Literary: Based on the legend of Garpa Lungi Khorlo, a man who had the power to travel at the speed of wind, a comic titled ‘GARPA: The Attendant’ was launched in Thimphu yesterday.

The man behind the comic, Pema Tshering, who also runs Thimphu Comics, said the privately funded comic is a production of a group of artists and illustrators, and is a first of its kind in the country.

“I came across the character of the comic, Garpa Lungi Khorlo, in a children’s book written by Kunzang Choden,” he said. “I was inspired by his superhero kind of character, which later also inspired the comic.”

Producing a comic is no easy task. First, the team had to look for a story, which had to be written down and conceived much like any story for other mediums. Then the team started developing and finalizing the characters. Followed by sketching of the characters and the envisioning of the story in an image form.

“Then, we focused on the panelling with the final sketches, and then the inking, mood colouring (mood flow), then the final colouring. After that, we added the text or dialogue and do the layout,” Pema Tshering said.

The team started with three people but ended up with nine members. It took about two years for the team to complete the comic book.

“Apart from finding financial support, the hardest part in making this first comic was that we were all first-timers,” he said. “There was not a single person who trained and showed us the way. We had to figure out the process by ourselves, and we learnt a lot on the way.”

The challenge that we faced could also be seen now as an opportunity in retrospect, as we learnt a lot, and are now ready for future comic projects, Pema Tshering said.

Despite the rising popularity of animations and cartoons, Pema Tshering said he wants to bring back the culture of comics in the country.

“We grew up reading and loving full length comics. Comics and animation are not that different. Animation is basically an animated comic story. Comic form is the basis of animation,” he said. “With a comic, same foundations can be applied like in animation- storytelling, character design and story-boarding, etc.”

Pema Tshering is hopeful that the comic can eventually be animated.

With the first release of the comic, Pema Tshering and his team plans to work on more series with the same character and also expand the team to bring in more young artists and illustrators.

The comic book will be available in bookstores around the country.

Thinley Zangmo