Rahul Dravid is considered a hero by many cricket fans, especially those who saw him lead India out of many a sticky situation in the late nineties and early 2000s.
Now, his heroics will make it to the pages of a comic book. But the Indian great won’t be a superhero like Sunny the Supersleuth, a mid-80’s comic book series featuring a superhero modelled on Sunil Gavaskar.
Instead, it recounts Dravid’s heroics on the cricket field with his biggest superpower – the cricket bat. A literal embodiment of not all heroes wear capes, if one may say.
Titled The Wall, this book features 15 iconic moments from Dravid’s illustrious career – from him taking on Allan Donald at the Wanderers to the famous Eden Gardens fightback – rendered in comic form with a short description. Created by Sportwalk, a startup from Chennai, it will be launched online on January 11, Dravid’s 45th birthday, at www.sportwalk.co.
“We wanted to show his life story, not him as a superhero. We wanted to keep it real with our sense of design, so people could relate to what they are seeing and reading,” KS Divakar, the 23-year-old co-founder of Sportwalk told The Field.
“It conveys the story of Dravid as a person and in the team. Starting from his childhood where we have an avatar of him as a child, his teenage days and then with the Indian cricket team. It also has a chapter on him being a coach, orator and so on.
“This is a collector’s item, a memory of a particular player and it was aimed at a wider target audience,” he added.
The comic also includes caricatures of Dravid’s team mates involved in the big moments, from VVS Laxman to Sachin Tendulkar. “There are avatars of other players as well. For example in the Eden Gardens one (the 2001 Test against Australia), it can’t have an image of Dravid alone. We also have a chapter on Dravid being a perfect partnership man, from the non-striker’s end. It has a picture of Sehwag scoring a 300 and Dravid being with him,” Divakar explained.
The work behind The Wall
The idea of a real-life comic on Dravid first took root exactly last year, on Dravid’s 44th birthday, in collaboration with the Rahul Dravid Fan Association, a Bangalore-based fan club that meets every year on his birthday to organise a charity event in the city.
It took Divakar, Adheedhan, the cartoonist and co-founder and Himanshu, the writer almost a year to get the comic ready.
“We pitched the idea of making a comic book to the RDFA and they were positive, they supported us and gave inputs,” Divakar said.
The Chennai-based entrepreneurs first studied Dravid’s career to finalise the list of moments from the numerous ones in his almost 16-year long career.
“We filtered the best ones, which people will be able to connect with the most. Once we had our 15 moments, Adheedhan made the sketches of the moments by hand, using images for reference,” the co-founder said.
“The influence of comics has been reducing with times due to change in how people spend time and read content. Today, comics have to adapt to the new mediums and the subject must connect with the audience. That’s what we are looking at,” Adheedhan, he cartoonist on the project, said.
The Wall will be available in bookstores across the country as well as on Amazon. It will also be officially launched in Chennai on January 20, at Sportwalk’s monthly event which will have quizzes and other activities on sport.
“Once Dravid is back from the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, we will meet him as well,” Divakar said.
This is the first of many similar projects from Sportwalk. The six-month-old company wants to introduce comics as a visual storytelling tool into the sports media. They have been creating sports merchandises with the caricatures they create, from Roger Federer to Lionel Messi, and have had stalls at Comic Cons across the country.
Sachin Tendulkar will also be seen as a comic book hero in a concise version of his autobiography Playing It My Way, which is an attempt to cater to young audiences.