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Nish’s Notepad: The Itch You Can’t Scratch

2 Jun

Post India’s first Comic Con, I read an awesome book, which admittedly I should have reviewed somewhere in February, but my apologies for being late people!

After 20th Feb, 2011 or Day 2 of the Comic Con, as some like to call it; the first graphic novel I read was “The Itch You Can’t Scratch”.

Story: Sumit Kumar
Art: Sumit Kumar
Cover: Amitabh Thakur
Title: Adhiraj Singh
Editor: Anant Singh

Now the question comes why only this? There are a couple of reasons for choosing TIYCS as the first one to read, but the main point which led me to start this heavy 178 pages comic is that it is a collection of different short stories.

Almost immediately my interest was captured when I saw familiar faces talking to each other in the initial pages of the comic – Jatin Verma, Pran, Adhiraj Singh and the man himself- Sumit Kumar. The next interesting thing to me was the language used : a mixture of hindi and English : Hinglish! This comic is an easy read and even easier to connect with because of the way it is written. It would seem as if you are listening to a close friend talking .

This story narrates the life of Sumit Kumar as he takes the reader through his eventful life, which more often than not are quite funny!. The issue I faced was that I could only relate to select few incidents as I am yet to come out of school and this book talks about college and adult life too.But it was nice reading about what I’ll go through in a few years. I just hope my experiences are less humorous and more mundane!

Now onto the story,the roller coaster life of Sumit is as interesting as girls find Justin Bieber. I liked the story, I liked the narration and I liked the CRAPPY yet suitable artwork. The BEST-EST-EST thing about the book is the title, and the connected end of the story (before future predictions; Page 118-125). I have so many personal favourites in this book, that I can write another book on it. I am trying to avoid spoilers here so that you can go out and buy the book yourself to read and relish. Suffice to say it’s a slice in life humorous take on Sumit’s life, and I am sure you would find glimpses of your own life as you read through Sumit’s. Some incidents will make you cringe, some would make you feel sheepish and some would make you laugh out loud!

I read it in 4 hours in one night flat and laughed my ass out. Dude, those 4 hours spent with coke and this comic were awesome. I had my 9th finals a few days after, so I wasn’t able to dissect it properly, but now I can speak about it on Comic Addicts!

After the enormous amount of praise for the story, let me come to the art. Although the art suited the story, but I expected more out of 350 bucks as the art is very very basic, somewhat cartoonish in not a good way. I am not deriding the art as it suited the story just fine, but just pointing out that if I pay 350 bucks for a comic book, i expect better art. If it had been 100 less, you’ll see TIYCS as popular as Wimpy Kid. I mean it is, but people prefer borrowing it rather than buying it.

Now for a special guest appearance, I have a little review from a friend, who is into comics, but not a comic addict like me-Arnav Singh.I loaned him this book and he came back with this:

Bhai, Mazza aa gaya ye book padhke. It was awesome, especially the GIRLS wala part :P.. Ahahahahahahahaha 😀

Nevertheless, Sumit Kumar’s comic autobiography despite his crappy yet suitable artwork is a must read. So if you can’t buy it ( hello 350 Rupees? ) borrow it .

Art: 2/5
Story: 4/5
Quality: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Edited By Mayank Khurana 🙂

Vimanika in Action: A Comicon India retrospective

4 Mar

We sat down with Karan Vir Arora (Vimanika Comics) to take his perspective on recently concluded Comicon India.

Q: What did you think of the first edition of Comicon?
A: Well we just loved the 1st annual comic con in Dilli Haat ! we knew and believed in it from the day one that Jatin and his team could pull off such magnifico event , not only pull off but manage it superbly !

It was profitable for everyone ,we sold out! I mean people were ready to buy our wet posters and comics too!!(Post rain).

Not only did publishers and retailers get a chance to showcase their stuff but Aritists and writers too!

Q: What were your experiences during the con?
A: Well to start with as I landed at my stall and took out our comics people started to flock around and the stuff started to sell out like hot cakes like they were hungry tigers waiting for their hunt to arrive ,only this time comics were the hunt! I did not even get a chance to set up our stall!!

We also did quite a few workshops – how to write comics -was brilliantly presented by Kshitish and how to draw comics by Ratnakar singh and his team.And finally i did a interactive session with the fanboys and gals, post that i aswered loads of questions , Roamed around with Kalki in flesh and blood! -where people were holding on to him to get a shot with him,the model btw came all the way from Chandigarh to do this 🙂

It was lot of fun i was not free for a sec also ,selling comics,fans getting their pics clicked with us,signing autographs,taking workshops,interacting with the Media electronic and print and finally interacting with the Vimaniks!!! z

loved every bit of it ! Thats life!

Q:What are your plans for the next con?
A: Oh you gonna love what we got for next year ,its going to blow your mind ,lets just keep that a secret for now 🙂

Cause its only the beginning for Vimanika and Comic con India!!!

Exclusive: Level 10 on Comicon India

28 Feb
Shreyas and Suhas  , Level 10’s dynamic duo offer their perspective on Comicon India exclusively to the adventures team..

What is your take on Comicon india 2011?
Totally exceeded any and all expectations we had. We were kinda expecting a small intimate affair with a smattering of comic aficionados. We were caught surprised, and certainly did not expect the kind of footfall the con finally received. This may have had a lot to do with the location (Dilli Haat), but we sold out all our comics, that means as far as comic enthusiasts are concerned, they were present in droves!
 What did you do throughout the comicon?
Visited all the stalls, met with a lot of fans. It was almost like attending a small gathering of friends. Many of our comic followers I know only by their handle or name via facebook and emails. It was refreshing to put a face to the name and finally get a chance to talk comics with more of our ilk
Are you coming back next year? If yes what are your plans?
Absolutely! Next year we shall do more cosplay and of course carry a lot more books 🙂
What are your expectations from next comicon?

We expect more people to turn up. If this comic con taught us anything is that comic fans come in all shapes, sizes and ages and with this con, hopefully more fans would be enticed to crawl out of the woodwork and proclaim their love for this medium more openly. We have hidden in the shadows for too long, now India, nay the world shall bear witness to the eccentricities of the Indian Comic Buff! 

Ravanayan Creators on Comicon India

27 Feb
Vivek Goel and Vijayendra Mohanty

Vijayendra Mohanty and Vivek Goel, the brains behind the upcoming Ravanayan series share with us their first hand perspective on Comicon India:

What’s your take on the first comicon

VG: First of all, we actually did not planned to visit comic con, 3 weeks before the event i recieved an invitation frm Jatin Verma for Ravanayan, myself and Mohanty asking us to conduct a workshop. We spoke bout our presence in it and then decided to be a part of it as this would have been the biggest exposure for Ravanayan to all the comic fans in India under a single roof !! I then decided to make 2 exclusive posters of Ravanayan just for the comic con.

 It was truly an amazing experience for us being an insider of the industry and to actually participate in the convention. Though very small as compared to the san diago comic con etc. but no less than in spirit !!! You should have seen the cosplays and that too mostly among adults proving beautifully that comics are no longer just for kids 🙂 

VM: As Vivek says, I think that the Comic Con was a great success. It got looking in the general direction of the community and it made something of a splash in the media.

As one of my friends pointed out, perhaps, in the years to come, the Con will attract a more dedicated adult audience. As it is, the people most enthusiastic about the event were people our age — the ones who grew up reading comics and battling misconceptions.

What did you do at Comicon?

VM: The one thing that we did most at the ComicCon was have fun. The convention was something of an oddity for me (and I suppose many others). The comic book fandom in India is not organised, except when the organisation in question is an online mailing list or a close-knit community of like-minded friends. So a space and an event dedicated especially to the comic book cause was a most welcome change. Our official purpose for being at the convention was to promote Ravanayan, our upcoming comic series, and that purpose was served beautifully.

VG: We did a workshop on ravanayan (i did a lecture on cover making) on the 1st day and did a signing session on the 2nd day where amazingly my friend and ravanayan colourist Yogesh was also present. I donned a horned headgear and a fake moustache to come into the charecter..Hope people enjoyed that.


What’s ahead for the Ravanayan Team?

VG: Strategy for ravanayan remains the same as i told u in the last interview, just the 1st issue will now come in double size in May 😉 
Publisher is very much finalised but this is still not the time to reveal it. March would be it.

Mark my words man, the next comic con would be huge !! The success of this event has paved the way for a much bigger event frm next year onwards. This was more like an experiment for all of us (publishers and artists) that is precisely why  most of the artist community just came as spectators. People will have a clearer idea what to do and expect from next time onwards.

You will not find us doing any workshop frm now on, as we will be inside a booth 😉

The time of just knowing the character and its comic books is gone, with events like these now titles will be known by their creators as these events give people like us to get connected to the random reader directly and vice versa.

For the 1st time in my life i had so many things to do and so many people to meet and 8 hours seemed too short. It felt like a 2nd home to me (its just the toilet was too far away..lolz)

Comicon Retrospective: Campfire Graphic novels

25 Feb

Chief Editor Campfire Graphic Novels Andrew Dodd shares his perspective of Comicon with us. 

Comic Con India 2011
It has never happened before, but it’s sure to happen again. Last weekend, fifteen thousand comic book fans gathered together in Delhi for India’s first ever comic con.
The two-day convention was a phenomenal success, far exceeding the expectations of both the organisers (Twenty Onwards Media) and the participants. In its inaugural year, this annual comic con provided a much-needed platform for publishers, retailers, writers and illustrators to meet with each other, and with their fans, in a relaxed environment.  Most of the 35 companies present boasted sales much above what they had anticipated. Campfire graphic novels, for example, raked in more revenue during the first day of the comic con than in 10 days at the Delhi Book Fair, whilst Level 10 Comics and Vimanika sold out of all their stock by half way through the second day.
Sales, although important, were of course only one aspect of the event. A programme of workshops, activities and book launches literally took centre stage in a dedicated area at the hub of the venue. This allowed the publishers to showcase their work to the public in a fun and interactive way.
The location itself acted as the perfect backdrop for this kind of event. Dilli Haat is a venue which has been created to replicate the feel of a traditional Indian marketplace. It offers handicrafts, food and cultural activities from every part of India. Therefore, the infrastructure necessary for a comic con was already in place, with catering, parking and the stall setup being taken care of. Holding the convention in such a place allowed the comic book industry to increase its exposure to the general public. With thousands visiting Dilli Haat on a daily basis, it was great to see people previously unaware of the comic book medium being drawn in by what they saw. There was a perfect blend of lifelong enthusiasts and curious newcomers, and it was awesome to see them mingling.
Some of the enthusiasts made a particular effort to stand out from the crowd – and did so brilliantly. Inspired by the chance to win one of various prizes, many attendees turned up in full costume, as a comic book character of their choice. From American superheroes such as Superman, Wolverine and Harley Quinn to local Indian heroes like Chacha Chaudhary, all those who dressed up appeared to be having a great time.
In addition to the costume contest prizes, and of much greater importance, was a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Anant Pai.  Anant Pai is the founder of Amar Chitra Katha, the most successful comic book publisher in the history of Indian comics, and his work in converting Indian epics, mythology, history, folklore and fables into the comic book format is unprecedented. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to him by another legend of Indian comics – Pran Kumar, the creator and illustrator of Chacha Chaudhary. With both the old guard and the new innovators of Indian comics all present in one place for the first time, this festival and celebration of comic books had a true feeling of completeness.
With India’s comic book and graphic novel market still in a fairly nascent stage, this was the perfect time for the subcontinent to have its first event of this nature. The air of optimism regarding the current state of Indian comics was tangible to anyone in attendance. There was a buzz about the place, and a real feeling that this is the kind of platform that will catapult the comic book format into India’s public consciousness.
That said, most Indians are not totally unfamiliar with comics. Since the late 1960s, publishers such as  Amar Chitra Katha and Diamond Comics have been hugely popular with a large portion of the Indian market. However, the popularity of the medium plummeted in the 90s, with the advent of satellite television and, more specifically, animated series on Cartoon Network and Pogo. This, along with the prevalence of games consoles and the internet, has meant stiff competition for all varieties of publishers – not least those focusing on the comic book medium.
And that is why the recent steady growth in the popularity of this medium, culminating in the industry’s ability to stage such a successful comic con, feels like the start of a renaissance period for comics in this part of the world.
All the signs from this spectacular weekend are positive. From the attendance figures and the sales revenues to the press coverage and the general excitement of the public, comic con has certainly proved that there is a place for comics and graphic novels in the hearts and bookshelves of people in India, and that big things lie ahead for all those involved.
Here’s to next year, and an even bigger and better Comic Con India in 2012.