Comic legend Stan Lee has created some of the most iconic superhero characters in the world. These include Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, and the Avengers. In December 2011, Lee teamed up with Sharad Devarajan, CEO of animation company Graphic India, to create for the first time an Indian superhero called Chakra - The Invincible. In an email interview with Ajita Shashidhar, Lee talks about the creation of Chakra and his favourite Indian mythological character
Q. How did you conceive Chakra? What made you create a character that is set in India?
I've always been fascinated by Indian culture. It's so philosophical and rich in tradition and morality.
Q. Is Chakra inspired by any Indian mythological character?
He is more a compendium of many mythological characters -and real life characters as well. I tried to combine the ancient and the contemporary in his character and heritage. And, of course, I was heavily influenced by the fascinating Chakras, which have long been a part of India's ancient wisdom and traditions for generations.
Q. How is Chakra different from your other superhero characters such as Spider-Man or Iron Man?
Every one of my superhero characters is different from the others in the respect that they all have different powers, different motivations and different backgrounds. While I want Chakra to have all the elements that have made my other superhero characters popular, I still want him to be totally unique- as each of them are.
Q. India has a rich history of mythology and story-telling but none of the Indian characters have appealed to the global audience. Why do you think that is so?
I am hoping that Chakra will be the first of many superhero characters that will be popular world-wide. I expect Chakra to appeal to readers around the world - not just India. I try to create characters that connect with the basic human struggles and challenges which are relatable to people Mumbai to Manhattan. Most people don't think of Spider-Man as an American hero or Harry Potter as a British one; they see them as global heroes because their stories deal with human experiences which everyone, world-wide, can relate to.
Q. Do you think the character of the Mumbai teenager Raju Rai, who transforms into Chakra, will be able to create the same magic as Peter Parker has created worldwide?
If I didn't think so I'd never have attempted this project. A compelling story can attract people in every country and a hero who is exciting and indomitable can serve as a role model for readers around the world. My goal is simple -- I want to bring an Eastern concept like the Chakras to the world via the Western genre of superheroes. And I think people around the world will be excited by Chakra's tales and will accept him as a hero for themselves.
Q. Do you have any favourite character from the Indian culture, mythology or history?
I've always found Brahma to be a personal favorite due to his role as the creator of everything in the universe. Also, I find the creation and power of the Brahmastra super-weapon exciting.