Simpson could make a pig fly like a super hero in his recent 'The Simpsons Movie', UTV can create a few heroes on its own. In what could be a new high for the Indian animation, movie and gaming biz, UTV, through its movie brand, SpotBoy, and Richard Branson's Virgin Comics, has inked a deal to produce as many as four original Indian superheroes leveraging across publishing, film, animation and gaming.
The fact that the latest edition of 'Spiderman' was a huge success with the Indian audience and keeping in mind the phenomenal box-office collections last year of 'Krrish', it goes without saying that the superhero phenomenon is here to stay in the country.
"For too long, Western superheroes have dominated the stage, but the original mythical characters were born in India and we are now ready for a re-launch of larger than life heroes who will reflect the ancestral ethos of the region from which they were spawned. It's time for Indian superheroes to take on the world," says Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics CCO.
Aimed at India's 550 million youth as well as the growing worldwide fascination with superhero characters, the new partnership intends to create characters that are rooted in Indian ideology and executed by leading writers and artists of the country. 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 says, "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."
The four superheroes are on paper right now, but expected to see the light of day in the next four-five months. Once born, the four superheroes will take on the world's evil powers much like their Western counterparts.
The new stories will be co-created and co-owned by Virgin and UTV Motion Pictures and be released initially as graphic novels to be published worldwide by Virgin. The partnership anticipates that the first comic books will be released by the end of 2007.
Suresh Seetharaman, president of Virgin Comics, and Vikas Bahl, creative and business head, Spotboy, will manage the partnership and supervise the creative development.
"It's time for a new wave of Indian superheroes to fuel the imagination and foster the inspiration of the next generation of global kids and teens," says Seetharaman.