India-based UTV Motion Pictures and its SpotBoy production arm are working with Virgin Comics, a division of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, to collaborate on four new superhero franchises.

The brands will be leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming. The stories will initially be released as graphic novels published worldwide by Virgin. The first books are due out by the end of the year.

The characters will be 'rooted in an Indian ideology and borne from the minds of the country's leading writers and artists,' the companies said. The characters will be specifically aimed at India's 550m teenagers.

Suresh Seetharaman, president of Virgin Comics and Vikas Bahl of UTVM, will be managing the partnership and supervising the creative development.

Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan said: This new relationship with UTV Motion Pictures is a perfect extension of what we do best and we are thrilled to be working with Ronnie and his team.'

Ronnie Screwvala, chairman of UTV Motion Pictures, added: 'Virgin Comics is an ideal partner as we look to develop new content in the character entertainment space. Their expertise and global resources will allow us to create superheroes that touch the hearts of audiences worldwide.'