Its creator, Anant Pai, portrayed various tales from ancient Hindu epics like the Ramayanaand Mahabharata. But the recent trend has evolved as the focus of the publishing houses has shifted from children to young adults and teenagers. The contents have also improved to attract the new generation who are usually followers of renowned western comics. Thus the modern Indian comics now provide a stylish end-product which is artistically improved along with gripping plots. In February 2011, the first Indian Comics Convention was held in New Delhiwhich attracted several readers and followers.
History of Comics in India
The origin of the history of Indian comics was rooted in the 1960s. Chandamama was one of the earliest Indian comic magazines, which compiled various adaptations of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In 1967, Anant Pai, editor of the India Book House, launched the series Amar Chitra Katha, which conveyed various stories of historical and religious significance. Aabid Surti was one of the early Indian comic authors who created the immortal character of Bahadur for Indrajal Comics, which turned out to be quite popular. Pran Kumar Sharma, popularly known as Pran, also contributed significantly to the growth of Indian comics. He created various legendary characters like Daabu, like Shrimatiji, Pinki, Billoo and the still popular Chacha Chaudharyduring the 1970s.
Indian comics in regional languages also gained momentum during that period and it was most evident in the state of West Bengal. Narayan Debnath is perhaps the most famous Bengali comic-creator whose strips were published as books from Kolkata. Amongst his notable creations, Nonte Phonte, Batul The Great and Handa Bhonda are very much still in circulation and have also led to enthusiastic production of animated films. Mayukh Choudhury was another comic artist and writer, who executed stories of action, adventure and historical genres, published in Bengali. Alagar comics were the most famous in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, Comic digest books like Poompatta, Balarama, Balabhumi, Bobanum Moliyum and Balamangalam are very popular amongst the readers.
During the 1980s, Detective Moochwala by Ajit Ninan and Gardhab Das, the singing donkey, by Neelabh and Jayanto, became the most lovable characters. But it was with the advent of Raj Comics that the entire scenario of Indian comics was transformed into a whole new level. They developed various home-made superhero characters, like Nagraj, Doga, Super Commando Dhruva, Parmanu and others, which were widely accepted and praised by the readers. Another much venerated and prominent Indian comics was Tinkle which became quite legendary and celebrated within a short span of time. Indian comics are as much as 60 years old. The very first Indian comic was published in 1947.
Development of Indian Comics
In 2006, Indian comics received its tremendous upheaval with the launch of Virgin comics, a collaboration of Virgin group and Gotham Comics of India. They are specialised in producing special series of Indian comics based in Indian mythology and ancient history. Their major title included Sadhu, Devi and Ramayan 3392 AD. Recently, a range of new comics have emerged in the Indian comics market, equipped with advanced technologies, enhanced artworks and well formed plots and stories. The most noteworthy among them are Arkin Comics, Vinamika Comics, Kriyetic Comics, Fluid Friction Comics, Level10 Comics and Comix.India.
Arkin Comics, founded by Rohan Kapadia and led by Shamik Dasgupta, started in 2007 with their flagship title Irith and focused on creating custom comics as well. Vinamika Comics, formed by Karan Vir Arora focuses particularly on Indian mythology with stylish artwork and colours. Vinamika's main titles, Dashaavatar, Moksha, The Sixth, I am Kalki and Shiva, have become very popular in the country. Kriyetic Comics, founded by Manojit Chattopadhyay, is a comic magazine based in Kolkata that focuses on telling original stories, illustrated by talented local artists. The stories vary from children's stories to science fiction, horror and comedy. The stories of Punu and Shesh Juddha (The Last War) were much admired by the readers. Fluid Friction Comics launched their flagship title Deva Shard in October 2008. Level10's publication, Comic Jump, is another magazine that includes stories like Shaurya, The Rabhas Incident, Daksh etc.
Web Comics in India
In the gushing and fast-paced era of computers and internet, it is obvious that Indian comics will adapt itself to the sophisticated technologies. Thus, web-comics is also very much in vogue. Badmash is in particular created by and directed at the Indian Diaspora. This format is anticipated to enlarge due to ICT literacy, colossal numbers of white-collar workers and internet permeation into India. Web comics indeed offer a superb platform to artists who do not wish to distribute via the published media.
Graphic Novels in Indian Comics
In addition to the Penguin published Corridor, by Sarnath Banerjee, which was widely publicised as India's first graphic novel, a subsequent foray was also followed in the path in 2007. However, a 60 page comic, named River of Stories, by Delhi based artist Orijit Sen, was published in 1994 by Kalpavriksh. Yet another potential competitor is G. Aravindan's Cheriya Manushyarum, Valiya Lokavum (Small Men and the Big World). Some of Deepak Chopra's books, such as his reiterating of the Kama Sutra, or the life of Gautama Buddha, are also looked at as partly graphic novels, due to their artwork, produced by Virgin Comics.
In addition, Kashmir Pending, a graphic novel by Naseer Ahmed, and The Believers, a graphic novel by Abdul Sultan - both addressing sensitive issues on Islamic militancy, were released by Phantomville in current times, Sarnath Banerjee's company, to irrefutable reviews. In 2009, a new company named Campfire Graphic Novels entered the graphic novel market which is based in New Delhi. Some of their most popular titles are Sita, daughter of the earth, Ekalavya and the recently released Ravana.
Due to the recent development and increased popularity of Indian Comics, the first Indian Comics Convention was conducted in New Delhi on February 2011. Publishers like Diamond Comics, Tinkle, Raj Comics, Amar Chitra Katha and several other popular India comics rule the Indian book markets since numerous years. These comics entertain children in various languages and are illustrated with colourful graphics. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the sale of comics were excellent, with the most popular comic series selling at above 5, 00,000 copies over many weeks.