Comics for a Difference – An interview with Arslan bin Naseer of ‘Comics by Arslan’

Aug 4, 2012 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Cover Story

A special thanks to Iqra Sajid for making this interview possible.

With the comics trend flourishing and blooming in Pakistan, Arslan bin Naseer is one of the prolific contributors to thousands of laughs everyday. An MSc by career & a comic writer as a hobby, Arslan & his comics have gone viral throughout the internet. We, at Youth Correspondent, on his birthday, bring to you an exclusive interview with this down to earth man and dedicate it to him as a belated birthday gift for lightening up our hearts everyday.

Why are most of your Facebook statuses regarding the ‘Awkward Moments’?
Well most of my facebook statuses are based on my personal experiences and they generally are pretty awkward.  Besides that I don’t think my friends and subscribers would really like to see me sharing status updates on how happy I am today or how much I love rainbows and riding unicorns! I am sure they have many in their facebook lists who already share such statuses.

Your word for those who use your comics by their own names, even removing the water-mark.
Well I don’t really have much to say to them but I wonder why we always utilize our energies in a negative manner? We Pakistanis are amazingly capable but unfortunately we don’t realize that yet. O and by the way it’s not only Pakistan, my work has actually got pretty viral across the border as well and they actually took pride in removing my watermarks and signatures from each and every comic.  I guess my work was the most stolen work on internet last year but then how long do they think they would hold me back?  I might have reached the 50k fan mark a few months earlier if my work had not been stolen, but then eventually I did. The bigger the CBA Community gets the lesser will be the piracy.  Thanks to the CBA supporters, whenever they see my work stolen somewhere they inform me and post comments there as well.  I get 2 – 3 inbox messages everyday of people giving me links to websites or facebook pages where my work has been used without my watermarks and signatures.  Sad stuff really but then that’s how it is. I mean I know how much effort I put in each and every comic. It’s easy to share someone else’s work on a facebook page and mind you such pages are huge! But tell them to try making if not one new comic a da , 10 good comics in two months? They might realize how much effort it takes.

Top 3 reasons why you ban people from the page.
Glad you came up with that I would like to clear the readers here that we have a team of admins that run the Comics By Arslan page. I myself can’t go through what these many individual posts on the page.

Secondly I wonder why people don’t understand the fact that it’s a “comics” page.  We are meant to make fun of stuff that we come across every day. We simply ban people who don’t have a sense of humor.  If we crack a sexist joke that doesn’t actually mean that we are sexists!  Sense of humor is the top most reason why people get a boot from the page. Presently there are many albums on the CBA page where people actually enjoy the comments posted on the comic more than the comic itself and this is what I want. I want to build up a community of people with good sense of humor. Pakistanis are really funny people and I would actually like to bring out their funny side through all this. Better to have 300 funny people on the page than to have 90 thousand boring people with no sense of humor.

Then if you look at the title of my facebook page it says “Comics by Arslan” and that suggests that these are Arslan’s personal opinions. Some of my really close friends don’t even like my work and I hang out with them all the time.  Some of them even joined my page when we already had more than 15k fans, so I completely understand if you don’t like my work!  If you don’t agree to my opinion you are perfectly normal! But then what are you doing on my page? Lets put it this way when in school, we all have/had that little circle of friends where we shared same kind of interests and humor. We never wanted to hang out with 80 other students?  This is exactly what we are working on, building our very own CBA community!  We want to spend time with funny people who think like us, we want them to interact with us and each other and have a good laugh!  I know that if I get a hate comment on my page there are many others too who would reply the person and might shut him up as well but I don’t want all that mess and for that reason we simply ban them.  I visit my page to have a laugh and I am sure many others too.  When we ban someone It’s not that we don’t like them, we are actually giving them a favor! We just tell them that this is how we are and since you don’t like how we behave you shouldn’t be here?

I have told the admin at my page that they don’t have to worry about how many LIKES we get in a day. We just don’t want any trouble makers in the CBA Community.

Some people might get this impression that we act big by banning that many people on the page but that is not true. I absolutely hate the fact when people act big just because they have something very little and people who think that having a facebook page with 50k likes is something big? They should meet me in person and see how casually I take all this.  We have many people on the page who are commenting since the start and they never get a boot? But if you think that you can post hate comments and get away with it? Then I am sorry that is not going to happen. You don’t like me? Good enough,  please leave. That’s exactly what I always say that be nice to people but do remember that you can’t please everyone. Life is too short to try and convince everyone around you, just be yourself and eventually you will find people with similar interests.

What do you wish to change in Pakistan through your comics?
When living abroad I used to see our news channels just to get a feel as to how are things back home and believe me I used to go into that constant state of depression. My friends there told me that I am actually mad to even think about moving back to Pakistan, but when I came back I realized that ok things are not that great but it’s not that bad either. Every nation goes through a phase and so are we. Thanks to what we see on our TV sets all day we don’t even realize how much depress and hopeless we get. I don’t even like the idea of TV show hosts mocking our leaders! I mean what message are we actually conveying by doing all that? Is it that these are the ones that rule us and if they themselves are that corrupt why on earth should we be loyal to what we do? We are actually giving this impression that since the head of the state is making money in millions then there is no harm if we make some extra bucks as well! Leave the stuff that they show on TV aside but when I saw all those depressing videos and articles shared by my friends on the Social Media , I reached my limit!

To me social media is something very private, you sit alone in front of a computer, there is no distraction as such and that is the place where it can affect you the most. I mean most of us use our laptops in bed.  I wanted to create at least one place where one can simply log on and have a good time, where people can take their mind off all the worries that we deal with every day. Let’s be honest, we all have problems! Life is never easy and it never was!  Whether you are a student at school or a CEO you would have always have problems to deal with. Then on top of it we tune into the current affairs and realize that how deep of a mess we are into? Horrible really! Through my comics, I only remind people to smile! Smile at little things in life that surround us which we seem to have forgotten.

What is your educational background?
I did my schooling in Pakistan then I moved to Ireland for my bachelors in Business administration. After that I worked there for a couple of years in an accountancy firm and realized how boring it was (they pay good money though) so I decided to do something marketing and for that I moved to England and did my MSc. in Marketing.  O and by the way any employers out there who want to have a funny as hell coworker? Please contact me? I work good too!

P.S: I am not cheap ;)

Share with us your craziest fan story!
Yeah a fan of mine banged his head in the wall, set him on fire and jumped off a bridge because I was ignoring his messages. Emmm Ok I made that up but crazy fans? Really?  Lol I even find it funny when people talk about me having fans. They are actually nice people who tolerate me and appreciate my work so thanks to them and no I don’t have any crazy fan stories :). I am just an average guy who can draw and I am sure there are a million other people out there who are much talented than me!

How old were you when u drew your first comic?
I have no clue when it all started because I was too young to remember. The first drawing that I remember of mine was when I was 6 – 7 years old. I was sitting with my father and my sister and they both drew a frog which I did too. My father when looked at the drawings told me that mine was better and my sister didn’t like it a bit! lol ( she won’t like it reading this too, aaah girls! They get jealous easily) oh and btw I love you Apee, Mom, Dad, Ad bhaii , Sufi,  my two gorgeous nieces and a macho nephew !!!  They live quite far and I miss them!

After so much success, are there people still who go like, ‘beta ye kia faaltu kaam kerty ho tum?’
Lol I know what you mean but no it’s not like that anymore because I work 9 – 5 and this is something I do after work so no one actually minds and then there are not many people who can actually say that to my face lol. My parents actually support me on this and if things go as planned I might give up my career soon and do some serious art work. But yeah I know what youngsters go through because I myself have been a victim of all that crap. After college I got admission in all leading art schools and I also got in one of the leading engineering colleges here in Pakistan, so when I told the world that I would like to join the art school a tornado struck! Everybody in my family and who were not even family they all came up to me telling me that how big of an idiot I am. So I gave up arts and joined engineering, which eventually I left after a few months and then moved abroad. That experience made me realize that one should only do what he/she feels like and ignore all the comments that others around us are always willing to pass on.  Our parents they always want well for us and I completely understand their point but then I would blame the child as well because most of the times it’s us who are not too sure as to what we really want. So yeah an advice to all those young kids out there! Clear up your head and set your priorities and if possible do consult some professionals before choosing a career because this is really important.

Is it true that the best ideas come while in the rest-room?
Not true in my case actually, I find using the rest room pretty depressing.  I used to take in my text books in there before exams because I can concentrate better on all the boring stuff in there. Comic ideas I don’t think I would get any in there.

One of your comics (regarding waking up early) has gone viral throughout the world, been translated in Russian & Arabic. How much over whelming is it?
Yeah it’s actually pretty cool! Personally speaking I don’t even like that comic lol. I had the idea since long and then one day I had nothing else to draw so I drew that. The drawing that I did in that one is something I hate as well but then I didn’t know it would go that viral.  For me Its kind of funny because the stuff that I like doesn’t usually get that much appreciation as compared to appreciation I got from some of my other work.

You’ve been collecting ‘fraaandship’ messages all over Facebook. Your fans would love to know how many do you get for yourself?
I don’t get them.  I mean I don’t know why people have this impression that I would be getting loads of them? But I actually don’t (and I think I wouldn’t mind *cough*). I like making meeting new fraands. People usually avoid me.

Your piece of word to the Pakistani youth.
Be yourself and speak up! Believe me it’s not that hard, the only hard part is when you get beaten up. Once people beat you down, you actually get inner peace and you get rid of your inner fears. I left home when I was 11 and I have got beaten up countless times. I remember this instance when I was on the ground and there were at least 22 guys who were hitting me like anything. Talk about being embarrassed but then it’s not as bad as it seems. You speak up, you get beaten and you get stronger. So it’s a win-win situation! Besides that getting beaten up is something very important, you actually get to know your real worth when you are on the ground lying like a sack of potatoes and there are guys who are kicking the *peep* out of you!  In Pakistan a male child is treated pretty special at home and they feel that they are someone important! So for boys it’s a must to get beaten up because the world outside doesn’t actually give a damn to how special you are. The sooner you realize that the better. And an advice to all the girls out there who are getting into some kind of relation? Do ask the boy if he got beaten up ever? If he goes all macho and tells you stories about how he used to beat the hell out of 6 men at the same time? Don’t even think twice and just move on! Look for someone who actually knows his worth. O and yeah exceptions are always there emmmm I know some guys who can actually do that Mr. Chuck Norris and Sunny Deol.

Your views about Youth Correspondent.
To me personally it’s an amazing initiative! The youth anywhere in the world is the most valuable human resource a country can get and educating them is not only important but it’s also noble. I personally have very high hopes with our youth because I find them responsible for bringing in change and innovation. Let’s just stop complaining about what good or bad our elders have done because it’s our time now and we the youth have the zeal to initiate a revolution. Double thumbs up to the Youth Correspondent’s team, you guys are doing a fine job and I wish you the very best.

The Author

We bring to you news and reviews from around Pakistan on fashion, food, music, movies, books, politics, celebrities and much more. Youth Correspondent is an online English weekly magazine of Pakistan.

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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Awesome interview :)

    Current score: 1
  • Awesome interview :)

    Arslan Naseer you are Amazing, Kind, Smart, Talented and Funny guy i really love ur comics n stuff.

    Current score: 2

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