Not meek and in no way subdued, Nasreen is not your usual goody-two-shoes hero- she does not fight scaries in spandex and masks and neither she does not help little kittens down from trees. Shunning the burkha, spewing expletives and wielding a sword and a gun with ease, Nasreen fights against the evils of society- abuse, human trafficking, terrorism and of course, stupidity- human stupidity to be precise.
ST: How did you come up with the idea for Bloody Nasreen?
SZ(Shahan Zaidi): I am a character designer and it has been my job to create various characters for various companies. Therefore I create some for myself in free time as well. Bloody Nasreen is one of them. It came out of the many graphic novels ideas I was working on over the years.
ST: According to you, what is lovable and hateable about Nasreen?
SZ: Nasreen is not a lovable or adorable neither is she an evil entity that you hate; she is your common average girl who becomes a ruthless vengeful bad-ass anti-hero that takes over the entire city. Bad people really hate her so you have to choose a side.
ST: Tell us your relationship with comics. How long have you been a part of this world?
SZ: I have been reading and making comics since my childhood. I have worked on graphic novels locally and internationally. My first printed comic was Blizzard in I D magazine which came out in 2000 when I was quite young. I grew up reading comics like Hellblazer, Preacher, Hardboiled, Sin City, Swamp Thing, Teknophage, Lady Justice, Sandman, A Book of Magic, Kid Eternity, 300, Red, Kickass, Arkaham Asylum, Killing Joke, Losers etc.
ST: Can you give us a sneak peek into Pakistan’s comic industry? How have people responded to Nasreen?
SZ: Well to be really honest the comic industry is a developing industry in Pakistan, so I don’t much expect from it. We are trying to build the industry here. Some friends are trying to organize our first Comic-Con here, also there are several really good titles waiting to release here, such as “Saker”, “Hamza”, etc.
Recently another good comic series was launched named “Winds of Baltoro” which was quite nice.
Let’s see where it goes. As for Bloody Nasreen, I am sure there will be a cult audience for this one.
ST: There is an incredible amount of Nasreen fanart all over the internet- your thoughts about that?
SZ: It is positive for me. I like how new comers and even quite senior artists are making their own version of Bloody Nasreen. I really like that
ST: You have your fair share of haters as well. How do you deal with them?
SZ: Haters will always hate, who gives a fuck.
ST: How do you tackle creative barricades?
SZ: It’s simple, go outside, have a spiritual time with nature, go back to work. Basically creative ideas are not something you get from giving your brain a hard time, creative ideas are like in the air, all you need is the right mind to receive them. Movies are my most favourite source for inspiration.
ST: Can you tell us about some other projects of yours?
SZ: There are many, a whole list of things I have been doing. I am working on “Aamil” graphic novel, it’s about a despicable black magician and his chronicles. Another project I am working on is called Boozer which is a comic its based in a future world.