Tony Lee, Big In India

Tony Lee, Big In India

Posted by November 15, 2009 Comment

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Tony Lee’s propensity for self promotion that have seen him dubbed the new Mark Millar (on that point – Kieron Gillen is the new Grant Morrison, Antony Johnston is the new Alan Moore, and Andy Diggle is the new Garth Ennis, that’s how it works)

Anyway, not even Mark Millar was flown out by the British Consulate as part of a literary festival in India. And the Calcutta Telegraph is all over him, featuring in two articles related to Lit Sutra, a cultural event organised by the British Council, taking part in a conversation with University English tutor Abhijit Gupta, telling him;

Graphic novel is the name of the comic book when someone wants to sound grown-up.

On his Livejournal page, Lee talks extensively about his trip.

There were more press cameras, TV crews and journalists here than I’ve pretty much had in total all my comics career, and everything I did turned into photo opportunities. I picked up a Midnight Kiss – click. I spoke about Dracula – click. It was incredibly surreal, even more so considering the fact that I had pretty much flown from London straight here with about two house sleep in thirty hours, but I think I weathered the storm, and I was told afterwards that because of my talk, today’s lecture has almost doubled in figures. Which is wonderful.

And so yesterday I spoke about comics to a class of university students, teachers and visiting academics. It was a long talk, ending around five pm. Did I teach them anything? I have no idea. But I know one thing. They, and the people of Kolkata definitely taught me something. I don’t know if I’m happy or sad to move on to Pune, which I have been told is more cosmopolitan. All I know is that Kolkata and me? We have unfinished business.

I met up with Twitter chums Aditya Bidikar and Nikhil Kumar Verma for some drinks at ‘The Hidden Place’, a bar down the road in Pune, and a good night was had by all. Aditya is an incredibly talented Indian writer who will one day be an even bigger name than he currently is and at that point will be competition and therefore need to be killed, but currently he is allowed to live by my will (and both of these fine chaps should be twitter followed right now) and we spent a very enjoyable hour working through an eight page story he’d written before Nikhil arrived – Nikhil is more of a reader than a creator and the evening was spent discussing the skill of writing, the comics that we loved and television shows that should be watched. They told me of their love for Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis. I told them that Warren was a scary old man who beat up midgets with French baguettes, this only seemed to make them like him even more.

And then the day was over, I said my goodbyes to my two new friends and returned to my hotel to sleep. Today I have two hours of television and radio interviews, a talk at the Pune British Library and then ‘High tea’ with consular officials before I return to the hotel late this evening. And then at early O’Clock tomorrow morning I fly to Bangalore, where I have an 11.30am talk.


Tony Lee there folks. I knew him before he went to India…

(Last Updated November 25, 2009 5:48 am )

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About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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