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Thursday, April 13, 2023 

The future of comics in India

The Hindu has an article about the Indian comics scene, and the various local creators who're developing their own stories for the art form:
Bengaluru-based animator and designer Jyotsna Ramesh likes to joke that she has verbal diarrhoea. “I have always been a storyteller, and found it hard to contain myself in just one frame,” says the freelance creator, who teaches art and design part-time at a Bengaluru high school. She’s been making comics since she was a child, but it wasn’t until 2018, when she participated in a comic-making elective as a student at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, that she developed a whole new appreciation for the potential of the form. “I love the idea of sequential narratives, of creating something that you can build and add layers to,” she explains.

Over the course of the elective, she developed Noodle Schmoodle, a short comic about family, adolescence and coming-of-age in an Indian metropolis, styled as a love letter to spicy egg-chicken noodles. It was well-received by her peers at NID. So a few months later, when she chanced upon an Instagram post about the artist-run Indie Comix Fest where self-published creators convene to share their work with new audiences, she thought to herself, “Why not?”

She was one of 45 creators who had a stall at the open-air Rangoli Metro Art Centre. Heeding her parents’ advice, she had gone with just 80 printed copies that were priced at ₹40 (because, as her parents said, “nobody would buy comics”). She sold out within a couple of hours.

Speaking up for the indie

Ramesh is among a growing number of Indian creative professionals who use comics as an artistic outlet, and are pleasantly surprised to find an enthusiastic, paying fan base. Even as they make money through careers in animation or advertising, they find that comics are an economically accessible means of self-expression. For one, it is far less cost- or time-consuming than adjacent visual narrative mediums such as filmmaking or animation; for another, it allows for a more nuanced interplay of text and imagery.
You can read more at the link (here's an archive link if it's behind a paywall). It's clear India does have an industry that's becoming prominent in its own way, and one day, they may just make as many waves as Japan's already done with manga over past decades. The same may go for animation.

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