Minnal Murali Strikes Again: Graphic novel on Mollywood superhero follows a new plot

The work marks the entry of Tinkle Comics into the graphic novel genre

Minnal-Murali-Cover The cover of 'Minnal Murali Strikes Again'

Ever wondered what would have happened to Minnal Murali, the superhero played by actor Tovino Thomas in the eponymous Malayalam movie, if he had to fight a different villain? Or about the origins of Minnal Murali himself? 

Well, for Minnal Murali fans, Tinkle Comics has a rare treat to offer. The brand behind some of our homegrown comic characters has come out with a graphic novel on Minnal Murali. 

With a brand-new story based on the characters and an interesting narrative, 'Minnal Murali Strikes Again' offers a good mix of nostalgia and freshness." The work, made in collaboration with Spirit Media and the original creators, Weekend Blockbusters, also marks Tinkle's debut in graphic novel format. 

On how they stumbled upon the idea of a graphic novel on the superhero, Gayathri Chandrasekaran, Editor-in-Chief, Tinkle Comics Studio, said they knew comics would help keep the universe going. 

"Comics as a medium lie halfway between books and movies. It’s also easier to make a comic than to make a full-fledged movie. This is a great approach to keep a character alive and keep the universe going. Also, comics are much loved by fans of the superhero franchise, and for those who do not know Minnal Murali, it’s a great introduction to the character," she added. 

However, the makers were insistent on bringing in a new plot and characters, partly to bring in a certain amount of freshness.  "For any reader/ moviegoer who’s an avid fan of a certain story, there’s always a yearning for more. That’s what we needed to address through the comic. So, whilst the universe and setting are the same, we have introduced new characters, a very interesting villain, and a completely new story. It’s a good mix of nostalgia and freshness," she added. 

That said, the movie served as a strong influence in many aspects of the comic, including character design and background, and even specific scenes. 

Vineet Nair, art director, Tinkle Comics Studio and the illustrator of 'Minnal Murali Strikes Again' says they used the movie characters' body proportions and costumes as references but created their interpretations. "We avoided directly copying their faces," Nair said. 

The makers have also worked with the aim of inclusivity. A female arc is established in the story through the character of Becky who plays the villain. "The character for the villain was initially signed as ‘Boyce’ which was later changed to ‘Becky’, a female character," said Devika Soni, assistant editor of Tinkle Comics Studio. 

As for the creative process, it did help that most makers were fans of the superhero. Chandrasekhar said the team was ecstatic to create what they did. "Everyone on the team had watched the film and we were fans. There were lots of ideas about how the comics should be developed. After many brainstorming sessions that explored a more episodic approach, we zeroed in on a graphic novel that would take off where the film ended. This was done in collaboration with Spirit Media and the original creators, Weekend Blockbusters. We had full creative freedom, although we consulted with them every step of the way," she added.

There were challenges too. The team says the toughest part was capturing that same level of magic in a 2D format. "Several illustrative techniques like dynamic composition, vibrant colours, experimental panelling, and SFX were used to complete the process," Nair added. 

The Weekend Blockbusters team too wanted the comic to be a ‘complimentary experience’ creating a new edge to the Minal Murali universe.

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