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Virgin Comics: A Mix of Indian Culture, Hollyweird and Jenna Jameson?

When you read/listen to NPR’s report about the development of Virgin Comics, at first glance, you may be pretty impressed that those with deep pockets — multi-billionaire Richard Branson, self-help guru Deepak Chopra and film director Shekhar Kapur — are investing a lot of cash in developing comics based on Hindu mythology.

Perhaps, your curiosity may be peaked as was director John Moore’s who helmed the recent Omen remake. He plans to make a film based on the Virgin one-shot Virulents, a story about the Hindu demon Raktavija, set in modern day Afghanistan as Indian and American soldiers face off against an out-of-this-world foe that cannot be killed.

And, the enthusiasm of Indian creators developing stories about their own culture and not aping “the best of the West,” says Gotham Chopra, EIC and chief creative director, is appealing, although the one book that really attracted my attention — Snake Hunter — was produced early on by Marvel Comics scribe Zeb Wells (who’s also worked on Robot Chicken) and former Alias artist Michael Gaydos.

However, I’m afraid this story was meant for NPR folks who have rarely, if ever, seen in the inside of a comic shop, and not for those who love comics and are addicted to pop culture. Where the story runs off the rails is completely ignoring the rest of the Hollyweird factor, meaning the encroachment by folks like Nicholas Cage, Guy Ritchie and John Woo into the creation of comics, not to mention a popular porn star lending her name and image to the upcoming Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter, slated to debut Christmas week.

Celebrity names — except for Stephen King these days — sell comics only on the short term, if that long. Well-told stories based on Indian mythology and not porn stars… Now, THAT’S interesting.

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