nenena: (lord krsna)
18 Days is available on Amazon for a sweet discounted price of only $17 for a hardcover edition with 120 pages of Mukesh Singh artgasm. A 47-page preview is available for free on Scribd.

I am looking forward to enjoying the Mukesh Singh artwork almost as much as I am looking forward to laughing really, really hard at the "Grant Morrison writes about the Mahabharata" sections of the book. Actual quotes from the preview pages:

Snark behind cut. )

Meh, enough snark for now. The artwork by Mukesh Singh is OH MY GOD ABSFUCKINGLUTELY MINDBLOWINGLY GORGEOUS and makes the entire book worthwhile, especially if you ignore the pages full of Grant Morrison's braindroppings.

Wait, that book was listed on Amazon all the way back in July?! How did I miss that until now?! Oh yeah, the semester from hell. That's why.

Meanwhile! The Liquid Comics website is showing new artwork for Ramayan 3392 AD in several places (check out the front page and the Ramayan gallery under "Titles"), yet no new issues are available on either the Liquid website or on Scribd. Hmmm. Yet Liquid is apparently finishing some of Virgin's unfinished projects, as Buddha was finally completed last summer and is now available in graphic novel format.

Liquid is releasing all of the old Virgin titles on more digital devices now. For the iPad, you can now get the entire Ramayan 3392 series for $9.99, some parts of Reloaded for free, and all five issues of The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma for $4.99. Of course you can still download good old-fashioned PDFs of all of the previous titles plus the entire rest of Liquid's line from their Scribd website and import the comics to your e-reader that way, too. ;) Which is how I got Devi on my iPad right now.

UNIVERSAL FORMATS: DOIN' IT RIGHT. Thank you, Virgin/Liquid! Manga publishers, are you paying attention?!

Speaking of Virgin Comics alums, Abhishek Singh is up to awesomeness, with art shows in New Delhi and Los Angeles.
nenena: (lord krsna)
First, via Saurav Mohapatra's blog!

The complete India Authentic comic book series is now available on scribd, including the never-before-published Krishna issue. The series on scribd has been retitled "Myths of India" for some reason, but whatever. The Ganesha issue is free, and other issues are one dollar per download. Unfortunately, I don't think that scribd downloads are available to customers outside the US, but maybe you can use an anonymizer to get around that?

So it looks like Liquid Comics is putting ALL of Virgin's old series on scribd, including Ramayan 3392 AD, that Kshatriya comic that never got published, The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma, Mumbai MacGuffin, and of course Devi. And a bunch of other titles too, but really those are the good ones. In my humble opinion. The big question, though, is are any of these titles going to be continued in digital format?! I seriously doubt it, but I'm going to keep dreaming of a Devi continuation anyway. Because that's my dream and I'm sticking to it.

Oh, and in case you're new here and you missed all of the artgasms and asskickery and post-apocalyptic questing and metafictional minderfuckery that Virgin Comics brought us three years ago, well, here's your chance to make up for it!

And now for something completely unrelated: Your Soul Eater Moment of Zen.

From YumeIchigo

Thank you, anonymous puppy. I needed that to wash the bad taste of Chapter 75 out of my mouth.
nenena: (Minako - Volleyball)
1. Girl-Wonder art auction!!! Girl-Wonder art auction!!! Girl-Wonder art auction!!! This year we've got a good mix of both "awesome but totally affordable" and "serious collectors, start your drooling."

2. Liquid Comics bought out Virgin Comics some time ago, and recently they've partially restored the old comics website. Which basically means that they've restored the widescreen digital versions of the first issues of *most* (meaning nearly but not all) of Virgin's series. Other than the digital issues, however, nothing else has been added to the Liquid Comics website. Nothing. Still no word on which, if any, series are going to continue in comic book form. Ramayan 3392 has been optioned for movie rights, though. I imagine lots and lots of bluescreen in its future. Apparently John Collee is writing the screenplay. He's the guy who wrote Master and Commander and Happy Feet. Hmmmm. Interesting resume. So... Y'all are going to cast actual Indian actors in this movie, right? Right?! Assuming that said movie ever actually happens, that is.

3. Oh, this brings back terrible, terrible memories. On the other hand, I would love to watch a reality TV show in which millionaire/billionaire CEOs are forced to be servers at Applebee's for weeks at a time. It would be like The Simple Life but with the added bonus of watching the Powerful Men Who Fucked Over America curling up in fetal positions on the kitchen floor and bawling like babies. Quality entertainment.

4. This is so true, and so deeply scary, because I feel like I'm running into those sorts of conversations on a daily basis now. Among people that I've known for many, many years. Ugh.

5. Here, have some awesome. The original source is, but her fanart gallery is currently offline.

Edited to add: This is absolutely beautiful. And yeah, I'll admit it. I cried, too.
nenena: (Devi - Fire)
1. Sugreeve crashes and airplane right in the middle of Kishkindha, walks right through a hundred of Baali's soldiers, walks right the hell up to Baali himself and tells him, point blank to his face: "Neener-neener you can't kill me because your whole kindgom is watching and I'll be martyr." Dasgupta's version of Sugreeve has officially achieved that perfect balance of "scholarly peaceful statesman" and "delightfully flip badass" that Hanuman had in Valkimi's version.

2. Ravan tries to intimidate Sita with his "Blah blah blah I am the most powerful being in the world" speech. Sita stares him right in the eye and tells him, No, actually, she's a thousand times more powerful than he is (go Sita!), and that if Ravan were so powerful then he wouldn't have had to resort to trickery to abduct her. She also tells Ravan that she could destroy Lanka with her mind if she so chose to do so (this is true - just like she did with Panchvati), and that the only reason she isn't right now is because Ravan's maya garden is sedating her brain. Granted there's nothing she can do about that, but the point of her speech is, she has Ravan's number. This version of Sita is kind of awesome.

3. Jambwan's utter pwnage of Lakshman.

4. Lakshan crying uncle. Literally.

5. Rama and Jatayu's half-airborne battle. That was just fantastically rendered. Hats off to Siddharth Kotian.

Now, the sadness factor: According to an advertisement in this issue, the next issue of India Authentic would have been "Krishna." There's a very cute image of a baby Krishna printed beside an announcement of the third India Authentic trade, which may or may not happen now. Probably not.

There's a five-page excerpt from Kshatriya at the back of the issue. It looks potentially very fun. Oh well.

And of course there's also an advertisement for Stan Lee's probably-definitely-not-going-to-happen Virgin superhero project. Of course.

So I guess this is the end for Ramayan? Arrrrrrgh. Even if the final issue hadn't ended on a cliffhanger, still, arrrrrrrrgh. I am going to miss this series a lot.
nenena: (Mahabrooks - liek omg OT3)
Virgin Comics to drastically scale back their actual comics.

This makes me a sad puppy because I suspect that they're going to cut back on their actual good titles and focus on their celebrity-backed stuff instead. :(

I also fear that Devi might be canceled. I actually had that suspicion when I picked up the fourth trade last month. At the back of the trade, in the extras section, there are two gorgeous color paintings by Dean Ruben Hyrapiet and Jeffrey Spokes. The Hyrapiet painting depicts a new and yet-unknown character behind Devi. Both of the paintings are obviously comic covers. But I couldn't figure out why Virgin would put two future comic covers in the back of a trade collection... Unless these were destined to be "unused" comic covers. And now I can't imagine that Virgin would actually pass on either a Hyrapiet or a Spokes cover unless the Devi comics had been cancelled altogether.

Devi has been published steadily, every month, since Virgin launched. Until recently. Since there are no new solicits coming up, and no announced plans for any future issues...

Things look bad.

Mmmm. I wonder how Ramayan will fare. Now that the story has taken a delirious turn toward Rama for some reason being more concerned about rescuing a kidnapped chain-smoking monkey prince than he is about rescuing his super-powered girlfriend... Now I gotta see where this is going. Hopefully not into yaoi doujinshi territory.

Oh well. Regardless of what happens next, was anyone really surprised by this? I mean, I'm not an industry insider, just an armchair quarterback. But I know a little something about comics readers, er, being one myself. And I know that:

1. Comic readers will only put up with mediocrity if they have a twenty-year history with and beloved childhood memories of the franchise. Hence, Messiah Complex can be the biggest pile of shit that I've read all year (and it was), but still sell a gajillion copies (including some bought by moi), because readers are deeply invested in the world and the characters. But getting readers to spend their money and invest their emotions in a new comic book series? Unless it's freakin' spectacular (and Devi so totally is), that's unlikely to happen. And y'know, I don't care if you're the Most Innovative Comics Company Ever or whatever, not all of your series are going to be great, or even good. Law of averages. There are only so many Shakespeares and Picassos to go around.

2. You can have truly great titles that are beloved by critics and bloggers (India Authentic, The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma, and Buddha) and still not sell many copies of them. Sucks, but that's the way it's always been.

3. It probably didn't help things, though, that you lost street cred right away by being so upfront about your intention to use your comics as springboards for movie and TV deals. If you don't value your own comics - if you only see them as stepping stones to something more lucrative - then why are we to assume that you will invest anything other than a mediocre effort into them? Also, comic fans are an insular, prickly lot. We don't like Clueless Outsiders, we don't like anybody who smells like they're only latching onto comics as a "trend," and we especially don't like anyone who seems more interested in making money than in making actual comics. Now, you might not be any of those things, but a few misspoken words, or a little bit too much honesty about your marketing plan, and you will instantly become all of those things in the minds of fans.

"You" in the preceeding being a reference to the Chopra Duo and other Powers That Be, as opposed to the actual writers and artists working for Virgin, who were clearly in it for the love of comics, and that showed through. But they were undermined when Gotham and Deepak went around mouthing off about how they primarily wanted to turn those comics into movies/TV. Way to undermine the reputation of your own talent, guys.

4. It probably didn't help things that your CMO behaved like an asshat in public.

5. Fans have long memories.

This is what your Friendly Neighborhood Armchair Quarterback thinks: Fans have limited funds, and it's always an uphill battle to get them to spend money on something new, no matter how good said new comic may be, especially when you're competing against 20- or 30-year love affairs with Marvel and DC. Fandom Financial Inertia is a powerful and terrible force to behold, capable of slaying even the most carefully planned, innovative, creative, "mistake"-free young businesses. But! Virgin clearly did make some mistakes. That probably hurt them in the end, too.

Still, this makes me immensely sad. If not for Virgin, I would never have been introduced to Samit Basu, Saurav Mohapatra, Mukesh Singh, Ashish Padlekar, Harshvardhan Kadam, Abhishek Singh, Shamik Dasgupta, or any of the amazing artists who have worked on India Authentic. I really really hope that Virgin doesn't axe their Indian titles, because so far it's been such a great source of amazing, vibrant new talent.

Sigh. Very sad.

Edited to add: Oh hey look, comments at The Beat now include Jameson-bashing, complete with two sleazy jokes and counting. Arrrrrrrgh. Sometimes I just hate people. I really do.

I also do not regret that the Tweety Effect works really, really strongly on me. Apparently. That probably explains a lot.

Edit the Second: "Scale back" was apparently an understatement. Aw, crap.
nenena: (Default)
First! wants YOU to a) enter contests and b) submit writing and/or artwork for our upcoming newsletter. Or at the very least, please spread the word as far and as wide as you can. We're hoping to get a diverse group of contributors submitting content for the newsletter. Hopefully.

Second! Me blathering about comics. Anyway, here are a bunch of short comicly reviews, all from Virgin's Shakti line.

Ramayan, India Authentic, Project: Kalki, Devi, and Kshatriya. )
nenena: (Default)
Preview of Ramayan Reloaded on the Virgin Comics blog.

Two words: Lightsabers. HANUMAN.

Hanuman with lightsabers.

I think we have a winner.

(Well, okay, it's Lakshman who gets the lightsabers in the preview image, but whatever. Indulge me here. I refuse to believe that anybody at Virgin would be so incompetent as to create a comic book that features both Hanuman and lightsabers but would never mix the two together. No. I refuse to believe it.)

Yay trades!

Aug. 1st, 2007 09:09 pm
nenena: (Default)
Virgin Comics finally has trades of Seven Brothers, Ramayan 3392 A.D., The Sadhu, and Walk-In out. I won't be able to buy them for a while, but I bet they're shiny. Real shiny.

I whole-heartedly recommend Ramayan 3392 A.D. to, like, anyone. I recommend Walk-In with slight reservations, because it's really good but it does employ some dumb sexist clich├ęs in the storytelling and artwork. I recommend Seven Brothers with strong reservations, because while it is very very very good from a feminist perspective, it could easily be read as very, very bad from a race perspective. (Well, that depends. I'm still not sure how much Seven Brothers is mocking ugly racial stereotypes, and how much it's earnestly relying on them. The jury is still out, in my head.) And I do not recommend The Sadhu, because if I'd wanted to read Dances with Samurai transposed in colonial India, I could have just photoshopped a bunch of sadhu into screenshots of that damn movie, made up funny word bubbles and captions, and massively entertained myself that way. Instead of, you know, actually spending money on the comic book.

I wrote a long review about Seven Brothers in which I attempted to sort out my conflicted feelings about the title, saved it to my desktop, and then never got around to publishing it here. Well, one of my minor quibbles about the series was that it was so darn short. It was basically the origin story of a team of superheroes, but then it stopped at the end of the origin story. Bah, no! You can't stop at the end of the origin story, you're supposed to keep going, that's the point! But I am very encouraged by the fact that the new Seven Brothers trade is titled "Volume 1." Here's hoping that there will be more coming down the line soon. Maybe. I dunno. I still feel deeply conflicted about Seven Brothers. I want more, but I want it to not be so... oh, what's the word I'm looking for... racist? Yeah, I think that's the right word. Not so racist anymore, plz.
nenena: (Default)
As much as I deeply heart Virgin Comics, they do have this annoyingly sexist thread that runs throughout all of their publicity material, from their website to their press releases about the upcoming Jenna Jameson comic.
I can assure you every artist we have in our studio is vying to get assigned to this project!

Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Virgin certainly isn't immune to publishing offensively stupid comics - witness The Sadhu, with its delicious racism cake and creamy sexism frosting. But Virgin has also proven capable of handling (even deliberately hypersexualized) heroines in a very respectful, non-objectified way - witness Devi and Snakewoman. I mean, Snakewoman could practically be a textbook on how to write an extraordinarily sexualized heroine who (gasp!) is portrayed as a subject with agency, rather than an objectified piece of meat. So I won't brush off the Jameson comic until I've given it a chance... But nothing about the press release, the story description, the cover artwork, or Jenna Jameson's previous track record with comics looks particularly promising.

I'll be over here in a corner reading Devi, Snakewoman, and Walk-In for my fix of awesome heroines from Virgin, thank you very much. Oh, and Ramayan for the beefcake, too.

Speaking of which, I haven't ordered my every-couple-of-months batch of Virgin comics in, well, a couple of months. Ah, but I have too much reading material piled in front of me right now, and am about to ship off on a long vacation, and my tiny Japanese village post office HATES having to hold my mail for me! (Yeah, I'm the annoying gaijin who keeps getting all of these shipments of books and comics from overseas and then is never at home to sign for said packages.)
nenena: (Default)
I have to admit, Virgin Comics has this marketing thing down pretty well. This month, every single title in their line wrapped up a major story arc and "ended" nicely. Next month, every single title in their line will either feature a special stand-alone to draw in new readers, or relaunch a new story arc with much fanfare. That's kind of fun. So here's what I'm looking forward to:

Rama and Ganesha and Devi, oh my! )

In other news, I'm now three issues into The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born, and my head is already spinning. I mean, the thing is partially written by Robin Furth, the awesome lady who wrote the Dark Tower Concordance guidebooks... Which is both good and bad. It's good because she is the ultimate fan, and she knows every little detail of the Stephen King Multiverse so intimately, that it makes the geek-wang of the rest of us mere mortals shrivel in comparison. This is bad because, well, I shouldn't have to be thinking about the inadequacies of my geek-wang while I'm trying to enjoy a rip-roaring adventure starring Roland Deschain. In short: This comic is difficult to follow. It doesn't feel like it was written for people new to the Stephen King Multiverse, or even for casual fans of the Stephen King Multiverse. This comic feels like it was written for hardcore Stephen King fans, and I need both volumes of the Concordance as well as an annotated copy of Wizard and Glass to follow along.

The thing about Stephen King's actual books was that they worked on multiple levels. A reader could enjoy Hearts in Atlantis or "The Little Sisters of Eluria" *without* understanding how those stories fit into the Dark Tower quest. King's books, even the clearly labeled Dark Tower books, stood on their own. Yes, they were a part of something larger, and yes, because of that, they were probably more enjoyable to well-versed Stephen King fans than not. But those books did not, however, actually exclude casual fans from enjoying them.

I'll admit, it's pretty cool seeing John Farson visualized in the comics. But other than that... Meh? This series is leaving me cold. Confused, befuddled, and cold.
nenena: (Default)
On February 19th, I placed an order at I ordered 29 comic books. None were upcoming releases; all had already hit the streets in North America.

Today I finally got my package from Virgin. It was shipped from New York City on April 16th, so it only took five days to get here. On the customs declaration on the package, it listed "25 comics books."

Inside the package were only eighteen comics. None of which were Ramayana 3392 DARNIT.

Plus my invoice, of course. My invoice for the entire 29-comic order. At the bottom of the invoice was possibly the world's most cryptic hand-written note:

"Release pushed back - refund enclosed" (with arrow pointing to End of Story #1 and no other issues)
"Enjoy the free comics & the new VIRULENTS!"

Note that there was nothing else in the package, certainly not a "refund." And no free comics, either - I got exactly eighteen comics that I had ordered, but nothing extra, and am still missing eleven comics unaccounted for. I checked Paypal today, and nothing has been refunded to my account from Virgin Comics.

So I sent an extremely polite email to Virgin asking for more information.

Argh argh argh argh argh argh. Virgin Comics, I want to give my money to you so badly. Why are you making this SO DIFFICULT?! Why aren't your comics sold through any other major online retailers? Why does the customer service at suck balls? Why does it take you an average of two months to ship out anybody's orders?!

ETA: My email to Virgin Comics Store bounced. The only email address listed on the online store is, but apparently, that email address is now bogus.

Oh hell, thank you - there's a phone number on the package that they sent me. Am I going to stay up hella late tonight just so that I can call them at 9 a.m. New York time? Oh you betcha.

ETA 2: Oh wait, it's now Saturday morning in the United States. (And it's Saturday night for me, but my internal clock is completely FUBAR because I had a normal 8-5 work day today, so I seriously didn't realize that at first.) Well, no wonder nobody at Virgin is answering the phone. I left a detailed message and gave my email address and asked if there was a working email address that I could contact them with. I do not have high hopes for anything resembling a decent response, however.

Dammit. Well, there's always Ebay.

ETA 3: The story is resolved here.
nenena: (Default)
[ profile] morchades is made of awesome because thanks to her I now have a whole bucketload of Virgin Comics shipping to me. (Unfortunately, was sold out of Ramayana #2, so I will have to hunt that down somewhere.)

ETA: I finally found Ramayana 3392 #2 at They had only one copy left in stock. Score!

The other thing that I used my credit card for yesterday... I bought a cheap used Japanese PS2. The white one. Because the Ah! My Goddess game drops today (and my copy should be on my doorstep by tomorrow morning), so yeah. In other gaming news... Remember Fate/Stay Night Realta Nua? Likely the most hyped game in Japan short of anything with the words Final Fantasy in the title? Yeah, it was supposed to have been released on January 31st. And that's after the initial release date (Christmas 2006) was pushed back a month. And here it is, February 22nd, and no copies of the game are anywhere in sight. I logged onto my account to see what was up. Realta Nua is still listed among my "not yet shipped" orders, even though the "estimated delivery date" is still listed as "February 2nd". Sure.

But Virgin Comics are coming to me, and that makes me happy. More Virgin Comics blabbing: End of Story, Asura Analouges, and Nicolas Cage. )

And now, ganked from [ profile] morchades: Below is the ALA's list of most frequently challenged books (1990-2000), with a strike through the ones that I have read.

Behind the cut. )
nenena: (Default)
Blah, hiking got canceled today because of pouring torrential rain. I spent the whole day vegging inside, doing some reading, writing, and internet surfing.

Anyway, via the forums, where you learn something new or find something useful every day: This is a collection of excellent rants about common themes and cliches in fantasy fiction. And most of said rants are not limited in applicability to speculative fiction, either. (Er, did I just write that sentence? Okay, try again: Most of her rants could apply to any type of fiction, not just fantasy and science-fiction. There. Much better.) Lately I've been on a glut of reading about writing, the likes of which I haven't really done since high school. Well, I'm knee-deep in my own science-fiction/fantasy writing project, so there's that, too. ;)

Meanwhile, I am feeling comic-deprived. Here's what I'm dying to read:

Ramayana 3392 A.D. Should I wait for the trade or snag the individual issues? The problem with both of those options is, hey, I'm living in Japan, and I am having a helluva hard time finding an online retailer that a) stocks Virgin Comics and b) will ship to Japan. If and when the trade does come out, I'm nervous that will not stock it. is usually pretty good about stocking American comic book trades from the Big Two, but little else.

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Reborn. OMG OMG OMG OMG I have waited so long for this. This one, though, I will have to wait for the trade. I will make myself wait for the trade. Buying individual issues is generally not a feasable option for someone living overseas, unless the artwork is fantastic enough to justify owning multiple copies (see: Ramayana 3392 A.D., above). But I really am going to have a hard time waiting for this one. Hopefully something will show up on [ profile] scans_daily soon to whet my appetite.

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil. It's JEFF SMITH and he is made of awesome. I heard that this will only be a four-issue mini-series, so hopefully the trade won't be too long in coming. Already there's some stuff showing up on [ profile] scans_daily and I am psyched. ^___^ (*fangirls Jeff Smith*)
nenena: (Default)
I don't have [ profile] scans_daily on my flist, but every month or two I remember to drop by and check out what's being posted.

And today I find that someone is posting a whole bucketload of drool-worthy images from Virgin Comics. (Thank you, tag system!!!)

What look ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, though, are the scans from Ramayan 3392 AD (thank you again, tag system!!), which is finally out and up to issue #3.

*deep breath*


Holyeeee shit, would you look at that artwork? It's like the love child of European impressionism and traditional Hindu devotional imagery. Also, Lakshman being awesome. And gods being snarky. What's not to love?

Best part: People in the comments asking, "But why is Rama blue?" (*snerk*) Although I really should applaud Virgin, because it seems like they're totally succeeding in their goal of making a wider audience interested in Hindu folklore.
nenena: (Default)
Via [ profile] goldenflames:

Check this out. Virgin Comics (yes, THAT zaibatsu Virgin) is apparently the new kid on the block... And they're launching with a whole line of Hindu-based comics. One of which is a retelling of the Ramayana.

Image-heavy behind the cut! )

I'm a bit nervous about the female characters in these things, though. Well, I was never a fan of Sita, Ms. Penultimate Damsel in Distress, to begin with. Devi should by all rights be full of rock, but the blurb on Virgin's website describes her as "a sleek and sexy seductress." Uh, what? And there's another title, Snake Woman, about a reincarnated Naga. Now I know that Nagas are supposed to be eroticized as all get out, but alarm bells are going off in my head when the blurb on Virgin's website has to go out of its way to describe the Naga heroine as getting aroused by killing someone. Er.

In fact, every single female character on this website is described as either "sexy" or "seductive." (*headdesk*)

This whole thing? Needs some Draupadi, please. I'm convinced that there's something out there, maybe the spirit of Draupadi herself, that thwarts every attempt to reduce her to a passive sex object. I mean, just look at the DVD commentaries on the Peter Brooks version of the Mahabharata. Apparently in the original version of the script, Draupadi was totally lame and passive. But the actress that they hired to play Draupadi stood up to Brooks and Carriere and said, "Look, you've got this all wrong." Then they went back and totally re-worked everything so that Draupadi could be portrayed as the strong woman that she is.

May the spirit of Draupadi give Virgin Comics a swift kick in the ass if they try to reduce someone like Devi to just another Lady Sexhole.

EDIT: I'm dumb. I totally missed the free preview comic on the website. Well, y'all should check it out. Devi doesn't look too bad, actually. I'm a little WTF over the spelling of "Laxman"'s name, but whatever. The last page of the comic has a statement from the creators about how and why they're doing the Devi and Ramayana projects, and it's interesting reading.