"'If you told parents ten years ago in America that their children would know characters named Yu Gi Oh! and Pokemon as well as they would Spider-Man, those parents would have thought you were crazy -- yet in America today an estimated 30% of major children's animated programming is now Japanese animation,' states Sharad Devarajan, CEO of the New York headquartered Virgin Comics and Animation.
It is the recognition of this ease with which anime transcended its initial status as merely a cult phenomenon outside Japan that formed a fundamental impetus behind the founding of Devarajan's company about two years ago.
Positioning itself to redefine the comic book industry, Virgin Comics touts its mission as the creation of global comic properties that take their basis and inspiration from the east, particularly India, in a manner that resonates with both western and larger eastern audiences alike. It is the progeny of Sharad Devarajan and Suresh Seetharaman -- co-founders of another comic book company, Gotham Entertainment Group in 1997-- along with writer Deepak Chopra and acclaimed director Shekhar Kapur."
Miraculously, most of the great underground comix artists of the late ’60s are still alive and kicking. Compared to the burnt-out, drug-slain rock stars of the same era, their unscathed record is rather amazing. Now in their late 50s and early 60s, many are also doing their best work. Along with R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith, Kim Deitch is one such exemplar of the art of underground “funnies,” an author and illustrator who transcended his beginnings in the age of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll to become a mature comics storyteller.
Currently, his collection Shadowland (Fantagraphics) is earning critical acclaim, and anticipation is high for Alias the Cat (Pantheon Books), due out in April. We caught up with Deitch to discuss the longevity of comics, the dubious term “graphic novel” and his constant growth as an artist.