
"Working on literally opposite sides of the world, the team has put together what I think is a seamless creation," said Marz, who brought back popularity to "Green Lantern" and has written for the "Star Wars" series. .
AVEON 9 TAKES YOU BACK TO THE FUTURE
New Delhi, Delhi, September 10, 2012 /India PRwire/ -- Imparting a tangible reality to imagination and awakening the dormant senses by unleashing inherent limitless power, this comic book Aveon 9 weaves in a gripping narration inspired from mystical Indian classics and western sci-fi. It combines the creative prowess of renowned artists from across the globe. Upholding highest quality in art work and surpassing human imagination, the story subtly draws attention to an emerging nation, where everyone occupies the same plane of importance. Drawing parallel comparison to men, women also hold position of power and are strategic decision makers in the intriguing planet of Aveon 9. This comic book fulfills its commitment to resurrect characters to life through graphic representation that imparts an aesthetic global appeal.

Notes to Editor

About Aveon 9:
An epic sci-fi adventure featuring intrigues galore, high drama and unprecedented action. Driving the story forward at a breakneck pace are extraordinary characters, torn apart by their personal demons even as their every action decides the fate of numerous human and alien civilizations. Ladies and gentleman, you have landed on the mystical planet of Aveon 9, thousands of years in the future.
Humans may have established their dominion on Aveon 9 but they angered the planet's indigenous civilisations in the bargain. And humans would continue wreaking a path of havoc and destruction if not for the efforts of a pair of star crossed lovers - a warrior prince and a beautiful and dynamic princess - and a dedicated native. The trio will have to pit themselves against potently evil forces - human, alien and monster - and deal with some unexpected twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end when a deep-rooted secret is revealed.

About the team:

Editor - Ron Marz
Ron Marz has been writing comics for two decades, starting his career with a lengthy run on Silver Surfer for Marvel. Since then, he has worked with virtually every major publisher and compiled a long list of credits, including stints on Green Lantern for DC Comics, Star Wars for Dark Horse Comics and Witchblade for Top Cow Productions, Inc. His recent projects include Magdalena and Artifacts for Top Cow and Voodoo for DC. Ron's creator-owned series include Shinku at Image; Dragon Prince at Top Cow as well as Samurai: Heaven and Earth and Pantheon City at Dark Horse. He has also been the editor on Virgin Comics titles including Devi, Ramayan 3392 A.D. and The Sadhu. As a key member of Team Rovolt, Ron edits and gives creative direction to the Aveon 9 series.

CEO - Manish Sinha
Like most of us, Manish also had a dream of creating and sharing fun stories. While years of corporate life, suspended this possibility, he secretly kept weaving stories. His unsuspecting children became the eager recepients of these stories. As time passed, Manish became increasingly passionate about his belief that creative forces in India and the developing world were as capable of creating high-quality content as entertainment companies such as Disney and DC Comics in the West. He also elieved content created locally would strike more of a chord with youth from developing countries than content that had been imported. Armed with the strength of his conviction, Manish joined forces with Vikrant and build a team across borders that eventually led to the formation of Rovolt. As the driving force at Rovolt Entertainment, Manish not only leads business and marketing activities, he guides the creation of the series that Team Rovolt is currently working on. Manish is an engineer-MBA from India's top-ranking institutions - IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta. He has worked across disciplines in senior leadership roles at companies such as McKinsey, Infosys, Capital One and WNS in Europe, Asia and the US.

About Rovolt:
Rovolt Entertainment Services (formerly Viman Media Services Pvt. Ltd.) was founded in 2010. Rovolt Entertainment is in the process of creating IP in domains like Graphic Novels, Comic Books, Mobile Applications, Animation Videos. Rovolt has currently 5 different publications: "The Legends of Aveon9", "Hey You Tiggou", "Metafreakz", "Aren" and "Zooman". Rovolt aims at creating world class quality products through International Collaboration. Striking a chord with parents and kids alike, Rovolt's stories and characters cut across cultures and geographies as well as transverse from print to video, to interactive gaming media. They feature a good mix of action and values, fun and learning. And above all they display the ambition and pride of our new generation
INDIAN COMICS CAN ACHIEVE SAME LEVEL AS US OR EUROPE: RON MARZ
New Delhi: American comic book writer Ron Marz, who has worked on popular titles like 'Green Lantern' and 'Batman/Aliens', says Indian comics have the potential to reach an international level by embracing a juxtaposition of the epic heritage and sci-fi.
Marz, who has teamed up with Indian comic writers for a new series 'Aveon 9' published by Rovolt, said that a good story always clicks no matter what its influences are.
"The talent in India is vast, and there's no reason Indian comics can't stand shoulder to shoulder with comics from the US or Europe or Japan.
"Indian comics should embrace that epic heritage and culture, just as they should engage in the fantastic creations of science fiction and fantasy. A good story is a good story, no matter where it comes from," Marz told PTI.
'Aveon 9', set in a mystical planet thousands of years in the future, is the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers and a native as they fight against evil forces.
The series, inspired from Indian classics and western sci-fi, has a team of Indians and Americans working on it.
"Working on literally opposite sides of the world, the team has put together what I think is a seamless creation," said Marz, who brought back popularity to 'Green Lantern' and has written for the 'Star Wars' series.
Being an editor on 'Aveon 9', Marz said it was a different experience exploring new grounds, than working on superheroes like Green Lantern or Batman, who came with a history.
"Something like Green Lantern or Batman depends to a certain extent on the long histories of those characters. You're playing in a playground that's already established. For Aveon 9, we're creating the entire playground," he said.
"The biggest challenge was to become acquainted with this brand new world. Everything is being created from scratch, and it's a vast and complex world."
Comic series have been, more often than not, spinned into a film franchise and happy that Marz is about the phenomena, he says adpaters should pay more attention to the origin of the characters and story instead of just copying the text.
"There have been terrific films based on comics, and there have been lousy ones. I think the best approach is to make the best film from the source material, rather than being slavishly attentive to the details of the comic. Make the best movie, don't just put a comic up on the screen," said Marz.
'Iron Man', 'Captain America' and Christopher Nolan's Batman films are some of Marz's favourite.
"I'm a big fan of the recent Marvel films, especially the first Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, and the way it all came together in The Avengers. Nolan's Batman films have been quite good as well, and I think you have to mention non-superhero films like Road to Perdition," he said.
SNEAK PEEK: AVEON 9
Rovolt Entertainment sent Major Spoilers a sneak peek of the upcoming Aveon 9 by Shamik Dasgupta and Abhishek Malsuni.

AVEON 9

Writer: Shamik Dasgupta
Artist: Abhishek Malsuni
Editor: Ron Marz
Publisher: Rovolt Entertainment


An epic sci-fi adventure featuring intrigues galore, high drama and unprecedented action. Driving the story forward at a breakneck pace are extraordinary characters, torn apart by their personal demons even as their every action decides the fate of numerous human and alien civilizations. Ladies and gentleman, you have landed on the mystical planet of Aveon 9, thousands of years in the future.
Humans may have established their dominion on Aveon 9 but they angered the planet's indigenous civilisations in the bargain. And humans would continue wreaking a path of havoc and destruction if not for the efforts of a pair of star crossed lovers - a warrior prince and a beautiful and dynamic princess - and a dedicated native. The trio will have to pit themselves against potently evil forces - human, alien and monster - and deal with some unexpected twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end when a deep-rooted secret is revealed.
THE LEGENDS OF AVEON 9: THE TRAIN TO VEXADUS 1
New Delhi, Sept. 7 -- The comic book revolves around a planet called Aveon 9 that has been inhabited by Humans, who have managed to establish their dominance over it. But, they have made quite a few enemies along the way. Also, the human kingdom has been divided into three warring factions - Vexadus, Naugra and Chunargh. The story weaves many sub plots about the natives residing on the planet in question such as the Gnorms, Eyars. But, since this is the first book in the series, only the Human conquest and their relationship with Gnorms and Eyars has been explored.
The graphic detailing holds a lot of importance in this comic and thankfully, the book does not disappoint the reader. The graphics are done beautifully and the characters are etched out well. The visual detailing of each character has been done well but the same cannot be said about the story. ...
REVIEW: AVEON 9
The comic book revolves around a planet called Aveon 9 that has been inhabited by Humans, who have managed to establish their dominance over it. But, they have made quite a few enemies along the way. Also, the human kingdom has been divided into three warring factions - Vexadus, Naugra and Chunargh. The story weaves many sub plots about the natives residing on the planet in question such as the Gnorms, Eyars. But, since this is the first book in the series, only the Human conquest and their relationship with Gnorms and Eyars has been explored.
The graphic detailing holds a lot of importance in this comic and thankfully, the book does not disappoint the reader. The graphics are done beautifully and the characters are etched out well. The visual detailing of each character has been done well but the same cannot be said about the story.
Though, the story is intriguing and holds a lot of promise, the journey 'to achieve peaceful co-existence on the planet' just about begins in this part and will perhaps flesh out well in the subsequent issues of the series. Go for this one if you are a comic junkie with a taste for visual detailing and rich graphics. But the story leaves you wanting for more.