To coincide with International Women’s Day weekend, Pakistani Transmedia Company, Optera Digital launched their original comic Reality Girl on 9th March 2019. Due to the overwhelming response, Reality Girl has been launched digitally as of 31st July 2019.
The comic was launched at All Things Superhero in F-7 Markaz, Islamabad, where all physical copies were sold out within three hours of the launch. When asked about the turnout at the event, Ali Tariq, the owner of All Things Superhero had this to say, “It is so heartening to see the comic trend picking up in Pakistan since the last couple of years where more and more young writers and artists are encouraged to come up with their own projects. The launch of Reality Girl is one big step in that direction. Kudos to the entire team behind the project.”
In addition to over eighty people in attendance, the event was also covered by the news team of Channel 92 and attended by various celebrity influencers including Usman Mukhtar who was pleased with the promotion of comic books in Pakistan. One of the attendees, had this to say about the event and the impact of Reality Girl, “The launch deserved all the overwhelming responses that it received (from what I witnessed). It was an honor to meet the humble creators of this amazing comic book prologue, that revolves around a much-needed awareness about child labor and child abuse.”
The concept of Reality Girl was created by Abbas Saleem Khan, the CEO of Optera Digital, with the aim of highlighting various issues that take place in Pakistani society, as well as on a global scale. The eight-page issue launched, was illustrated by Nabeel Rooshan and penned by Shershah Ahmed and Khaya Ahmed; the latter, whose previous writing credits include Burka Avenger and Ms. Marvel.
The story of Reality Girl centers around Sarah, a privileged young girl who is forced to take action when she sees a street child getting abused and forced into prostitution by a bus stop owner. The story itself was inspired by a documentary by Mohammed Naqvi, and British producer Jamie Doran titled “Pakistan’s Hidden Shame,” which sheds light on the difficult life of homeless children as well as the horrors they often face.
Due to the nature of events, the comic is only intended for audiences above the age of 16. The comic was developed after extensive research, as well as reaching out to various organizations dedicated towards rehabilitating street children which included; Aas Trust, LettuceBee Kids, Sahil, and SOS Children’s Villages. The names of the following organizations were also added to the end of the book along with a way to contact them and make a donation.
The comic was released to tackle the issue of abuse that bus stop children face.
“Reality Girl is an urban Call to Action that can be applied anywhere. Whether you are in Islamabad, Nairobi, Amsterdam or Los Angeles, the story of Sarah allows the reader to participate in a greater conversation of the challenges that street children face. Our hope is that once readers participate in this narrative, they discuss ways to create an empathetic bridge with the world around them,” were Abbas Saleem Khan’s thoughts on the reception and importance of Reality Girl.
As one of the only transmedia companies in Pakistan, the core goal of Optera Digital is focusing on digital transformation and user participation and engagement. The company’s clients include Jazz, Novartis, Ignite, ICI Pakistan, World Bank, UNDP, and PTCL. The company is also a recipient of the ICT-Related Grant for Innovative Product Development; which is being used to develop a system for holographic advertising in Augmented Reality products.
Now available to read on Optera Digital’s website for free, click on Read Reality Girl to read comic.