So, who are the people at Manta Ray? What do they do? We figured it was time to pull back the curtain and introduce ourselves, to put a name and face to the people who make up our core team… So here goes!
Dileep is the co-founder of Manta Ray. In many ways, he was the one who saw the vision for Manta Ray as a publishing house. Dileep and I have been good friends since our engineering college days, we both studied Mechanical Engineering… and never pursued that. :) Instead, Dileep started out as a copywriter and is now based out of Dubai.
Besides the truckload of responsibilities that comes with his role as co-founder, Dileep is the editor of The Small Picture… and trust me, being an editor is not an easy job. There have been sleepless nights, when he’s up waiting for the final artwork to come in from an illustrator half way across the world. Some of the TSP pieces have been real hair-raisers, where we’ve managed to meet the deadline by the skin of our teeth. As fellow co-founder, I’ve had far less heart-stopping moments as Dileep has had, but the one thing these 60 weeks of Small Pictures has shown us is that his editorial insight is the best that MaRa could have asked for. (MaRa - that’s what we refer to ourselves as in all our internal communications).
True fact: Dileep and Prabha have never met or spoken to each other (except on mail / gmail-chat)
Prabha is our Art Director, she’s the rockstar behind most of MaRa’s visual palette. Prabha is also a mechanical engineer, who studied design at IIT Kanpur, did her MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and is now based out of San Fransisco.
Prabha and I first worked together in 2008 on some children’s stories (which never saw the light of day, the company shut down during the recession). Prabha’s latest outing has been on The Wildings, by Nilanjana Roy… and the book is filled to the brim and overflowing with Prabha’s gorgeous illustrations… do check it out! You won’t be disappointed.
True fact: The chief protagonist, or to quote Prabha - “cat”alyst - in The Wildings is called Mara (she’s an orange kitten)
Tina and I first met on a train in 2010, and then we lost touch, and met again a year later at a Hush event in Bangalore… and well, we’re together now :) By day, Tina is an electronics engineer at an IT giant in Bangalore, but come sunset, she moonlights at MaRa… While she’s always been a Believer, it’s only very recently that Tina has begun to take on some weighty responsibilities at MaRa… some of you would have already had a glimpse at that role by now.
True fact: Hush is the first comic that Tina ever read.
Dileep and I co-founded Manta Ray sometime in mid-2009, though we really started working on the idea only a year later. I’m also the only person working full time at MaRa at the moment… and for the foreseeable future :)
I’d always wanted to be in storytelling, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since I graduated. There was no grand plan for Hush. Hush came out of a jobless period in 2009, from an idea my brother Vivek told me. The idea was to take xeroxes of Rajiv’s pages and put it out in bookstores in Bangalore, in a do-it-yourself way. In fact, the first version of Hush was a pale shadow of what the book is today - it was like a “propoganda brochure”!
True fact: 10% of the Manta Ray office exists physically - in one half of a room, the remaining 90% is on Gmail.
The fact that we’re working from 3 different countries over Gmail and occasional Skype-ing means that the four of us have to do a lot of heavy lifting… and the very idea of making it all come together and work smoothly is a challenge. But, it’s great too… cos we all want to make GOOD comics and tell more stories in comics and we are committed to that mission. And working together towards that goal is the best reward for us.
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