UTV, Virgin Comics to develop superheroes

MUMBAI: UTV Motion Pictures’ newly launched brand SpotBoy and Virgin Comics have inked an alliance to create four original superhero franchises. These new stories will be leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming.

Aimed at India’s 550 million teenagers as well as the growing worldwide fascination with superhero characters, the new collaboration intends to create new entertainment characters that are rooted in an Indian ideology and borne from the minds of the country’s leading writers and artists. According to a recent Hollywood study, films based on comic books earn more on average than films based on any other source material, averaging $215 million per film worldwide.

Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan said, “In the same way the West created an age of heroes wearing capes and tights, our goal with UTV Motion Pictures is to redefine the archetype of the superhero and infuse a new sensibility that relates to today’s Indian youth. Virgin’s studio of leading Indian artists and writers have already created comics that are being published worldwide and turned into films, games and animation. This new relationship with UTV Motion Pictures is a perfect extension of what we do best and we are thrilled to be working with Ronnie and his team.”

UTV Motion Pictures chairman Ronnie Screwvala added, “Virgin Comics is an ideal partner as we look to develop new content in the character entertainment space. Their expertise and global resources will allow us to create superheroes that touch the hearts of audiences worldwide.”

“For too long, western superheroes have dominated the stage, but in India, the original mythic characters were born and we are now ready for a re-launch of larger than life heroes that will reflect the ancestral ethos of the region from which they spawn. We expect this partnership with UTV Motion Pictures to launch a whole new universe of heroes and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Virgin Comics COO Gotham Chopra.

The new stories, will be co-created and co-owned by Virgin and UTV Motion Pictures and will initially be released as graphic novels to be published worldwide by Virgin. The first comic books is scheduled for released by the end of 2007.

SpotBoy CEO Vikas Bahl and Virgin Comics president Suresh Seetharaman will be managing the partnership and supervising the creative development.