Comic Con Express – Bengaluru - 2012

Another year and another Express Event from Comic Con India. Our Pre-show coverage of the event in the Garden City.

Comic Con India – New Delhi - 2011

Get to know, more about India's first ever Comic-Con, how does it rate among the rest.

Chennai Book Fair - 2011

We catch up with the Annual Chennai Book Fair, and see what it has to offer for Comic fans.

Lion Comics Jumbo Special - XIII Collector's Edition

An inside look into a collection, touted as the biggest Comic Book released in India

Showing posts with label Indian Genre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian Genre. Show all posts

Feb 14, 2011

Chennai Book Fair – 2011 : Part 1 of 2

Season’s rainfall might have played hide and seek, in this Southern city of India, for the New Year, but one common thing which has gelled with the book-fetish of Chennai, for the past 34 years, was starting the year with a place to cherish their reading passion, which is slowly taking a beating in this Instant world of World Wide Web, and Social Networking.

January 2011, saw BAPASI hosting its 34th Chennai Book Fair, to kick off the new year, and we hoped to cover the event just like 33rd Chennai Book Fair, where we covered the news and events as it happened from the ground.

But the reality and the disappointment surrounding the organizing of Book Fair, sunk in our resolve, and let the efforts of covering the event go down in vain. But, as I met and interacted with the fellow comikers, I realized that they were keen for our blog to continue reporting on our finds from the event, keeping aside the personal likes and dislikes (which I will reserve for the end of the post).

As they say often, no matter what, The Show Must Go On !!! So better late than never, here is our long pending Chennai Book Fair coverage.

ACKAmar Chitra Katha (in Tamil)

Tamil Comics fans who were disappointed to find their favorite Tamil Comics missing from the Book fair this time, were surprised to see what was in store at the usually crowded, New Horizon Media (NHM).

NHMNHM has been a revelation ever since they entered Tamil Publishing industry in 2004, changing the face of the industry completely. They have tried their trade among the old timers, and were able to encroach much of their forte, at the same time surprising with newer launches every now and then. Like any success story, there are debates over the criticality of their vision, and publishing schedule or choices, but no comics fans would hesitate to see them try out the niche field of Tamil Comics, which long is starving off from a professional approach to the publishing.

Prodigy Comix  Kalam (Tamil)[4] After trying with a Short graphical bio of Abdul Kalam, under their Prodigy brand last year, they have now ventured onto a comic brand, which has a traditional foothold dating back to 1967, in the Indian Comics industry, the classic Amar Chitra Katha (ACK).

ACK and its tryst with Tamil audience is not new, as there were a couple of publishers, who had tried their hands on them in the past. Most notably Paico Publishers, who had rebranded the Tamil versions as Poonthalir Amar Chitra Kathai (PACK), and later Dina Malar, a Tamil daily ACK Tenali Ramannewspaper, which continuously serialized these classics through their weekly supplement, Siruvar Malar.

But, the translations of those times were of old school, going with the trend of those yesteryears.  While  this time around they have been exclusively translated again by NHM, and are also distributed through primarily through their channels, all through India.

I had bought a couple of titles, from the set of 24 titles, which they have published all through last year, and was impressed with the translation effort which has gone through them, rekindling the rare quality seen in the older times.

The selection of 24 titles, range from Mythology, to Historical Legends, and to Folktales, and they promise a whole bunch of reading experience. There may be few apprehensions over whether ACK can bring back the readership, which has now moved over to much bigger graphic story telling format, but for those who would like their kids to get started through Indian Mythology or History, through the wonderful medium of Comics, this could be a great head start.

ACK Tamil - Krishnan [81-8482-336-3]ACK Tamil - Ganesan [978-81-8482-372-1]ACK Tamil - Raman [81-8482-335-5]ACK Tamil - Hanuman [81-8482-338-X]ACK Tamil - Garuda [978-81-8482-516-9]ACK Tamil - Beeman and Hanuman [978-81-8482-416-2]ACK Tamil - Abimanyu [978-81-8482-371-4]ACK Tamil - Karnan [978-81-8482-417-9]ACK Tamil - Krishana and Naragasuran [81-8482-139-5]ACK Tamil - Krishnan and Jarasandan [978-81-8482-514-5]ACK Tamil - Kumbakarna [978-81-8482-373-8]ACK Tamil - Parkadal [978-81-8482-544-2]

Badri from NHM, confirms that they will continue to publish more titles of ACK in Tamil, in the new year 2011, and I for one, only wish that they make them available at a more affordable price range.

One among the possible slow moving factors, as I heard from fellow friends and Comikers, were the price tag of around INR 35, to buy a single comic. I doubt, what leeway NHM could have had in pricing their titles, as ACK’s original English versions get sold for the same asking rate. But considering that NHM can sell through their official site, a handsome discount will not only help it reach maximum fans, but also would push them to collect the entire series.

ACK Tamil - Stories of Arjuna [978-81-8482-515-2]ACK Tamil - Stories of Vishnu [978-81-8482-391-2]ACK Tamil - Harshar [978-81-8482-517-6]ACK Tamil - Asokar [978-81-8482-418-6]ACK Tamil - Chandragupta Mauryar [978-81-8482-540-4]ACK Tamil - Sivaji [978-81-8482-398-1]ACK Tamil - Purushotaman and Alexander [978-81-8482-542-8]ACK Tamil - Akbar [978-81-8482-419-3]ACK Tamil - Krishna Devarayar [978-81-8482-541-1]ACK Tamil - Tenali Raman [978-81-8482-374-5]ACK Tamil - Dear Friends [978-81-8482-390-5]ACK Tamil - Kullanari [978-81-8482-392-9]

Some of the titles, in the lineup have been published as far back as March 2010, which makes us question the publishing schedule. There is no official confirmation, on why these titles were held back from distribution for so long, as only after the Chennai Book Fair, we start to see them more regularly on the book stores.

But, now that it has happened, I can see that they are stacked prominently, to catch the shoppers eyesight.  Hope more readers would benefit to read their favorite ACK titles, again in a new avatar. After the Book Fair, I managed to get the complete ACK Tamil lot published so far by NHM, about which I would reserve a post in the coming days.

Continue reading our concluding Part of CBF 2011 coverage, where we Discover Vandumama and More…

Feb 28, 2010

News – Return of Indian Superheroes | HT | Feb ‘10

Those who are passionate about Comics among us would all agree that Comics in India, is largely an industry, which never got its due credit, compared to the ones which its counterparts in Americas, Europe, and Japan enjoyed.

Did we not have the talent, or the interest, or the creativity?, what pushed us in the back corner of the alley, when other industries flourished?

Much was to do with the way the then Indian comics publishers perceived the market, who instead of relying on the wealth which had to be nurtured within, were instead eager to tap to this business medium, by bringing in the foreign content for local publishing. What they did in the process, was to cut out the creativity, and uniqueness of Indian comics creators, who failed to get the necessary backing. And evidently, the success of such publications over test of time, remains the best lesson learnt.

But, not all players followed the suit, as exhibited by a handful of publishers, who stood different and were ready to go any miles to promote local content. Only a handful of them survived the TV and Internet era, and they remain to tell the story.

The Return of Indian Superheroes - Hindustan Times 02152009This month’s Hindustan Times newspaper carried a thought provoking account of the same, with inputs from Comics publishers, who belong to the later category - the legendary Diamond Comics and Raj Comics.

It talks about the survivors from the Dark Ages of Indian Comics, a period highlighted by Diamond’s Gulshan Raj, as between 1997-2003, when TV and Internet medium took over from traditional print runs.

The article talks about the current plans of those surviving publishers, in order to better align with the changing times.

One another interesting reference, in the article, is Raj Comic’s Sanjay Gupta’s acceptance that his creation, Nagraj, created in 1980’s and arguably one of the first and better known Indian Comic heroes, failure from establishing himself in the bigger league. In Gupta’s own words, a stature similar to Superman/Batman.

Superman #1 sells for $1m Batman #1 sells for over $1m Only recently, Superman and Batman’s first ever appearances in Comics, made headlines as they were outbid each other to a tune of $1 million, on comics auction sites.

Eventhough, the real scenario under which these overshot money, could be attributed to the poor economy, and the need for newer investment fronts, the fact remains that the thought of Nagraj breaking grounds with Superman or Batman, cannot be realistic, keeping in mind the difference in the comic market as it was and is available in US, with the one we have/had in India, which are poles apart to say the least.

As much as we could mock the dream for all its ambitions, we couldn’t ignore that the intent was there, when the Nagraj character was envisioned. But was their equal weight of effort in planning to reach the big league? Let’s accept Superman/Batman evolved during time, mainly because that it was born in a language, which had a universal reach, and was contributed by the fact, they were the first of its kind.

On the contrary, Raj Comics concentrated its market only for Hindi speaking sect, thus, apart from the Hindi speaking states in India, it was never popular in the other states, and sometimes even unheard in some among them. If it could not break the Desi language barrier, did it stand any chance at the International stage?

At least, their present focus to reinvent the characterisation, and their increased focus on reprinting the older issues, in better paper quality and print techniques, should bring them into mainstream, and hopefully this time they would do it sans the limited language focus.

The best quote I can draw from the recent media article, was Karan Vir of Vimanika Comics’s assertion on the same quality lines.

..Someday I hope to make Vimanika the DC or Marvel of India. We may not be able to replicate their success in the print runs but I'm sure we'll get there in terms of quality and art.

Comic Punch - Hindustan Times 15022009That isn’t all. Hindustan Times, also carries another Comics article, aptly titled Comic Punch, where it looks in detail the present comics market, and then the future as it is being planned by the new and established players in the field.

Staying with the article, the current comic market in India, is said to be around 300 Crores mark, with an estimated print run 12.5 crores every year. Industry experts also believe that the market is expected to grow by 40% over the next few years, pooling in all those aspiring companies, to join the frenzy.

Diamond Comics, Raj Comics, Amar Chitra Katha (under it’s new ACK Media avatar), all seem to be gung-ho on taking their comics ventures, to the next level, in terms of animated and full-feature films, DVDs, Mobile and eComics.

On a reality check, there is no harm in comics publishers trying to tap into newer mediums, which is the need of the hour. But hopefully, they would realize the importance of staying true to the roots of print medium, which eventually opened up all these frontiers.

For reasons, they can always look back at another promising venture like Virgin Comics (now Liquid Comics), suffered at the hands of dreaming big, and losing their forte. Even though, they keep making news (including this very article in reference), it’s long time since they came out of hibernation, to prove that they still stand a chance in the industry. I hope I am proven wrong, but the Omen is strong enough, considering Virgin’s past track records. All izzz Well or hopefully will be :)


I guess this article, did turn out to a pretty serious mode, and to keep the Pran the Man - Hindustan Times 02152009comic spirit up, here is another article in the same newspaper, talking about the Walt Disney of India, Mr. Pran, the legendary creator of Chacha Chaudhary and umpteen other desi cartoon characters, which have been entertaining the kids and teens alike, for near 4 decades.

Well, I must admit, that I have outgrown most of what Diamond Comics throws at us off late, but the fact remains Pranji, is still considered one of the greatest icon in comics medium, as highlighted by the fan following he enjoys among kids, even today.

No wonder Diamond Comics, which still publishes Chacha Chaudhary and other Pran characters, into comics format, is easily the biggest comics publisher until today. But they can’t sit on their laurels, as other players including the newer ones, are going to take the fight to them. Comics readers are in for a treat, for sure.

1970s Lotpot Cover by Pran In keeping with spirit of current times, here is a Pran designed cover art on occasion of Holi, which decorated the cover of yesteryear Lotpot, a magazine in which Pran’s legendary creation Chacha Chaudhary originally appeared in.
(Courtesy: Comic World)

Wish you all a Happy Holi, dear friends. Adios Amigos!!

Hindustan Times, Steve on Superman #1 Sale, Yahoo on Batman #1 Sale, Comic World on Lotpot, Rediff’s Interview with Karan.


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