An Indian entrepreneur has set out to conquer the land of Superman and Spiderman - with a little help from the Indian gods.
Hoping to capture the minds and hearts of Indian Americans and other Indians abroad, Karan Vir Arora has launched Vimanika, a new comic brand named after Vimanika Shastra, an early 20th century Sanskrit text about the construction of mythical 'chariots of gods'.
"The thought of putting out Indian mythology to everybody in the world and presenting our forgotten warriors and gods to them in an appealing and appeasing manner inspired me to launch Vimanika Comics," says Mumbai-based Arora. "And that exactly is our USP."
"We not only present comics with world class art and colouring but also with real, authentic and well-researched content from Indian mythology, which most of our competitors failed to do," he told IANS in an e-mail interview.
So far Vimanika has brought out three titles called the "Sixth" based on Karna from the Mahabharata, "Mokshas" based on Hanuman and Parshuram and "Dashaavatar". These are widely distributed in India, Britain and the US.
To reach out to readers of all ages between 10 and 40, Vimanika has started distribution in several countries besides using the internet, games, videos and merchandising, said Arora who is in the process of signing up with distribution houses in the US and Britain.
At the moment Vimanika Comics is a small but growing business, said Arora, noting that sales have doubled in a short time of one year since its launch.
"For India and the US, our sales and subscriptions are increasing at an exponential pace. Over the next year, we are expecting to increase our subscription base to 20,000 in the US, which we have already achieved in India alone."
"The response of the NRI community has been fabulous and very encouraging for our company," said Arora. "The Indian Americans love our comics. They simply love the new look of our comics."
The presentation is so exciting and colours, graphics and the story narration are done in a very unique format," he said.
"Comic books from India have been following a certain style in terms of art of presentation for years and people are really looking for something refreshing."
Vimanika's Philadelphia-based director of international marketing, Kanika Choudhary, is enthused by the success of her efforts to reach out to the Indian community with visits to temples to kids' summer camps and college campuses.
"We have definitely had a very positive response. People are in awe of the art, colours, and the theme. It was a refreshing change for many of the comic book readers," she said.
Many of them loved the mystical and magical feeling of India, said Choudhary as Indian American readers were craving for more than superheroes and for a spiritual and ancient side to the comics as well.
Vimanika's ancient warriors theme with a modern twist filled a lot of blanks for readers looking for something different from the Indian market. "Presentation is the key" to arouse the interest of first generation Indian Americans born and brought up in a Western culture, said Choudhary.
Thanks to their well-researched content presented in a new age comic book style, a lot of first generation Indian Americans are interested in Vimanica Comics, she said.