Emergence of Contemporary Indian Comics
After the appearance of satellite television in India during the 1990s, the Indian Comics medium started to lose its popularity. In 2006, Virgin Comics, formed as a partnership between Virgin Group and Gotham Comics, entered the market with focus of producing new range of comics based on Indian history and mythology. Their main titles, which included, Devi, Sadhu, Ramayana 3392 AD, Snake Woman, created by Indian writers and artists, became very popular in India and abroad. In 2008, Virgin Comics was renamed as Liquid Comics, after a change in management. This marked the new age of Indian Comics as it showed the potential for growth of locally made comics and thus inspired most of the contemporary Indian Comics to foray in the field. Eventually many publishers and comics enthusiasts ventured into this field and developed world class comics in India.
Some of the prominent Contemporary Indian Comics that have evolved in the past few years are discussed below-
Vimanika Comics, established by Karan Vir Arora of Vimanika Edutainment in 2007, is a Mumbai based Comics Publisher which consists of skilled writers and artists. Their main focus is telling stories on characters based on Indian mythology. Karan Vir Arora formed the company with the aim to portray well researched stories related to Indian mythology illustrated with beautiful and digitally enhanced artwork. Vimanika Comics initially worked with Kriyetic Graphic Studios in launching their introductory issue. Vimanika started with the titles The Sixth and Moksha, and gradually introduced I Am Kalki and Shiva. They have also launched a graphic novel named Dashaavatar, based on the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Vimanika Comics is in plans to launch their upcoming series, Pushpak Vimaan, named after the flying chariots of gods. Moreover, Vimanika Comics aspires to produce animated and live action films based on their characters and also develop games and theme parks in future.
Kriyetic Comics is a Kolkata based Comic magazine, founded by Manojit Chattopadhyay in the year 2006. A part of Kriyetic Graphic Studios, Kriyetic Comics published their first issue in late 2007. The Comic magazine has the vision of creating "Comics for all" as it is a strong visual medium and there is adequate need of spreading awareness. The magazine features original stories, illustrated with graphic and detailed artwork. The comics magazine, now named Kriyetic Comics 100 Pages, includes several short stories on various genres such as Man in the Mirror, The Hunt, D‚j… vu, Punu Series, Chor Police Series, Jongoler Baire, Uribbas Colombus Series, Shesh Juddho, Fattu and Fantedon etc. Future projects include, Aguntuk, Supur, Sujog Sandhani, Morgue, Kolkata Kolkata, Jimmy and Friends etc.
Moreover, Kriyetic is the first Indian comic magazine to publish original Manga comics in India, namely The Last Orange and Baranasir Dant, created by Japanese Manga artists. There is also a section named Comics School, which showcases comics created and submitted by school students. Kriyetic also conducted a workshop on Manga and Origami that helped in spreading awareness about comics. The magazine aims to provide opportunities to aspiring writers and illustrators who are enthusiastic about comics.
Arkin Comics was founded by Rohan Kapadia of Arkin Ventures in 2007. He was a student at the time and started with making personalized comics. It has introduced the world's first custom made comic book project which uses the customer's image to transform him into a comic book superhero. Arkin, which means full of power and energy in Sanskrit, also offers India's first 3D comics titled Irith, as well as other personalised merchandise like t-shirts, mugs etc. Arkin comics is based in Pune and features Shamik Dasgupta as the Editor-In-Chief. Irith is their first original story created by Dasgupta himself which focuses on a taskforce of superheroes who end up tracing their bloodlines to ancient Indian warriors.
Although Arkin comics have faced some hurdles due to lack of proper distribution infrastructure, but Kapadia plans to release Irith as a graphic novel soon. Moreover their next title Tikshna is also ready for release. It deals with the story of a female assassin in Pataliputra in 260 BC.
Comix.India is a 250 page self-published comics anthology founded by Bharath Murthy. It is the first independent black and white comics in the country. Comix.India has released 5separate volumes till now, which include Random Selection, Girl Power, Third World Fantasy, The Real Stuff and the recently released Comic Comics. The creators in this anthology series include renowned names in the comics industry as well as comics enthusiasts and amateurs. The entire comic is published online at Pothi.com and operates on the model of print-on-demand. The copyright of the various stories are occupied by the writers and creators. Comix.India was formed with the objective of creating a platform for showcasing the works of both experienced and new comics creators and to develop a culture of reading and improving the state of comics which is not focused on a particular genre or reader.
Some of the stories include A Remembrance of Loss, Kinnari, Earrings, The Halahala Observer, Eklavya, Visioncarnation, The Dark Butterfly, Naina, Goddess, Power Girl, W for Witch, The Last Magic, Curse of the Nagamani, Delivery, One Night At The Cemetery, A Moment In Time etc.
Level10's Comic Jump is an anthology monthly comic magazine that caters to the target audience of male readers in the age bracket of 18-30. Comic Jump, a part of Level 10 Entertainment, was established by Shreyas Srinivas and Suhas Sundar in 2010, with the aim of serving teen and matured readers. The magazine firmly believes in their motto, "by comic fans for comic fans" and this helps Comic Jump to stay connected with their readers. The magazine consists of 3 serialized stories and has already published more than 11 issues. Comic Jump started with the titles Shaurya, The Rabhas Incident and Northern Song. After the conclusion of Rabhas Incident and Northern Song, 2 more titles will be introduced, Daksh, and Batu Gaiden. Daksh is supposed to be India's answer to superheroes like Batman, and Batu gaiden, a Manga fantasy series. Their other forthcoming title is Yumi.
Other Contemporary Indian Comics
There are several other Contemporary Indian Comics that are evolving in the market like Manta Ray, which publishes comics and graphic novels based on realistic themes, and Holy Cow Entertainment, which will launch Were-House a black and white anthology based on shape shifting creatures. Their other title Ravanayan will be launched as a 10 issue series that will focus on the origin and tales of Ravana. Pop Culture Publishing has already launched 3 titles and is prepared with 7 other concepts. Their most popular titles consist of Uud Bilaw Manus, which is about a superhero who is a hybrid of human and otter, and the Itch You Can't Scratch. Campfire Graphic Novels has also entered the market and publishes highly improved graphic novels based on classic stories. Their recent release Ravana has become widely popular.
Moreover the existing players, who dominate the market, are also focusing on developing the content and style of presentation. Amar Chitra Katha has already launched an animated show on Cartoon NetworkIndia. Diamond Comics is in plans to launch a 24 hour channel that will feature shows based on their Indian characters. Where as Raj Comics has also transformed their storyline and has also digitally enhanced the artworks to compete with the best in India and abroad.
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Contemporary Indian Comics