About the Sixth Pandava and Some More

When he was 12 years old Karan Vir had dreams where he was his namesake Karna, the son of Kunti, the sixth Pandava. As he grew older this fascination grew into an obsession, by 18 he was conducting his own personal research on Karna that included meeting academics and historical scholars. The result of all his work was The Sixth published in 2008, where the protagonist Karan quits his job after dreaming about Karna and travels to India in search of the truth. Vimanika Comics has already published a six issue series one and is gearing up for series two of The Sixth which is to be published in three months time.

Speaking to us about his flagship series Vir explains that he picked Karna not only because he felt possessed by him at times but also because he felt that Karna was the most deserving character in the Mahabharata. Raised by a regular family he became a self made millionaire, ruled a large kingdom, was a loyal friend which earned him the title of the general of the Kaustav armies and his demise was the result of a trick that took advantage of his giving nature. The series has garnered critical acclaim and a large fan base over the last few years.

There is more cause to rejoice for fans and readers of mythological/historical fiction as Vir is now penning a trilogy about Karna. The Sixth – Legend of Karna Part One will be completed in three months. With around 250 pages of text it will be far more detailed than the comics and will feature 14 to 15 original sketches by Amit Payal, who has already done the art for a few issues of The Sixth. Vir also plans to include images from his over 10 year research into Karna, as a testament to his authenticity and to show that the mythology is rooted in history and facts.

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That’s not all; Vimanika is also mere months away from publishing the fourth issues of their bestselling Shiva series and their “Best Cover Art” winner at the recent Delhi Comic-Con I am Kalki series. Vimanika has also begun offering merchandise and memorabilia, including t-shirts and Shiva statuettes. Working on an exclusive deal with Cloud 9 Comics they also have the Vimanika App, available for all Android devices and soon Apple devices, with which their comics can be read digitally. All of this comes as part of their global expansion strategy. They have already visited the San Diego Comic Con and partnered with Comic Con as sponsors on their first outing to India in 2011. Now they are selling the comics in stores around Britain, and after recently selling their European publishing rights the titles will soon be available in local languages all around the continent. They are also making forays into Malaysia and Brazil.

Vir is the owner of Vimanika and there is no pride in his voice as he shares his plans for the future, only excitement. He is a creator, he tells us, not a businessman, and the biggest advantage of owning Vimanika is that he gets to call the shots. There is difficulty in being an entrepreneur in India, he says, the government and the taxes are not in your favour. According to him, the Comic Cons are helping the Indian publishers to mature, especially the talented indie ones as they have very little experience in doing business. It is also aiding in the networking of businesses in this small industry and inspiring similar events around the country. The tide has already turned for him; Vimanika is one of the bestselling indie publishers of comics in India. It looks like Karan Vir is living up to his namesake.