jump to navigation

Best single comic panel ever? March 26, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in Comics, WTF?!?.

From a delightful (but now sadly defunct, I think) Chennai based comic called Hungama.

HUngama Panel

The grammar in the caption is one of those rarest of rare things that can be described as being ‘perfectly bad’. Sublime.

Oh – and Hungama is full of such brilliance. Will try and put up more stuff if possible.


World Cup #24 – Who says we’re out of the Super 8s? March 26, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.

There’s still hope.

World Cup #23 – Who am I to discuss cricket? March 24, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.

I’ve never played. At any level.

I’ve watched countless matches. I’ve loved the game to death. I’ve read and written about it. I’ve spent hours in thought, pondering its nuances, marvelling at its complexity, delighting in its beauty.

I read old magazines and relive memories. I play inadequate videogames and curse them for the injustice done to our majestic sport. I’ve even punched non-believers in the face ( Shamefully, it’s true. Ask Aravind Murali or Vishwanathan Srinivasan.)

But I haven’t played.

So maybe I should shut up now. And leave the informed discussion to the pros.

Au revoir. No more cricket. Will stick to comics and stuff. Okay?

World Cup #22 – And now what? March 24, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.


I’m a fan of cricket. Not of cricketers. So, for me, the cup goes on. More to look forward to. More to stay awake for.

And India? Well, much sadness. And much hope.

Hope that we will build a young, fresh team who will delight us in the years to come. Hope that we can remember the Tendulkar-Ganguly-Kumble era without rancour, recalling the glory moments and forgiving the shameful ones.

This team is dead. Its champions must fade. In their place will come new ones. The game lives on.

Many fans will give up on Indian cricket. They will turn away from the game they love, hurt by the disappointments. No matter. Others will take their place. My son among them. They will cheer new heroes on new adventures. But the game remains the same.

Team India is dead. Long live team India.

World Cup #21 – Come on, India. Time for one last dance. March 22, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.

Dear Team India,

Why do we react so violently when you lose? Why do we plunge so low when you play badly? Why do we always expect you to win?

Because, deep down, we know you can.

Our expectations are built, bit by bit, from the innumerable feats of cricketing might and magic we have had the pleasure of seeing you perform. Every sweet Tendulkar drive. Every moment of Dravid’s defiance. Every Ganguly dance-down-the-wicket six. Every Yuvraj pow-gasp-wow shot. Every time the bowlers dig deep and exceed expectations.

And since you’ve given us so many moments of sweetness, our expectations are really high. It’s that simple, really. If you were always losing, then we wouldn’t actually expect you to win, would we?

Yes. We know you can.

And we’re reminding you.

So bring it on. The incandescent, mighty batting. (Bermuda was a start, but we both know there will be harder tests) The disciplined, strong, spirited bowling. (remember WC 2003?) The huddles, the high-fives, the smiles and whoops of delight. Dance the happy dance. Play the joyful game.

If you do, you’ll start winning. And that would be very nice.

Sure, there are a host of other talented, skilled, and well-prepared teams that have come to win the World Cup. Sure, we may lose to some of them.

But make them earn it. By playing your very best cricket.

Sachin. Sourav. Rahul. Anil. This is it. This is the moment. Make it count. A World Cup Win would be nice. But, really, we only want to see you shine your brightest. And if there’s a team on earth that’s good enough to beat you when that happens, then they’ll be bloody deserving winners.

Go on. Play ball. We’re behind you.

World Cup#20 – Sachin Tendulkar and other crap comic ideas. March 22, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in Comics, sports.

master blasterAnd now this.

Sachin Tendulkar is the most hyped cricketer off all time (before you kill me, I’m just stating fact. Notice : hyped. not overhyped. There’s a difference.) His face peers out at us from advertisements, merchandise, endless reams of newsprint. We love him, and even tolerate the bad ads.

But this is not cool. That armour is a fashion disaster. And, God save us, a crackling, glowing, flaming cricket bat ? If I wanted extra cheese, I’d order pizza, thanks you very much.

This kind of thing is an insult to comics. And comics fans. And creators. This is a typically stupid, corporate ‘let’s cash in, quality be damned’ idea. This will flop. The series will not complete the first run. If there is a comics God.

Here’s a gem from the guys who’re doing this :

According to Suresh Seetharaman, President, Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation, “Virgin has always worked with people who are prominent, and most importantly, who have set goals for themselves in life and achieved them too. Sachin Tendulkar is well recognised as an achiever globally, and it works best to have him as the hero for our comic, gaming and animation series.”

If there’s any sense tucked away into that mind-numbingly inane statement, somebody please point it out to me. What are these guys thinking? ARE they thinking?

From the free comic downloads available from Virgin’s web site, I find that all their titles are conceptually interesting and visually appealing, but are bogged down by immature (and sometimes plain bad) writing and editing, and a derivative, wannabe Marvel / DC feel. This one seems doomed at the concept level itself.

A cursory glance at comics history will show you that moronic get-rich-quick comics based on celebrities are always abominable products that are rarely recalled fondly, and usually don’t sell well. Even the legendary Stan Lee made a mess of his ill-fated Backstreet Boys project. Remember Amitabh as Supremo ? Remember Gavaskar as Sunny ? Titles that are remembered today only for being putrid and grotesque. A similar fate surely awaits ‘Master Blaster’. (Any chances that I could be wrong, and this could actually be good? Nah. Three words – flaming. cricket. bat. They’re already too far down crap road.)

This is a crass cheapening of one of our few real-life heroes. I hope that true fans of Sachin Tendulkar will see it for what it is.

World Cup #19 – When is a world record not important? March 20, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.

Yay. We set a world record. Highest WC score. Biggest WC win.

Except, we’ve always been butchers of bad bowling. Except, Bermuda’s batting is so inept, England and Sri Lanka had them for under a hundred, and even Zimbabwe knocked them over for less than what they got against us.

Sure, we did what we needed to. But our batting IS mighty, it really is. Against an attack like Bermuda, a huge total was always on the cards. And we should have blown them away for far less. The bowling looked patchy and unprofessional.

For me, only Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly seemed to promise a good show against the Lankans. Sehwag and Tendulkar need to find something more special than bullying the likes of Dwayne Leverock and his merrie men. They’re great batsmen, and well may.

And the bowling needs to be far better if we’re to take on Sri Lanka on Friday, and, hopefully, the other big boys in the Super 8 stage.

But for now, it’s been a good comeback to stay alive. Make it count, boys.

World Cup #18 – Stupid idea of the year award March 20, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

The Pakistan team has been asked to speak to the media only in Urdu. Why? To promote tourism.

The players will speak only in Urdu, said former player Pervez Mir, the team’s press liaison officer.

The decision was also taken “because 2007 is our national tourist year and we are promoting Pakistan as well,” said Mir in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“This is the perfect platform to promote and expose our language.”

I’m laughing so hard, I’m having trouble typing this.

Imagine – thousands of people, after listening to Inzamam-ul-Haq or Mohammed Yousuf or Shoaib Malik address the press, rushing off to call their travel agents to arrange immediate vacations in Lahore. So that they may listen to more people address them in a language they don’t understand.

World Cup #17 – The ICC World Cricket Lookalike Competition March 20, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.

Here are the final winners of the little known sideshow from the World Cup which hands out prizes to guys who look like other guys.

The Rameez Raja Lookalike Contest – Asad Rauf.

The Waqar Younis Lookalike Contest – Aleem Dar.

The Marcus Trescothick Lookalike Contest – Simon Hughes.

The Evander Holyfield Lookalike Contest – Dwayne Leverock, Anderson Cummins (tie).

The Alec Stewart Lookalike Contest – Paul Nixon.

The Vladimir Putin Lookalike Contest – Nasser Hussain.

The Darth Maul Lookalike Contest – Charu Sharma.

World Cup #16 – Goobye, Bob. Maybe God’s team needs a good coach, y’know. March 19, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.

“What a stupid world.” Readers of The HINDU may have seen today’s ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ end with those very words.

What a stupid world.

A man respected and loved for enriching our beloved game in so many ways will do so no more. We are poorer for it.

Bob Woolmer gave us Hansie Cronje’s South African side of the 90s. They thrilled us with their near-impossible fielding skills, their fearsome efficiency (yes, it’s a virtue that must be admired, let no one tell you differently), their ability to make winning seem matter of fact. They were so good, we quickly grew to hate them as much as we hate the Australians. Now that’s something.

Bob brought science and method to the forefront of the game – and showed cricket teams how they could win on bad days. How they could excel even if slightly short on God given cricketing gifts. There is no team in the world today that has not been touched by his wisdom in some way. In numerous interviews and articles over the years, he impressed us with his thoughts and views on the game and how it should be played. Always thoughtful. Always interesting.

Make no mistake – Bob raised the bar. Just watch videos of matches from the years before his arrival, and you’ll see that this is true. This alone guarantees him a place in the pantheon of cricket’s most influential men ever.

Now he’s gone. Just like that. In his worst cricketing hour. It’s as if he decided that he’d had enough, and simply left. Without a thought for what we’d do without him.

There will be reams written about his contributions, his successes and failures, his methods and theories. I’d rather dwell on something else.

On the night of his death, there was the usual flurry of telephone calls, messages and e-mails between my own circle of cricket fans. And every single one of us agreed – this didn’t feel like something that was happening far away, in the world of newsprint and TV. No, this felt like we had lost a friend, someone we had spent time with for years.

Why did he have to die like this? Why now? Wouldn’t it have been easier if we could have read about his passing in a quiet corner of the paper, years after he had faded from public life?

In India and Pakistan, we claim to be passionate about cricket. Is it passion that drives us to believe that we’re within our rights to destroy someone’s property? Is it passion that motivates us to put so much pressure on somebody that they can die from the stress? Or is it madness and evil? Anger and stupidity? Ignorance and fear?

What a stupid, stupid world.