Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pride and Prejudice

Graphic novels: Sex no barrier

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013, 8:50 IST | Agency: DNA
Making it’s way to readers in September is a classic romantic tale — Pride and Prejudice — in the form of a glossy, magazine-size graphic novel from Campfire Graphic Novels. 

Jason Quinn, creative content head says, “We wanted to take a tale that appeals to women and make a graphic novel, and what’s better to start with than Jane Austen’s classic with the quintessential protagonists Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.” Set to launch at the Hyderabad Comic Con Express (September 21-22), the novel is an attempt to provide the right subject matter that will draw women into the world of comics, which has traditionally been a male-dominated arena, Jason says. 

“We retained a lot of Jane Austen’s original dialogues, especially the witty parts, and used the visual medium to cut down on the descriptive,” he adds. This being just a start, Jason and his team are looking to take up stories that have strong female protagonists and create a niche for female readers. The 100-pager promises to give readers a movie experience with its lavish costumes and a more dashing  Mr Darcy in the visuals. 

Adi, author of the fiction thriller, Tantra, the story of Anu, a young vampire slayer, says that traditionally the women displayed in comics portray the 15-year-old male fantasy. “With tiny waists and glorified busts, they don’t appeal to women, because they don’t have real woman problems and especially in India, very few would steer towards graphic novels. In the global arena though, the stereotype has been broken already, especially with Japanese manga, which has a wide and loyal female readership, he says. “Storylines in manga are highly evolved and complex with subjects go beyond superheros and action. 

Fiction, everyday stories, thrillers, sci-fi, it’s all there in manga and it appeals to audiences from nine to 65 years and includes men, women and children.” Adi, who hopes that his own work be made in a manga rendition, feels that “anything you see women drawn to in books and films, can translate into topics and can appeal to women as graphic novels as well.” 

While female readership may not be a stronghold for graphic novels in India, there is a growing interest in the sector, says Karan Vir Arora, CEO, Vimanika Comics. “There’s no need for separate topics that appeal to women, as mature content will attract readers across the board. Our Shiva trilogy graphic novels have a strong following among women, who find the character to be a cool, complete man,” he says, adding that some women have told him they would like to marry Shiva. 

In India, the mythology angle works very well, and in third part which will be launching soon, female readers will draw a connect with the strong portrayal of Shiva’s female element — in the form of Parvati/Sati/Kali/Shakti. “While pure action mostly doesn’t appeal to women, a story needn’t be just a romantic tale either. A story that is well researched, realistic and has a novelish feel too makes for great material for a graphic novel, and will appeal to men and women alike,” Karan explains. As they did in manga, it’s essential for Indian graphic novels to tap into indigenous topics, bringing out stories and expressions that have an Indian feel, understanding that it’s not necessarily history that is a niche to explore.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Savita Bhabhi-Rozlyn Khan

Rozlyn Khan sketched in an online porn comic.

Model-actress Rozlyn Khan, rumoured to play Savita Bhabhi in Ram Gopal Varma's yet-to-be-announced movie, has become the first model to be sketched in a porn comic, online.

Says she, "The comic is a sexy and funny series, which I hope appeals to people." But why comics? "I chose to do this because I don't have to strip here. Only my caricature will be shown in the comic strip. Many people end up doing nude shoots; I am happy that I am only being sketched," she explains.

Rozlyn is likely to keep the rights to the comics.

Interestingly, her character, Savita Bhabhi, in RGV's film, is named after a pornographic cartoon character.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Amar Chitra Katha.

Amar Chitra Katha to tell Guj tales in Gujarati

Ahmedabad: They tell Indian folklore, mythological stories and biographies of historical characters – using the comics’ way, for children. And these stories will now also be about Gujarat and in Gujarati!
Created by educationist and pioneer of Indian Comics, Anant Pai (Uncle Pai), Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) and Tinkle are all set to appear in Gujarati. The new series, which will be launched within the next one month, will feature tales from Gujarat, including inspirational stories of late Dr Verghese Kurien and the white revolution, or Amul, as we know it today.
“Our aim is to make it (Amar Chitra Katha) more contemporary by adding more regional stories to it,” said Manas Mohan, COO and publishing director of ACK Media, on Wednesday. He was in Ahmedabad to announce this new endeavour. “Our reinvention strategy started in 2010 when we launched ‘ACK – Mother Teresa’, the first modern Indian hero. Our aim, since then, has been to tell stories of events and people, who have contributed to making of Modern India,” added Mohan.
ACK Gujarati will be launched in a month’s time with at least six to eight titles that will include stories about Lord Krishna, Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and others. New additions will be made every eight months, after which ACK will launch Tinkle monthly magazine and digest in Gujarati. This is merely beginning of ACK venture into a full-time Gujarati version of the popular magazine.
Mohan, during his stay here on Wednesday, also met officials of the state tourism department for ACK’s National Geographic media. “We are looking at developing an interesting opportunity with Gujarat by introducing National Geographic’s initiative. Under this (initiative), we will be selecting partners to set up a full-fledged photography exhibition,” said Mohan.
It was about eight years ago that ACK had first launched Gujarati titles. Then why the revamp, and Mohan explained, “We are now investing more and exploring deeper into this regional language, which, according to us, is the second primary Indian language worldwide.”
ACK is now looking forward to qualitative feedback, and for this, they are working closely with litterateurs from the state. “But I can’t disclose their names before the official launch next month,” said Mohan.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project

 The Threat to the “noble American art form”

In a 1993 speech at the Diamond Comics Seminar, the American writer Harlan Ellison referred to comic books as the “noble American born art form”(1)  From their inception in the 1930’s this comic book “art form” has now spread throughout the world, igniting interest among the world’s young about western culture.  Sadly these comic treasures have reached a point where the original comic books that were printed between the 1930’s and the 1960’s are rapidly deteriorating.  The acidic pulp paper they were printed on will, inevitably, cause this part of American heritage and culture to self-destruct.

In 1989 the comic book historian Ernest Gerber wrote, "The worst enemy to comic books is ignorance and procrastination. First we refuse to face established facts; then when the collector finds out about them, he figures that there is no rush to store the comics properly, and eventually he'll get to it. Friends, the clock keeps ticking and cannot be reversed… lives of perishable pulps can be easily extended for many generations - if you want them to be." (2)

Until now there's been nothing that can stop the damage time will do to comic books. Slabbing (encasing comics in plastic holders) is currently the best method we have of protecting comic books. But even slabbed comics have trapped oxygen that continues to interact with the acidic paper these comics were printed on. In a few hundred years the contents of those plastic shells will be little more than dust.

The Purpose of the Q-Collection Project

The Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project was created to rescue and preserve key (3) comic books published from the 1930's to the 1960's.  This preservation project was developed, and the comic books assembled, in the small town of Quincy Massachusetts. As a result this “Quincy” collection is now referred to as the Q-Collection.

The Q-Collection Project garnered so much local interest that the Office of the Mayor of Quincy provided a copy of the Shield of the City of Quincy to be used as a symbol of this preservation project.

The Genesis of the Q-Collection Project

In the Spring of 2001 I purchased a rare 1939 New York World's Fair Comic in poor condition. This was the first comic in this condition I had owned.  I sent this treasure to Matt Nelson, a professional restoration specialist.  Matt found that the comic was brittle and no restoration was possible. Mr. Nelson returned the comic saying that all I could do with this treasure was be "to stick the comic in a drawer and forget about it".

I was appalled. This rarity could not even be read since it had turned brittle with age.

It was clear that due to the poor quality acid-based pulp paper that these comics were printed on this seemed to be the ultimate destiny of all early comic books. In the future no one would be able to read an original.  Time was destroying this part of our heritage in the same way that the Royal Library of Alexandriawas destroyed when Julius Caesar accidentally set it on fire - along with three centuries of collected parchments and artwork. (4)

It was then that Matt Nelson and I began exchanging e-mails about what could be done with rare comics in poor condition. The Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project is a direct result of that debate.

We quickly realized that the world’s rapidly changing technologies could well mean that electronic scans of this part of our culture and heritage will be lost forever.  It seems probable that preserved originals are more likely to survive than digitalized scans.

Laminating deteriorating documents is an old idea that proved unsuccessful in the past due to the use of cellulose acetate as a lamination material. (5)  However, everything has changed with the introduction of heat-treated UV-resistant long-life Mylar laminating pouches.  Using this preservation material in specially designed box binders provides a possible lifespan of these comic books of up to 10,000 years.

The Design of Our Comic Book Time Capsules

I set to work designing a wooden binder that closes up like a box and will keep light and polluted air away from the laminated comic books.  The 3-ring binders open flat to allow the comics to be read and then close up tight to protect our comic book time capsules contents.

I chose rare woods that will help preserve the contents of the binders.  The museum-quality binders are to be made of desert-grown ironwood (to support the weight of the laminated contents), 1,200 year-old Alaskan cedar wood (for protection from insects) and 50,000 year-old iridescent Kauri wood (for beauty).  

The Contents of the Wooden Binders

There are two to three related comic books in each binder along with information pages on each comic.  Each binder will also contain a variety of comic book-related bonuses produced between the 1930’s and the 1960’s. These bonuses include original comic book covers, comic trading cards, gum card wrappers, comic book greeting cards, comic book membership cards, comic book-related ads and publicity photos.

The Progress & Future of the Q-Collection Project

This comic book preservation project (& rescue mission) has evolved from one comic book collector and one comic book restoration specialist in 2001 to include an Advisory Committee comprised of 21 comic book professionals and advanced collectors residing in 15 countries.  The project has it’s own home page, Facebook page and Twitter page.

The 200+ comic books in the Q-Collection are among the most important, most valuable and rarest key comics in existence.  Promotional items for the project have included Q-Collection booklets, Q-Collection calendars, Q-Collection coffee mugs and Q-Collection mini-binders.  We have even had requests for Q-Collection T-shirts and sweatshirts.  Added to all the rest I am working on a requested Q-Collection Reference Book.

To date we’ve had discussions about the donation of the Q-Collection with the director of the US Library of Congress, the director of England’s Victoria & Albert Museum and the architects of the soon-to-be-built Comic & Animation Pavilion in China.  No decision has yet been made on the Q-Collection’s final destination.

 (1) Diamond Comics Dialogue magazine, Kilimanjaro Corporation, 1993,

 (2) The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books: Volume One, Gerber Publishing Company, Inc., page A-13

 (3) Key comic books include the first issue of a series, the first appearance of an important new character within a series, the revising of an existing character for a new comic book age, or the origin issue of an important character.

 (4) For three centuries the known world’s collected knowledge was gathered in the Royal Library of Alexandria (Egypt).  That collected knowledge was lost when a fire that destroyed the Royal Library.  That fire was accidently set by Julius Caesar.  “Library of Alexandria” Wikipedia

 (5) Guidelines for the Care of Works on Paper with Cellulose Acetate Lamination, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, Marit Muson (editor), funded by the Getty Grant Program

Q-Collection Advisory Committee Supporting Statements

TRINA ROBBINS (California, USA):   "The preservation of comic books of major historical importance is an excellent and necessary project, and I'm happy to be of any help. Trina Robbins"

HUGO YONZON (Philippines):   "These boxed comics are like windows to the culture of a nation. The storytelling, the balloons, the actions, the design of characters, and all those elements speak much not just about comics only but about the world immediately outside of it. That is why the Q-Project is a milestone endeavor. Consider its rich collection as evidences of a civilization like those found in the diggings of ancient temples. People of tomorrow can learn much from the treasures of the Q-Project."

ANTONIUS "TONI" MASDIONO (Indonesia):   "Comics have come a long way, maybe from the beginning of our modern culture. It has also evolved over many, many centuries to find its contemporary styles, and is still evolving today. This project is a stepping stone in comic evolution."

PROFESSOR FUSAMI OGI (Japan):   "In the last decade, in a global sense, comics scholarship has developed incredibly. Comics studies no longer holds a minor position and Comics is no longer trash culture. Comics which have been created are a crucial part of our culture and should be preserved forever. It is a great pleasure for me to advise in Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project from outside the US."

STEVE YOUNIS (Australia):   "Far from the 'funny pages' they were once considered, comic books are a viable and important medium for both art and storytelling. They can be an important tool for reading in early childhood, and the efforts of the Q-Collection is a must for future generations to understand the history and value held within their pages."

DOCTOR MICHAEL HILL (Australia):   "In a world in which comic books have been treated for far too long as consumables and ephemera the Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project represents a significant plan to preserve key items of these as popular culture artifacts. This project also provides physical protection against the transitory status of comic books by means of coating, wrapping and encasement in protective materials that will ensure defense against their decay. The selection and acquisition of these rare comic books that have become classics of popular culture, their preservation treatment, deposit and safekeeping and subsequent availability for reading and research by future generations has my support and deserves backing by business benefactors, patrons of popular culture and by an appropriate public collection institution."

IGOR PRASSEL (Slovenia):   "It was about time that a serious historical preservation project in the field of comic art - I see it as a Cinematheque for comic books - got started. Even if the main objective of the project is to preserve comic books from the 1930's to 1960's for the Smithsonian Institute reading collection, I hope it will not deal only with American comic books, but with time will spread into an international collection."

DEZ SKINN (England, UK):   "It is a frightening fact that the ever-dwindling number of key moments in the uniquely US creation of comic books are being hoarded away as future investments or permanently "slabbed" in sealed sleeves of Barex, a highly gas-impermeable plastic polymer. No other medium which had such an impact on the entire entertainment media and had such a profound inspiration on several generations of filmmakers, writers and artists would be treated in this cavalier fashion. At a time when no others seem to care, thanks to the efforts of Q-Collectables alone, researchers and historians will be able to read these key issues and appreciate the roots of a phenomenon for many, many years to come. This is a worthy goal which should embraced by all.".

RICHARD WILLIAMS (Wales, UK):   "I believe that the Q-Project is of the utmost importance in preserving key comic books for individuals to read for generations to come. Imagine being given the opportunity to hold and read rare comics from American history that usually reside in the clutches of wealthy collectors and investors?  It’s wonderful to finally be able to read and enjoy these historic key comic books without the need for white gloves or a pair of tweezers."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Islamic values through Comics.

Spreading Islamic values through Comics

By Shaik Zakeer Hussain,,
Banglore: For their living, the brother duo Ali and Arif Vakil work for their family owned real estate company Vakil Housing. However, it is not their entrepreneurship that makes their story interesting, but it is their fascinating creation called Sufi Comics; a fruit borne out of their lifelong passion for comics and Islam.
With an impressive combination of the increasingly popular medium of comics and the treasure trove of wisdom found in the Islamic traditions, the brothers have carved a niche for themselves and have set a new benchmark in this genre.
In this Interview with TCN’S Shaik Zakeer Hussain, Ali Vakil, the younger of the two, talks about the idea behind Sufi comics and more.

Could you tell us something about yourself and what Sufi Comics is all about?
Our roots are from Gujarat. We grew up in Dubai, but for the last 10 years we've been in Bangalore. We used to run a mailing list prior to the blog. However, after we came to Bangalore we converted that list to a blog We used to put up comics on this blog, and realized that it's getting popular and deserves its own website, that's when we started
If I have to describe what Sufi Comics is, then the short version would be "Comics for the soul". A slightly longer version is "They are short spiritual anecdotes from Islamic history & tradition." After every comic we've got verses of the Qur'an and traditions on the topic of the comic.
So if my understanding is correct, through these comics, you are trying to present Islam to the world; to both Muslims and non-Muslims?
In a way yes, but we are more focused on the spiritual values taught in Islamic teachings rather than explaining the rituals of the faith.

Mohammed Ali Vakil (right) & Mohammed Arif Vakil at the Comic Con Express Exhibition
And is that the reason why it is named Sufi Comics, or is there other reason for this name?
Yes exactly, that was the reason for naming it Sufi Comics.
Great! What made you brothers take up comics to spread Islam's spiritual teachings? Had you seen others doing this before? Where did you get your inspiration from?
As Indians growing up in Dubai, our introduction to Indian culture came from comics like ACK (Amar Citra Katha), we also read a lot of other comics like Tin Tin, Asterix, Phantom etc. Looking back we realized that the medium of comics is very powerful, and can have a more lasting impression than just text (especially for the younger generation). These days learning has become very visual.
Islam also has a very rich tradition of art, so we thought of using an art form to narrate these stories. In our latest book the inspiration came from Persian & Turkish miniature paintings. The Qur'an & Hadith are written by hand in Islamic Calligraphy. And no, we had not come across anyone putting these stories in comic format.
Your latest book is on Rumi I suppose?
Yes, in our next book we are going to illustrate the poems of Rumi.

40 Sufi Comics
That’s interesting. Are you brothers the only two behind these comics or do you get assistance from others? And also how do you decide which anecdote or which Hadith would go into the comic? Could you throw some light in that direction?
The art in the second book was done by Rahil Mohsin, and the calligraphy was done by Muqtar Ahmed. The content is done by my brother and me, many of the stories we learnt when we grew up in Dubai at our Madrasah. We also read a lot and looked for stories that resonate with us. I & my brother select the Qur'an verses & Hadith.
Talking about the art: Did you brothers go to an institute to learn how to draw comics?
Both me & my brother are Chartered Accountants, and had no formal training in art. I got interested in art while I was reading the book "How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci". In the book it encouraged learning art 'cause it helps to improve the power of observation. I started learning from YouTube videos. I really enjoyed art, and wanted to do something useful with this skill, that's when I thought of drawing Sufi comics.
Do you both draw and are your illustrations hand drawn or are there any special tools that you use?
Yes, we both draw. Some of my brother's comics are available on our website The illustrations are all hand drawn. I first would do it on paper & then scan it. Later on I got a tablet pc and started drawing directly on the computer.

The Wise Fool of Baghdad (Excerpt)
How did you brothers market your books, apart from of course publishing these strips on your popular blog?
We used to spread the word on Facebook, and participate at Comic Con exhibitions. These were the two primary ways. We participated at Comic Con San Diego in 2012, which is the biggest in the West. We became the first Indian publisher to participate.
Great! How has the response to your books been so far?
The response has been really good. We got orders from several countries including Tanzania, Pakistan, US, UK, Australia. What is very encouraging is that our comics have been translated in 9 languages. It's done by volunteers. Once the comic gets translated we put it up on our website. You can browse the languages from the top bar on
So what's next for Sufi Comics? Do you brothers have any specific plans for it?
Our next project is Rumi, and most of our efforts are going into that project. But we're also working on coming up with the 2nd volume of "40 Sufi Comics".



Announcement release:

COMIC CON EXPRESS, the travelling version of  Comic Con India will be held in  HYDERABAD in September

       1st ever Comic Con Express Hyderabad - A fest for Comic enthusiasts!!


              Costume Play: Kids and adults can come dressed as their favourite comic, superhero, gaming characters. Prizes to be Won!!!
         Workshops: with creators,artists and writers of popular comics and graphic
    Book launches: New titles to be launched!
Merchandise from all over the world: Lots and lots of merchandise!Pick up some awesome Merchandise, T-shirts, Mugs, Toys, Posters, Cushions etc, the list is endless!!
Sessions: With Leading writers and Artists in the country.
International:Exhibitors bringing International content!

India, July 10' 2013 - Comic Con India is pleased to announce that the travelling version of the national Indian Comics Convention, Comic Con Express is going to a new city yet again this year; the City of Nizams-Hyderabad. Comic Con Express Hyderabad will take place over the weekend of September 21-22 at HITEX Exhibition Center, Hyderabad.

The express version was started with the aim of taking the comics convention to cities throughout India to support and boost the comics industry by local interaction and participation. With the enormous response Comic Con India is receiving across cities, it is all set to entice audience in Hyderabad this year.This will be the third express tour but first for Hyderabad. The earlier two express versions in Mumbai (2011) and Bangalore (2012) have been converted into annual events, as the response has been remarkable.

Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India, shared, “Over the past 3 years we have expanded to 3 cities and this year we have decided to add another stop to our tour! We are glad to announce that we are taking Comic Con to Hyderabad in September and as our tradition goes, the first event in any new city is deemed Comic Con Express,” says, Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India.

Jatin explains, “The reason to go to Hyderabad is simple - Fans! We have been bombarded with messages since our inception to come to Hyderabad and it was inevitable we come there for our fans. After the overwhelming response from Mumbai and Bangalore expresses, we are looking forward to a tremendous response from Hyderabad”

Comic Con India is planning a slew of fun filled and interactive activities. They range from participation from artists and publishers, workshops and interactive sessions every hour at the dedicated stage area to exclusive launches of Comic titles, book signings, display and sale of a wide range of  comics and merchandise, special corners for creating comics and cartoons, contests and lots more.

Cosplay(costume contest),one of the major attractions at Comic Con India, will be more appealing than ever! Comic Con India will continue to give assured prizes to everyone in costume, but now there are 5 categories that have been created to increase one’s chances of winning gifts.Each day, one winner will be chosen from each of five categories:
1. Comic book/graphic novel
2.Animated Series/Movie
3. Manga/Anime
4. Sci-Fi/Fantasy
5. Gaming

Both days, One lucky winner out of the chosen 5 will get the awesome chance to WIN a GOLDEN TICKET to An Amazing Destination!!

There is going to be special sessions with the leading artists and writers in the country, International Exhibitors and lots more.

The main participants of the Comic Con Express Hyderabad is Amar Chitra Katha,  Campfire Graphic Novels, Scholastic India, DC Comics by Random House, HarperCollins India, Pop Culture Publishing, Holy Cow Entertainment, Mario Miranda Gallery, Level 10 Studios, Chariot Comics
and Green Gold Animation - Chotta Bheem Comics.

Comic Con India is a unique event celebrating the illustrated medium, which brings together the whole comics industry and related fields such as Merchandise, Toys, Games, Films and Animation, along with fans of this culture from all age groups. Now, after years, the comics’ community in India has a platform where they can meet and interact.


PS – For any Query or interaction with Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India, pls feel free to call or mail.

The pics attached are from Bangalore Comic Con in June 2013. Can provide more pics if needed.

For any Queries/Interactions, contact –

Manleen Kaur Mahajan
MKM Communications

Kavita Kataria
(Senior PR Executive)
MKM Communications


Sales & Footfall Figures - FYI –

1.  At the 1st Comic Con India in Feb’11, the turnout was approx. 20000 and Sales touched         
25 Lakhs in 2 days.
2.  At the Comic Con Express Mumbai, the travelling version of Annual Indian Comics  Convention that took place in October '11, the turnout was approx 12000 and Sales touched
30 Lakhs in 2 days.
3. AT the 2nd Comic Con India that took place in Feb’12, the response was amazing, footfall touched 35 thousand and sales touched 50 lakhs in 3 days.
4. Last year the traveling version of Comic Con India went to a new city - the Technology capital of India – Bangalore in Sept ‘12, the turnout was approx 35000 and the sales crossed over 65 Lakhs in 2 days.
5.  At the 1st ever “Mumbai Film and Comic Con” that took place last year in Mumbai in Oct‘12, the turnout was approx 26000 and the sales crossed over 45 Lakhs in 2 days.
6. AT the 3rd Comic Con India that took place in Feb’13, the response was tremendous, footfall touched 50 thousand and sales touched crore in 3 days.
7. At the 1st ever annual “Bangalore Comic Con” that took place in Bangalore in June’ 13, the turnout was approx 62000 and the sales touched 1 crore 25 Lakhs in 2 days.



Manleen Kaur Mahajan 
MKM Communications 
G 2-A,Ground Floor,Aashirwad Complex,D1,Green Park Main
New Delhi - 110016