New-age fare at India’s first comics convention

February 20th, 2011 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) The seemingly fading world of comics came alive in the capital, but with a difference - as comics on tablets and on iPads to reach out to the widest possible audience.The popular junction for expats and shoppers - Dilli Haat in south Delhi - was thronged by comics enthusiasts of all age-groups at the two-day comics convention that concluded in the capital Sunday.

The first ever convention in the country by Comic Con India saw graphic designers, artistes, writers and publishers coming together to open the world of comics to young readers, and also to the old world that still cherishes the picture-story days of childhood.

“It is true that comics have now entered the internet age, but they have not really lost their identity. The world of comics had slowed down, but I think they are coming back again,” Jatin Varma, organiser from Twenty Onwards Media, told IANS.

“The response we have seen here is phenomenal. The market is witnessing a boom, and this will surely have an impact on the world of comics,” said Varma.

While there were colours galore from the comic world, what kept the comics-lovers busy was the idea of having comics on iPads and Androids.

“In the Internet age, comics on tablets and social platforms reach out to a wider-audience. The cost of printing is not there, and the ideas spread faster,” Adhiraj Singh, a comics-writer associated with Twenty Onwards Media, said.

“You can’t really blame the tech-age, as you can’t forget that there’s a struggle to revive this lost form of art of story-telling through illustrations,” Singh admitted.

The two-day festival had on display stalls from nearly 35 publishers, interactive sessions and workshops by comic book creators, animators and publishers.

First timers set the ball rolling as the platform turned out to be the perfect hunt for publishers, illustrators and artists.

For Atish Chalke, the 30-year-old arts student from Mumbai and an illustrator for comics, coming to the convention helped him see the world of comics “through a new prism”.

“I think such conventions are the hubs of business and creativity at the same time. As an illustrator, I am all set to face the challenge of internet and am willing to come out with my own comics,” Chalke said.

He is all set to release his comics in May at a cost of Rs.5 per issue.

Another new comic-book is “Uud Bilaw Manus: Back with a Vengeance”, released at the convention.

“It is about the adventures of the superhero UuBiMa, a Bhojpuri-speaking superhero from north India. I just thought why not have our own ‘desi’ superhero when we have Superman, Spiderman and others,” Adhiraj Singh, the 22-year-old creator of the character, told IANS.

“UuBiMa,” with a tint of pulp fiction and Bollywood, comes to fight enemies like Babu Ghadiyal, and Boa Contractor (a corrupt municipality contractor).

For young comic-lovers who had long left the world of comics behind after the kids-entertainment channels took over their couch hours, the convention was a trip down the memory lane.

“I remember hiding comics in my school bags. Somehow it’s not that popular now. But this convention was unique,” said 15-year-old Manish Choudhury, a school-goer.

The fair included over 50 publishers, such as Magna, Marvel, Archie and DC comics, along with the popular Indian brigade of Amar Chitra Katha, Vimanika, Diamond and National Book Trust among others.

A lifetime achievement award ceremony for Anant Pai, creator of Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha, gave a fitting end to the convention.

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