Adgully Exclusive | Comics is just the beginning, the future is infinite: Level 10 Studios' Shreyas Srinivas
In an exclusive conversation with Adgully, Shreyas Srinivas, Co-Founder and CEO, Level 10 Studios tells us about the company, its off-beat offerings and their future projects.
Speaking about the birth and the reasons behind it, Shreyas said, " Level 10 Comics was started back in May, 2010 by me and my business partner, US-returned software engineer Suhas Sundar. We chose comics for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because of our own undying passion for the medium and secondly because we felt there was a definite paucity of original content in this space in India. Indian companies were satisfied regurgitating the same old formula of stylized mythology or as we like to call them, 'Saffron Comics'". With the desire to showcase a more diverse fare such as Sci-fi, high fantasy, horror etc, came Comic JUMP, intended as a platform for the best comic content from India and Indian creators, spanning across a vast and diverse array of topics and treatments.
Adding further he said, " Genre fiction in Indian comics is unexplored territory. Our monthly magazine "Comic JUMP' looks to stretch the boundaries of traditional comic book fiction by venturing into areas such as sci-fi, horror and fantasy. Each story has a strong social significance. These are stories about us, in our world, surrounded by situations and circumstances that we can identify with." Jump is now India's first monthly comic magazine targeted at Mature readers and audiences. The content in Jump can be defined as Genre-Bending, with a belief in exploring different genres and characters, while always maintaining a distinct Indian sensibility or influence across all our titles. Some of the popular examples being Daksha - a desi dark hero, Odayan-set against he backdrop of feudal Kerela, Batu Gaiden-India's first monthly Desi-Manga series and The Rabhas Incident-India's first monthly Desi-Manga series. "We at Jump believe in pushing the envelope and experimenting with different stories, narratives and characters that question the paradigm of what a reader might expect. Our love for comics is apparent in our titles and this has allowed us to grab the attention of the avid Indian comic reader, titles and series such as Rabhas and Daksh have already become cult hits", he added.
When asked about its unusual target group of urban males bwtween the age group og 18-30, Shreyas said, "When we started, we wanted to make comics for an all-age category. But we realized that making comics for kids was a lost cause. Today, in print, it's all about edu-tainment. Companies that were experimenting with innovative content had no other option but to start looking at where the global pop-culture industry was headed - the 18-30 urban male. So, we try and make comic books to adults, almost exclusively. That is, we emulate mass-market publishers and book retailers and hope to someday turn comic books into an adult hobby."
Highlighting some of their marketing strategies and objectives, Shreyas said, "We'll largely be focused on strengthening our print magazine distribution and it's associated revenue streams. We're investing in quality man-power and hope to reach to a far larger audience over the next few months. In the long run, we will try and penetrate high-potential, high-investment medium such as Television and Digital. This will really help us leverage our content and expand our access to a larger audience. To us comics is just the beginning, the future is infinite!"
Sharing some of their future plans of venturing into e-comics, television, mobile, kindle, social networking, DVDs and home videos etc, Shreyas said, "As it pertains to digital comics, we are already present through multiple carriers such as Vodafone, Idea, Tata Docomo and on App based ecosystems such as Itunes and Nokia OVI". On the Nokia OVI store, Daksh issue 1 was the number one downloaded comic in it's first week of release. alongside intentions to continue to expand our presence in digital and leverage it to create awareness of Jump and it's titles. "We are looking at television and film as the next logical interpretations or iterations of our properties and truly believe that great stories not only transcend cultures, but also mediums. All our properties are created keeping this eventual evolution in mind, and we have already started receiving offers for adaptations of some of our properties", he said.
As they say, one only has to wait and watch where and how, Level 10 Comics shall pop up to tickle the funny bone!