Khurram Mehtabdin, American born Pakistani, spoke to comic enthusiasts on 26th November at The NEST I/O. The seminar was hosted by a youth organization called Metal Seinen and the team worked hard to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Khurram, bearing a friendly personality and very likable attitude, introduced himself and his work to the audience. He re-lived his experience of writing the comic called ‘Zindan’, meaning Prison in both Persian and Urdu, along with his partner in crime Omar Mirza who also happens to be a super-fan of comics. As the co-creators of this comic they both writers and have been working on Zindan comic for over three years, releasing Issue 0 and Issue 1 in a span of 1.5 years. They will soon be launching Issue 2 which is in final phases.
Both Omar and Khurram were born in America and have lived with a sense of South Asian heritage. As comic fans they devoured their favorite Marvel comics, getting inspirations from X-Men series and eventually discovering each other at medical school. As practicing physicians they still took out time to work on a comic series based on Mughal era, creating characters of Zain and Timur who are two orphan brothers and the last surviving elite guardians of the most dangerous prison in Mughal empire (and probably the world).
Khurram and Omar worked tirelessly for the last three years, participating in about a dozen comic cons and eventually launched their comic to wider audience at the now biggest comic festival, the New York ComicCon. Some of their story was shown through short video clips, both about the process of making Zindan and their launch at the New York ComicCon that helped the audience to feel how enormous the experience was for the Zindan team.
During Q&A session Khurram spoke at length about the idea of Zindan, his writing experience and Omar’s deep understanding of the comics, how they built a team for the penciling and inking and lettering that spans across the globe, the printing process from both New York and China, their experience of Shark Tank where editors from renown comics like Marvel critiqued their work page-by-page on a large screen, various ups and downs as they understood the industry and discovered what worked and what did not worked.
The audience mostly comprised of young comic enthusiasts, many of them interested in one or the other aspect of comic book such as writing or penciling. Khurram shared some of his tips about comic writing, such as having a strong story line first the way a proper story is written, finding artists that understand the culture and people in your story to bring them to paper, realize that there is no concept of ‘less drama’ as far as comics are concerned i.e. the more drama the better, do all the legal paperwork properly to protect intellectual property and make sure the printing of your comic is good enough that people would love to hold it. He is also following comic work in Pakistan and looking forward to seeing better works emerging in future since Pakistani market is under-developed and has a lot of potential considering the sheer level of rich heritage the country has.
At the end of the session Khurram signed the first two issues of Zindan comics and distributed to all the attendees of the session, and then took a group selfie as well.Tags: Khurram Mehtabdin, Omar Mirza, The Ansars, The NEST I/O, Zindan Comics