The Indian comic industry is taking steps to revive its popularity and comic makers are entering newer spheres of media like e-comics, television, mobile, social networking, merchandise and DVDs.
Unlike earlier, when the target group consisted of kids only, market leaders are now promoting graphic novels to attract adults too.
“At the age of 25, 35, 40… you can still enjoy reading comics. People still enjoy reading Tintin, Green Lantern. My mother is twice of my age and she still loves reading comics and likes Tintin,” says 27-year-old Arhan Sett who has been reading comics since childhood.
Pran Kumar Sharma, creator of the popular comic character Chacha Chaudhary, said that Indians comics are popular with readers abroad.
“Our Indian comics are being sold in Great Britain, Sri Lanka, UK, Malaysia, Singapore. I get mails telling me that when my friends visit India, they take back our comics for their young ones,” Sharma said.
Cashing in on the popularity of the Internet, Indian comic publishers have come up with online editions.
According to estimates, the Indian comic publishing industry is worth over $100 million and is expected to grow more in the coming years.
Currently, the country is home to sales of five million English comic books annually, and together with all the regional languages, the figure is around $30 million.
Publishers are now looking forward to expand the industry through digital platforms like Internet, television, Direct-to-Home (DTH) and mobiles.
Diamond Comics is making an investment of $94.42 million to launch a 24X7 cartoon channel based on its popular characters, and even Amar Chitra Katha has ventured into animation and merchandising.
In 2008, Vimanika Comics had launched its e-comics, which have been well accepted by online readers. The company is now looking to clinch deals with telecom players for mobile downloads.
“In terms of companies growing, there’s a lot of potential. Again I would take the example of Amar Chitra Katha—they have now expanded their business from comics to other merchandise,” said Jatin Varma, founder of a media house called Twenty Onwards Media.
"Now we have different genres to experiment with, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just books," he said.