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!
Comix India is excited and honoured to bring to Indian readers for the first time, critically acclaimed Japanese alternative manga, or more specifically ‘gekiga’, in the next and future volumes alongside Indian comics. Some of these manga authors were part of the legendary Garo manga magazine that was at the forefront of the alternative manga movement. These authors greatly expanded manga’s possibilities as a form for literary expression, and in the process created an adult readership for comics.
We thank Mitsuhiro Asakawa, our Editorial Adviser, who is responsible for this. But this is just the beginning. We hope to publish more great manga from recognised masters of the art in the years ahead, some of it previously untranslated in English.
In doing this, we sincerely hope that Indian comics artists as well as readers will be benefited through a genuine cultural exchange that will help in creating new Indian comics that are artistically ambitious while reaching…
Comiket is the world’s largest comics event, held twice-yearly in Tokyo. About 500,000 people attend. This event is a celebration of doujinshi, the Japanese word for self-published comics. I made a feature documentary about it and doujinshi sub-cultures in Tokyo called The Fragile Heart of Moé. Comiket has a lot of parody or fan-fiction material. We also filmed another event called Comitia, which focuses exclusively on doujinshi with original content. During the filming, artists generously gave us copies of their work. There are so many sizes, and extremely varied art styles. Here is a sample.
In 2007, on my first visit to Japan where I was invited along with other filmmakers by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), a friend from Kolkata, Manojit Chattopadhyay, who runs Kriyetic Comics, had fixed a meeting with Tezuka Productions, and he kindly invited me to come along. I couldn’t make it to the meeting, but Manojit handed me these souvenirs given to us by Tezuka Productions. They are complete manga by Osamu Tezuka, each about 200 pages and a bit smaller than the size of a pack of cigarettes. The print is tiny but entirely readable, and attests to the high quality of Japanese printing technology. Quite possibly, the world’s tiniest manga!
On the left is Iron Roadand the one on the right contains three stories The Fossil Island, Robin the Fish Spirit, andThe Maiden of Tatsugafuchi. The Fossil Islandis a dream narrative where Osamu Tezuka, a poet and a newspaper reporter visit an island and dream various dreams upon coming across some strangely shaped rocks with cameo appearances by Sherlock Holmes and Arsene Lupin!