Friday, January 28, 2011

From the desk of a 'desi-comic' fan...

Reading a few hindi comics in the last few months of 2010 revived those old days. During the 1980s and the early 1990s,  there wasn't much on the television, options for indoor activities were limited which lead children to be glued to comic books. You would find informally running comic clubs in localities, and the most popular kid in the block was the one who used to manage the latest ones in his collection.

The desi breed of comics and magazines grew popular owing to their low cost and characters - which were easy to relate to. Diamond and Raj comics were primarily popular in the hindi speaking region of India (not sure if they had impacted the kids down south and far east). I guess Tinkle was one that had a pretty good distribution pan India. During those days, Diamond Comics had its own show on Vividh Bharati, broadcasted on Sunday afternoons.

© Raj Comics | Image Source: Wikipedia

With so much of digitization around us, the Indian comic industry is going through a lot of transformation. The characters are evolving with the changing times. Infact, a few characters have now ceased to survive. Pulishers like Tulsi, Indrajaal, Manoj and Madhu Muskaan have now reduced to a collector's item. There still is a pretty huge fan-base of these old characters, and you may find them floating on the Internet. However, this fan-base will eventually dissolve as the generations pass by. Now that the 'Kids Channel Pack' on our STBs, the Wii, the PlayStations and the XBoxes have invaded the minds of the Indian youngsters - it is unlikely that these old comic heroes will ever get any chance to revive themselves to the fame that they had 15-20 years back.

Raj Comics and Diamond Comics are still operational entities along with many other Indian and International brands. Cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma - the creator of Chacha Chaudhary - has established its own school of media and mass communication. I hope that their new strategies of moving into motion comics and attracting the masses via web brings back the glory of our desi superheroes.