The main character is Guddu, a lovable devil, who reminds us of our own childhood, and the pranks we played as kids. He loves video games, jalebis, the rain, and maa ki roti. The incidents portrayed in the gags are such that most of us can relate to them. This is probably the reason these gags have gained immense popularity, and have a huge following on Facebook.
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Understandably so, for there was nothing to show save for some early renditions of a comic strip involving a boy with scraggy hair, slacks, and a sweatshirt.
Come January , the page is closing in on 6 lakh likes. In the two years since the page was formed, and with it the now wildly popular comic strip Guddu and Gang created by Faisal Mohd, there have been many changes.
The humble beginnings for the comic strip are evident at the yellow-tiled apartment in Noida, where Faisal stays along with his friend and business partner Mohd Shah Nawaz. The idea to create complete gags first came to me in the middle of and when I began uploading them, they found a connect with the audience.
And they bring along, with them, a sense of nostalgia for anyone who has grown up in the 90s. There was a time when Faisal worked at a STD booth in his hometown Sahranpur as he looked to save enough money to come to Delhi and work as a comic artist. From a job that paid bare-minimum, to learning animation, and Garbage Bing, it has been a long journey. As the conversation shifts gears, Mohd Shah Nawaz, who is currently working on designing the Garbage Bin app, comes into the picture.
The developer, like his friend, has a jaunty smile fixed to his face. Shah Nawaz worked on the development of the game and Faisal on the characters. The free Web-based game went viral virtually overnight, thanks largely to social media. Faisal admits the popularity of the game and the raised aspirations - he mentions venture capitalists getting involved at one point - ensured that work came to a standstill.
Shah Nawaz got himself a freelance gig at a game development studio, while Faisal chose to give his doodles a serious life, while teaching animation on the sides. There are frequent posts asking Faisal how he designs the gags, and indeed even come up with the ideas. Faisal, who occasionally interacts with fans, smiles when the question is put to him. I make a note of them immediately. When I am working on a gag, I go to these ideas and think on devising something on these lines," he says.
It is done in three layers. The first layer is designing the characters. The second layer is the text and the third layer is merging the two. If they are negative, then I go back to the tablet to redesign.
There is a reason behind that too. Faisal says the vast majority of the people who have liked the page login during that time.
From then on till midnight I track the status of the gag. Once it hits a saturation point it goes stable and I stop tracking, deleting, and blocking off unnecessary posts," he says. A typical Guduu gag As much as Faisal is spontaneous and creative, Shah Nawaz is planned and organised.
For him, the day involves meetings and drawing up future plans for Garbage Bin Studios, and the night involves coding the forthcoming app, balancing his freelance work all along. But how does it help the long-term sustainability of the duo? They admit that they have a few monetisation ideas including selling Guddu and Gang merchandise via their newly-launched website , and the forthcoming mobile app, which will be ad-supported. Explaining both, Faisal says, "I am heavily inspired by the artistes from MAD magazine, who have always labelled themselves as garbage, despite their work being top notch.
As for the second one, the comic is a reminder that we are not, and nor will we ever be, bigger than the people who have made it popular.
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