Founded by comic-book geek Akshay Dhar, Meta Desi, an independent comic publishing house, has been trying to change the world of Indian comics for the better. By exploring newer ideas, art-styles and even narratives, they have managed to offer something to the enthusiast who is has had enough of superheroes and gods. From the anthologies, to the funnies and from the curry westerns to the manga-inspired, they have already offered their followers a wide range of graphic narratives and sequential art to explore. And their latest publication, Love me Like a Psycho Robot, was not just a treat for the sci-fi lover, it was also a collaboration of epic proportions.
Written by Valeriana Cretella and illustrated by Stefano Cardoselli, Love Me Like a Psycho Robot, as most enthusiasts will realise is a publication by an independent European comic publishing house, Bookmaker Comics. But thanks to their partnership with ICBM Comics and Meta Desi, it is now more easily available to Indian fans as a special Indian edition, complete with a variant cover. “Regional reprints and variant covers are a publishing staple and a comic tradition now and I thought that bringing cool comics to India at half the price of importing the same thing would be my way of doing something more for my fellow comic fans – because 1st and foremost, we at MD are fans,” explains Dhar.
What started off as a chance meeting, ended up as one of the best new releases at the Bangalore Comic Con this year. Not very often do we get a chance to explore the independent comic scene outside the country. Even when we do, it comes at quite a hefty cost. But an Indian reprint makes it available and affordable- quite perfect! While some chose to look at it as taking the easy way out, I see it as an opportunity to get exposed to newer ideas, creators and worlds. Worlds so different from the traditional ones most of us have been so far exposed to. And Dhar agrees. “Stefan and his people were looking to reach new readers and I wanted to try and bring in a new type of Indian comic,” he says.
The story of a robot called Love “born” out of corporate greed, Love Me Like a Psycho Robot is quite the social commentary everyone jaded with their soul-sucking corporate responsibilities needs to read. With evil corporate lords, the Fat-Cats, attempting to weed out hippies squatting on a rather valuable piece of land, Love is introduced as the only weapon that can solve this “crisis”. Quite the irony to realise that Love is nothing but a lean, mean, killing machine.
While the writing is funny and thought-provoking, Cardoselli’s artwork is an absolute delight to encounter off the computer screen. With an impressive play of colours and detailing, every bizarre sight the book hurls at us is delightful. But while the book has a fair share of fans, Dhar confesses that it has been tough trying to convince people to give this a chance. But even though some believe it is safer to steer clear of relatively unknown names in this world, at times taking that chance does introduce you to something incredible.