With the Comics trend growing and flourishing in Pakistan, Arslan bin Naseer is one of the creative contributors to thousands of laughs every day. An MSc by career & a comic writer as a hobby, Arslan & his comics have gone viral all over the internet, the oldest members of the Burka Avenger team who is still working on the project. His thought provoking and rebellious, Comics by Arslan is much-admired by the youngsters with as many as 500,000 fans on social media. His cartoons and comic illustrations have been screened on numerous news channels. Here he gave a small interview to Social Diary, so know about a calm guy behind all the loud characters… here you go…!!
1. Let’s start with getting to know you better; your family background, education and your childhood?
I am an Army Brat and did my schooling from a military school as well. After graduating from school I moved to Ireland for my bachelors in Business, stayed there for about 6 years, got a job there as well. After working for about two years I wanted to come back to Pakistan, so I left the job, moved to England to complete my Masters. After almost 8 – 9 years of living abroad, I realized that no matter how hard I try, I am a true Desi at heart and that’s not going to change any time soon. That helped me with the decision of moving back to Pakistan which I don’t regret at all!
2. How did an MSc in Marketing start ‘Comics by Arslan’ on social media? What inspired you to discover this side of yours?
I believe that each one of us is unique and talented in one way or another; we just need to stop comparing ourselves with others. I have been into arts all my life, and upon my return back to Pakistan, I realized that people here desperately needed some humor in their life. So I thought of putting in my two cents by starting something like this on the Social media.
3. How old were you when u drew your first comic art?
I can’t recall that but I am sure I learnt this before I learnt how to write.
4. How do you define success?
Many would equate money and power with success but it’s not true, everyone measures success differently. To me it’s finding your purpose of life and living it!
5. Being a ardent viewer of your art, I have seen many a visitors of your page criticizing your point of view. How do you handle them?
The content that I generate is quite engaging and you see 1000s of comments on each of the CBA post. Honestly, owing to my busy routine, I hardly get the time to go through each post but then thanks to my page admins that’s being sorted on regular basis.
Also, I have been very vocal about the fact that I am not perfect neither do I want to be. I completely understand if someone doesn’t find my work funny, half of the things that I post on my blog, even I don’t find them funny. There are many rumors out there of people who criticize my work, labeling me as someone who is rude but that’s not true, I only do comedy. There are big names in the comedy industry who on stage crack jokes that might fall into racism but no one minds that since everybody in the audience know it’s all done in the name of humor and they don’t actually mean that. Problem with reading something on the social media is that audience somehow forgets that its “Comics” page and it’s all done in good humor. People who know me personally know that I am respectful to everyone.
6. Besides running the comics’ art page, what do you do for living?
I am a graduate in Marketing and I work in the Telecom sector.
7. What are your hobbies and how do you spend your free time?
Comic making is actually my hobby I have a separate day job
8. Do you ever feel the impulse to not draw comics, and if yes, then why?
I don’t actually
9. Anything you would like to say for those people who base their work on ideas taken from your comics and present it as their own?
It is actually sad to see others stealing ideas, altering it a little and presenting it as their own but I would rather not respond to them. I think the audience is mature enough to assess whose generating original work and who isn’t.
10. Share with us one of your craziest fan story!
They have always been very nice, but yes some people they react in somewhat weird ways. I respect my fans a lot and I wouldn’t actually like to share any weird experiences. Whatever they do is out of pure love so I don’t really mind.
11. After so much success, are there people still who says like, ‘beta ye kia faaltu kaam kerty ho tum?’
People who are close to me don’t say anything like that and those who contribute too little to my life are not worth listening to 🙂
12. Which living person do you most admire, and why?
In another interview I had named Dr. Amir Liaquat Hussain as the person I admire the most and I would still stick to it. With so much controversy attached to him, he has done pretty well and has also managed to launch a new lawn too now 😉
13. How do you conceptualize your characters? From where do you get inspiration?
I am a keen observer and most of my characters are based on people I come across in my everyday life.
14. What has been your biggest disappointment?
It’s usually people whom you expect too much from, disappoint you. So I try to keep my expectations as low as possible and it helps me a great deal.
15. What is your greatest fear?
It has to be the fear of heights and I am kind of scared of microwaves as well. Don’t ask me why but microwares are creepy machines
16. You have thousands of female fans. How many times have you been proposed online?
Having a huge female following is both good and bad at the same time. The good part is that female fans are not only respectful, they promote you, they fight for you, they are not afraid of expressing their love and this is what makes them special. Bad thing about having a female following is that men usually don’t like that; there are many men out there who just hate me for the same reason. But then as they say haters are confused admirers so I don’t really mind. I have got a huge male following too who have been following my work since the start and have been too kind to me. About proposals, no I don’t get them but yeah people some girls they just do it for the sake of fun.
17. Your piece of word to the Pakistani youth?
My advice to the youth would be that don’t be afraid of failure. Fear of failure keeps many people from ever trying anything they are not 100 percent sure they will accomplish. Take reasonable risks and if you fail, learn from the experience.