The story in Raj Solanki’s latest graphic novel idea takes place in India. There, two kids have “figured out a way to harness the powers of the Hindu pantheon of gods. And then that leads them on a path to seeking out different artifacts that will give them different powers in a quest to eventually find a bad guy who’s trying to also get those powers,” Solanki said.
“Over the last four or five years, I’ve really been trying to jump into Indian culture more. I was born and raised in America. And I think as the son of immigrants, I’m of two worlds,” he said. “I was born here, but then there’s also the side of me that was raised with Indian parents. I think for a long time, I ignored some of that. And then as I’ve started reconnecting with that, I wanted a story for Indian kids, that they could see heroes that like look like that.”
And Solanki has a long term goal for his work. He’s finished writing and drawing a few pages, but he envisions it eventually being published in five volumes, each about 200 pages.
“I’ve recently really been trying to change my mindset that I don’t have to work fast,” he said. “I just want to put a good story out. And however long that takes me is how long it takes me, which has been kind of freeing. I just take my time. At some point, if this gains traction and popularity online, then I’ll probably have to give myself deadlines and things like that. But right now, let me start with a good story. Let me really spend a lot of time on the writing, before jumping full steam ahead.”
Solanki grew up in the Dallas area and then graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in marketing. While in college, he became a Christian and decided to attend Denver Seminary.
“I figured, if I’m jumping into Christianity, I should know what I’m jumping into,” he said. “And that kind of led me to theology. Not necessarily for a vocation or anything like that, but more just for learning.”
And while in seminary in Denver, Solanki’s wife Brandi, a Waco native, encouraged him to pursue his art, which he got serious about seven or eight years ago.
“I’d never thought of it as a career,” he said, “but she was like, ‘Hey. You’re good at this.’”
And that’s what really started me thinking about it and led to the path of slowly learning the fundamentals and a lot of stuff that I never had formal education on or anything like that.”
On Solanki’s website — RansomComic.com — viewers can see several pages of a graphic novel that he began but chose not to finish. He had just completed his master’s of theology in Denver, and was hoping to draw and write a story that would “resonate with Christians that could be kind of like an analogy to the Bible. I’ve evolved more spiritually since even that point, so I think my views are a little different than they were then. But also, I felt like I was just trying to fit a demographic instead of what I really was passionate about,” he said.
Solanki frequently posts on his Instagram page characters he’s currently working on, characters that may someday end up in his published graphic novel.
Expanding Waco’s Public Art
Raj Solanki was part of a team that created a 10-year public art plan for the city of Waco. He worked on the plan with fellow artist Tashita Bibles and urban planner Chris McGowan, and the data showed that there is a desire for more art in the city, Solanki said.
“People love public art. People want public art in different forms — statues, murals, things like that — but they want it to spread outside of just downtown,” he said.
Solanki was then asked to design the presentation that was given to the Waco City Council, which can be viewed at here.