Talking about Chakra, his first Indian superhero, the legendary Stan Lee says he creates characters that connect with the basic human struggles and challenges, which everyone can relate to
While Thor is cracking quantum physics and Krrish is waggling his six fingers at superheroes on the big screen, let it not be said that Indian telly is lagging behind.
We have Chakra: The Invincible, created by none other than Stan Lee, the man who co-created legends such as Spider-Man, Iron Man and yes, Thor. Cartoon Network, Graphic India and POW! Entertainment have collaborated to bring Chakra to the screen. Chakra tells the story of a boy in Mumbai, Raju Rai, who develops a suit with his scientist mentor, Dr. Singh. The suit harnesses the powers of the chakras of the body. In this interview, the venerable Stan Lee talks about the project and India’s place in the graphic novel stakes. Excerpts
Can you tell us Chakra’s origin story?
The project came about when my good friend Sharad Devarajan told me he was launching Graphic India to create new Indian superheroes and asked if I would be interested in creating one. I thought it would be exciting to bring my own style of superhero storytelling to India and collaborate with the amazing artists there.
I have always been fascinated by Indian culture. It’s so philosophical and rich in tradition and morality. I've written countless superheroes of every nationality and every part of the world before, I’ve even created many heroes from other planets and galaxies, but Chakra the Invincible is the first superhero I am creating specifically for the Indian market.
What was your character brief for Chakra?
I created a very detailed story treatment for Chakra which established all the characters and created the foundation for the story. Sharad, who is the director of the animated film, and his team at Graphic India then took that treatment and created the exciting masterpiece. An amazing Indian artist, Jeevan Kang developed the character designs and costumes and I gave my feedback and notes on the art and scripts.
Do you think India is ready for a super hero like Chakra?
If I didn’t think so I’d never have attempted this project. I’m hoping that Chakra will be the first of many superhero characters from India that will be popular world-wide. You see, I expect Chakra to appeal to readers around the world —not just India. I try to create characters that connect with the basic human struggles and challenges which are relatable to people Mumbai to Manhattan. Most people don’t think of Spider-Man as an American hero or Harry Potter as a British one; they see them as global heroes because their stories deal with human experiences which everyone, world-wide, can relate to.
You see, a compelling story can attract people in every country and a hero who is exciting and indomitable can serve as a role model for readers around the world. My goal is simple- I want to bring an Eastern concept like the chakras to the world via the Western genre of superheroes.
Why did you set Chakra in Mumbai? Do you think superheroes work only metropolises?
Mumbai is one of the most exciting and action-packed cities in the world and the perfect bustling metropolis for our hero to be based. Just as some of my other characters have swung from the rooftops of New York and other major American cities, for Chakra we wanted to bring the excitement of Mumbai to audiences worldwide. Besides, Mumbai is a city I've always been fascinated by and hope to visit someday…maybe I'll even do a cameo in a Bollywood film or two when Chakra jumps from the Cartoon Network animated film and into a live-action film version.
Chakra: The Invincible will premiere on Cartoon Network on November 30 at 12pm