Jason Michalski talks about GANDHI: THE BEAST WITHIN

When you hear a pitch about a comic featuring Gandhi, you think it might be a bio-comic. Gandhi is best known and loved for his non-violent victory over the British forces that had colonized India. He is the role model for every non-violent protest everywhere in the world. What if, that wasn’t by choice? Gandhi: The Beast Within views Gandhi through just that lens. Don’t make Gandhi angry, you wouldn’t like him when he is angry.

First Comics News: Gandhi: The Beast Within, is this a Hulk/Gandhi mash up?

Jason Michalski: Growing up as a kid, I LOVED Marvel’s “What if?” comics and the Incredible Hulk TV show. I also wanted to make a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously sorta like a Mel Brook’s movie, and still deliver a really fun smash ’em up. At the end of the day, Antonio and I just crammed in everything we loved about old Sci-fi stories, war movies, and comics into one crazy ass story.

1st: Gandhi is the world’s most famous pacifist how did you come up with the idea to make him a hulking figure?

Jason: Like I had mentioned, this is basically a love letter to Marvel’s “What If?” concept. I was in a diner one day with a friend talking about historical figures and I just blurted out the title of the book. The rest of the idea just hit me like a lightning bolt. I ran home, wrote up a one-page summary and sent it over to Antonio Rojo to see if he wanted to work on it with me. Thankfully, he agreed! Antonio is one seriously talented artist and collaborator. I couldn’t have made things happen without him. All of the visuals and design work came right out of his pencil without any help from me. My scripts where pretty flat compared to what he did with him.

1st: So being a pacifist was not a choice, it was a way to keep the monster at bay?

Jason: That’s correct. I bet you’re surprised, huh? After gaining his powers in 1900, he spent his entire life trying to keep the monster at bay because he didn’t want to hurt anyone. I think Gandhi would have become a pacifist, either way, it just turns out he had to do it for different reasons in this universe.

1st: So how does Gandhi get involved with Nazis?

Jason: President Roosevelt, Josef Stalin, and Winston Churchill kidnap Gandhi with the hopes of him agreeing to fight against Hitler. Their plan doesn’t really work out, so they knock him out and drop him on top of Hitler as if he were an atomic bomb.

1st: What is the overreaching story, or is this all Incredible Gandhi fighting Nazis for 120 pages?

Jason: Surprisingly, it’s a very personal story at times. There is a whole cast of supporting characters that we get to know while Gandhi is fighting the good fight against Hitler. It’s not a 120-page slugfest. There is a very good balance of action and talking heads. I think we did a good job with the pacing.

1st: Who are the raging monsters?

Jason: Gandhi, mostly, and the T-Rex he fights and later befriends.

1st: Where do the killer robots come from?

Jason: Hitler had them created as part of the weapons he wanted to use against the Allies.

1st: Where do the flying saucers come from, WWII isn’t known for its interstellar battles?

Jason: The Nazis were always up to some weird sci-fi shit. They created the flying saucers.

1st: How does the Third Reich recruit dinosaurs to their cause?

Jason: Hitler clones them of course. We only get to meet one T-Rex, who by the way, is his favorite pet. We didn’t have enough room for all of them, unfortunately.

1st: So, Gandhi isn’t a pacifist by choice, chooses a course of violence to fight raging monsters, hot dames, a psychotic Führer, killer robots, flying saucers and of course, Nazi dinosaurs. Do you think any of this is offensive to Indians?

Jason: Not at all. There is nothing in the book that portrays Indians in a negative way. It’s a satire in the spirit of Weird Al Yankovic and Mel Brooks.

1st: How much do you have to pledge to get a digital copy?

Jason: $10.00 USD gets you a digital copy of the book along with a digital copy of the sketchbook.

1st: What is the minimum to pledge for a physical copy?

Jason: $15.00 USD + Shipping and you also get the bookmark, sticker, and digital copy.

1st: What other rewards are there for backers of the Kickstarter?


Here are the other rewards:

  • 11×17 Print that that was exclusively created for the Kickstarter
  • 11×17 Print of the book’s cover
  • 11×8 Original Sketches by the series artists Antonio Rojo (These have a limit of 1 backer per piece and they come with a print copy of the book.)
  • A bookmark
  • A sticker
  • Print & Digital copies of the sketchbook
  • Wallpaper image for your PC & Mobile Device

Visit the Gandhi: The Beast Within Kickstarter here!

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