An open letter to Indian comic readers.

To all my fellow desi comic readers,
I’ve been pondering for years now and am still unable to answer certain dilemmas as a member of the India-indie-comics-scene and part-time publisher, so I’m putting it all out to you, the readers, and want to see what your reactions and thoughts are on these matters.

BUT before I get to the more specific queries, there’s something I would like to put to all the comic enthusiasts out there – TALK TO US!
Why don’t you? It is a never-ending grouse of publishers in India that no matter how many years pass, Indian readers have nothing to say online except the sycophantic “sahi hai!/badiya!/you are god!” comments you see on social media that honestly mean nothing in the end. Those same fans will join hordes of others on deep, intense discussions on forums, boards, websites/news-sites and such about Batman or Superman or X-Men or Valiant Comics or Image – but do they have anything at all to say about the Indian comics all around them? Not really. No.

What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? Do you prefer colour or black and white? Are the comics too expensive for you? Why can’t you write a one para review of a comic you bought at comic-con? Did you like any artist or writer over the rest? Was the quality of something better or worse than others? What is most important to you in comics? Why do you not comment on publishers blogs/social media with anything substantive?

To this end I’m adding a first poll to kick things off at the end of this post. Like anything else, if there are comments or votes here, I hope to do this again and try and get more debate going with all of you out there because believe when I say that I want nothing more than to tell good stories that you would want to read with all the wonderful writers and artists I’ve had the privilege of knowing in the desi comic scene because without your help it is all going to disappear before you know it.

(Vote as you see fit)
Despite the HUGE variety of comics that have been coming out the past few years in India, the massive creativity from the many, many small publishers and the huge sales of comics in general (though primarily the imported/foreign ones) that have in fact increased by leaps and bounds over the last 3-5 years…
  1. Why do only Hindu mythology based comics seem to attract immediate, rabid support and love despite quality of comic/story no matter what and,
  2. Why do you think that despite the literally thousands and thousands that attend comic conventions and can now buy comics online delivered right to their doorstep from multiple sites, smaller publishers (pretty much all of them) struggle to break even on print runs that on an average would not exceed 2-3000 copies off an issue even after over a year after printing it?
Given the buying power, interest, enthusiasm visible across social media and at events and such, I do feel like there is something that we are missing between the publishers and the readers that could rectify this, because this situation has created a vicious circle where publishers can’t afford to produce fast enough because money invested doesn’t come back fast enough and the result is people lose interest which in turn affects sales and awareness and market presence which slows production and so on and so forth…
The Indian comic scene is struggling with itself despite having AWESOME and energetic fans whom I’ve seen buy whole catalogues from local publishers at a go and come back year after year for new comics, yet somehow the total sales in a given year are so low that many of the publishers that jumped into the fray 5-6 years back (when I was starting out as a comic writer in this comic scene no one took seriously and just before the first Indian Comic Con) have all either packed up or phased out their comics and moved onto other business at events or are dangerously close to shutting shop if things don’t improve.
If we could understand what it is that the interested Indian reader is willing to pay, what kind of comic they want, what we are doing wrong – maybe we could find a middle ground that would suit everyone better?
And readers, do consider that your expectations might also be a tad over-zealous – if you expect a DC/Marvel quality of print, paper, art, story and volume of content, then you can’t shy away from paying for it or taking a chance on it as you would with an American publisher you heard about from a friend, that’s just fooling yourselves and helping nail shut the coffins of the Indie folks here who want to give you what you want if you can just help us out a little.
Consider this an honest query from a comic loving geek who wants comics in India to succeed more than anything and has first-hand seen how hard the indie creators in this country work for how little return and the support of dedicated fans who all want the same thing.
That’s it, long meandering post over, I’m out, let me know what you guys think.

Cheers all!

23 Comments Add yours

  1. Whatever u have said makes a lot of sense and Indian comics is in a phase of either getting demolished or grow the next 2 yes will decide…
    I personally want to start my own comic books from 2016 which is I want badly but when I see the economics in this market I get really scared. But it is something I will do nevertheless…

    1. Aku says:

      You’re right preteek (thanks for reading and commenting by the way!) and as you can imagine, I’m trying my best to remain persistent and bull-headed that it will not be demolished and we’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel.
      Best of luck with your own comics this year, it’s always great to see more people wanting to help out the industry and I look forward to seeing your comics.

  2. My heart goes out to you guys, I visit all the cons and hate seeing janta flocking dumass merchandise stores and shying away from book stalls. If nothing then at least comic con should start with giving prominent place to Indian publishers and artists.
    And yeah please join some Indian comics fandom groups, people there roast each and every artist.
    Wish you the best. #SIC

    1. Aku says:

      Hey Pradyumandev!
      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking this time, I appreciate it a lot.
      Could you suggest any fandom groups that are more interactive/proactive and can give more solid feedback (i.e, both what they hated AND loved) about any Indian comics from the new crop? There are so many groups all over the internet, it’s hard to know which ones are more genuinely interested and which ones are more general or fanboyish or foreign-comic-inclined.
      As of now, Comic Con has recently tried, like putting all of us right at the centre and entry area during the recent Delhi Comic Con and are looking at other ideas – if you and your fellow fans have any thoughts on what might help, please don’t hesitate to comment on them here or let me know on the Meta Desi Comics facebook page because we need any help and ideas we can get!
      Thanks again for your help, comment and support. Take care!

  3. According to me, the first thing that has been holding back the Indian Comic Scene is the lack of good content. Most of the major publishers are still in one of three categories.

    a. Who think this is the 90s and no one has heard of Internet and Foreign Titles
    b. Who think that Indian Legacy and Mythology needs to be revamped, retold, revisited or recycled for content
    c. Who create content which is extremely specialized and wouldn’t be liked or appreciated except a very small niche

    Each category has its own problems. The first category shamelessly “gets inspired” by content from other more established titles and refuses to listen to any protests from fans whatsoever. The second creates sub-standard content most of the time, meant to “glorify” Indian Mythology and Culture but ends up making a farce out of it. And the last, inspite of the good content, is very difficult to scale up and monetize effectively.

    Now, for the solution. First, experiment! Indian Content still plays extremely safe, doesn’t take any risk whatsoever and rehashes the same old stories we all have heard a million times before. With World Class content available almost instantly before the reader’s eyes, why would any reader want to spend even a dime on any content that doesn’t excite, intrigue or fascinate him?

    Second, making streamlined content. Instead of making one size fits all content, there should be different sort of content for different age groups. I know it sounds kind of paradoxical considering the second category I criticized, but it is extremely important. Children’s market is extremely vibrant today and it is being shamelessly exploited by sub-standard content (Have you even seen the travesty Chhota Bheem is?) Tapping into that market could open doors and give the publishers more financial freedom to pursue the edgier and more experimental content.

    Third, have good communication with the fans but at the same time, retain the creative control in your own hand. Indian comic fans are, regrettably, an easily upset group of people. They are quick to form opinions, especially against the actions in contradiction with the status-quo. The same fans are also a lot more accepting with time, but most of the creators are quick to pull the plug on the series or title after the initial backlash. Therefore, it is important to consider what the fans want but at the same time, not to let them dictate the creative process itself.

    These are my two cents. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Aku says:

      Thanks for that amazing commentary Siddhant, that was nicely detailed and to the point and is actually quite helpful.
      We at Meta Desi do end up being (if I’m honest) probably a mix of the your 1st and 3rd type because we love to experiment and we love to play around and that does make it a harder sell but we won’t deny that some of our comics at least are (either by design or unavoidably accidentally) influenced by foreign comics but if I may say, that happens partly because a lot of what we have read as comic fans ourselves does have an influence on what we write down as stories – we will keep in mind your point about being too derivative, but I hope you understand that it’s hard to not let your influences show in your work when you are in a creative field. 😉

      The most important point you made that I could not agree more about is fan communication – that is maybe the biggest thing that irks me, that we don’t have it!
      The intention is not to let them dictate the creative process, but feedback to people in the creative field that deals directly with people (unlike being an “Artiste!” or some bollocks) is critical. I may not let the fans influence how I write a story, but I may choose to tell another story and put the first one aside if I find that one is more enjoyable for the readers out there (like with our “HOLY HELL” comic which was just done for fun but people liked) – both are still things I want to produce but one just resonates with people more and I’m happy to write more of that. It’s still a story that we want to tell you.
      Always appreciate whatever cents you have to offer as a fan, we live for this shit man, so be it here, on the twitter/facebook pages of Meta Desi or myself or ICBM comics, please know that any input you have is not just accepted but very much invited.

      1. I completely agree with your points about influences. Even as a writer, when I write, I often sneak in references and little easter eggs that only a few people will notice and that will make their experience that much more enjoyable. Also, I am completely aware of the fact that There can be no Creation without Imitation. The most exciting thing about Art is that every artist builds upon the legacy of the previous generation and pushes the envelope forward. However, this is the point where a lot of Indian Comic Creators mess up. Personally, I have not read your works so I can not comment on your extent of influences, but I can name a lot of creators across the industry who forget that “Getting Inspired” or “Paying Homage” is different from Plagiarism. And this is the thing that irks me. You can never hope to push the envelope if you are simply retelling a story that has been told in the previous generation once. And this has happened with a lot of different publishing houses, not just in terms of the stories but also in terms of the artwork and concepts. That is something the Indian Industry needs to outgrow. Plagiarism could have been swept under the rug in the 90s but it can not be done anymore and creators need to add unique perspectives in their influences for them to make legit stories and not stolen content that has been indigenized. Also, I will be ordering “Holy Hell” really soon! I am always excited to read fresh creative content from closer to home.

      2. Aku says:

        Thank you so much for being willing to give Holy Hell a chance and I hope you find it at least a little fresh and interesting! 🙂
        I think for the most part we agree on where things stand with a lot of indie content and it’s only feedback like you and all these awesome folks are giving me here that we can learn from our mistakes.

  4. Saurabh says:

    I feel that like marvel or DC there is a need to reinvent our comics. Some comics have an awesome universe of their own superheroes but they need to reinvent them. Names of our heroes might not appeal the younger audience. Even their costumes need to be redesigned the way Superman has changed recently. I honestly feel Indian comic industry should approach bollywood and make movies on existing superheroes instead of directors creating their own superheroes having no comic book legacy with weak storylines.

    1. Aku says:

      Hey Saurabh!
      Thanks for sharing that – if I may venture a guess I think you are referring more to the Raj Comics universe as they are the only shared superhero universe in Indian comics that I know of myself. Let me know if I’m wrong.
      Honestly, I completely agree with you! They have the basics, they have a universe and a fanbase and if they were willing to let folks like me give it a try even, I would LOVE the chance to revamp/reboot at least one of their characters – if nothing else, just as a test run.
      Regarding movies, it would be nice, but my feeling is that Bollywood as it is now, they may have the money and tech and all but don’t think they could do justice to a good comic movie and don’t believe for a second that they would let the comic people have influence on the movies – you would end up more with something like the Green Lantern movie than a Guardians Of The Galaxy and that would just be a sad waste and spoil it for fans like youself.
      Thanks for sparing your time, reading, commenting and just being a comic fan.

  5. g says:

    When I think about my own comic purchase and reading habit – what it boils down to this – trust. Trust that the characters are good (meaning already tried and tested). Trust in the creative (same thing – already read and enjoyed their previous work). Even if you succeed in putting the Product in front of me, my unawareness of your previous work makes Details like price etc come in the way of sampling /reading for the 1st time. Even if you give it away, unconscious or conscous fear that this might be crap will often prevent me from investing time on your work. Cheers!

    1. Aku says:

      Hey G,
      Look, I totally understand what you’re saying, it’s exactly my point and one of the things we struggle with – how do you get people to sample the unknown when they are not used to it?
      In foreign markets, comic-buying culture and systems are such that I could get a pretty cheap comic to put before you and you might pick it just because out of the 20 similar ones, that one made you curious. In India, the hesitancy is far, far greater and I don’t know how to change that.
      All logic says if I gave you my comic for free and you said, “I liked it a lot!” that you might want to buy it or at least read more – but as efforts like Level10’s (and others’) free online comics showed, this also doesn’t help in sales despite lots of love shown in comments and such for those downloads and in social media.
      So once again we are back to square one: where do we go from here?
      What I hope to get by making this discussion happen here is to get some thoughts from a readers like you about what WOULD make you maybe buy the first or second issue of something? What do you like and not like about specific comics in the Indian scene? Any input at this point is better than what we have had till now.
      Thanks for commenting! Cheers!

  6. Jagmeet Sidhu says:

    I share the same thoughts. I have been a comics fan since my childhood. I am trying to revive the Cimc Industry readers community as well. is my facebook page and the website will be launching in a week. We will be giving comics reviews, superheroes, contests and quiz.
    This will help in increasing the fan communities and will also be beneficial to the publishers.

    This is my little contribution. 🙂

    1. Aku says:

      Hey Jagmeet – that is EXCELLENT!
      We need fan communities in India for genuine comic banter and I wish you all the best with your ambitious efforts.
      Will definitely be checking out the FB page and the site once it’s up.
      Also look forward to and hope you will give some discussion space for us poor local comic wannabe’s 😉
      More folks like you are what we need out there!
      Thanks and cheers!

  7. Harish Iyer says:

    I’ve been buying and reading almost all Indian graphics novels for the past 5-6 years. I have also recommended some of my favourite titles to interested friends who appreciate international comics.

    I observe we have great content, great artwork and descent price too. What does not work in favour is the break between the consecutive issues. I have to wait for minimum/ more than 3-4 months to get the continuing storylines from publishers like Holycow Entertainment, Yali Creation and Speech Bubble Entertainment (all of which have the great storylines). I used to read Vimanika comics some years back, now, they haven’t released a single comic for last 3-4 years! and yet they actively sell T-shirts at every comicon! Another promising concept was ComicJump, which had very interesting stories. Titles like Odayan and Daksh stopped abruptly as the company shut down. The critically acclaimed gem ‘Simian’ still misses the final chapter. Such high delays in producing next issues is a major disadvantage.

    One thing which could help comic culture in the country is films. Films need to be made on comics like Odayan, Aghori, TnT, The Sixth-Legend of Karna, The Rabhasa Incident, Shaurya, Sadhu, Devi and Ravanayan to name a few. This will expose the comics to a wider audience. I believe this is how Superman and Batman became such big hit, through the movies.


    1. Aku says:

      Hi Harish,
      If I can be bluntly honest with you as a comic buyer (as that was the intent of this discussion), we HATE that long gap as much as you do!
      For years now, we keep coming back to trying to make monthlies or at least bi-monthly releases work – but the speed and volume of sales are always just keeping their heads above water and being that pretty much all but 1 or 2 publishers/creators are like myself (working full-time jobs and/or using their own money and free time to make comics and taking time off to attend events and in my case also pay the artists for every single page drawn), we struggle with having enough money circulating in hand to be able to print more issues more often.
      Its part of the reason Holy Cow sticks to single issues, smaller in size and hence more economical – it’s also the reason that we at Meta Desi decided to put a hold on Ground Zero v4 briefly and make single issues so we can release more speedily, as we did with Holy Hell #1 and #2 which released barely 2.5 months apart.

      But about the movies, I don’t agree I’m afraid, because:
      1) It’s unlikely as hell that Bollywood would want to make most of the truly unique Indian content into movies
      2) There’s a VERY high probability that even simpler fare like Odayan would look at all like the comic in terms of story, content and brutal action and would more likely get severely revamped – heck even Hollywood did exactly that until Marvels success and many adaptations STILL don’t have the guts to be faithful and keep trying make “safer” changes which always water down a franchise.
      3) While it can help comic sales, the likelihood that it will make a non-comic-reader into a comic reader is pretty low.
      4) Most of us creators who aren’t in it only for making money (not gonna lie, if I want this to be my job, I need to be able to live off it :D), we may be unhappy about selling creative rights to something that is our creation that we have a personal bond/connection with and see it mangled for moolah. This last ones just a more artistic concern but I hope you understand what I mean.

      Anyway, regardless of my opinion, there ARE many people who are open to your suggestions – Level10 tried to make an anime I think (which is cheaper and faster than a live-action movie) about their manga comic and others have been trying to make comics and movies for a while now (prime eg: Doga) so one way or another, your theory will get tested.

      Thanks and cheers!

  8. Anurag Bisht says:

    Aaj k time me jo generation h usne comic ka wo chehra , quality n wo golden time nhi dekha jo 90’s k time me hamne dekha. Us time baccho k pass video games, internet etc jaisi cheez nhi thi and us time ki comics stories, quality n price b acchey thay. Aaj comics ki story jo hoti h wo ya tou intresting nhi hoti ya fir masaledar nhi hoti. Writer ki soch simat si gayi h aajkal. And videshi comics ko sabse bada plus point milta h movies ka jo unpe banti h. Indian comics me aajtak ek choti si cartoon series tak nhi bani. aaj kal agar comics ko electronic media ka support nhi hoga tou mushkil badhengi hi badhengi. Aajkal log practical jyada h due to fast life of todays world. Isliye electronic media ka hona must h to support comics

    1. Aku says:

      Thanks anurag, apne baat to sahi kahi hain. Zyada videshi comics asaani se padke log bigad gaye hain aur samajte hain ki har comic sasti aur world-class shuru se honi chahiye kisi chamatkaar se.

  9. Siddhesh says:

    Aku bhai,
    Let me say at the outset what a relief it is to find this discussion thread. I have been dying for years to discuss the state of Indian comics with like minded fans/enthusiasts/creators. Which means I have been following the desi and videshi comics scene closely for years and witnessing it’s embarrassing demise.
    Which, by the way, is my opinion in a nutshell: Comics are dead. Nobody really wants to read comics. The way I see it, the only way for comics to survive and take off is by just creating them and putting them out there on the internet for free. You see, it’s like a fungus surviving the drought. Cut off the hyphae, go into hibernation and just keep sending out spores. Some of them will take root and flourish again. Case in point : Faisal Mohammed’s Garbage Bin or Alicia Souza’s quirky strips and Chumbak merchandise.
    The reason for this decline in comics readership is multifold and frankly deserving of its own little documentary. And this is not just an Indian phenomenon. Page rates have declined tremendously for Japanese mangakas and sales have dropped through the floor. The Big 2 in North America are no different, and they have shrewdly jumped off the publishing boat to move to more promising shores of Hollywood franchising. Statistics show that the major publishers in American continent are actually diverting funds away from the publishing market with outrageous pricing policies ( $4.99 for a 22 page book. Seriously??) to furnish the movies and merchandising divisions. And for good reason too. Their major readership now are the 30- and 40- somethings who read the Boom age (90s) comics as teenagers and still harbour a love for the medium. No one else seems to care about monthly comics. What does sell now is trade paperbacks (reprints of collected editions, something we Indians knew as ‘Visheshanks’), independent stories pompously called graphic novels and merchandise like action figures, games and apparel.
    But I digress. Let me veer the course back to what we did wrong. If you remember, earlier in this millennium, Sony Pictures released a Spider-Man revamp (yes, it was a revamp if you consider the multiple preceding corny and not-so-corny adaptations) which redefined the genre of Comic book movies. This coincided with a reorganization of an obscure,US-based, Bengaluru-situated publishing company called Gotham Comics to put out small sized versions of popular comics from the Big 2 in India. I think the timing clicked and Gotham took off like a rocket, developed, diversified and eventually reached the end of its life cycle in the hands of Virgin Entertainment. But what this started off is a revolution of awakening of aspiring comics creators and entrepreneurial publishers wishing to take off on their own. I should know, I was one of the aspiring creators (still am). Unfortunately, all the publishers wanted to follow the Karan Johar model of film making of basing a movie around a star and pouring tons of money into it. So it is that publishers like Vimanika, Arkin, Level 10 started spinning tales around characters human and , for the most part, superhuman. There was a self-proclaimed passion for publishing from self-proclaimed comic book lovers and deliverers from rich families and lots of money to spend. Their motto was “Look at us! Look how we love comics and look how we take over the world with our stories and characters”. The stories were based on characters touted as being based deeply in the Indian ethos and ones with whom the Indian reader could connect. But I’ll be honest, none of these books ever read as anything better than a shameless attempt at pandering to the Western audience, Indian readers be damned. Even the best stories here read like they were written like a Hollywood movie script. What was missing was a feel for the language of comics ( these books were rife with horrible panel layouts, cringeworthy dialogue and shoddy artwork after the first couple of pages) and nuanced understanding of the readers’ intelligence. And it couldn’t have been expected to be any different, because the creators did not birth the characters and stories from their own minds, but we’re paid to work like an assembly line of comics creation. It hurt every time I read a dialogue like “Man, this sucks” from a mythological character or saw the decline in the quality of art over the pages of a single issue. And you couldn’t blame the artists or writers: I have seen and experienced how stressful it is to create comics with a deadline and how the quality of artwork usually takes the hit due to poorly planned publishing timelines. Inspite of all the limitations, the creators did their best , but only shone occasionally. The reason: none of the creators were trained to work with deadlines and tight schedules, and even the best artists ended up putting forth sub-par art , and the writers, half baked scripts. All in all, a pathetic situation.
    Another curious phenomenon was the introduction of the Comic Con to India. I must admit that the first two Comic Cons were very creator and publisher oriented, with comics sales and creator-reader interaction being the pure motivation. But before you could see it, mediocrity won, and the sponsors and publishers jumped to merchandizing and advanced marketing ( ” We plan to publish more issues and introduce more characters in the next 2 quarters”) so that comics creators and writers, the lifeblood of the comics scene, were pushed to the fringes and Hollywood and video game merchandizing and hollow pop-culture aping prevailed.
    Another curious development was the rise of the grim and gritty Movie Superhero culture and general spread of pop culture awareness. Thanks to TV shows like TBBT and Sherlock, it was suddenly cool to be a comics and pop culture enthusiast. Surprising how things change. And this wasn’t a new found love for comics, no sir. This was just an attempt by youngsters to be part of the in crowd. Go ahead, ask any youngster their favorite comic book character. 5 out of 10 will admit to ‘being a hardcore fan of’ the Joker and 4 of them will say the Batman. Because it is cool to say that. I will not accuse them of not being comic fans for not having read TDKR or Killing Joke, because that is blasé. The world has moved on after realizing that Frank Miller is piece of shit and Alan Moore is a senile loon. But yes, it hurts me that fans will relate more to the movies and games than the comics.
    Meanwhile, our indigenous brethren who create comics struggle to survive in relative obscurity. Diamond Comics kicked the bucket and what with the passing away of Pran Sharma, I don’t think it will ever be the same again. To be honest, Pran jee and his creations were the only saving grace in the mediocre Diamond Comics roster. The other giant, Raj, still survives, trying to adapt and evolve . I have a feeling that things are not going so well for Raj Comics as well but I only have the best wishes for this company that kept my faith in the Indian Comic book alive. Some of the best artists in the Indian comics landscape have worked for Raj and I hope they find the strength and means to diversify to wider platforms. I know that Tinkle is still being published, and ACK media is trying to adapt it to other platforms, and I hope it survives. About ACK itslef, I’m not too sure. It’s been a long time since I saw a decent ACK issue released. And this was the bibliography from where I learned the most about my culture and history. And I do not even wish to start about those delightful creations from the Bengali comics industry. Relatively new players like Campfire, level 10, Manta ray seemed to start out well, but it remains to be seen how their pricing model keeps the ecosystem of readership alive.
    So this is where we stand. Comics, in and of itself, cannot be a viable market. This is just not that time or age. But comics need to survive. The best way to do this , I feel, is to create good, high-quality content and put it out for people to read. If money is kept out of the equation, it will be easier for creators to create content without monetary constraints and create a name for themselves. Once their comics take off in a big way, sponsorship and merchandizing will bring in far more revenue than just getting paid by the page. So comics creators and lovers, if you really love comics and want to keep creating more comics, please find another job. Work in advertising- it pays really well. Work in animation or illustration to make money. But create comics ONLY out of love, not as a way to earn your livelihood. It sounds like a tough deal, and it definitely is. But let’s not monetize comics and try to pluck the fruit before the tree even blooms. Unless we creators put out more high quality, accessible (read free) content for audiences to consume, the tree will wither and die.
    But that’s my opinion, not necessarily the truth. I would love to hear more opinions.

    1. Aku says:

      Whoa! Heavy comment, lots of thoughts and lots of passion there.
      Thanks for sharing and for such a detailed look at the comic world – both in India an outside.
      Hopefully folks like us can not just keep the debate alive but help keep the comics industry moving forward by keeping the inner fire going.
      I don’t entirely agree with you, in the sense that yes, comics have had a downturn and commercialisation is on the rise for a lot – but there is also a massive surge in so much more creator driven material from companies like Image and Dark Horse and Valiant and recently even Vertigo and personally I’ve been impressed with how much Marvel has been trying to stretch out of their comfort zones, something that doesn’t often happen with big established brands and companies.
      Is everything great? No. But it’s not all doom and gloom and free webcomics are not the answer.
      Do young people not read? That also is not true, I attend and have attended every comic con in India since the very first and while the numbers are small, there are all ages that have an interest and if one watches footage and all from conventions the world over, the numbers aren’t small.
      ALSO, these letters and the discussion is more specifically to do with Indian comics, about which for the most part I do agree with you. We’re trying, but we haven’t found the spark that works yet and there are too many trying to purely make money out of it – which sadly is a very real requirement in life – and the bitch of it is, that even if like me we all have day-jobs to earn, finding the time and energy on top of a 9-5 job to sit and make comics is easier said than done by far, for artists especially.
      Thanks again and look forward to seeing you around the fan communities and maybe at a convention, if you ever see me at a booth, come over and say hi!

  10. Reine Lobo says:

    Lack of variety is something i have noticed in the Indian comic industry. Why are Indian comics only about super heroes and humour? Look at the Japanese comic industry! They have everything in the genre bag from superheroes, humour to romance based stories in their industry. Infact most of the time their comics manage to get materialized as either a movie or a live action drama if not an anime series which I have noticed Indian comics fail at so miserably! Why can’t Indian comic writers think beyond superheroes, mythology and humors and for a change give us a serialised story that people can connect with that is not about the genre mentioned above? Or what they can do is try to go digital instead of wasting paper as digital art and comics are now being preferred worldwide and is accessible by people all over the world and not just in India. If India wants its comic industry to be a rage all over the world then it needs to create something that appeals to the world while maintaining a balance by including some elements that appeal to the local audience as well and not try to copy marvel comics or other American comics in the process like how the manga industry has managed to do by being inclusive and not exclusive!

    1. Aku says:

      Reine, thanks for reading and commenting – discussion was the whole point of this post.
      To answer your points as best I can:
      – There are non-superhero/comedy comics in India, but truthfully no comic in India gets too much real notice. If a production person from film or something were to see something that could be an easy sell and make them money, maybe, but as you can see yourself, that doesn’t happen. In fact they reverse and are wasting money making really terrible comics of Indian movies like Ra.One and Krrish.
      – Indian writers do think beyond the genres you mentioned (ahem, you can check out my own short stories here on this blog as an example and the comics I write under Meta Desi as well as a couple of other publishers) – but you must remember that those of us trying to make the comic biz happen here have limited means, little support from anyone and as such many will fall back on these genres simply because it is more likely to sell and let your efforts stay alive rather than crash and burn. Risk is not an easy thing to take.
      – As far as Digital goes, we’ve all tried it, myself included. No one in India is willing to pay. I’ve sold more digital comics to a non-Indian audience through than I did even on free-comic-day on Indian sites for books and on those we promoted like hell and even Comic Con India went out of their way to push the event and comics (which were free!) but Indian readers don’t take the bait.
      – And lastly, it’s important to be fair. International comics also have humour comics, superheroes, draw from mythology and have certain story-telling tropes. Indian comics will have to as you noted, strike a balance, but that means that it’s almost impossible for them all to be 100% unique as we will have to draw from Indian culture and mythology to try and make them unique yet not be too alien.
      I keep saying this but the Indian comic book scene is no longer on the publishers, writers, artists or even events like Comic Con. If the READERS don’t start supporting local creators more or even doing simple things like writing reviews, giving feedback online, praising+critiquing and engaging creators and publishers, we on the creative side will keep floundering and trying our best to make this happen but as money, hope, energy, enthusiasm and interest starts to fail… well most of the veterans will eventually give up and who knows how long the Indian comic scene will take to rebuild itself?
      And lastly, just so we’re clear – I refer to comics here. Not the pretentious literary circles obsessed with “graphic novels” only and being intellectual and arty-farty. That has it’s place but in every place where the comic medium exists and in every creative medium, that is only a part of the whole.
      Thanks again for reading and I’m glad to have you engage like this because this is what the industry needs. Conversation.

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