Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Afshan Azad, Actress, Harry Potter attending HCC 2016 in September

Press Release:

Get Ready to be spell bound at Alto Hyderabad Comic Con 2016
Afshan Azad, Actress, Harry Potter attending HCC 2016 in September!
Afshan will be taking part in special sessions, signing posters and speaking to fans
India, 16 August’  2016 - Comic Con India is thrilled to announce that Afshan Azad, Actor, Harry Potter will be attending Alto Hyderabad Comic Con 2016. This is for the first time ever that Comic Con India is bringing in an International Actor as a Special Guest to Hyderabad. The convention will take place at Hitex Exhibition Centre, on September 24-25’ 2016 between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  
Afshan Azad is British born Bangladeshi actress. She is known for her performances as Padma Patil in five of the Harry Potter films, starting with 2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She lives in Manchester UK, and is traveling to India for the first time for the Alto Hyderabad Comic-Con.

On attending Alto Hyderabad Comic Con 2016, Afshan Azad quotes, “I am so excited to visit India and to see all my loyal fans at the Alto Hyderabad Comic-Con. It’s going to be a great event and I hope to see you all there soon!”

From September 24-25’ 2016, fans of Harry Potter in India will be treated with a special session at Alto Hyderabad Comic Con by Afshan Azad herself. At the session she will talk about her work and will answer the questions from fans. Also, fans will get a chance to get pictures clicked with her and she will sign exclusive posters for the fans at the convention.

Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India, shared, I am extremely excited to welcome Afshan to Alto Hyderabad Comic Con! It will be her first visit to India to meet fans and we can't wait to host her at the show next month!

Other international guests who will be attending the Alto Hyderabad Comic Con 2016 are Dan Parent, Artist & Writer, Archie Comics; David Lloyd, Illustrator, V for Vendetta and Nicole Marie Jean, International Pro-Cosplayer.
Comic Con India is dedicated to creating unique events and giving the fans, exhibitors and partners a platform to celebrate their undying love and passion for comics & pop culture. Comic Con India is dedicated to expanding India's popular culture by creating high profile events that cater to fans of not only comics, but also, gaming, movies, television, merchandise, toys & more.

Comic Con India is part of the Reedpop family of events, which is dedicated to producing world-class celebrations of popular culture around the world with events like New York Comic Con, Oz Comic Con, Shanghai Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration among many others.

For more info about the event  :

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Chennai gets a taste of Comic-Con


sharp and witty:The workshop saw enthusiasts of comics coming forward with their work. —Photo: Special Arrangement

Comic creator Abhijeet Kini discusses how comic-making has changed over the years


It has been quite sometime since the words “Zap!”, “Bam!”, “Pow!”, and “Ka-Boom!” in comics were replaced by their electronic counterparts — the special effects and the sound mixing — in superhero-animation-fantasy movies. But the good old art form has not been lost entirely as was evident from the encouraging participation in a recent Comic-Con-supported workshop in the city, the first of its kind here.
Organised by Comic-Con India and Saarang, the cultural festival of IIT Madras, the workshop saw a large turnout.
The workshop was conducted by renowned comic creator and illustrator Abhijeet Kini of Butterfingersin Tinkle and Angry Maushi of fame.
A fun, and casual session, much like the convention itself, the workshop saw many enthusiasts of comics coming forward with their work.
Mr. Abhijeet explained how the making of a comic strip works. Emphasising the importance of script-art harmony, he detailed how comic-making has changed over the years.
After his talk, he got the participants to make their own comics and urged them to share their works through social media and use hashtag such as #ComicCon, #ComicConIndia and #ComicBookCeleberationWeek so that Comic-Con India would respond with an event in Chennai itself.
Mr. Kini said: “Although comics form a great means of social reflection, the Indian socio-cultural situation is yet to provide a conducive environment for satire.”
An annual convention held in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, Comic-Cons aim at expanding the pop culture scene in India.
Known for cosplaying, book releases, fandom merchandise sales, and celebrity presence, the event has a huge fan following across the country. With the rise of fan-following of pop-culture in Chennai, fromThe Man of Steel to Game of Thrones to Harry Potter to Rajinikanth, the next big Comic-Con in India is almost here.

Telling stories in graphics

Unlike the West, graphic novels are not yet a recognisable genre in India. How then is Delhi-based Campfire Graphic Novels doing so well? Girija Jhunjhunwala, director, Campfire Graphic Novels, explains the scenario to Rahul Kumar.
While experts and stakeholders tend to look at the western market, especially the American market, to understand the potential of the Indian market, in reality, the Indian market has its own logic. It doesn’t necessarily follow the western model. This is especially true in the case of publishing.

Take graphic novels, for example. In North America, it is now a popular literary genre, free from the baggage of being labelled as ‘comics’. Comics are traditionally targeted at young readers. On the other hand, graphic novels are adult business, even if they deal with superheroes, zombies or mythic creatures. In North America, the graphic novel has a strong market, with publishers like Vertigo and DC Comics raking in the moolah and writers like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman attaining mainstream popularity.

In India, on the other hand, it is still at a nascent stage. There have been several attempts since the publication of Orijit Sen’s River of Stories (1994) and Sarnath Banerjee’s Corridor (2004), published by Penguin India. In the recent years, HarperCollins has published several graphic novel titles, including Amruta Patil’s Adi Parva (2012) and Bharath Murthy’s The Vanished Path (2015). Another graphic novel currently in news is Banerjee’s All Quiet in Vikaspuri (2015).

A thread that connects all of these novels is their contemporary social consciousness. It seems Indian graphic novels are yet to embrace the myriad possibilities the genre affords. A combination of words and pictures, the format can be used in diverse ways, from social commentary to sheer entertainment.

Enter Campfire
One publishing venture is doing exactly this—setting readers’ imagination on fire. Campfire Graphic Novels publishes titles across four main categories, classics, mythology, biographies and history, and has more than 90 titles. The company has a tie-up with international publishers who bring out these books in ten international languages, including French, Portuguese, Egyptian, Korean, and Mongolian. In regional Indian languages, it has started publishing mythology titles in Bengali.
In just eight years, Campfire has proved itself as an accomplished publisher of the genre, winning the Comic Con India Award for Best Graphic Novel four years running.

Girija Jhunjhunwala, director, Campfire Graphic Novels, explains the reasons. “Globally, reading as a habit is gradually dying. People don’t want to read. People don’t have the patience to read a few hundred pages,” she says. Here, the graphic novel comes to the rescue.

Explaining graphic novels
First, the important question, what is a graphic novel?
One could say that a graphic novel is a more elaborate form of a comic book. It is a combination of graphics and text, says Jhunjhunwala. “Creating a book with graphics is a daunting task, but that is its appeal as well.”

She says, “There is a history of comics in India, initiated by Amar Chitra Katha, but we are one of the first Indian companies to focus on graphic novels exclusively.”

Of course, there is a difference between comics and graphic novels. According to Jhunjhunwala Graphic novels are a more serious form. “It may look like a comic book but the content in a graphic novel is usually text heavy. In a graphic novel, one must aim towards synchronising the graphics and the text for an entertaining and memorable reading experience. It has to be an amalgamation of both writing and art.”

Selling Steve Jobs
Away from the mythological domain of Amar Chitra Katha, Campfire’s titles take on other inspirations, such as William Shakespeare—Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar and Macbeth—and other classic English novels. There are several biographies to choose from as well, including Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela. Jhunjhunwala says that the company chose global personalities because Campfire’s books are sold world over, including Canada, the US, Europe, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and South Africa.
Steve Jobs: Genius by Design is one of our most popular titles,” says Jhunjhunwala. “I have lost count of the number of print runs for this book. It has sold more than one lakh copies in the overseas market.”
Jhunjhunwala says the book is thoroughly researched and came out six months after Steve Jobs’ death. Another well-researched Campfire title is Gandhi: My Life is My Message, which runs to about two hundred pages.
The book was launched at the Gandhi Smriti by Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, in 2013. He liked the script and found the graphic novel to be a unique medium to tell the Mahatma’s story. Reading a graphic novel is like watching a movie. The graphically elaborate content makes for an interesting and appealing read.
Of course, mythologies are not forgotten. All the usual suspects, such as Krishna, Draupadi and Sita are there. Jhunjhunwala argues that the stories, however, are told from a unique perspective. For example, The Mahabharata is narrated from Draupadi’s point of view and The Ramayana is from Sita’s perspective.
So who decides what characters/ personalities make the cut? It is the story that matters, says Jhunjhunwala. “At Campfire, we believe a story should make the readers think. We don’t need to spell everything out. We invite readers to form their own interpretations,” she says.
How does a title come about anyway? “We generally outsource the content. Once we decide on a topic or a storyline, we commission a writer. If we find the synopsis and storyline acceptable, we then go ahead with the script,” says Jhunjhunwala.
Family first
Campfire is a family run business. Jhunjhunwala’s father Keshav Thriani is the chairman and founder of the company.
“We wanted to give back to society,” Jhunjhunwala said about the motivation behind Campfire. “And now we are getting the next generation to read, with good stories that have been told innovatively. Our mission statement is ‘to entertain and
educate young minds by creating unique illustrated books that recount stories of human values, arouse curiosity in the world around us, and inspire with tales of great deeds of unforgettable people’.”
Jhunjhunwala says the uniqueness of Campfire titles has found takers in the US and Europe, where graphic novels are read by young adults as well as more mature readers. Given their success in the overseas market, the company has international distributors for every territory and for every segment.
Since the books are targeted at young adults, and contain inspirational tales, the education sector, especially school libraries, is a major market for Campfire.

“Today, almost 15-20 of our titles are a part of the CBSE extra-curriculum study list. Thus, the books are not just recommended in schools or picked up by teachers, they are also recognised by education boards like the CBSE,” says Jhunjhunwala. She adds that 12 of their titles have been picked up by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, an autonomous body under the government of India.

Thus, Jhunjhunwala believes the education market is recognising graphic novels as a tool to introduce children and reluctant readers to the habit of reading.

The business of books 
We are in a growing market, says Jhunjhunwala. There is a strong tradition in place. However, today’s readers are looking for fresh and exciting material and this is where Campfire comes into the picture—endeavouring to tell the classics in a contemporary fashion. The stories are the same, but the way they are told and presented is different.

Jhunjhunwala is here because of her passion for books. “Creating books attracts me,” she says. “I came into publishing by chance… it just happened.” Today, she looks after the entire marketing of the company. “It’s not an easy business,” she says and gives an example. “We sell the same book in the US for USD 16 – whilst in India the price is INR 400.”

There are other challenges as well. According to her, art is one thing, but getting the nuances right, especially in a graphic biography where the story deals with historical characters, is a tough job. Details are extremely important in a book that deals with history. The look, the architecture, the colour and the clothes need to be correct and specific. To achieve historical accuracy and the right kind of art for a book takes time, says Jhunjhunwala. “A good chunk of the time goes in research. It takes about six to eight months to render a hundred-page book,” she says.
Jhunjhunwala says that in the beginning, things looked tough. It was hard to find the right kind of people to write the stories or draw the panels. Now, she is hopeful for the future. “We have a lot of talent, but to groom them, we need time,” she says.

The books are printed in India, but are not available in physical bookstores because, as Jhunjhunwala argues, the genre is yet to find a niche in India. Yet, she feels that the popularity is growing.
The company puts up stalls at book fairs and Comic Cons, and over the years has seen a rise in the number of visitors.
The books are available on Campfire’s website www.campfire.co.in as well as other online retail sites.

New Set from yali Dream Creations


New Set From Yali Dream Creations Now Available For Order


Yali Dream Creations have released the new set of comics, introducing their first superhero comics project Rakshak. The set also includes omnibus edition of Carvan: Khooni Jung and TnT (Taraknath Tantrik): Andher Nagari Part 1, which are the hindi translated issues of Carvan Bloodwar and TnT City of Sorrows. The set is available for order from YDC Official Website on heavy discounts and with free art cards as well. The set starts shipping from July 15.
Rakshak
Rakshak is the story of a war hero Retired Captain Aditya Shergill who returns to his home in Delhi after his final mission in Kashmir, to live with her prodigal sister and her family. After a horrible incident that shatters his family, Aditya takes up the responsibility to protect the weak and defenseless, and become their Rakshak.
Rakshak marks the entry of YDC in superhero comics domain. The first series of Rakshak will consist of 3 issues. The story and script is written by Shamik Dasgupta, pencils by Pramit Santra and colors by Prasad Patnaik.
Carvan: Khooni Jung
Khooni Jung is a prequel to The Carvan, which was released last year in hindi. The story of Khooni Jung is set in the year 1976 and revolves around the revenge of Madhurakshi from the Bhediya Khan. Bhediya Khan attacked her village Devgarh, and shattered her family, honor and respect. Madhurakshi knows that Bhediya Khan is a barbarian, to fight with daemons she calls for daemons and the blood war begins.
Khooni Jung is coming as a mega omnibus edition in hindi and with many arts reworked for the hindi issue. Translation and lettering is done by Vibhav Pandey.
TnT (Taraknath Tantrik): Andher Nagari
Based on a character created by Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay (Pather Panchali, Aranyak) Taranath Tantrik is a supernatural thriller on the backdrop of the enigmatic and mystical city of present time Kolkata. Paranormal Investigator Taranath Tantrik and his three young friends Shankar, a CID officer, Vibhuti, a horror novelist and Sneha a Journalist get involved in a series of mysterious insanity outbreaks that plagues the city police and baffles the health department.
TnT Andher Nagari will come in two parts, translation and lettering for hindi issues is done by Vibhav Pandey.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Ms Marvel Kamala Khan's origin story set in India's partition!


Marvel's latest offering that traces the origins of Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American Muslim superheroine, shows her parents migration from to during the turbulent partition era.

With their latest comic, Marvel traces the roots of Kamala, the superheroine from New Jersey, and it dates back to India's partition in 1947.


Kamala is a fictional superheroine appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. 

The first few pages of the new comic have recently been released and they show Kamala's parents, Kareem and Aisha, as Indian Muslims in the then 'Bombay' in 1947 when the largest human migration in history was underway. They are en route to the newly-found Pakistan. 

The appearance of the characters -- bold gold bangles and shalwar kameez paired with a dupatta -- depicts the Muslims of the subcontinent, the Express Tribune reported. 

Kamala's parents are anticipating her birth as her mother asks God for a sign that will reassure her of her child's safe future in Pakistan. 


Created by editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, Kamala is Marvel's first Muslim character to headline her own comic book. 


Kamala made her first appearance in Captain Marvel #14 (August 2013) before taking over the Ms Marvel comic book series in February 2014.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Maruti Suzuki Alto Comic Book Celebration Week’

India to Celebrate the First ever
‘Maruti Suzuki Alto Comic Book Celebration Week
Presented by Comic Con India & Powered by ReadWhere

DOWNLOAD COMICS SAMPLERS FOR FREE FROM 4th & 10th JULY 2016!


  • Enjoy a full week of free digital comics (samplers) from leading Indian publishers
  • Download them straight on your Desktop, Phone or Tablet  (iOs & Android Store)

India, June 28th’ 2016: Gear up to celebrate the First ever Alto Comic Book Celebration Week in India presented by Comic Con India & powered by ReadWhere from July 4th & 10th’ 2016. Comics enthusiasts and fans can download a host of Indian Comic book samplers for free straight on their Desktop, Phone or Tablet (iOs & Android Store) from any part of  the country.


The main publishers participating in the Comic Book Week are Amar Chitra Katha, Chariot Comics, Graphic India, Abhijeet Kini, Campfire Graphic Novels, Holy Cow Entertainment, Meta Desi Comics, Saumin Patel, Shamik Dasgupta and many more.

Comic Con India started an initiative called ‘Free Comic Book Weekend’ in the year 2013, with an aim to expand the scope and access of comics across India. Alto Comic Book Celebration Week is the extension of the same initiative, with a week long celebration of comics & lot more activities for fans.

Online digital content marketplace Readwhere.com has been partnering with Comic Con India since the very beginning to promote this initiative and allow comics enthusiasts download Indian comics for free. This year also, Readwhere.com will be providing the platform to serve free digital comics sampler to fans across India.

Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India shared, “I am extremely excited to flag off our latest initiative to promote Indian comics & creators and this year we have a week long celebration lined up! All thanks to the support from Maruti Suzuki ALTO. We are bringing the latest & the best in Indian comics to fans across the country, in return we hope they will support their local creators and not only download the free comics but also purchase them! Additionally, we have tons of awesome contests & giveaways each from 4th July to 10th July! So, Keep Calm & Read and Buy Lots of Comics! .”


During this week, fans can download free comics samplers and participate in digital activities like Fan Art Contest where fans can upload their art and the winner will get a chance to showcase his/her art at Alto Hyderabad Comic Con and Fan Meme Contest where fans can upload memes and the winner will get a brand new Tablet. (The winners for both these activities will be decided via public voting and internal judging. Fans can also vote for their favorite artwork/memes and increase their chances of winning.)

There will also be Trivia Contests, where fans can indulge themselves in daily fun contests with a new theme everyday. Winners will get awesome prizes like merchandise, graphic novels, Comic Books etc from Random house India, Planet Superheroes, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Hachette India.


Comic Con India will also host an section called Know your creators, a dedicated section where people can know more about all popular Indian Creators and publishers taking part in Alto Comic Book Celebration Week. (All these digital activities will be conducted on the dedicated Comic Con India, microsite for Alto Comic Book Celebration Week.)

This year, the titles featured at Readwhere will be VRICA: Ascension Protocol, Angry Maushi: Heavy Metal, Holy Hell 1, Rakshak, Kaamotsav, Elephant Stories, Birbal, Suppandi 7, Shambhu 7, Beatles, DC Superhero Girls Finals Crisis, Avatar EX, Aghori, Ravanayan, Shaitaan and many more. Users can download these samplers for free and full comic book will be available at very reasonable price with attractive cashback to receive in the readwhere wallet.


Fans can download, purchase the comics via Web (http://www.readwhere.com) So fans get set, the process for Alto Comic Book Celebration Week 2016 will go live on Monday 4th July at 12 AM and will conclude on Sunday 10th July.

About Comic Con India
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. It has now grown to multiple events across the country. The mission has now evolved to create unique pop culture events and engage with fans all across the country.


The properties include Delhi Comic Con, Mumbai Comic Con, Bangalore Comic Con & Hyderabad Comic Con. Along with a traveling property - Comic Con Express, which was last held in Pune in 2016.

Comic Con India (CCI) took a big leap as they recently (In September 2014) announced a joint venture with Reed Exhibitions; part of the FTSE listed Reed Elsevier Group, to grow the pop culture space in India and bring world class events to Indian fans. The Comic Con India team will now work closely with the ‘ReedPOP’ division of Reed Exhibitions, the largest producer of pop culture events in the world.

With this JV in place, CCI enters the burgeoning ReedPOP portfolio of pop culture events which includes New York Comic Con, PAX, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Oz Comic-Con, Singapore Toy, Gaming & Comics Convention and Star Wars Celebration among many others.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Scions of the cursed King"

"Scions of the cursed King" गाथा है एक शापित राजा की जो नाग-मानवों द्वारा शापित है, सिंहासन का प्रत्येक उत्तराधिकारी राजा बनने से पूर्व या तो मर जाता है या मारा जाता है! उन्हीं में से एक वंशज है "अथ्मिका" जो इस श्राप को अन्धविश्वास मानकर इसका सामना करने की ठान लेती है! और अपनी इस लड़ाई में उसका खतरनाक एवं रोमांचक सफ़र शुरू होता है...यह कहानी है अथ्मिका के आत्मपरिवर्तन की और उसके सिद्धि की जो उसे सर्वोत्तम वंशज बनाती है।
इसे अपने रिस्क पर पढ़ें क्योंकि यह आपको दहला सकती है, यह बेहद डार्क एवं खून से लतपत ग्राफ़िक नोवेल है...तो बच्चे और कमजोर दिल वाले दूर इससे रहें...इसका प्रथम भाग "ग्रीष्म" हमारी साईट पर बिलकुल मुफ्त में उपलब्ध है तो अभी जाकर पढ़ें इस लिंक से -

http://yalidreamcreations.com/scions-cursed-king/




https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1562251810736586&set=gm.1089852777774607&type=3&theater

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reading urban dystopia


One of the most iconic images that even non-comic aficionados are familiar with, is that of Batman perched on a gargoyle, looking down at Gotham City. “It’s a bird’s eye… a god’s eye view of the city,” says lawyer and writer Lawrence Liang. “But it’s also how a city planner would look at the city.” It’s a very different perspective than the one in The Walking Man by Jirō Taniguchi, pointed out Liang, in which the Manga comic’s protagonist takes a walk around his city. “He takes the time to look around,” he adds. “You experience temporality through that. It’s a contrasting view from the one Batman has of Gotham City – there’s a distinction in seeing a city from the top and walking it.” These are just some of the discussions that participants can look forward to at “Comics and the Urban Imagination”, a four-day course that explores the representation of cities in comics and graphic novels.
Liang will be in Mumbai to teach the course as part of ‘Scaffolds, Layouts and Palimpsests’ at the School of Environment and Architecture (SEA). Participants will be introduced to a slew of international and Indian comics via the tropes of architecture, dystopia and labyrinths. Apart from offering an understanding of comics and graphic novels, the course aims to explore the role of the image and the imagination in shaping urban form. The course, according to SEA website, will examine the intersection of comics and the imagination of the city, in terms of representation and how architectural concepts may offer a new way of understanding the formal properties of comics.
Although Liang is best known for his work at the Alternative Law Forum in Bengaluru, of which he is the co-founder, he is also a film and media scholar. “I have been reading comics seriously for quite some time now,” he says. “I have always had an interest in visual culture.” According to Liang, when it comes to the visual archives of the city, both photography and cinema have been extensively mined for their ability to capture an experience. “As archives of the city, they are both intentional and unintentional,” he says. “If you look at cinema, you are often shooting on location. You capture more than what you intend to – the ambience and the archive of the city at a particular time.” Further, today’s selfie-happy culture, people are constantly taking photographs. “Rather than seeing better, there is a visual blindness,” he adds.
Which is one of the reasons that Liang is drawn to comics – while a photograph is taken, a drawing is made, creating a representation of the urban space. “What you leave or include becomes more acute in a drawing,” he says.
While landscapes are intrinsic to comic books, cityscapes are predominant in many of the narratives. No matter what their origin, superheroes have made mega cities – real and fiction – their homes and the base to fight crimes from. Phantom may feel left out, but urban landscapes are pretty much inherent to the aesthetics of comic books now. The form also gives the space to create allegorical cities, and to reinterpret the future of the cities, in all their utopian and dystopian possibilities. “The history of the city is essential to the narrative imagination of a comic,” explians Liang. “Like Batman and Gotham City. It creates a perceptual archive.”
Liang adds that there has always been a strong linkage between architecture and comics. Graphic novels and comics give free reign to the architectural imagination, making urban centres the protagonist of the narrative at times. Chris Ware’s Building Stories is one such book about the people who live in a three-level building in Chicago. It comes as a box containing 14 little books, some made from cloth, some paper. “Chris Ware slows down the action,” says Liang. “Very little happens, but there are so many images. It slows you down, to take in the minute and intricate detailing. In Building Stories, the protagonist is the building.” Then there’s Les Cités Obscures by Belgian comics’ artist François Schuiten and writer Benoît Peeters. Schuiten studied architecture and his education serves as a firm foundation for the surreal, metaphysical landscapes he conjures up here.
Liang points out the different approaches that comic book artists and writers can take while reinterpreting the city within their panels. For instance, in the Tintin books, he explains the landscape is elaborately researched. “The designs of the beams and the chairs, [Hergé] used archival material, a historical approach,” he elaborates. Science-fiction comics use the future approach, the narratives reflecting the anxieties and hopes of a city as a shared living experience.
As urbanscapes take over our literary, cinematic, and every day imagination, the phenomenon is also symptomatic to our idea of progress and development – vertical, shiny, and sleek like the cities in the pages of these graphic novels. In sharp contrast is the idea of wilderness, rural landscapes, and other unfamiliar spaces. This is an idea cleverly encompassed in The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins. The monochromatic graphic novel tells the story of Dave, who lives in an island called Here, where everything is perfect. Liang says that in Here, the city is imagined as a seamless space – a perfect realisation of modern planning. In contrast is the mayhem of There, a place of supposed chaos and fear. “It’s a space full of incredible anxiety and fear,” says Liang. “The contrast plays out interestingly, when aspects of There start emerging Here.” The Gigantic Beard may be fiction, but it the neurotic fear and anxiety it depicts, is familiar and eerily real.
The author writes about education for sustainable development, conservation, and food security. She’s the former editor of Time Out Bengaluru

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How Amar Chitra Katha is going back to the future

                                Jasodhara Banerjee
 Forbes India Staff
                                                                     Deputy Head of Desk



O
ne of the most enduring tales within the Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) family is that of founder Anant Pai, sitting among children, reading from one of the much-loved comic books, and enthralling his young audiences. It is, therefore, fitting that as ACK prepares to celebrate its golden jubilee next year, it is in the process of retracing its steps to what Pai held close to his heart, and was so good at—old-fashioned story-telling.

Coming up over the next year will be a series of events held across several malls in different cities, which will seek to recreate Uncle Pai’s (as the comic’s creator is fondly known) story-telling sessions. Malls may seem like an unlikely venue for Pai’s gathering of schoolchildren, but not only are they the modern-day spaces for community activities, ACK also has the backing of one of India’s largest retailers: Kishore Biyani’s Future Group bought a minority stake in ACK Media in March 2011, followed by a majority stake in July 2011. (Elephant Capital holds the minority stake.)

Those within the company point to Biyani’s attempts at producing films—Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002), starring Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Esha Deol—as indicative of his inclination towards creative ventures. But, creativity apart, the founder and group CEO of Future Group, which owns hypermarket chain Big Bazaar, is also said to have a deep love for everything Indian. And what can be more Indian than Amar Chitra Katha, which has also been published in more than 36 languages and distributed in 12 countries.

“We are thinking of a big mela where we create an environment of fun and storytelling,” says Anuraag Agarwal, head of strategy, mergers and acquisitions at Future Group, who has been the interim CEO at ACK for the past six months. “We plan to have workshops with parents and children; there will be a character parade, ACK selfies and the trademark ACK Quiz.”

The event is representative of ACK’s efforts to go back to the basics—tell stories and engage with their readers—after having meandered for a bit in its quest to stay relevant. “Over the last few years, there were some efforts to enter the animation sector, and go on to digital platforms,” says Agarwal, speaking of the two films—Tripura(2011, premiered on Cartoon Network) and Sons of Ram (2012, released in theatres)—the YouTube channel and the app launched by ACK Media. “But there was not enough push within the company to make these a success. We also learnt some things along the way: Such as, a lot of children don’t really have access to apps, and a lot of parents would rather have their children read books than sit with an electronic device. So we are focusing on our books once again.”

It would be interesting to see what this renewed focus does to a product that, without any marketing push, has managed to sell an average of 5 lakh copies every month since 2013-2014. This shift in approach, however, has meant a rejig within the Future Group departments that have been trimmed—many of ACK’s old-timers are no longer with the company—to make them more agile, to flatten the hierarchy within teams and increase interactivity between them. Agarwal himself divides his time between handling mergers and acquisitions, and managing ACK, a job that he seems to thoroughly enjoy. “Where else can you read comic books as part of your job?” he laughs.

Agarwal says there is a “contra-trend” among readers who want their children to read more of Indian content rather than Western. “People want their children to be familiar with their roots,” he says.

This is exactly what had prompted Uncle Pai to start Amar Chitra Katha in the first place. The legend goes that Pai, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 81, and his wife Lalita were walking along Delhi’s Karol Bagh area when they came across a shop where a quiz show was being telecast on TV, still a novelty in India. As they joined the small crowd gathered outside the shop to watch the programme, the quizmaster asked: “Who is the Greek god of the seas?” One of the teams answered, “Poseidon.” However, the next question—“Who is Ram’s mother?”—stumped the participants.

Pai saw such uncertainty about India’s mythology in his nephews and nieces too. He realised that youngsters in India were growing up on a diet of Western culture and information, and remained oblivious to the riches of India’s mythology, heroes and legends. Thus began his lifelong endeavour to tell the country’s greatest stories to its children.

“Whatever ACK is, is because of the vision of Uncle Pai,” says Reena I Puri, executive editor of ACK Media, and a 25-year veteran of the company. “He did not start it as a money-making enterprise. He wanted to reach out to the children of the country through our story-telling heritage.”

Pai had worked with the books division of Bennett Coleman & Co, when they had launched Mandrake and Phantom under the Indrajal Comics series in 1964. With the urge to start a series on Indian comics, he approached the Mirchandanis of India Book House (publishers and distributors of books and magazines since 1952), who agreed to become distributors of Pai’s comic books. Thus, Amar Chitra Katha was born in Mumbai in 1967. “They agreed to give Uncle Pai a space to work in and also promised to print what he created, although, at that time, they did not pay him a salary,” says Puri. The first title to be published—scripted by Pai, and illustrated by another much-revered name, Ram Waeerkar—was Krishna, in 1970.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Maruti Suzuki Alto named presenting sponsor of Comic Con India for the year 2016


Press Release

Maruti Suzuki Alto named presenting sponsor of Comic Con India for the year 2016


  • The shows include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore & Hyderabad Comic Con 2016
  • Maruti Suzuki Alto will also be a part of the 3 key special events Comic Con India will host this year entitled “Comic Book Celebration Week, Indian Championship of Cosplay & Comic Con India Awards”
India, 22 June 2016: Comic Con India is pleased to announce Maruti Suzuki Alto as the presenting sponsor of all the Comic Con India shows this calendar year which includes Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Comic Con India is dedicated to expanding India's popular culture by creating high profile events that cater to fans of not only comics, but also, gaming, movies, television, merchandise, toys & more.

Comic Con India is part of the Reedpop family of events, which is dedicated to producing world-class celebrations of popular culture around the world with events like New York Comic Con, Oz Comic Con, Shanghai Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration among many others.

Comic Con India (CCI) shows attracted over 1,50,000 visitors across 5 cities in FY 2015-16, they are among the biggest consumer events in the country. CCI has become the the hottest platform for brands to engage with young consumers. Attracting the key demographic between 18-36 year olds and giving some of the best fan experiences in the country. The CCI visitors are not only eager consumers of the latest & the best, but they are also influencers and trendsetters for content, products & services in the country.

Tapping into this energy has become key for youth-oriented brands and therefore natural fit for a brand such as ALTO.

Mr. Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India, states, “As our shows evolve and become THE places for celebrating popular culture, we looked towards finding brands who would partner with us in this endeavour as well as understand the value of our platform. With Maruti Suzuki - Alto we certainly have found the right partner and i am truly excited in having them on-board for our journey this year!

Mr. Vinay Pant, Associate Vice President, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India, said, Alto is a brand for the younger generation who believe in chasing their dreams and passion. Comic Con is one such platform where such youngsters meet up and share their love for comics. We found a great synergy between Comic Con India and Alto. Alto is associated with Comic Con for over a year now and the response has been very encouraging. We saw very high engagement rating with the target audience and the user generated content was exceptionally high. This year too we aim to reach out more youngsters, engage and establish connect right from the beginning.

Besides the main events, Maruti Suzuki Alto will be a part of the 3 key special events Comic Con India will host this year entitled “Comic Book Celebration Week, Indian Championship of Cosplay & Comic Con India Awards.” These national properties will extend the reach of the main shows, specially focusing on Artists, Writers & Cosplayers.
Over and above the mentioned activities, Comic Con India plans to do over 30 Fan Meet ups and celebration Nights throughout the year to engage with the fans on a regular basis. Alto will be a prominent part of all such celebrations throughout the year and will add a lot of value to the fan experience.

FYI:

Save the dates
Alto Hyderabad Comic Con - 24-25th Sept 2016
Alto Mumbai Film & Comic Con - 22-23rd Oct 2016
Alto Bangalore Comic Con - 12-13th Nov 2016
Alto Delhi Comic Con - 9-11th Dec 2016.

About Comic Con India
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. It has now grown to multiple events across the country. The mission has now evolved to create unique pop culture events and engage with fans all across the country.

The properties include Delhi Comic Con, Mumbai Comic Con, Bangalore Comic Con & Hyderabad Comic Con. Along with a traveling property - Comic Con Express, which was last held in Pune in 2016.
Comic Con India (CCI) took a big leap as they recently (In September 2014) announced a joint venture with Reed Exhibitions; part of the FTSE listed Reed Elsevier Group, to grow the pop culture space in India and bring world class events to Indian fans. The Comic Con India team will now work closely with the ‘ReedPOP’ division of Reed Exhibitions, the largest producer of pop culture events in the world.
With this JV in place, CCI enters the burgeoning ReedPOP portfolio of pop culture events which includes New York Comic Con, PAX, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Oz Comic-Con, Singapore Toy, Gaming & Comics Convention and Star Wars Celebration among many others.