Popular for its horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and mythology blend stories which includes titles like Rakshak, The Caravan, The Village, Yali Dream Creations has expanded its superhero library with the recently launched comic book Codename Alpha. The new title features Alpha, an alcoholic, washed-up former superhero who fights and saves Mumbai from the biggest threat. The latest edition will be a super treat for all the Bollywood fans as it contains the style of 90s with modern action-film sensibilities.
AnimationXpress got in touch with Yali Dream Creations CEO, co-founder, and creator Asvin Srivatsangam to get to know more about their recently launched comic book Codename Alpha. On asking about what the readers can expect from Codename Alpha, how this superhero stands out from other early existing superheroes, Srivatsangam mentioned, “Codename Alpha is an experiment, unlike anything we’ve attempted before. When we started on this endeavour, we had a daunting goal – to create a uniquely Indian, whacky superhero that stands out from the existing crop of characters out there. One that eschews the crutch of Indian mythology/folklore in favour of the modern history of Mumbai. Codename Alpha can be described as the whistle-worthy, kapda-phaad-worthy 90s Bollywood take on the superhero genre with modern action-film sensibilities. It is Deadpool meets Om Shanti Om meets Judwaa – the self-aware, irreverent, foul-mouthed lovechild of the Russo Brothers and Rohit Shetty.”
He further added, “What makes Alpha stand out is definitely his origin story, fourth-wall-breaking self-awareness, and his ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude while being rooted in Mumbai and Bollywood culture we know and love. We believe that from an Indian comics perspective, something like this has not been attempted in the past.”
Codename Alpha is a three-part series, this is the first book. The 166 pages comic book has been written by Bijoy Raveendran, sequential art done by Tadam Gyadu and Zoheb A, with colouring done by Pradeep Sherawat and Vishwanath Manokaran, whereas Vishal Pandey worked on lettering, and Ryan Foley edited the copy.
Narrating the storyline and how Alpha is set to save Mumbai from the threat, the creator revealed, “Alpha, our protagonist, is the exact antithesis of a superhero. Like his name, he is a bit of a misfit for this world. Neither is he a genius billionaire nor is he a reincarnated God. Like an average Mumbaikar, he is a deeply-relatable, flawed individual repeatedly screwed over by life. He is Mumbai’s former poster boy and current wash-out. Barely the hero Mumbai deserves. Once the savior of Mumbai, Alpha is now a self-aware, ragingly flamboyant alcoholic. A loner who will do anything to score a quick buck, get high as a kite, and sleep with your wife while he’s at it. He hates his existence, spending most nights losing matches at the local fight club for money, cashing in his cheque for a carton of beer, and polishing it off atop the Antilia. The story of Codename Alpha is one of Alpha’s redemption. When he comes face-to-face with an unexpected adversary from his past, he is forced to pull his socks up, get his act together, and re-learn the true meaning of being the hero Mumbai deserves.”
On asking about the characteristics of the super-villain and his role, and how powerful he is, does he possess the same superpowers, Srivatsangam revealed, “This is a major spoiler, so we won’t reveal much (read the book to find out). The pseudo-antagonist in this book is a key character from Alpha’s past as Mumbai’s protector. The most interesting aspect is the relationship between the two and the implications of it, which we reveal in the final pages of the first book, and more in the second book. How powerful he is and what powers he possesses are partly revealed in the first book. As we move to books two and three, the full extent of his capabilities and his true intent will be revealed.”
Due to pandemic, the creators and publishers worked remotely as they are spread across multiple geographies and time zones. It took 14 months for the creators to complete the first part. Highlighting how difficult it was to work remotely and coordinate the work, Srivatsangam shared, “The biggest challenge was resourcing. Since we work with freelance talents who are contracted to work for a predetermined amount of time, we had to squeeze everything to fit their schedules. Even when we had to split the work between two artists and two colourists, we had to ensure that this is done in a way that makes sense to the story and doesn’t feel jarring to the reading experience.”
He further added, “The second challenge was remote collaboration. Since we don’t sit together in one studio and some of us have other full-time jobs, we had to communicate primarily over email, WhatsApp, and occasional calls. The fact that we were in different time zones also meant that we rarely had meetings or conversations where all the creators were involved simultaneously.”
When asked if a live-action adaption of the new superhero is in talks, he said, “We would love for Codename Alpha to have a live-action adaptation, but as is the case with any project, there are many variables and uncertainties at the moment. However, we would be talking to studios, directors, and actors sooner or later.”
Revealing the future plans, Srivatsangam said, “Book two will be called Codename Alpha: 1997 and will tentatively launch around July – August 2022. In book two, we flashback to Bollywood in the 1990s where we reveal Alpha’s origin story, his true relationship with our antagonist, his rise and fall as the hero Mumbai deserves, and the mysterious forces that pull the strings to control the fate of Mumbai, and India itself.”
The creators are also working on their upcoming comic book Rakshak Crackdown Book 2, The Village (Hindi, Bengali). Codename Alpha can be purchased at Yali Dream Creation’s official website for Rs.4750.