Comics: The new movies

MUMBAI: In an extremely competitive industry where a new film is being churned out every other day; original scripts, ideas and concepts are becoming extremely hard to find and create. The saviour to this problem is the growing appreciation for comics and cartoon strips.


FICCI FRAMES 2007 addressed the move of comics into animation films, with a seminar highlighting the same. Session speakers included Producer Marge Dean, Speedy creator Tim Mostert, Raj Comics CEO Manish Gupta, Chandamama CEO Vishwanath Reddy and Virgin Comics’ Suresh Setharaman.


Speakers explained the various possibilities of converting comics into animations. Dean, whose Blockhedz will see a theatrical release in the US in 2008, stated that her film was made on an estimated budget of $ 6 million. She added that comics in a way help express an idea, which otherwise by itself cannot be copyrighted. “When we convert comics into feature animation films, there is an existing audience for the product as it is already seen in the form of a comic book. Fine examples for these are Spiderman, Batman and Superman, all of which have already been made into feature films,” she said.


Virgin Comics who’s earlier comic Secret of Seven Sounds has been turned into an animation film will soon make their comic Sadhu into a feature film starring Nicholas Cage. It is believed that a Bollywood icon is being considered for the role of the Guru who trains Cage. Speaking at the event Setharaman said, “Comics prove to be paid research,” explaining further he said that since comics are already printed and sold it is easy to adjudge whether or not a film regarding the same will do well. However the bottom-line was that one had to see if the idea made for a good and compelling story.


Speedy created by Mostert will soon see a worldwide distribution. This comic strip has now been converted into two minute series. “Comics prove to be great content for films, however a fact is that strong ideas need to be developed,” he said.


Mostert further cautioned the audience saying, “Do not give up the IP and settle for a meagerly sum. People will try and hijack what you have, offering you a mere 15-20 per cent; don’t settle for anything less than 50 per cent.”


Comics prove to be a great way in storyboarding ideas, but additionally they prove to be great testing methods for an animation film. Comic characters are a brand and when converted into a film, they stand only to grow further. Also merchandise, games et al also stand to be great revenue building platforms.


With the animation industry growing steadily and the market for comics in India growing as well, one can only hope for a larger number of Indian comic characters to be converted into feature film characters.

Sanjay Ram

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