Apr 142013

KARACHI: Two years ago, a group of young students and aspiring entrepreneurs came up with a plan to initiate a series of comic books based on characters from Urdu literature with an aim to revive the forgotten superheroes of the subcontinent.

Umro Ayar, reportedly Pakistan’s first Urdu comic book, was launched by Kachee Goliyan at the T2F on Sunday. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Kachee Goliyan editor Nofal Khan explained that “The company, since its inception two years back, had the idea of creating a comic book featuring Umro Ayar.”

Initially, the company decided to test the market for such a product by posting random creations of comics on social networking websites, such as Facebook. With an aim of branding the company’s name, the creators reached out to their audience through the website. As a result, the company’s Facebook page attracted a following of over 100,000 fans, many of whom are from relatively small urban centres in the country like Wana and FATA, claimed Nofel Khan.

Having established a strong following, Kachee Goliyan finally decided to publish their first comic book. In response to a question regarding the character, Nofel explained that “the creators wanted to revive our superheroes and Urdu literature at the same time. We have grown up reading about Umro Ayar who is a phenomenal figure in Urdu literature, so this is what we felt would be the best starting point.”

In a field relatively dominated by big wigs like Marvel Comics, the creators feel they stand a very good chance of making a breakthrough. “We want people to remember and appreciate our superheroes instead of just romanticising the creations of the West,” said Nofal, explaining the company’s goals.

Umro Ayar has been received with much gusto from local comic book fans, who believe the company has its heart and brains on the right track. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Armeen Tinwala, a graphics designer by profession, described the comic book as a big success for Pakistani literature. “Although they still have a long way to go, I believe they have the potential and talent to make it big.”

Talking about the company, Tinwala said that they had shown much progress in their graphic details since their inception and had managed to refine themselves, the results of which were apparent in Umro Ayar.

Kachee Goliyan’s business strategist, Mateen Ansari, told The Express Tribune that the “company took the revival of Urdu literature in Pakistan very seriously.” To show their dedication to the cause, the company has decided that for every comic book sold, one will be donated to a child in a government school in Orangi. “We wish to educate children how to read comic books so they can have their own superheroes,” he added.

Bearing in mind, the potential of such a product in the International market, Umro Ayar has also been translated in English so that it can be made accessible to comic book enthusiasts in other countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2013.

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