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Tough times for desi comics, but it’s getting better

Tough times for desi comics, but it’s getting better
December 18
16:25 2018

NEW DELHI: While Batman, Superman, Deadpool and Hulk among other comic book heroes can be found pretty much at every stall at the Delhi Comic Con, but where the Indian comic book heroes? Not too far for those who seek.

While Indian content is small yet conspicuous at the 8th Delhi Comic Con, their creators feel the readers need to take indie-comics more seriously. “I’m hoping it gets better, I’m hoping more people get involved. I hope that people start taking indie-comics more seriously, as opposed to saying ‘Oh! We want Marvel and DC’,” Anant of Mega Desi Comics told PTI.

With about 200 participants selling different comics, books, apparel and merchandise, Jatin Varma, founder of Comic Con India, acknowledged that superheroes like Batman, Spiderman and Avengers get a lot of excitement as they were very well-known properties.

But, from the Indian perspective, Varma said it was more of curiosity and introduction. “Because they (people) don’t know a lot of the content that is new. They only know of a Chacha Chaudhary or Raj Comics. They don’t know of the comics that are being published now,” Varma told PTI.

However, Anirudh of Chariot Comics feels that the market has become better since he started in 2012. “That time (the market) was very limited. We used to shell out a lot of money and burn a lot of it for the past four years, making losses year after year,” recalled Anirudh, who is in the field of marketing communication.

It has got better, although not sizeable, but it is increasing day by day, Anirudh said, adding that they were operationally break-even now.

“We wish it were larger, we wish people would look at more Indie-comics.”

Meta Desi Comics and Chariot Comics, which are participating under the banner of ICBM Comics; Chennai-based Blaft Publications, which sells translations of Tamil pulp fiction, are some of the Indian comics creators at the ongoing pop-culture extravaganza.

Illustrator Rahil Mohsin, too, felt people’s interest was actually picking up. “There is a lot of potential, there is a growing readership. People are willing to contribute and invest in a local creator’s work,” Mohsin said, who is from Bangalore and is setting up his own stall at the event for the first time.

He used to earlier work in Sufi Comics, the first Indian publisher to participate at Comic Con International in San Diego.

Rakesh of Blaft Publication rued that the heyday of writing pulp fiction was in 80’s and 90’s before television got everywhere. “Sometimes, I’m a little sad that people don’t look towards the local artists and the local authors so much.”

Talking about the future of pulp fiction, he said, “People will keep making crazy things… Whether (the) people will buy them (or not), we’ll have to see.” PTI

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