JUMP Start

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A motley group of marine engineers, software professionals, MBAs and journalists has come together to take Indian comics to the next level.

Indian comic book buffs may drool over Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Frank Miller’s works and other heroes. But for some, the India comic book shelf, replete with Tinkle, Indrajal Comics, Uncle Pai’s creations and the like, has just not satiated the Indian buff’s indigenous needs. As an answer to those imaginative anxieties comes Level 10 Comics.

Formed in the middle of 2009 in Bangalore, this enthusiastic team consists of writers, graphic designers and illustrators across the length and breadth of the country. Founders Shreyas Srinivas and Suhas Sundar are at the centre of this motley lot. “We wanted to convert our passion into reality,” says Srinivas, who along with others has put in his savings to form the company. “We were a bunch of the software-engineer-US-returned types, wanting to realise our creative potential before it was too late. I didn’t want to be 35, married, settled and think to myself that I haven’t done what I always wanted to do,” he adds.

For starters, Level 10 has three books ready. And most of Level 10’s work will carry what Srinivas believes will be his outfit’s USP: an Indian uniqueness. Level 10 is fixing at getting their first three books in a form of anthology as an apt launch. The colour and flavour of Indian social life seem pronounced attributes. Plus, to give you just a teaser, one of the stories is of a zombie outbreak in Bangalore, with a satiric take on Indian politicians as they scramble to get the situation under control. In the course of the tale are references to recent events such as rowdies bashing up women in pubs. “There are plenty of references to popular Indian culture and history,” says  Srinivas. “We’ve also mixed and matched genres and set them in various Indian contexts,” he says.

Furthermore, Level 10 has plans to bring out a comic journal that aims at showcasing the finest of India’s comic book talents. “We are currently in the process of developing a world-class, contemporary Indian comic magazine called JUMP. As the name suggests, the magazine is inspired from the highly successful Japanese Manga anthology Shonen Jump. JUMP will comprise complex and intricate storylines that are infused with intrigue and adventure, the likes of which have never been attempted in India before.... The magazine is intended to reverberate with the youth of India... rebellious, at times anti-social and definitely flawed; yet with the definite potential of ushering a lasting and positive change.”

And how will Level 10’s books have narration that is Indian? “We’ve chosen to keep the language slang-neutral and not slip into Americanisms,” says Srinivas. They also have an idea of starting a blog on comics that will hit the market late this year. Basically, all set to take comics to the next level.