Friday, July 26, 2013

Welcome to Grafik Comics!

Reading books especially Comics had been my prime source of entertainment during childhood. As a kid grew up in the 80s, I was exposed to a wide variety of comics published in the Tamil language during that time - it indeed was a golden era in the history of Tamil comics. With a paltry pocket money that hardly adds up to a few rupees every month - I certainly didn't even have enough bucks to buy all those wonderful books from different publishers.

In 1997, when I joined in a job, I quit the habit of reading Comic books or any other book for that matter! In the early 2000s almost each and every Tamil Comics publisher shut their shop, well almost!!! And when Lion & Muthu Comics were 'relaunched' in 2012, I restarted my reading habit too! Years have rolled on, I am no kid but in my mid thirties, pocket a modest income; But, I still feel that do not have enough money to buy all the comics I want, English that is! :) As is true with most of the Tamil comics fans - I never really ventured into reading English comic books! There are several reasonss behind that:

Reason #1 is plain and simple, the cost of the English comic books were and ARE prohibitive. Three or four years ago, Comicology Rafiq and a few other bloggers used to blah... blah... blog a lot about Indian editions of foreign comics including the ones from Cinebook being sold at Rs.199/-. Back then I used to feel, spending 200 bucks for a 50 page book is certainly NOT a wise thing to do! ;) May be I was wrong but I simply wasn't willing to spend so much on Comic books! Even now, I feel 200 is a bit on the higher side considering you get a similar quality book at 50 from Lion in Tamil. I understand we really shouldn't be comparing these two; because the fundamental business model of the publishers of Lion-Muthu Comics (Prakash Publishers) is very very different from any other Indian / Foreign English comic publisher. Cost of acquiring the English language licensing rights and the logistics involved in distributing and stocking these books across the major book retail chains in India are just too high. Where as Prakash Publishers work on tighter margins and rely solely on direct selling through subscriptions, book fairs & their ebay shop! I know there is an easy and free alternate does exist - download those damn CBRs and read them on your computer, tablet or even mobile screen. But for whatever reasons I just do not like that idea!

Another reason why I avoided English comics is that I do not feel connected with the plot or the characters - not because I don't understand the language - but mainly because I have grown reading comics only in Tamil and somehow I was not able to get out of that comfort zone! Last but not the least, it took a 'Lion' to kick my butt and get back to my reading habits! :)

I am no stranger to American, British, Franco-Belgian and other European comics but so far I've been reading them only in Tamil! Finally, I've decided that it is time to to explore and find out what I have been missing in the translation all these years, pun intended ;) I will go after the Comics Genres that may never see their light of day in Tamil. I will not just stop with the European Comics but also check out what the Americans have to offer! I will keep blogging about each and every comics that I come across and some of those posts will get back ported to Bladepedia in Tamil!. And of course I am going explore different kind of genres meant for different kind of audience; for the starters, I will begin with some titles from Cinebook! ;)

And I did start already, I opened the Pandora's box the day before! No, I am not referring to 'reading Comics in English' as the Pandora's Box - but a Cinebook series by the same name! Amazon India has some Cinebook titles at discounted price (ranging from 87 to 150), so here is my first set of Cinebook purchase from Amazon (and some from Infibeam too!):
  1. Alpha: 1 - Exchange
  2. Alpha: 2 - Wolves
  3. Alpha: 3 - The List
  4. Lady S: 1 -  Here's to Suzie!
  5. Pandora's Box: 1 - Pride
  6. Pandora's Box: 2 - Sloth
  7. Pandora's Box: 3 - Gluttony
  8. Pandora's Box: 4 - Greed
  9. The Bluecoats: 1 - Robertsonville Prison
  10. The Bluecoats: 2 - The Navy Blues
  11. The Scorpion: 1 - Devil's Mark
  12. The Scorpion: 2 - Devil in the Vatican
Though I have lived in Bangalore since 2001, you would be surprised to know that I have hardly visited any of the popular local book stores and chains like Blossoms & Landmark! I regret, I've missed all those occasional heavy discount deals offered by these stores all these years! I do realize that it will be very hard to get the 'NEWER' titles from Cinebook for anything less than 500; especially because they do not have a Indian edition any more. And the Indian editions of older titles are already off the shelves, almost! Only a few volumes of different series like Thorgal, Scorpian, Navy Blues, etc. are available in some book stores and online shops - I will try to buy these in the coming months; I am already over quota this month! ;)

I have been blogging on Bladepedia in Tamil for more than an year now and that really has helped polish my Tamil writing skills! But, even after 16 long years on the job - professional business written communication could not do the same magic to my English! ;) May be this new blog will do the trick in less number of years, let's see! :) May god save you guys!

The reason for naming this blog "GRAFIK COMICS" is very obvious - I wanted the blog name to represent both Graphic Novels and Comics! And yes I did create a a facebook page too - for micro posts & updates!

Bye for now guys, it is time to get Grafiking; I have some serious readings to do! :)