mage Comics, continues its mission to bring comics to readers around the world by announcing that Image Comics single issues and collections will now be available on Google Play.
To celebrate the launch of titles available on Google Play, Image Comics is offering the first issues of the popular THE WALKING DEAD, SAGA, CHEW, INVINCIBLE, and SUPER DINOSAUR series for free to Google Play customers.“Our philosophy toward digital content is expanding as the market evolves and grows, and this is just one of many steps we’re taking as we continue to move into the future. It’s exciting to bring digital versions of Image Comics titles to the Google Play Store,” says Eric Stephenson, Publisher, Image Comics.
Founded in 1992 by a group of best-selling comic creators—including Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Marc Silvestri—Image Comics’ legacy boasts numerous New York Times bestsellers and Eisner award-winning comics and graphic novels, including the zombie phenomenon THE WALKING DEAD created by Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman, upon which the hit AMC TV series of the same name is based, the science-fiction epic SAGA, and the pre-apocalyptic western EAST OF WEST. These hit titles, along with more than 40 others for a grand total of over 500 releases, will be available to buy immediately for Google Play customers.
The addition of Google Play expands the digital offerings of Image Comics, which also include Comixology, Apple iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and DRM-Free direct downloads available on the Image Comics website at imagecomics.com.
Fenil Comics Launch Comic Book ‘Mukhbir’ at Comic Fest India.
At Comic Fest India 2013, Gujarat based Fenil Comics launched ‘Mukhbir’, 32 pages, Hindi comic book. The story line of this comic revolves around crime fighter and superhero, Saurabh Saxena, who takes the responsibility of bursting the racket of oil mafias. The government officials are puppets of the oil mafia don ANNA GOLMAAL, who runs the oil racket. “MUKHBIR FAKIRA” collects information about oil mafias and helps Saurabh to burst their racket.
Also at the fest, Fenil Comics, also unveiled the first look of their upcoming television series Jasoos Balram, which is based on their superhero comic book based on the same character. On the other hand, their comic book series “Naadaan 10 ka Dum” bagged nomination at this fest’s Kalpana Lok Awards 2013 in the Best Penciler and Best Web Comics category.
Speaking to AnimationXpress.com about the idea behind creating this book, Fenil Sherdiwala, Founder of Fenil Comics, says, “My vision with this book is to bring to light the racket of oil mafias.”
Published by Fenil Comics, and aimed at the youth of India and north Indian and middle Indian states, the book is priced at INR 40.
Sharing more on the book, Fenil says, “It was two years ago that I watched a news piece on OIL MAFIAS, read some and it so very much impressed me that I decided to develop this concept further by adding my own imagination.”
The book is Written and Calligraphy done by Fenil, Penciler is Gaurav Shrivastav, Color brought out by Zakir Hussain and Edited by Bipin Sherdiwala. Artworks of ‘Mukhbir’ were initially drawn and then colored and calligraphy done using Adobe Photoshop.
“Interpreting real life incidents using our imagination was a challenge.” Informs more
There’s a strong current of Islamophobia gushing through our era. In various places, Muslims are still perceived as causing problems with their alleged insistence on being different. From Canada, to the UK, toBurma, and beyond, there are intense debates today that construct Muslims as a troublesome “race” who need to be contained. So when I heard about a new superhero that is going to eradicate this globalized Islamophobia, I was excited.
Commentators have celebrated Marvel’s new Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan (aka Ms Marvel), as a refreshing example of a strong Muslim woman who will normalize Muslim identity. Some even went as far as saying that Khan is “a much needed counter to Islamophobia in show business” and that “Marvel’s work is awatershed moment in breaking down fear and ignorance.” I wish these commentators were right, but sadly, I think they are overlooking some finer points of Kamala’s character that may suggest she is part of the problem rather than the solution.
A Muslim shapeshifter
From the limited information we have about Kamala, we know that she is a 16-year-old “shapeshifter”, who comes from a conservative and restrictive family. She apparently struggles with an identity crisis between her Muslim and American identities. This loose characterization does not sound like a refreshing portrayal of a Muslim character to me, but in fact, is consistent with typical outdated stereotypes of Muslims. In particular, the idea that Muslim women are trapped by family, tradition and Muslim men is an old orientalist trope that is still projected onto Muslim communities today. It is the same logic that has been used to justify the criminalization of Muslim clothing and the invasion of Muslim countries.
In this respect, it may not be a coincidence that Kamala rhymes with Malala, as both of their stories may give the impression that Muslim women need saving from Muslim men. The question that has been asked about Malala, may fairly be asked about Kamala as well: Is she really an empowered Muslim woman or is she an appropriated tool whose narrative coalesces with the portrayal of Muslim men’s ruthless domination needing to be curbed? It will be interesting to see what role Kamala’s white male friend “Bruno” plays in respect to this. It would be tragic if he is the one who Kamala feels safe to confide in, or who helps liberate her, or who gains an intimate relationship with her, because all of these correspond with racist imaginings of how the hierarchical relationship between white men and brown women should be.
Kamala’s identity crisis bothers me as well. Jews, Blacks and Muslims have all been told that surely they cannot reconcile a “Western” identity with their ethnicity, race or religion. Surely, the clash of civilizations manifests in their personalities and they are troubled, if not schizophrenic. For me, this identity crisis is over-theorized by academics, politicians and journalists, because in the real world, minorities find it quite easy to adapt, integrate and just get on with their lives. At most, they face just as many tricky questions about their identity as anyone else does.
Emphasizing Kamala’s identity crisis, her struggle between her heritage and her environment, and her desire to find stability suggests that being an American Muslim is always a difficult undertaking. It needn’t be, and we needn’t insist that American Muslims must always be overwhelmed with internal tension.
I may be reading too much into this but I also find Kamala’s superpower significant. Her ability to “shapeshift” brings to mind the common Islamophobic accusation that Muslims routinely practice taqqiya where they deliberately conceal their true beliefs for the sake of sinister plots. Shapeshifting is cunning and manipulative, just as orientalists imagined Arabs to be and just as far-right Islamophobes like to imagine all Muslims are today. As Jews were once represented in the past as selfishly infiltrating society, Muslims today are also likely to be considered as stealthily introducing Sharia into society. And what better way to justify this than by claiming Muslims, as shapeshifters, alternate their persona to dupe unsuspecting liberals.
Fighting Isamophobia with comics?
I am not suggesting that Marvel intends to promote Islamophobia. In fact, Marvel expresses an unequivocal desire to be anti-racist on their website, and at the same place also provide a surprisingly honest dissection of some of the prejudicial mistakes they’ve made in the past. Now even though two Muslims have created Kamala, I wonder if such mistakes are being made, because being a Muslim does not mean you are immune to internalizing dominant views of your group, even if they are Islamophobic.
If a cartoon character was to do anything about challenging Islamophobia, it would be one whose Muslim identity is there but is insignificant – just a taken-for-granted part of their life. Or it would be one who comfortably practices Islam without it being a burden. In this regard, I would be more excited about Kamala if she was a superhero who just happened to be a Muslim, or if she wore a headscarf without it being an issue.
There’s still hope for Kamala as her story is yet to be written, and it would be wonderful if Kamala did undermine Islamophobia, but I expect she will be no different than the many other Muslim comic book characters that have existed in the past, who come and go, usually unwittingly reinforcing simplistic stereotypes about Muslims. I, therefore, won’t be making bold claims that “Marvel is taking powerful steps… to help end Islamophobia” until Spiderman converts to Islam! Of course, that will never happen because it would be devastating for business.
So let’s be clear: Marvel’s new character is more realistically about identifying a niche in an ever-growing Muslim market rather than the beginning of an equality campaign. Yet even if it was a deliberate attempt to tackle Islamophobia (like Naif Al-Mutawa is admirably trying to do with THE 99), comics will never be able to end Islamophobia because too few people read them. They are also competing with many other voices that still strongly stigmatise Muslims in a context of well entrenched Islamophobia that has existed for centuries. I hate to be so pessimistic but Islamophobia is not about to disappear, and suggesting it will because of the appearance of a Muslim character in a comic book, does a disservice to those who confront it in all itsseriousness in their everyday lives. The appearance of Muslim characters in film, TV, music or cartoons can be a good thing, but only if they are portrayed in ways that do not reinforce stereotypes about Muslims as uniquely problematic. I’m not sure that Kamala Khan does this, as many hope she will.
Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), well-known publishers of children’s graphic comics is planning to immortalise sports legends Dhyan Chand and K D Jadhav, too, in its series on India’s “Visionaries”.
The popular publication has sold the maximum numbers on legends like Mother Teresa, Jim Corbett, Salim Ali and JRD Tata, Reena Puri, Editor of the Group, told Business Line here on sidelines of a function where ACK unveiled an illustrated graphic comics on life and times of the late Dr Verghese Kurien, Father of White Revolution, on his 92nd birth anniversary on Tuesday.
ACK, which refrains from publishing comics on living persons, is, however, considering to reassess its policy on whether to publish a book on sports legend Milkha Singh, on which a biopic was recently released with actor-director Farhan Akhtar in the lead role. The book on Dr Kurien, released in English, is being translated into Gujarati, and may be brought out in other languages, too. All comics are published with an initial print order of 30,000, she added.
The event was organised at the Institute of Rural Management-Anand (IRMA), founded by Dr Kurien, in the presence of children of Anandalaya School and two generations IRMA students now occupying various positions.
Vijay Sampath, CEO, ACK Media, informed that the Future Group had taken a controlling stake of 60% in ACK a couple of years ago. The company, which increased price of books by 20-25% over the last five years, would be launching ACK Apps Stores in the next two months on Android, Apple and Windows platforms and make available some free comics on apps. It is also planning setting up lending library for subscribers. The animated ACK products, comprising 26 stories, are available on Cartoon and Sun Networks.
Besides, he said, ACK would launch various characters on YouTube-based channels for children. Out of 500 titles published by ACK in the last five decades, about 350 continue to be in reprint.
Earlier, Nirmala Kurien, daughter of the legend, regaled the audience with an incident. When Dr Kurien asked his grandson about the latter’s ambition in life, the boy surprised his grandfather saying he wanted to be a watchman! A flabbergasted Dr Kurien asked why. “Well, to become a watchman I would not have to study in schools! “In that case,” Dr Kurien told his grandson, “You must become the best Watchman in the world, the way I have become the best Milkman!”
Nirmal said her dad loved to read comics. He used to say he was in the business of developing people, in which milk happened to be only a tool. To begin with, he could manage only 250 litres of milk a day and cast his net far and wide to make India the largest producer in the world and Amul Asia’s biggest milk brand.
She said few people knew that Dr Kurien played badminton, chess, tennis and cricket like a professional but gave up boxing after he broke his nose.
Recalling that Dr Kurien set up IRMA in 1979 when he found IIM-A students reluctant to go to villages, GCMMF Managing Director R S Sodhi said the legend had coined the word “rural management”. He urged ACK to publish the Kurien comics in other Indian languages as well.