Tanushri Banerjee/Zee Research Group/Delhi
“Chacha Chaudhary ka dimag Computer se bhi tez chalta hai!”
Now that’s a phrase with which every kid of the 90s would agree. Except with time, the computer has undergone a makeover and so has Chacha Chaudhary. With tablets, I-phones, I-pads and laptops, the digital world has changed for the better. And so has the world of comic books.
The generation of newbie readers would maybe want to doubt the abilities of Chacha Chaudhary, more so because they haven’t ever received a dose of his ventures. Instead, they would be hiding a palmtop somewhere between their books and reading a digital graphic novel. But here’s the bright side, Mythology is the “Masala” that spices up today’s comics.
With the 2nd comic con India successfully making waves with a turnout of more than 80 participants and the preparation of the 3rd one in 2013 already on the move; one can argue that this genre of Pop Fiction is here to stay, only in a new and better avatar.
Various comic book publishing houses concur that comics have gone through a renaissance in the last few years”. The demand reached a plateau in the 1990s. Andy Dodd from Campfire comics adds “There was a time in the late 90s when the popularity of comics in India hit a low. However, there has been a definite resurgence over the past few years.”
And this development in the demand of comics has been triggered majorly due to modernization of the genre. In 2007, Virgin comics came up with the first digital format for comics. Rajani Thindiath, the editor of Tinkle remarks that they “reach out to readers beyond what we have known till today – adults. It is a sign of the medium being taken seriously as a form of art and throws open the doors to experimentation which is so necessary to explore new frontiers”.
Manish Gupta, says Raj Comics went digital 4 years ago. “Our eComics store has almost 1000 titles that could be read over a PC and those are priced very affordably as well.” KaranVir Arora, CEO Vimanika Comics, says that “from 2008 to 2010 nothing really happened then suddenly Independent comic publishers started to mushroom, I reckon not in a boasting way, inspired by us as we were by Virgin comics, even the Old daddies woke up!”
Several Titles like Devi from Liquid Comics (previously known as the Virgin comics), Ramayana3392AD from Graphic India, the Nagraj series from Raj Comics, Shiva- the legends of Immortals from Vimanika Comics and Sita- daughter of the earth by Campfire Comics have now replaced the old chain of Chacha Chaudhary, Pinki, Billoo and Ghastipur. Nelson Mandela: Unconquerable Soul, has been selling exceptionally well since it won the Best Graphic Novel award at the 2011 Comic Con India Awards.
Yet there are still few comics out there that can lead you into the dream world of ultimate nostalgia. Manas Meheta COO, ACK Media remarks that Amar Chitra Katha, a comic book for children that has stood the test of time through ages is still their best-selling product giving them a monthly readership of around 4 lakhs.
Amar Chitra Katha is also available in iTunes and Rediff is tied up with Diamond Comics. So one can find a certain Chacha hopping from one Tablet, to an iPhone to maybe another Smartphone. There are a number of available Apps from Comicshed, Tata Docomo and Level 10 Comics that enable one to buy comics in their Digitized version. Even networks like Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance offer a dose of these comics at their entertainment portal. Airtel provides it at Rs10 per comic strip and Vodafone does it for Rs2 per comic strip on GPRS phones.
The trend looks crackling and in the favor of this ever so popular breed of literature. Publishing houses agree no matter which generation or what the technological leap, those who like to read will always read. Karan Vir Arora asserts “nothing can replace the feel of a comic strip or Graphic Novel in ones hand. The future however is Digital.”
The next comic con is awaiting you in 2013, so take a break and grab the next issue of an Indian Comic and immerse yourselves into the action-packed world of a fantasy!