Super Sikh #1

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Apr 2017

Member Reviews

BY BEN BORUFF
I have been a fan of Rosarium Publishing for quite some time. The indie publisher self-identifies as a "fledgling publisher specializing in speculative fiction, comics, and a touch of crime fiction—all with a multicultural flair," and its impressive team of authors and artists have created a variety of boundary-pushing comics, including Ted Lange IV's Warp Zone and a comic book anthology called APB: Artists against Police Brutality. Rosarium Publishing's mission is an important one. Like a balloon tied to a rock, comic culture is rising toward an established place in the critic-molded literary zeitgeist, but it can only rise so far without freeing itself from some of its baser habits, such as casually neglecting to tell a wide variety of stories. Publishers like Rosarium Publishing guide comic culture toward a richer, more eclectic future, and compelling comics like Super Sikh offer hope that we will get there soon.

Super Sikh is about the adventures of Deep Singh, a Bond-like Sikh secret agent who loves Elvis Presley and hates injustice. As a character, Deep Singh is refreshingly multifaceted. In the issue's opening pages, Deep enjoys the rockabilly riffs of "Blue Suede Shoes" after shooting a rocket at a Taliban leader. In regard to characterization, co-creators Eileen Kaur Alden and Supreet Singh Manchanda seem to favor range over depth. Readers are introduced to a number of Deep's character traits in this issue, but few of those character traits are explored thoroughly. That said, seeing Deep Singh slide down a Futurama-esque glass tube to visit his gadget-testing cousin Preeti in an "underground secret facility"—ably rendered by artist Amit Tayal—minimizes the narrative's need to be particularly subtle, so most readers will feel comfortable with the relative superficiality of the comic's protagonist in this first issue. After all, this issue portrays Deep Singh as a Titan among aggressively ignorant men, not a flawed antihero.

At times, the plot is a bit simplistic, toeing the line between a concise, socially relevant story arc and a lengthy political cartoon—some bits of exposition are tossed at the reader like unwanted Mario Kart Banana Peels (tactfully yet somewhat grudgingly)—but the quick pace of the overall story allows readers to ignore most narrative peculiarities. Like Elvis, Deep Singh is a superstar, and the first issue of Super Sikh spends several pages emphasizing this one trait (and ignoring others). Because of this somewhat single-minded approach to exposition, readers are able to enjoy the action-adventure elements of the story without having to dissect too many emotional nuances. Again, the terseness works.

In fact, despite the subject matter of the comic's early pages, most of this issue offers a somewhat lighthearted approach to international espionage—until the issue's last few panels. At the end of the issue, Super Sikh's creators offer a sharp social commentary in the form of a troubling (though sadly not surprising) bias-fueled obstacle that Deep Singh must face. This is an important moment. On the comic's website, its creators state that they "wanted Deep Singh to uphold his Sikh values even while he is living in a modern world with all of its complexity."

I imagine "complexity" is a euphemism for bigotry and ignorance.

Our world has a hell of a lot of "complexity."

Deep Singh will likely face many obstacles in future issues. And I'll be rooting for him as he overcomes each one.
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It's great to see an ethnically diverse hero in comics. This was a good, quick read with nice artwork.
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Requested this soon as I saw it on NetGalley, stoked about the idea - especially in the climate of intolerance festering in the U.S. today - of a Sikh secret agent.  Upon starting the short (26 pages) first issue of the very well-made comic (Amit Tayal's artwork is crisp and sleek; it's a beautiful book), it was easy to immediately like Deep Singh; he busts his butt fighting for the little guy, is obsessed with Elvis, has made enemies in the Taliban, and still has a mom and dad who take care of/dote on him when he comes home exhausted and sore after a successful mission.  Issue One is barely an introduction to the character, with little plotline as Deep gets approval for a much-needed vacation (to Graceland, no less!) ... but ends up on a flight that - surprise! - also ends up being highjacked by terrorists mid-air.  From here the comic lost me a bit, taking the much-lauded opportunity to become a sounding board for exactly how vocal the bigots in this country have become (Singh ends up saving the day, but by passengers and crew alike is presumed to be one of the terrorists - even though they're Mexican).  It's a message I am in total agreement with, I myself have never been more ashamed to be an American than I have been since January, but stereotypes are distasteful to me across the board - and while I agreed with the comic's message, I wasn't too comfortable with every white character on the plane, and in any form of airline or law enforcement that Singh comes across afterward, coming across as some brain-dead trailer-trash rube who automatically sees dark skin and a turban and cries terrorist.  Still a good enough book to warrant a look at number two; hopefully there will just be some good white people in that one.  3/5 stars

Note: I received a free ARC of this title via NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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I definitely need more of this than just one twenty-six page volume. More adventures of Super Sikh, please!
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Hey superhero fans – aren’t we long overdue for a badass hero with a turban? Supreet Singh Manchanda and Eileen Kaur Alden launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring their idea to life, and reached their target in just 27 hours! With the help of illustrator Amit Tayal, they launched the first issue in 2015, and have now released the fourth issue. First, it’s not a full-length graphic novel, but rather your traditional comic book, a la Superman and Spiderman. It’s 24 pages of full-colour panels, and issue one, Takeoff and Landing, introduces readers to Deep Singh, our hero, who works for the United Nations Global Unified Defense Force protecting the world on secret agent missions. We meet Deep successfully fighting the Taliban to ensure girls have access to education. Exhausted, he fights to keep awake on the drive home from Pakistan to Amritsar, India, where Deep lives with his uncle, aunt, and cousin Preeti, who happens to be the gadget quartermaster with the Unified Defense Force. Auntie Ji worries about Deep, a lot. She worries about his eating, his sleep, and his seemingly impossible chances for a good marriage, given his non-stop schedule. She encourages him to take a vacation, and he opts for a dream trip to Memphis and Graceland, where he can indulge his adoration of Elvis to his heart’s content. But trouble follows our superhero on board the flight when terrorists try to hijack the plane. This is the first issue of a continuing storyline, and the authors are now up to Issue 4. The artwork is high-quality, and the plot is complicated enough to intrigue adult readers without leaving teens too confused. Deep upholds the Sikh values of justice and equality, and the American creators cheerfully skewer their own country’s tendency toward discrimination of “others.” When Deep finds himself in a TSA holding cell, he is surrounded by brown-skinned men, including a quartet of what appear to be Sikh engineers who came to the US for jobs, but were jailed under suspicion of nefarious activities. Rated teen, this will probably appeal to younger readers. A great choice for public libraries with Indo-Canadian clientele, though the comic book format will probably not last long. Let’s hope the authors opt for a compilation issue in full graphic novel format, once the story arc is complete. My thanks to Rosarium Publishing for the digital copy of the first issue provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
You can read more about the team behind Super Sikh, and find out how to order print copies, at http://www.supersikhcomics.com/, and check out more reviews and discussion of this graphic novel at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25750785.
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This almost feels like satire it's so goofy.  I have a feeling something might have been lost in translation.  A little hard to take seriously with today's modern comics.  The dialogue was so stilted.  The art and coloring was quite good though.

Received an advance copy from Rosarium and NetGalley in exhange for an honest review.
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'Super Sikh #1' by Eileen Kaur Alden, Supreet Sing Manchanda, and Amit Tayal is a different kind of superhero than I'm used to reading about in Western culture, but in lots of ways, he's not that different.

Deep Singh has secrets.  He loves Elvis and hates the Taliban.  His parents think he works for a tech company, but he is really a secret agent.  He's pretty good at what he does, but he needs a vacation.  His dream vacation is to go to Graceland, but traveling to America produces challenges for a man in a turban and beard.

It starts out like a James Bond film, then feels like a satire towards the end of the issue.  I wanted it to be one or the other, but that might be my cultural expectations playing a part.  There isn't a whole lot about the character at this point, but I'd be interested in reading more issues.

I received a review copy of this issue from Rosarium Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this issue.
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This is a short review for a single issue comic. The comic book was offered in NetGalley, and it sounded interesting enough for me to request it. Deep Singh is devout Sikh. He is also a super secret agent for the United Nations who spends many of  his days fighting terrorists like the Taliban. Since he also has to keep a normal life, he has a "regular" job at a tech company. He also has parents that care for him and worry for him like any other normal young man. He also happens to be a big fan of Elvis Presley. So far, so good. He is a hard working man, and finally his family talks him into taking a vacation. He decides to travel to the U.S. to see the home of his idol: Graceland. On the flight, a terrorist attack occurs. Though he saves the day, he has the misfortune of having to deal with U.S. Homeland Security, which promptly sees his turban and arrests him as a terrorist, with all the degradation and condescension Americans typically show any foreigner they think is an "Arab terrorist." 


The comic book is a great start to a series, and I do hope the series continues. We get a different kind of superhero, one who is not just another Western guy. He is basically a Sikh Bond kind of figure. He is skilled, smart, strong, but he is also very human. He has no superpowers other his wits and skills. I am also hoping that the comic explores more of the Sikh religion; we can certainly use some more diversity in comics, and this comic shows good potential. The story was fast paced, and very entertaining with a good blend of action and humor. We'll see where the authors take it, but so far, I definitely recommend this one.
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Deep Singh is a U.N. Special Agent, but all the work is tiring him out, so he tries to take a holiday.

The first issue is an introduction to the character and central plot, where Deep goes on holiday to the USA and it doesn't entirely work out. I saw this discussed as a superhero title, but it has more of an action spy vibe. Deep doesn't have superhuman abilities and I didn't get a feel that anyone else did either. He does have exceptional combat skills and some of the gadgets are more speculative.

My favourite thing about it was the family relationships. His family arrange for him to go away, and their concerns for him are clear. He has a cousin, Preeti, who works for the U.N. in research. When it comes to showing Sikhs, there's a clear understanding of people approaching things in different ways. Deep's older relatives wear traditional clothing. Deep's clothing is more modern, but he has a turban and kara. Preeti has uncovered hair and no kara, outside of wearing one for a demonstration. I liked the attention to detail in how different characters expressed themselves and their faith.

Deep rarely has thoughts written out and he mainly speaks to tell jokes. This makes it difficult to really know who he is and what he thinks about what's going on. There's a lot of James Bond inspiration in the story, and it'd be fair to say that doesn't focus on character much either, but that was something I didn't like much in James Bond. I do like to get to know characters, and I don't feel I knew much more about Deep than I did when I started reading.

The art is generally solid. It's a realistic comic style and Deep's facial expressions are good. I did feel some of the background characters weren't as well rendered, particularly the black ones. I guess the artist has less experience of drawing people of some races, which may explain why there are so few background black characters. There are also some disability issues, as the art fell into using facial scarring and an eyepatch to denote someone as evil.

There are issues when it comes to characters who aren't Sikhs. Muslims are either terrorists or victims to be saved (when they're women or girls). Mexicans are terrorists. Fat people are jokes. People who do bad things are crazy. There's an attempt to subvert stereotypes when it comes to the Sikh characters, but stereotypes of anyone else are treated as the truth.

I can understand how it might have ended up here, as anyone who covers their hair or is non-white can be mistaken for being a Muslim. This means getting targeted by anti-Islamic discrimination. I get stopped by customs for a lot of random searches because they assume I'm Middle Eastern (and therefore, that I must be a Muslim). But it's important to realise the primary issue isn't that I'm being mistaken for a Muslim. It's that there is prejudice against Muslims, and by extension, anyone assumed to be one. Stating that I can't be a terrorist because I'm not a Muslim is suggesting the prejudice is grounded in fact, and that it would have been fair if they hadn't been wrong about my identity. Like I say, I can understand why people have this reaction, but that doesn't make it a good response. It shifts around who gets hurt rather than acknowledging the core problem. The comic very much has this type of reaction. It doesn't tackle the assumptions that certain groups of people are terrorists and criminals. It simply distances Deep from being part of those groups.

Some of my comments could be worked out as the series continues, such as getting to know Deep a bit more. I'm rather more hesitant on the other stuff. It looks like crazy Islamic terrorist is going to be the flavour of main villain and I don't think that's going to be handled in a subversive way.
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Super Sikh #1 by Alden/Manchanda/Tayal, et. al. is a free NetGalley e-comicbook that I read in early April.

Looooove him - not just his appearance, motivations, and Elvis-loving personality, but his lore, his IIIT building hideout, and Q-like cousin that create defense and Sikh devotion-enhancing technology. I only wish that the comicbook issue was longer (must be getting used to those volume compilations), that there's an action figure in the works, and for me to be able to find future paper comic copies of this.
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I'd like to start out by commending the graphics, because WOW, this was so visually stunning, The colors were brilliant, the illustrations polished, a few beautiful full page scenes, very easy on the eyes.

As for the storyline, it was short but sweet. I loved the culture and the use of traditional terms and sayings, good representation. Deep Singh truly cares about his job and is a hero in the truest sense. I'm really psyched to find out what happens in the upcoming issues, especially since we've been left on a cliffhanger at the end of this one. Deep's cousin Preeti is also someone to look out for.

Overall, a good introduction to a series and I want more.
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It was nice to read a book with a Sikh lead playing a James Bond-ish role. People who don't know about Sikhism would love to learn some of the concepts. To me, the cultural references seemed forced. It felt like the purpose of Deep's aunt's and uncle's dialogues were just to brag about him. Otherwise, it is a good read.
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I really loved the illustrations and I felt that the main character was really fun/engaging. I did enjoy that racial / religious profiling was an aspect that was explored, and the action was really well done, I just wish there was more to this than the brief 28 pages. 

Also kudos for more representation and a rather enjoyable Sikh superhero!
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I know this is just the introduction to this world but it was done so well, the illustrations and the use of colour were absolutely gorgeous and now I can't wait to read more from this. I started caring about the characters and about the story and there are so many important commentaries just in this one issue. I also love that is #ownvoices and it brings so many of the Sikh tradition, culture and identity to the page but also the prejudices, stereotyping, hate crimes and racism that they (and a lot of marginalised people as well from that last scene) have to endure. Seriously excited to continue with this!
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Loved this comic from the start! A Sikh special agent going undercover to thwart real life bad guys while experiencing depressing realistic racism along the way. Plus he loves Elvis and his family. The artwork was colourful and well thought out. Definitely want to read the next in the series.
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Dash of Multiculturalism in Crazy Times!

Super Sikh #1 is a about Agent Deep Singh who loves Elvis, hates the Taliban, and is trying to make the world a better place. Until things go down for him!
Super Sikh #1 is a powerful graphic novel primarily for the reason that the protagonist is a Sikh man, who is fighting evil, but ends up being defined by what people expect him to be. It is nice to see an Indian ‘lead’ in a graphic novel/comic, however the story feels a little lacking being a little Mary Sue. Singh seems a little one-dimensional, but I hope the next issue in the series shows a dark side too. I really appreciated the use of cultural icons/references and colloquial terms. And for all of that, I can’t wait to read the next in the series!
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Not my typical read but I could not resist the title or cover! And glad I delved into this interesting superhero! Hopefully Issue 2 grows in its consciousness of decolonization.
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Target Age Range: 

YA and adult

Genre:

Superhero, secret agents, action

Art Style:

Classic superhero realism

Reading time:

This was a short, volume 1 sampler so it only took me about five minutes to get through

Let’s get gabbing:

It took me a page or two to figure out what the go was with this story, but I'm happy to report that it got funnier the further into the story I got.  There is plenty of tongue in cheek humour here and all the secret agent tropes that you would expect, with a Sikh twist.  I particularly enjoyed the scenes in which Deep is given his new gadgets for his mission (a holiday), which included a kara (the silver bracelet that Sikhs wear) that deflects bullets!  Towards the end of this sampler, poor old Deep is unfortunate enough to be on a plane to the US when it is hijacked by Mexican terrorists and of course, nobody believes that he's trying to save the day - he's wearing a turban after all - and he ends up incarcerated.  

Overall snapshot:

I would love to see future installments in this adventure as this sample has bucketloads of potential, truckloads of subtle, subversive humour and is doing a great service to diversity in literature.
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Book – Takeoff and Landing (Super Sikh #1)
Author – by Eileen Kaur Alden, Supreet Singh Manchanda, Amit Tayal(Goodreads Author) (Illustrator), Pradeep Sherawat (Illustrator) 
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 28
Cover – Awesome!
Would I read it again – Yes


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **


“Loves Elvis, Hates Bad Guys!”

This was a great start to a series that I'll be keeping my eye on. Deep is a great main characters and I love that he'd sweet, considerate but also a badass and totally on point with his good deeds. The characterisation was well explored through dialogue, action and the easy flow of how the character interacted with others.

I love that this is a positive and diverse exploration, showing that superheroes come in all shapes, sizes and religions. There are no limits, as long as the person has a good heart and does good deeds.

The graphics are incredible! There was some great humour and I loved the Princess Bride references. If the series keeps going like this, I'll be first in line for each new installment.

Brilliant start.
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Free copy provided by Netgalley in return for an honest review

Rating: 5 / 5

Publication Date: 26th April 2017
Review Date: 28th March 2017

I was browsing and getting some comics to read from Netgalley because I had some time to kill, and I came across this comic book. I just had to grab this. I have to support this comic book no matter what.

Oh. My. Gosh.

This was absolutely amazing. I have fallen in love with Deep Singh. His character is well put together and obviously really cares about those he loves and the things he does. The characters themselves are stunningly beautiful. The whole comic stays true to Sikh traditions (as far as I am aware) and the artwork is simply stunning. 

There are definite ties in this, in my opinion, to Iron Man and Wonder Woman, a few frames reminded me of them, but at the end of the day Super Sikh definitely holds its own as a comic book franchise (and hopefully more in the future).

I cannot wait for the next issues of this come out. I’ve only just finished the first one and I already need the whole series. This is definitely ground breaking, and I would seriously recommend everyone reads this. This is an amazing concept, and I am so happy to have found this.
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