UTV inks superhero deal with Virgin Comics


NEW DELHI -- UTV Motion Pictures Plc. through its movie production affiliate SpotBoy on Friday inked an agreement with Bangalore-based Virgin Comics to create four original superhero franchises.

Virgin Comics and its animation affiliate were created by Richard Branson in partnership with director Shekhar Kapur, author Deepak Chopra and Gotham Entertainment Group.

The new stories, which will be leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming, will be co-created and co-owned by Virgin and UTV Motion Pictures and initially released as graphic novels published by Virgin. The partnership anticipates the first comic books will be released by year's end.

"In the same way the West created an age of heroes wearing capes and tights, our goal with UTV Motion Pictures is to redefine the archetype of the superhero and infuse a new sensibility that relates to today's Indian youth," Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan said. "Virgin's studio of leading Indian artists and writers have already created comics that are being published worldwide and turned into films, games and animation."

The Virgin-SpotBoy partnership will be managed by Virgin Comics president Suresh Seetharaman and SpotBoy creative and business head Vikas Bahl, who will jointly supervise creative development.

The new partnership comes on the heels of last week's announcement that Sony Online Entertainment and Virgin are teaming to develop a video game from the comic property "Ramayan 3392" (HR 8/10). In May, Virgin announced a pact with Mumbai-based Studio 18 -- a part of the new Viacom-18 joint venture -- to develop feature films based on teen horror comics.