Manga Action is a fortnightly manga magazine for adults, first published as a weekly in 1967. Among the titles published in the magazine, some may be familiar to Indians: Lone Wolf & Cub, Lupin III, Old Boy and Crayon Shinchan. That’s right! Crayon Shinchan is a manga for adults. Indians are familiar with Crayon Shinchan from the anime based on the manga that airs on Hungama, a kids TV channel!! Another title published in the magazine is Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossomsby Fumio Kono, which was translated into Hindi as नीरव सन्ध्या का शहर साकुरा का देश and published by Vani Prakashan in 2015.
As Indian readers know, the practice of having pictures of models in sexy outfits on magazine covers is followed in India too.
In 2011, a short-lived experiment in producing a weekly comics magazine. Dinamalar, a Tamil language daily, agreed to try it out, after I convinced them that I could arrange about 30 pages each week. Parts of my book The Vanished Path (HarperCollins India, 2015) was first published in this magazine. It was Dinamalar’s editor Krishnamurthy Ramasubbu, who financially supported the travel to Buddhist sites that would become The Vanished Path. The original plan was to serialise the comic in a weekly comics supplement. I contacted two other artists, Parismita Singh and Vinay Brahmania, who provided 10 pages each. However, incongruously, it was published under the label of their children’s supplement Siruvar Malar, which has been around for a long time. The comics were not meant for kids, and readers reacted violently. It was stopped after a run of a few weeks and they went back to children’s content.
I still think newspapers can support comics for adults with these kinds of cheaply printed supplements.
It was the only time, so far, that my work has been available at the local cigarette stall, where newspapers and magazines are also sold, and reached thousands of people. I even bought a copy from a cigarette shop, just for the thrill of it!