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The comic book champ

The comic book champ
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Writing comics from the age of nine the Canadian comic book artist Ty Templeton has excelled in his work by creating characters that intrigued kids to...

Writing comics from the age of nine the Canadian comic book artist Ty Templeton has excelled in his work by creating characters that intrigued kids to read comics. The writer and illustrator of ‘Batman and Robin’ visited Hyderabad for the first time to attend the Comic Con Hyderabad.

Excerpts from an interview

Why is the character Robin in your comics not seen on screen so much?
Robin was created by a writer named Bill Finger to give Batman somebody to talk to. So, that, if he is on the rooftop and about to attack somebody, rather than just being silent Robin goes and says, ‘Hey what are we doing’, and Batman would ask, ‘Why?’ And when they made films, I don’t think they needed the character as much because you don’t really need to explain something to the audience if you can just simply show it to them. In comics, they don’t have movement and in films they do and so, you don’t need to ask them what he is doing. So, the character became kind of unnecessary and I don’t think kids particularly liked Robin and he was supposed to be thrown in the book so that we would have somebody to aspire to because we cannot be Batman. Most kids called Robin the boy hostage because the whole point of the character is he just gets kidnapped by the jumpers to be rescued by Batman time and again.

What do you think of DC movies?
People, who make movies for DC comics are all morons and most of the movies are terrible. The DC movies look like some people did them against their will. People making these movies don’t know what they are doing. Most Marvel movies are fun and entertaining.

Do you think your comics are justified in the movies?
Well, the way I did Batman was based on a television series back in the 90’s. I was not aiming to make comics based on the movies because again it is terrible. There is only one good movie out of the nine movies and that is pretty below average.

What advice would you like to give to budding artistes?
It takes me hours to teach that, (laughs). Well, the answer I would give is the same answer that I would give to every other artist. There is no such thing as the talent it is a b%$# s&*# word which doesn’t mean anything. You cannot be a born writer or illustrator, you have to be taught all these things. Once you have been taught like any other skill I think practice makes you better. There is a famous saying that it takes 5,000 hours to become an expert and 10,000 hours to become a genius. So, I happen to spend those 10,000 hours.

What are the five key skills of a comic artist?
You have to know anatomy, you have to know how to tell a story, you have to know how to act, and you have to have the sense of the dramatics and most importantly don’t be self-indulgent. If I tell you a story about me and my dog, no one would be interested to know but instead, I would argue that someone is pointing you as an entertainment, so you need to reach their expectations and they need things like a little romance, excitement and danger. You need to understand not the formula, but the structure of how to do that. The audience enjoys what you’re doing because you are doing it for them. I always say that writing is something like building a refrigerator; if it does not make the meat cold it isn’t any good.

What challenges did you face when you started writing comics?
When I started writing comics I was nine years old. So, the challenge was that I was 9 (laughs). I put in my 10,000 hours before I was an adult. I had a father, who was a professional writer and he taught me many things. I never really had challenges because I was good at it. And amongst the first stories I wrote, I got good feedback. I knew what I was doing and people like my comics.

Are you planning to create any new comic characters?
I am planning to come up with something new in the near future. However, I do not want to create characters for the companies I work for because I won’t be able to own them. For instance, the recent Avengers movie made billion dollars; the characters were made by Jim Starlin and he got nothing. We are all aware that the companies that employ us do not make us partners. If I created next great Batman and sell them to DC or Marvel they will make two billion dollars out of it and I just sit there doing nothing. That’s the problem with creations that we make. I added a couple of characters in the Batman comics and Superman too and I am charmed to see them get used by other writers, how they pick them up and play with it.

How do you deal with it?
Capitalism is about grabbing everything and squeezing it and not let anyone else have it. We are a part of a capitalist system and I am thrilled that they pay me to sit in a room and write about these characters. I am aware that I am not going to over-create; so if I am writing a Batman story I will use the Joker. For instance, I wrote a character named Catwoman and it was made into a terrible movie. I am embarrassed by the way it was made. And, because I just wrote the character, I don’t owe any money for it.

How was your experience at Comic Con Hyderabad?
This is my first time in Hyderabad and I really liked it. At least here I can breathe in comparison to New Delhi, which is so polluted. And the way Comic Con is in America it is not the same here as you guys don’t really have the system to distribute comics like you have in America and here you have to buy comics online. The fandom here is different from America. But I love the enthusiasm of the fans and I love India as a place.

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