posted Mar 21, 2011, 12:21 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Jun 23, 2013, 9:38 AM ]

This is a special post.. mainly because of two reasons..
  • This is my last blog on GCI, I'll be writing for Adventures of M after now.
  • This post is entirely dedicated to Late Mr. Anant Pai, a person who had a special place in not only my heart, but every child all across India..

After Hampi, Jog Falls, the next attraction that took birth in Karnataka was Anant, to Venkatarya and Susheela Pai in 1929. It was a time for joy and happiness for everyone but the happiness was short lived as in 1931, Anant's parents died. At this time, he was only 2 years old. 10 years later, in 1941, Anant came to Mahim, Mumbai for studies. From an early age, Anant was interested in Comics. Besided comics, he was a dual degree holder from University of Bombay. He then married Lalita Pai (maiden name unknown).

In 1967, when Pai was in Delhi, he saw a quiz show which was for a TV show.. He stood there and listened to the answers. A simple question related to Indian Mythology (name of Rama's mother) couldn't be answered by anyone but when a question about Greek Mythology (related to Mt.Olympus) was asked, the answer came instantly and correctly. He realized that India's youth was being alienated from their own culture. This incident laid the foundation stones of Amar Chitra Katha. He left his job for it, but was rejected by most of the publishers but his concept was finally accepted by India Book House. He was the editor, writer and publisher. Now he looked for a name. He got the idea of ACK from B.R. Bhagwat, co-writer of Mahabharata series with him. Bhagwat suggested to call it "Classics Illustrated" and then the idea of "Amar Chitra Katha" striked his head. ACK was an instant hit, with over 440 titles and 86 million copies sold in over 20 languages including Hindi and English.

Tinkle was my favorite comic, introduced to me by my elder sister. At that time, as mentioned in the far above section, Suppandi was my favorite. Apart from reading Tinkle, I liked collecting them too. I had 1994 issues (collected by my sister actually) to 2006 issues but in 2006, while going to Hyderabad, I misplaced most of my Tinkle's (not digest's hopefully). I was traumatized. "How can this happen to me?"; I asked myself, knowing that it was my mistake only. Perhaps, at that time my interest in collecting Tinkle's was shattered a bit but I never backed out. I had original Tinkle No.25 (Vol.1 Issue 1) which wasn't a reprint and was published in 1994. During the pre- Comic Con days when it was announced that the life time achievement award was going to Uncle Pai and that he would be coming to receive it, I was so damn excited. On 20th Feb, due to the rains, he wasn't able to come (the rains were the reason that I supposed, the actual reason was that he was admitted in a hospital for a bone fracture which was actually showed on Day 1 of Comic Con which I didn't attend). "Okay";I again murmured to myself;"Not this time but Comicon is annual, so next time I'm gonna get my Tinkle No.25 signed by him". 

The above image doesn't belong to me. I found it on Google along with a news article. It is drwan by Manas

After reading all the Suppandi stories, this was my monthly routine. Suppandi was my favorite, followed by Fun Time with Uncle Pai (which was later changed into Tinkle Fun Time). For about a decade, I didn't know who Uncle Pai really was. I just thought it was a mythic name for all those activities, but it was around 2008 that I looked at Tinkle's first page "Published By Anant Pai".. I used my brain and OMG! I was so damn stupid.. Anant Pai was the creator of Tinkle and ACK! He's rightly the father of Indian Comics.

Time has past. The little Anant had grown into Anant Pai, who failed at making a children's magazine named Manav. Neverthelss, he got a job as Junior Executive in Times of India. Eventually, his boss asked him to get ideas to keep the Times of India print machines busy. He did a survey, in which it was found that Phantom had beaten Superman and Batman in popularity. This led to a 32 page comic, Indrajal. Some time later, apart from Phantom, many Indian titles like Dara, Aditya etc. started publishing in Indrajal.

Above: Cover of Krishna, one of the first ACK's

In 1969, Pai founded Rang Rekha features, India's first cartoon and comics syndicate agency. And after that, he realized that the children didn't want to study. He then started Tinkle, to make education fun and interesting in 1980. Just like ACK, Tinkle was also an instant success. Tinkle featured his previous works like Rama and Shamu, Little Raji, Kapish etc. along with some new ones like Kalia the Crow and Suppandi. Previously, he depended on college students for illustrations but now, mature illustrators like Mr. Pradeep Sathe (from Angara fame- drew Kalia the Crow etc.) and Mr. Ram Waeerkar (drew Suppandi, Pyarelal etc.) were hired. Along with Tinkle, the illustrators too became famous. During this era, children started calling Mr. Pai as Uncle Pai affectionately. 

"Date: 24th Feb 2011
Time: 6:25 P.M.
Shalim M HussainRest in peace, uncle."
That was when I was flabbergasted. A guy posted this on Comic Con's wall!
Damn! How can this be?
On 24th Feb, 2011 while Uncle Pai was recovering from fracture, he had a massive heart attack early in the morning. He died around 5 P.M. at the age of 81 :(
There goes the pioneer of Indian Comics, There goes my signed Tinkle No. 24, There goes another hero,  There goes everything..
It couldn't get worst than this. But then I realized that he's AMAR in our hearts... He's ANANT in his praises. He's truly IMMORTAL and ENDLESS.

Exclusive Interview with Suhas Sundar, Co-Founder and Editor of Level 10 Comics!

posted Mar 11, 2011, 10:23 PM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Mar 11, 2011, 11:07 PM ]

Suhas Sundar, a B'lore based comic lover and chess expert who was recognized by a smirk (refer to his photo below) on his face, co-founded Level 10 Comics with Shreyas Srinivas in 2009. Comic JUMP is the only Indian monthly Comic Anthology, featuring 3-4 comics of distinct genres, writers and artists every month, priced at Rs.60 only. Suhas is also editor of JUMP and writer of The Rabha's Incident, one of the regular stories in JUMP. Their (Shreyas' and Suhas')  success was witnessed at the 1st Indian Annual Comic Con when L10 was completely sold out on the first day itself! So, here is another exclusive interview with Mr.Suhas Sundar (Sir) :D

Suhas Sundar

Co-Founder/ Writer/ Editor

xClusive Interview
By Nishkarsh Chugh
Q.1: How does it feel being sold out on the first day of the Con?
Feel great of course, and it was certainly unexpected. We shall be better prepared at the next Comic Con :)

Q.2: Apart from the sales, how was your overall Comicon experience?
It was the best! For the first time we got a chance to interact with fans at the ground level. As a fellow comic lover, another high light was of course meeting with like minded people and discussing comics. Something we don't get to do on a regular basis!

Q.3: What are your future plans for Volume 2 of Jump?
Well we have introduced a new series. We shall gauge the response to it. This season is important from a distribution and availability perspective and we want to make sure our comics are readily available and accessible to fans pan India.

Q.4: I heard that The Rabha's Incident is going to end soon. First of all WHY? Secondly, which titles are going to replace it?
Rabhas Incident is a limited series. Rafeeq has only a few days to finish his mission and get out of the city. This is something that was conveyed right from Issue 1. It would be easy for us to keep Rabhas going, but that would be cheating the reader, we need to resolve a story, bring it to its natural conclusion. Rabhas on the whole is more about the virus, so the theme will not necessarily end and we will revisit with more stories around the Rabhas virus in the future.

Q.5: What's your message to fans?
Its a good time to be a comic fan in India, with more options coming up everyday. I would request all fans to not only go out and get our comics, but to tell their friends, their families to get on board as well. It will take a lot of readers and certainly more than a single company to create a positive change in the Indian Comic scene. We are doing our level "10" best, but at the end of the day, we need fans like you to help us get the visibility and patronage that will ensure a flourishing line up of world class sequential content of Indian Origin!

Piracy reaches Comics and that too in India..

posted Feb 16, 2011, 5:50 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Feb 16, 2011, 6:11 AM ]

Piracy in Comics may have started many years ago but recently in Nov 2010, it was the first time I encountered this good looking demon: PIRACY. Pirated CD's were common everywhere and even many comic scans were available on the net. But hard copy, that too even of ACK really really shocked me.. 
That guy was having a stall in Metro Walk, Delhi and was selling binded copies of ACK which had 5 issues in 1 for Rs.50. It was like I first smiled on seeing the cover as the cover wasn't the latest one that ACK's having. I though I've landed into this Second Hand Bookstore but when I opened it, the cover was just for show. There were different ACK issues in it, not the one on cover. Excellent quality than the present ACK's coming in the market and from different times.. ACK has its different volumes done, some before 2001 and latest were released in 2009 or 2010 I think. They were collected from different sets and were not at all looking old.. 
I bought two of 'em just to "observe" them carefully.. Nothing was wrong in the issues, no page missing and excellent binding.. Then, I went to the shop again next day and what I found was there were new ACK issues, and not only mythological ones. I also saw the original MAD, published by Gotham Comics in their first run in India in 90's. There were not different issues of MAD, but just one.. many copies of it.. However I didn't buy it 'coz I was already having it :D
So, the main thing is I was so flabbergasted after seeing all this and I hope same thing doesn't happen at the con.. 

Exclusive Interview with Kshiraj Telang; Amazing Animator, Awesome Artist and EPIC Tim Burton Fan!

posted Feb 15, 2011, 2:14 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Feb 18, 2011, 9:49 AM ]

GCI gets an interview with Kshiraj Telang,  an amazing animator and artist, who'll be having stall (no. 8) at the con, and also launching Duckie Doggie, random ramblings of a pug owner- a new web comic by him. Let's see what he plans for the convention. :)


Artist/ Animator

xClusive Interview
By Nishkarsh Chugh
Q.1: What are you going to do at Comic Con?
I'm making my participation at Comic Con India by taking up an artist stall. I'll be promoting my services, discussing cartoons, answering questions from cartooning and animation aspirant students and will look forward to collaboration opportunities and/or networking.
Q.2: Do you think your our Comic Con can match other ones especially San Diego Comic Con?
It won't be justified to compare our Comic Con with SDCC or similar at this point of time. It is visible that ours is making a debut and the others are there since more than decades. However, I am optimistic that with a continued support and good management drive, we will succeed in making it a giant one some day.
Q.3: What is your favorite comic?
I enjoy reading Raj Comics and Diamond Comics the most (if we talk about stuffs from India). My favorite characters are Doga, Super Commondo Dhruv, Billu and Raman. In western reading, I follow Spider Man (especially when done by Humberto Ramos) and whichever comics Ben Caldwell makes.
Q.4: How do comics inspire you?
Comics still follow a unique approach towards storytelling which stands too different from sequential animation frames. At times, reading comics becomes much more entertainer to me than watching a feature film at any cinema hall. I don't just aspire to become a great comic artist someday (because I am also an animation professional), but yes, doing comics is fun to me too, and I'd hope that I make them more in future.
Q.5: What's your message to the comic fans coming at the con?
I would hope that the comic fans who come to Con or follow it from outside, extend their love and support to this medium not just for two days, but for the rest of the 363 days from a Calendar cycle as none of us would want this medium to become extinct someday.

Exclusive Interview with Shamik Dasgupta, writer of Ramayana 3392 A.D, Irith and Daksh!

posted Feb 14, 2011, 6:07 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 1:57 AM ]

Shamik Dasgupta is primarily known for his work for Virgin Comics, specifically his acclaimed run on Ramayan 3392 A.D a series based on the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana and set in a distant future and also Irith by Arkin Comics. Recently, another of Shamik's work "Daksh" released as a part of Jump by Level 10 Comics. I took an exclusive interview with him and look what he says:



xClusive Interview
By Nishkarsh Chugh
Q.1: From Ramayana 3392 AD to Sadhu to Irith to Daksh, why mostly titles are India based?
Simple, I am an Indian, and proud to be one.

Q. 2: Ramayana 3392 turned out to be a great success but their availability in India: Very Poor.. Any regrets to this?
Of course, I feel Virgin was queasy about the release in India (though they had released the advertisement in a batch of gotham comics, the distributors of Virgin Comics in India) because of the Hindu fanatics and puritans. I would like to point out though there were no irreverence to the ancient epic and the values Rama behold in my series, and I will put my firm feet on the ground and can accept any debate thrown at me regarding the values I portrayed of Rama in Ramayan 3392 AD.

Q.3: Do you think Daksh can match the success of other titles?

I am unsure which other titles you are talking about. If it is about all the comic titles available in the world, well thats a pretty far cry. If it is about the other titles I have created and written, well I guess it can stand shoulder to shoulder given time and continued publication.

Q.4: Does the below fact force to change your opinion?
"Daksh is released by Level 10 Comics, available easily in India but sadly enough, limited to India only. On the other hand is Virgin Comics, big name and better availability outside India. Plus, your titles were pretty great  there."
No in fact it doesn't.

Q.5: What's your message to fans?
Keep reading comics and I mean all sorts of comics as long as you are capable to read the language it is written in and please do attend the Comic Con India 2011.

FINAL CUT: Wake me up when September Ends..

posted Jan 10, 2011, 5:58 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 2:21 AM ]

This is a video tribute to the legendary Pradeep Sathe, involved in the famous works such as Gamraj, Kalia the Crow, Angara, Dara, Aditya etc. and a no. of ACK specials with Mr.Anant Pai..
Just like another legend, Mr.Ram Waeerkar, Mr.Sathe had a sudden death with no news and headlines.. Is this Indian Comic Book Industry?? 
Where we forget the ones who contributed the most??

R.I.P. Mr.Pradeep Sathe

Tribute to Mr. Pradeep Sathe

Marvel again FAILED in India?

posted Dec 30, 2010, 8:20 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 2:19 AM ]

India- a country where comics were rare to a country where comic industry was developing and now to a country where COMICS are blooming.. From Indrajal to Raj, from ACK to Vimanika, from Diamond to Level 10, India has been a country where new and new publications are blooming.. But what about the leading comic publisher in the world, Marvel?

  1. Although Marvel was there in India from 1950's as comic lovers ordered them from USA but it was first in 1984 when Falcon Publications released Marvel Tales in India for a small price of Rs.4 but its availability was so poor that the company fell rapidly in the following years.. Falcon Comics prduced some issues of Marvel Tales featuring Spiderman and then disappeared suddenly.. 

  2. Then, Diamond Comics started publishing foreign characters including Phantom and then our favourite  Spiderman in both English and Hindi and did quite good work.. Diamond still has Spiderman titles but again with availability crisis, like you can find Chacha Chaudhary, Billoo and Pinki everywhere but not Spiderman..

  3. Next up was our favorite Gotham Comics (during their second run in India), who released  tons of Marvel titles ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.90, with their premier Marvel again Spiderman and Marvel Comics Presents (which featured different marvel characters) and had an awesome availability in stalls, bookshops and even at stationary shops but they stopped publishing in 2007-08 with their availability reduced and prices higher..

Now coming to the current Marvel Sources in India,

  1. Spider-Man Comic Issue No.1
    In 2007, Spacetoon Media had been appointed to represent the licensing, merchandising, publishing and promotional rights in India for Marvel Entertainment, the home of the worlds favorite Superheroes including Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Ghost Rider but they debuted by publishing Marvel Adventures Spiderman.. I dont find them ANYWHERE except Lifestyle and other large stores in Delhi.. Their first few issues were available mostly everywhere.. They did a lot of advertising by giving free products and showing videos on UTV Action but their future might be in danger..

  2. Panini Pocket Books, from UK are the latest foreign stuff available from bookshops these days. Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman, X-Men and many more titles are there for around Rs.375.. They have awesome quality and features approximately 8 back issues of the titles.. There availability is quite good, as I find them in almost every big bookshop I've been..

These are the the two current sources of Marvel in India, apart from these we have Marvel and DC too from foreign available in a variety of shops and old issues of Diamond and Gotham too..

Exclusive Interview with Mr.Karan Vir, C.E.O of Vimanika!

posted Nov 2, 2010, 8:06 AM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Nov 3, 2010, 7:57 AM ]

In a global industry dominated by the US, Japan and France, an Indian publisher is faced with the challenge of entering a field that is rather limited in the country. Though the Indian comics industry is considered to be around 60 years old, with about one million copies being published every year, indigenous characters are yet to grab the attention that their counterparts in other countries have.

Entering such uncharted territory, one young and vibrant entrepreneur decided to launch an Indian comics company on the lines of international giants like DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics. With thoughts revolving around the superheroes of DC and Marvel, and the courageous exploits of Vishnu, Hanuman and Krishna, Karan Vir Arora founded Vimanika Edutainment Pvt Ltd. He has definitely come a long way. But his journey is ‘yet to begin’. This lad in his late 20s is poised to add verve to Indian comics industry with his start-up: Vimanika. He’s audacious, challenging and smart. His ambition: To make Vimanika, within 5 years, ‘DC of India’. Will he live to his promise?
So, here we bring you the exclusive interview of Mr.Karan Vir Arora.
By Nishkarsh Chugh

Q.1: What do you expect from "I am Kalki"?
Basically I want it to be a phenomena, I want Kalki to be a hero God that replaces all other boy heroes from comic series to cartoons on Television in a more radical way. I am Kalki is a very relate able title as it is from our own history.
Also Kalki is more like all our other characters like real time Heroes ,realistic heroes more than just superheroes they are heroes which you can relate too -so as you relate to Karna in your own way you will also relate to kalki in subtle -spiritual way.

Q.2: Do you think it will succeed like your other titles?
Yes, it will. It will more than succeed. I am Kalki is as good as and even better than our other titles as it is a contemporary title. It's about a boy that eventually becomes a demigod and does the thing what he has to, as he's an avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Q.3: Do you agree with the fact that your comics are a little expensive?
No, as compared to others, our cost is very reasonable. The price is very cheap in exchange to the print quality art and color quality you are getting in each of our comic pages they are all at international standards

Q.4: o you know about Virgin/Liquid's Comics' "Project Kalki"?..If yes, which one is better?
Yes, I know about Virgin/Liquid's Comics' "Project Kalki". I would not compare both of the titles as both of them are narrated in very different way. But I think "I am Kalki" will blow everything. Kalki's going to be the second bes after The Sixth. It is 10 times interesting than other graphic novels. It isn't boring, very relatable and has many characters.

Q.5: What's your message to fans?
Well, my message to my fans is that you should read comics which are original with original sketching, penciling and coloring rather than those which are rip-offs of English stories. Those who are doing this are actually encouraging the wrong thing and the Indian Standard of Comics will go lower and lower because of this as they are not creative. You should read Comics and Graphic Novels which have very good artwork, very good coloring and are of high standard. Well that's my message to the fans.

Blue vs Red

posted Oct 22, 2010, 11:14 PM by Nishkarsh Chugh   [ updated Jan 20, 2014, 8:10 AM ]

Vimanika recently launched its new mythological cum fiction comic, I am Kalki and got some good reviews but it surely does have a competition from another four issue comic of the same genre by Liquid (Virgin) Comics, Project Kalki. Unlike Vimanika, which is not so typical in format of comics as per international standards, liquid comics are more like Marvel and DC Comics but are for sale only at U.S and not in India which is a great disadvantage for Liquid as ironically it's publishing Hindu Comics but not in India. Another disadvantage is that Liquid uses too much of Marvel for targeting people in the U.S but they don't know that adding too much "MARVEL" essence in a Hindu Comic makes it look like a story off its track.

Now  about the story, Project: Kalki is about  a evil scientist Kali who cloned human god named Kalki and its upto Kalki to choose between evil and good. On the other hand in I am Kalki, Kalki is a teenage god who stops evils in the cities (at least that's what you can make out of the book). The comics gives us an insight into other gods Indian such as Agni as well. In I am Kalki, he fights real demons where as in Project: Kalki, it's all about the inner demons all of us have, and on this note, I would like quoting a line from Project: Kalki #3,  "That is what Dharma is. The power to choose your own destiny. Which path will you choose, Avatar? To create and become another Rama? Or will you choose to destroy and become Kalki?"

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