A background and introduction to my comic book project - SDI
In 2016, Mark Menezes from the venerable Goobe’s Bookstore in Bangalore, introduced me to Jai Undurti. Jai was putting together an anthology of comics on Bangalore, He had already published an anthology on Hyderabad, and was looking for creators. The only comics that I had drawn up until then were single page special interest pieces for local magazines (of this sort) though I also had some fragments of a story that I was piecing together.
The story, or snippet really, was a piece of a much larger yarn I’ve been spinning in my head for a few years. Bits and pieces, flotsam that arrived at the edges of my consciousness that I wrote and stored in text files. There was rarely much continuity between the ideas other than the theme – weird, horror, Bangalore, India. My ideas were usually described in a couple of sentences but I never thought to flesh out the plot I didn’t think I would do anything with it really.
Jai had given me plenty of time to work on the project, and yet I was undecided on how to approach it. My cartoony style of illustration, I felt, was not becoming of the horror I wished to narrate. I tried a more realistic style but was unsatisfied with the output. My writing too was unsatisfactory. I was condensing a novel-length story into a 6-page comic and towards the end, it showed.
The book was published in February of 2017, and featured a great bunch of stories. My story, Beneath, was in it too. It narrates a tale of the demon Bhelphegor and how he came to be trapped beneath what is today Bangalore.
Seeing the comic in print made me both deliriously happy and want to tear my hair out at the same time. It looked great. My comic was coloured by a professional comic book colourist and it appropriately radiated dread and yet, I criticized my drawing and the sorry excuse for writing that accompanied it.
I could switch to cartoons, but my storytelling needed work. I could do better.
This is an attempt to keep that promise to myself. I’m going to flesh out each of those ideas until I have something that resembles a cohesive storyline. I’m also going to post all those attempts here, to do what I usually do. Build-in-public.
In Beneath, I ended the story hinting at a secretive group of people keeping watch over the demon’s resting place. SDI is about those people. SDI is short for Societas Ad Consulendum Rebus Daemones Indicus, a secret group that has operated in India for a little over 2000 years.
I imagine this will take some time – perhaps a few years. I’m going at it one paragraph at a time and I’m going to post it all here. I hope you enjoy reading my yarn as much as I enjoy spinning it.
- SDI 01 – A visit to the Archives