By Meghna Nair
Everyone loves comic strips. They are cherished components of almost everybody’s childhood. This explains why Guddu, Shan and Sid, along with other characters of the comic strips by Garbage Bin, are so loved.
Based in Gurgaon, Garbage Bin Studios is the brainchild of Mohd Faisal. The small team of Garbage Bin is a tightly knit unit. All the themes for the gags are decided in the group meetings that they have.
“We have regular meetings in our office where everyone talks about some experiences they’ve had. We create stories from the shared experiences which we take out of such meetings, and add a little fun to them. Faisal is blessed with the knack for catching simple day to day experiences and create them into beautiful things.” Mr. Naim Siddiqui, the CEO and Director of Garbage Bin Studios explains.
There are certain things which everyone experiences as a child. Those incidents are the inspiration with which the team at Garbage Bin studios create their much-loved comic strips.
Inspired by the MAD magazine, the creator of the comic strips, Mohd. Faisal, who is also the Founder of Garbage Bin studios says, “Instead of calling our work the best, we call it trash. We believe the audience is the best judge of how our comic strips are.”
Despite the insane popularity their comic strips and merchandise receive, the team of Garbage Bin prefers to not be complacent about their work and likes to remain grounded. On being asked what quality of their comic strips makes them so warmly received by the audience, Mr. Naim and Mr. Faisal, respond in unison that it is because they believe in creating comics out of incidents, which everyone relates to and are simple yet delightful.
Almost every character is based on a real life person. While Guddu is based on none other than Mr. Faisal himself, Shan is inspired from Mr. Mohd. Shah Nawaz, the co-founder of Garbage Bin Studios, Sid is inspired by a student of Mr. Faisal, Amit Ji, is inspired by a close friend of Mr. Faisal, and similarly, all characters are likewise, based on real people. This is another factor which adds to the relatability of the comic strips.
“If a person comes back home after a long day at work, and he opens his Facebook page and reads our comics, it should bring a smile on his/her face. That will be the best achievement for us,” Mr. Faisal says. This is also the reason why they choose fragments from childhood memories and decidedly stay away from issues like religion and politics etc.
“We believe in staying away from politics and religion and all controversial matters. This is why the characters like Mummy and Papa are just named Mummy and Papa. You can’t say which community/religion they belong to,” Mr. Faisal adds.
When a comic strip is produced, not just the creative visualization but also the dialogues, expressions of characters and the tone of communication are vital to make it relatable and funny.
Mr. Faisal, along with his team, daily pens down gags, and then the gags are curated with creative inputs from each member of the team, sometimes spending hours on just deciding if a particular dialogue is mixing up rightly with the strip.
“Our gags are not only audience based, but also reflect a part of our personality and creative mind, hence we make sure that all team members’ inputs are taken into account to produce a creatively collaborated comic strip which would infuse instant giggles in whoever reads them. When we were new even a short comic strip was alright, but now the expectations from our fans are really high and we have to make sure that each comic strip that we create would continue to weave the same magic; and that’s where the whole team comes into the picture,” Mr Faisal added.
They acknowledge that they cater to a vast audience. “Whenever we upload a comic strip, we get almost 3 lakh hits within a couple of hours. There were also times when we uploaded pictures of the merchandise on our website and the amount of traffic we received was so much that our servers crashed. Now that problem has been taken care of and we will soon release our new line of merchandise. We are better equipped to deal with the number of people who come to website to buy the merchandise,” says Mr. Naim.
Mr. Faisal believes in maintaining a close connection with his audience. He has a group of friends and family, with whom he shares the comic strips and modifies them according to the feedback he receives. This not only adds to the universality of the comic strips, but also incorporates elements and suggestions from a diverse group of individuals and thus, making the comics more authentic.