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Comicon Express Mumbai : A Comic Addict’s journey from Delhi to Mumbai

22 Oct

It was a Friday night (yesterday, apparently) and the world was partying, while I was in the office, trying to wrap up my work as soon as possible so that I could go back home and finish my packing. After all, I was leaving Delhi early morning for Mumbai to attend the Comic Con Express – Mumbai representing Comic Addicts
Try hard as I might, it was 11.30pm before I could leave my office and reached home at 12.15am, past midnight, and was dead tired. Took an hour to pack up, another hour to grab a bite and rest my feet for a while and do my part of the preparation for the Comic Con. It was almost 3.30am by the time I was done, and the reporting time for our flight was 5.30am, so I decided not to close my eyes, coz if I did, I was pretty certain that I would miss the flight.
 At 5am I called Mayank and from his greeting it was certain that he had just got up!!! I told him to hurry up and left for the Airport. I reached at 5.30am and strolled around a bit and try to get some fresh air, for a change. I was expecting these guys to arrive any second. At 5.45am I called Mayank and he told me that he was just leaving his house!

Are you kidding me??? The boarding time was 6.30am! I took the PNR number and got the tickets, had 2 coffees while I waited for them. I was almost ready to just go and check in so that at least one of us would be there at the Con! Thankfully just as I was ready to walk in, a car stopped and out stepped the 2 addicts! Phew!

The Amazing sea link bridge
Cut. Check In. Cut Deposit Luggage. Cut Security Check. Cut. The idiots made me take my boots off. Cut. Final Call. Cut. Run. Cut. RUN HARDER. Cut. Running with my boots in one hand and the bag in the other. Cut. Just entered the feeder. Cut. Tied the boots while people stared at me as if I was a terrorist.  Cut. Finally got our seats. Cut. Stupid Security Drill. Cut. Take Off. Cut. Last minute Discussions. Cut. Final checks. Cut. Deepika Dozed off. Cut. Mayank too. Cut. I didn’t. Cut. Watched an episode of True Blood to keep myself awake. Cut. Landed in Mumbai. Cut. Got a taxi. Cut. Long way to the other side of the town. Cut. Hot Mumbai. Cut. Humid Mumbai. Cut. Crossed the magnificent Sea Link Bridge thingy. Cut. Thought it was a little narrow for a densely populated city like Mumbai (what were they afraid of? Stretching in the Sea, for God’s sake!!). Cut. Checked with a shop keeper. Cut. Reached the World Trade Centre. Cut. Wrong Gate. Cut. U Turn. Cut. Right Gate. Cut. Or so we thought. Cut. Got out of the taxi. Cut. Forgot my shirt. Cut. Went to the gate. Cut. Wrong gate. Cut. Right Gate. Cut. Enter: Comic Con Express –Mumbai!
The inauguration ceremony 
Oh man. What a sight it was! I was tired like a dog who had been pulling an ice sledge for the last 48 hours on my way here, just trying so hard not to sleep and as soon as I entered (which was from the Service Entrance, by the way), the first sight the hit me was a HUGE Avengers poster!!!
Zap. Sleep? What sleep!?! Tired? Who’s tired? Hurting? You can’t hurt me. I am Batman!
Headbangers Merchandise
Avengers blew my sleep and body ache! Next sigh, Headbangers Merc! Metallica, Slayer, Ozzy, Judas Priest Tee Shirts. Metallica Action Figures. Badges. Wallets. Everything Heavy and everything METAL.
That’s it. Who could even think of sleep after that??? Mayank and Deepika set up our stall while I went to wash my face and change in the Comic Addicts costume. It was such a rush meeting some old friends, some new ones, several ones for the first time after the Delhi Comic Con in Feb this year.
Akshay Dhar and Vivek Goel 
Saw Vijayendra Mohanty (Ravanayan), Vivek Goel (Holy Cow!), Akshay Dhar (Fellow Addict – Core Member no less, Retrograde, Werehouse), Shamik Dasgupta (another fellow Addict, Ramayana 3392 AD), one and only Kshiraj Telang (do I really need to introduce???), Abhijit Kini (UdBiMa!!!) and MANY other familiar faces.

Bombay Merch 

The good folks from Pop Culture were running all over the place trying to make sure that the cogs were running smoothly and that there were no gaps, nothing missing and basically plugging any last minute gaps. I was very pleased to meet some of our Bombay Correspondents, who had been introduced virtually – online but had never met in person. The cool Addicts who were holding the fort in Mumbai, and all of them have been doing a brilliant job, I must say, are: Aalok, Anubhav, Ashutosh and later joined by the funnyman Vinay and another really helpful volunteer and an honorary Addict, Aakash. Finally we set up the stall and your truly went for a prowl, both to click pictures for the viewing pleasure of all you good folk back home, who couldn’t attend this awesome event and of course, to scout goodies for myself 😀
I saw some really cool cosplayers and was pleasantly surprised! I was a little apprehensive after realizing the location of the venue that probably people might be reluctant to come all the way here just to attend a comic con, but I am SO glad to find out that I was utterly and completely wrong and I had severely underestimated the Comic fans in Mumbai!
Please consider this as a public apology for ever having doubted your dedication and love for the Comic books and all things comic!
Cosplayers!!

There were girls and guys dressed as Fred Flintstones, Naruto, Snow White, Hit Girl, She Hulk (YES, You better believe it and see the pics if you don’t believe me), an awesome Darth Vader, Asterix and MANY MANY more coming in by the minute!

Indian comic industry together with Comic Addicts team
The event kick started with small introduction and lightening of the lamp by the Mr Prem Kamath, Head of Channel V, India. Coincidentally one of the first events of the day was a presentation by Comic Addicts! So ALL the Addicts present took the stage, growled the calling call to gather all geeks and Mayank delivered a power packed and fun filled presentation, taking the audience through the whole idea of Comic Addicts, what, why, when who and where, discussing all aspects we aim to cover and the expectations our fans have with us and what all do we aim to deliver in the coming months! Believe it or not, but our presentation ended with representatives from Vimanika, Level 10, Holy Cow, Pop Culture and Campfire on the stage, together for the FIRST TIME EVER!!! Yes, You’ll probably want to see the pictures before taking my word for it, won’t you??
Our presentation was pretty well received and people started flocking towards our little stall to find out more about us, which felt nice, if I may say so.
I started the whole clicking pictures and explaining people about Comic Addicts. I tried to cover as many cosplayers as possible. Some of them were just brilliant and these addicts need all the encouragement they can get!

Launch of Retrograde
After a while Akshay’s magnum opus Retrograde was launched by VJ Manish and Juhi from Channel V. That was followed by none other than Karan Vir taking over the stage and introducing people to Vimanika, and launching his new publication titled Shiva: The Legend of the Immortal. This was accompanied by a very cool soundtrack for Shiva, joined by a live performance by Shahbaz Mansoory on percussions. And guess who decided to join us in the middle of the presentation? None other than the Lord Shiva himself!!! Yes, I know. We have pics to prove it, so have some faith, won’t you?

Sufi Comics

There was also a nice session by Sufi Comics, Green Gold Animation, which I am sorry to say, couldn’t cover in their entirety because of a sudden influx of dozens of Cos Players who demanded all my attention. Especially someone familiar, who was dressed as none other than Captain Jack Sparrow! Last Con’s winner Daanish, who was dressed as Jafar, was dressed as Jack Sparrow and looked absolutely AWESOME! Initially I thought it was one of those official Disney Costumes, one can order for a fortune from their website, but Capt’n Sparrow took me through each part of his costume and explained how he used different things to look like something else! The sceptic in me scrutinized EVERY part of his costume in the minutest details and believe me, if I am nothing if not a critic and cynic and if I was finally convinced about the authenticity of the costume being handmade, it HAS to be genuine! It was just mind blowing! No wonder he was one of the most popular Cos players this time around too!

Wonder Bai
Oh, how could I forget something so cool!?! Duh! We also had a sizzling hot Wonder Bai between us too!!! She is the Mascot of this Comic Con Express and was a fantastic looking cos player who totally loved her part!
The crowd kept trickling in and there were around 2000 odd people by around 3.00pm. We then had a nice session by the good folks at Level 10 who introduced us with Batu Gaiden and we also saw a kickass trailer of a Batu Gaiden ANIME!! YES!! That’s in the pipeline folks and from the previews it looks totally awesome!!!

Session with Aabid Surti
This was then followed by a very very interesting session with none other than legendary Aabid Surdi, who needs no introduction! He is one of the pioneers and a living legend of the Indian Comic Industry. He has created characters like Dabbu Ji and Bahadur and he shared his amazing experiences with us, including some very interesting facts about Osho and Raj Kapoor being fans of Dabbu Ji and Inspector Azad!
After the captivating interview / session, we were visited by some surprising guests. Bade, Chotte and Bhigi Billi from the music channel 9xM who declared the winner of the Cosplay!
The 3rd place was by Tarzan, 2nd by Jack Sparrow and the 1st by Nighcrawler!
Yes, you heard me. There was a Night Crawler, a Tarzan, A Rogue and MANY other awesome cos players!
By the time today’s proceedings ended, I am pretty sure we were visited by more than 4500 people!!! Which was an astounding and surprisingly pleasant number of people!

AGNI

The day closed with a performance of the band AGNI!!

Your humble correspondent (ok, NOT so humble after all) is dead tired but still not sleepy somehow! I just can’t for tomorrow!!! We have so many cool events lined up for Day 2 (sadly the final one too) and those who are in Mumbai and were unfortunate enough to not turn up today, this is an excellent opportunity for you to come and have the time of your life.
Trust me. Golden Kela Awards by Cyrus Broacha, Session with InkFruit.com, launch of Jungle Book, Preview of Amar Chitra Katha’s Sons of Ram, session with Holy Cow Entertainment and MANY more cool events are lined up for Day 2 and if you miss this, despite being in the city, I indeed pity thee!

Signing off… Dead Man Ridge!
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Calling all Vimaniks! Your leader speaks!

28 Sep
 

HELLO ADDICTS!!
Excited? You should be, Comic Con Mumbai is inching closer and closer with every passing second, minute, hour and day! 
And in the continuing spirit of comic-camaraderie and sharing the joy, we have managed to secure an interview today with Mr. Karan Vir – the envisioner of and man behind Vimanika Comics. He takes time from his busy schedule to share some of his insight and thoughts on comics and the convention(s) and even was good enough to provide quite a few lovely art samplings from some of the beautiful books Vimanika has in the works and on the stands. 
So enjoy it all folks and remember: you keep reading, we’ll keep writing!
 (And as always, remember the images can be clicked for big-ness!)

ComicAddicts: You were at the 1st Delhi Comic Con, how was the experience?

Karan Vir: Very Exhilarating!!
CA: Now we are having another con in Mumbai – do you think its too soon or just right?
KV: Yes we are! I feel its the right time. Its about time! Mumbai needs one.
CA: What are your plans for Mumbai Comic Con ?
KV: We, as Event sponsors of the Mumbai Comic Con Express, have lots of plans under our sleeves – but for now we are launching two super titles there!! Will keep you updated of all other plans as they become concrete.
CA: With mumbai being the hub of entertainment / advertising industry and Comic Cons focus on these two as well (see our last interview with them), do you think comics may get lost or is it good for comic industry?
KV: I think it can be more than a hub for the comic industry, but only if we keep our focus on what we want to achieve and stay united to attain it.
CA: What are your expectations from the Mumbai Con and the fans?
KV: Well I am expecting the best and preparing for the worst and hoping the latter does not turn into a reality!
CA: What one thing are you looking forward to the most?
KV: To our Shiva-TLI Book I launch 🙂
CA: Since you are based in Mumbai, what local flavour are you looking forward to in Mumbai con?
KV: Well the local flavour will be in the crowd/comic fans itself who are coming there .
CA: What are your views on the burgeoning comic scene and Comic Con India ?
KV: Its growing but is only the tip of the iceberg,there is lot more to achieve and to create that culture it needs a consistent unity of all the comic publishers/artists/writers & the most important, the fans ! We still need to learn a lot.
CA: Next steps for you from Comic Con Mumbai?
KV: Well getting ready for Comic Con Delhi !!! What else?!
CA: Any plans for Comic Con Delhi already decided?
KV: Not concrete yet but the plan has started to take form in my mind already, will keep you guys in the loop as they get confirmed! 
So there you have it folks!  More to look forward to and more comic-y goodness to hold you over until you make it to the Convention and all the new comics and big announcements finally seeing light of day! 
So stick around, we’ll be back soon – same comic site, same Comic Addicts!

I am Kalki – The Silver Book – a review

21 Jun

After I got the book in my hands, I decided to first re-read the Golden book to refresh my memory in case there was any continuity involved, but since the Golden book was only a Preview Title, there was little or nothing in the way of a story line. This is particularly helpful for people who don’t have the first book. You can simply pick up the Silver Book and start from here. It all starts here!
The overall art work of the book is excellent and the print and paper quality meets the standard Vimanika has set for them in the industry today. I was a little surprised to find no artist name for the book, I am sure many people would be interested in knowing the artists behind the amazing artwork.

“I am Kalki – The Silver Book” Cover
Cick to view high quality image

Anyway, I digress. Let us come back to the matter at hand.  I am Kalki – The Silver Book starts with a small synopsis and jumps right into the story. The tale begins with 5 elemental Gods – Varuna, Vayu, Agni, Bhoomi and Indra – gathering on Earth and blessing a Yagya which is being held for some very special purpose, being conducted by the 8 Maharishis from our Indian mythology, spearheaded by Vishwamitra. The introduction of the Gods is very impressive in terms of Art and Effects and also includes a stunning 2 page spread of the 5 Gods jointly blessing the ongoing Yagya.

Indra and Agni
Click on each image to view them in high quality
 The 5 elemental Gods blessing the grand Yagna!
Click on the image to view it in all it’s high quality glory!!!

Post a small discussion between the 8 Great Sages, the story shifts to modern contemporary India, where a businessman has brought his 3 kids and his 8 month pregnant wife in a farmhouse / orchard in Eastern UP. Incidents lead to a spectacular event which will probably change the world as we know today. Nope, I ain’t telling you what happened. You have to buy the book to find that out. It can easily be ordered from Flipkart or Dial-a-book or just ask your friendly neighborhood comic store to get it for you. Oh, I almost forgot, we also witness the rise of a mysterious demon king from the depths of hell, a corner where even the most vicious demons fear to tread! Its turning out to be damn exciting folks, so pick this one up!!!
The rise of the mysterious demon
Click to view the high quality image

All in all, a pretty neat package. my only real complaint is that I would have expected a little more story in the book but the start is exciting and the story is varied and keeps you hooked. Deepam Chaterjee has kept a good pace and has done a pretty neat job of intertwining Indian mythology with our current – modern world to deliver a script that looks full of potential and hope.
The Birth of a God!
Click to view the high quality image

 Slight disappointment over the story ending so soon, but I guess that’s a credit to the script as well, in a way, as it leaves me wanting for more. Although for 80 bucks I would have liked to read a few more pages of story. Vimanika makes up for that, by including full page character sketch (fully drawn and colored) along with the actual history, albeit mythological, of the 8 great sages. But I would definitely have preferred more story in the book. That is the only area Vimanika needs to cover the ground in, apart from that, Kalki looks like a good book and The Silver Book is an excellent start to what will, hopefully, be a grand adventures of a Modern God!

Oh, wait. Almost forgot. There is a very cool poster free with this book too, so those who were apprehensive initially can forget that and buy it now.

Free poster with I am Kalki – The Silver Book
Click to view high quality image

 

PS: Another tiny suggestion. On the credits page, the names have been printed in a very dark grey color, against a jet black background, which kindda makes it hard to read. Just take care of that. I am sure, like me, most fans would like to know the names of the people who have worked hard behind any book, and their names should be easily readable. Just my two cents…

Durvasa Rishi to the Left, Chayavana Rishi to the right and Vedvyasa in the middle
3 of the 8 great Sages.
Click on each image to view high quality

Double Take: Review of LOK II

21 Mar



Editor/Script: Deepam Chatterjee
Art: Hemant Kumar
Cmpositing: Tabish Shaikh and Deepak Rawat
Cover Art: Amit Tayal and Abdul Rasheed
Color: Abdul Rasheed

Publisher: Vimanika comics

Take One: Review by Anirudh Singh

Andy is a veteran western comic/Manga geek. With the rise of Indian comic scene, he has ventured back into indigenous comics from his self posed exile to speak about Indian comics

Ah finally Indian comics are foraying into territory left alone for so long, using source material handed down over the ages in the history of our own people. There are so many stories and tales of unsung heroes in our mythology, it would be a sin to ignore them for too long. Amar Chitra Katah tried it once long ago. Capturing glimpses of wonder and amazement as they told the epic of Mahabharta. Vimanika does it again with the Legend of Karna. 

The book rightfully titled “The Sixth” takes us back across the ages and eons. Into an era when darkness and light were not defined by science, rather were defined by magic. Before anything else even impacts the reader the artwork does. It is magnificient in all aspects. Character designs blend seamlessly into the narrative and the visual imagery is quite stunning. 


The story is also an eye opener. This is not the tale of Karna as we remember it from Ramanand Sagar’s televesion epics. No there are layers to this story. The start is fantastic, with a begining embroiled in primal legends of a demon who sought and won a great blessing from the Sun God. The story churns on and familiar faces start to appear imbibing you with a sense of mystery. It is after all a story of how deception and intrigue created a rift between two brothers. And how the destinies of these fated heroes embroiled even the Gods in their tangles.

One scene which truly stood out was the birth of Kauravas. The idea of a hundred sons being born from one mother was always fantastic concept but “The Sixth” takes this concept further, the feeling of unease is thick within these panels. And you can instantly tell that the product of alchemy as foul this has to be foul itself. It is no wonder that the sons of the Kuru clan turned out filled to brim with malice. Shakuni is a character to watch for, the schemer from the epic takes on a new visage as he is shown to be a man in command of nefarious powers. Part necromancer, part sorcerer Shakuni can be seen taking an eerie interest in his nephew’s lives from an early age. In contrast the birth of the Pandavas is heralded by the presence of a God. For indeed it was the union between God and human that gave birth to the five princes. The contrasting births and the contrasting destinies of the kindred princes is set up beautifully drawing in the reader and setting up for an epic launch.

However,just as I was getting engrossed into the amazing narrative and artwork. The story decided to skip. And when I say skip, I mean skip completely to the modern age. Now, I like clever narratives, I like scene switching, multiple timelines the works. But to pull it off you have to really careful. You see whenever you skip from one time to a completely different one you break off the flow of the story. To reconnect the flow one has to place a few familiar elements, or gradually introduce you to the new characters elaborating the relationship with the old ones. This book doesnt have that. The time – skip hits you in the face with all the politeness of a brick wall. And stops u short of enjoying the story


.The story afterwards is not in any way lacking than the one before the skip. Its interesting, has the same artwork and a lot of interesting characters and I’m certain given time and more books in the series I would enjoy that part too. But right now with the book as it is, It reads off more as two separate stories in the same jacket than one continuous one. 

Legend of Karna, The Sixth is no doubt a classy book in a classy series. But it suffers sometimes from glaring abruptness in its narration. The artwork though fantastic,  blended in perfectly when the story was somewhere in the BC, it does not go so well with the mordern setting. Perhaps as I read more of this series the narrative will right itself and once more build up its pace to perfection, 
A valiant effort,  might one day evolve into a work of art.



Double Take: Review by Nishkarsh Chugh
Nishkarsh is a veteran Indian comic blogger and fan and the youngest member of our team 


The awaited Legend of Karna Book II has been launched recently at Comicon but as they say; “देर आये दुरुस्त आये”..

During the Con, it had great sale, due to which Vimanika was sold out on Day 1.. The trend continued on Day 2 and that was when, I got my copy.. 

The cover was extraordinary, by Amit Tayal (who is an illustrator for Campfire too) and Abdul Rasheed. However, the first main difference between LOK Book I and LOK Book II was the inside art. Amit Tayal was replaced by Hemant Kumar, but I still feel the former was better.
Nevertheless, the story was AWESOME and continued from where it left, when Karna was abandoned in River Charmanwati. However, there was a short (7 pages to be more precise) introduction about the demon Dambhodbhava and Nara and Narayana, a prologue to how Karna got his armor.

 The main story began with Chapter 2: Childhood featuring how Karna was adopted by Adhiratha and his wife, Radha and the life of Karna as a child. It also featured the birth of Pandavas and Kauravas and 
associated stories.
The main feature of LOK Book II is that it revealed the villains of the present time, who were none other than the Kauravas- Dusshala, Duryodhan and rest of the gang.
The story ended with Dev Daljit Singh, beating up some guys who came to kill Karan Vir. Amazing action, I must say.
Now coming to overall rating, I really liked LOK Book and I think this has a great future potential and if the series continues like this, it may live upto the expectations of the fans..

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!!!

India Ink – Talking Indian comics

2 Dec

Thanks for a great feedback on the previous article on Indian comic scene…. as promised the beginning of exclusives from the Indian comic scene….

What’s Hot?
In last article we discussed Virgin comics. What we missed out on was that Virgin comics had shut down in 2008 (Thanks to Alok for pointing that out ) and has presently been reformed as Liquid comics with the same management. One of the writers of erstwhile Virgin comics – Shamik Dasgupta (Ramayan 3392 AD/Reloaded, Virulents, Sadhu) – is getting ready to launch his own creator owned series in India.  Here is the Teaser poster for it.

Details on the comic itself are sparse, but insider info is that this type of comic has never been done in India before. I also understand that this is going to be a one off initially, possibly followed by a five issue miniseries and would then become a regular depending on the demand. The best piece of news about this comic is that a twenty-one year old Indian boy has done the art, and it is rumored that this guy is going to surprise a lot of people when the comic comes out! I have had the opportunity to look at a couple of interior pages, and let me tell you they are Fantastic!

Warms my heart to see such bold experimentation being done in India.

This is going to come out by end of December and the publisher is just about getting ready to announce this title. Watch this space for more on this

Comic Convention
Last time we discussed a possibility of a comic convention happening in Mumbai. Well that has just been confirmed. I understand that the organizers are in final discussion with the dean of a reputed college in Mumbai. We may get this event as soon as January! This would be a milestone in Indian comic scene if this happens. I am cheering for this. Hope this is a big success

Comic Watch

Comic to read this month is Jump #5. This is the season finale of the comic anthology produced by Level 10 studios. And let me tell you, the twist at the end of “Rabhas incident” ( one of the series running here) makes this a must buy! This is how comics should be. Kudos for Level 10 for introducing new concepts in Indian market.
I would be doing an in depth comic review of Jump, and tell you why they are so important to the Indian comic scene.

Publisher Watch

Vimanika Comics is going global! They are launching their comic series – Moksha and Kalki at Twelve Gates Art Gallery, Philadelphia, USA. Always good to see Indian comics make a mark outside India. I wish them all the best in their endeavor. Catch the review of their comic Kalki soon on my blog.
For more information you can visit the link. 

This wraps up the quick 10 minute tour of Indian comic industry.I would be very interested in hearing from you all. What are your thoughts about this initiative and if there is anything specific you want to see via this column?

Indian Comics – Hope for the future

25 Nov

-By Manks
(This is second part of an article piece on Indian comics. The first one can be found at : here )

In the first article, we looked at what went before in the Indian comic scene. Now we are going to go a step further and understand what Indian comic scene looks like currently.

Present Scenario

 

Illustrated Orchids

Recently many more comics have started cropping up, some even backed by big business house, while Amar chitra Katha and Raj comics continue to hold ground.

Fluid Friction comics have partnered with an Indian firm to publish comics inspired by Indian mythology.
Illustrated Orchids , a company operated by Indian Singaporean diaspora has launched comics based on Indian mythology and culture. The artwork is based on Manga like art and is sold in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Europe.

Vimanika comics

Another company Vimanika has launched comics , again based on Indian Mythology for Indian and foreign markets, which are very good.

Do we see a pattern here? Yup, everyone seems to love Indian mythology. But enthusiasts  question the overabundance of such comics. However I cannot deny that Indian religion and allure of Indian mysticism sells, especially now that many Indians are settled abroad. They are also appealing to children in India, as they retell/ re-imagine the mythos that they have grown up reading about. So for business houses it makes sense to go with the safe and sellable product especially on foreign shores where there already is a comic culture. But what of our own comic culture? Will we never be able to look beyond religion and myth? Even Indians deserve variety. If the product is good, it will sell. Japan’s Manga industry is proof of this.

As if to answer this question, Campfire publications entered the market in 2009. They are publishing classics, biography and originals in graphic novel format.

Corridoor

Some Indians have also started independent foray into the world of graphic novels.
Corridor by Sarnath Banerjee is such an example.

Two more noteworthy additions to Indian comic scene are– “Jump” by Level10 studios and Comix.India who are trying to develop unique Indian content. The quality is debatable, though it’s a step in positive direction.

I am given to understand There are more on the way. Adventures would help unveil some of them as well 🙂

The picture is not all rosy however, and there is a long winding road to cover before victory.

An artist working freelance for one of these companies told me that by and large it is quite difficult for someone to work for Indian comic scene because they are not paid nearly enough. They need to have a full time job apart from comic industry to sustain them. Most of them are working in the growing Indian Animation scene as well. This is not true for all artists as some larger companies do pay well. But for a wider majority it is. Which I guess is true in any country. You need to have a certain level of skill before you can enter mainstream.

Additionally, Anime and Manga like everywhere else have caught up in India. With Anime associations forming in major cities. Though this is still at a nascent stage, their future is bright. I have randomly met two children of 8 years old who read Manga but are not aware of any other comics out there. Manga is catching them young. A feat that  may make many companies jealous. The reason is their free availability over Internet.

Manga

Companies like Dark Horse/Tokyopop/Viz may scowl at sites like Onemanga, but it helped introduce manga to country like ours where there is no availability of such items. When you contrast it to companies like Marvel and DC, not many people know beyond what they see on the silver screen.
Manga has infact started pouring in through select stores, especially in the south, and they are selling like hot cakes because of the readymade audience thanks to online availability.

The biggest news yet is an attempt at organizing a comic convention. The first ever for India. From what I know, currently the organizers are looking out for sponsors. But the thought is there and it may be very soon when we see it materialized.

For me, the icing on the cake was when I met an Indian artist working for TOP COW publishing, which clearly told me, we do have the talent, and we know readers seem to be growing. All we need is a big push from some more corporates to get Indian comic scene going again and things does seem to be going in the positive direction.

Here’s hoping for the best.

-Disclaimer: This is a reproduction of the article published at Bleedingcool.com by me. All attempts were made to be faithful to timelines and publishers. I also realise that I might have missed out on some publications from South India. However If there is some inconsistancy or some periodical that you think should be mentioned, let me know and I would sort it out.