Sharad Devarajan: A Trailblazer in Comic Creation

Sharad Devarajan: Weaving Immortal Tales in the Tapestry of Entertainment

In the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, Sharad Devarajan stands as a visionary architect, sculpting narratives that transcend boundaries and captivate audiences worldwide. As the co-founder and CEO of Liquid Comics LLC and Graphic India, Devarajan’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling.

Sharad Devarajan: Crafting Immortal Stories

Sharad Devarajan’s foray into the world of comics began with the founding of Gotham Comics, where he brought Western comics to Southeast Asia and India.

His love for the medium started at the tender age of five when he picked up his first comic book, becoming a lifelong passion that would shape his career. “The purist medium I always found for art was comic books,” he reminisces. “It was a place where imagination was unbridled, and you could create the entire universe in a single page and destroy it in the next.”

His unique background, straddling the East and the West, became the hallmark of his work. Reading both Amar Chitra Katha and Marvel/DC comics, Devarajan seamlessly allowed these diverse influences to converge in his creations.

Pioneering Indian Superheroes

Collaborating closely with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, Sharad Devarajan co-created Chakra the Invincible, a new Indian superhero that debuted on Cartoon Network India in 2013. This character marked a significant shift in the perception of Indian superheroes, breaking stereotypes and gaining recognition on a global scale.

In 2004, Sharad Devarajan worked with Marvel again, creating Spider-Man India, a character named Pavitr Prabhakar. This “trans-creation” played a pivotal role in the success of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, becoming the highest-grossing animated theatrical film ever released in India.

Immortalizing Epics on Screen

Sharad Devarajan’s impact extends to the silver screen, where he served as a producer on the Netflix film, The Archies, and as the co-creator, writer, showrunner, and executive producer of the Disney+Hotstar series, The Legend of Hanuman. This animated masterpiece became the most-viewed animated streaming series in Indian history, breaking records and earning high audience ratings.

“The duality of immortality” became a central theme in The Legend of Hanuman, a series that delves into the profound tale of Lord Hanuman. Devarajan reflects, “Hanuman’s immortality is filled with great purpose, joy, and love, contrasting starkly with the purposeless immortality pursued by characters like Ravan.”

A Renaissance in Indian Animation

Sharad Devarajan’s commitment to changing the perception of India in the global entertainment landscape is evident. Serving as an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School for over 15 years, he emphasizes the importance of risk-taking in the creative process.

“We are advancing in world-building, and I have seen some of the most sophisticated sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero writing from India. Our goal is to nurture it,” he asserts.

While acknowledging the thriving animation outsourcing industry in India, Devarajan seeks to elevate the country from being perceived as an outsourcer to a creative source. He envisions a future where Indian creators, akin to global legends like Miyazaki, Spielberg, and Stan Lee, take center stage in shaping the entertainment landscape.

Navigating the Future with Artificial Intelligence

Looking ahead, Devarajan recognizes artificial intelligence (AI) as a significant disruptor in the industry. As an AI educator at Columbia, he emphasizes the need for a true comfort with ambiguity in the face of an evolving future. “The things we thought we were in control of might not even exist anymore. It is going to force a rethink, not just in my industry, but in every industry,” he predicts.

Also Read: Srikant Datar: Transforming Business Education at Harvard

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