Saturday, March 20, 2010

A trailblazer’s path

As an author, artist and filmmaker, Bharath Murthy used to feel his country had no platform for original, short comics. This spurred him to launch five months ago. 

The multi-lingual, black-and-white indie comic magazine, floated last October, focuses on original work by Indian creators — and is gaining popularity.Bharath first put out a submissions call for the first volume in the hope that it would stir up the nascent comics industry. 

Today, several submissions later, he is optimistic that the magazine will not only encourage aspiring authors and artists but will also spawn a new generation of adult comic readers. A brief glance at the artwork and stories makes one thing clear: is trying to move away from the child-centric comics of yesterday. It’s no retelling of mythology or folk/fairy tales; here they address adult themes and issues. 

As Bharath points out, “there’s no attempt to dumb (Comix.India) down for a child’s understanding.” It is more likely children won’t like or be able to relate our content.Take Dr L Prakash’s Ear Rings. The story is a true-life account of his fellow prisoner’s journey to jail. Although written in an almost child-like language, the art is stark with disturbing blotches of grey and black. That the writer is a self-taught artist is evident. 

Also finding space in the anthology is Sudeep Menon’s crime noir about a gangster in Mumbai called Just Another Job. These are not stories with happy endings or with a moral. Comix.India distinguishes itself by publishing entirely in black and white. While this has a stylistic purpose, it’s also a cost-cutting measure. It also encourages artists, who are not formally trained, to learn through copying. “What happens with colour and too many ‘artistic’ effects,” Bharath clarifies, “is that readers are unable to imitate the artwork. That frustrates those wanting to learn by copying their favourite authors.”

Full report here Express Buzz

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