With globalization seeping into even the tiniest corners of the country, India’s comics industry has suffered a setback. Kids are more likely to opt for graphic novels and other global comics such as DC over our good old Amar Chitra Katha. Even though Indian comics once held an importance place in all Indians’ childhoods, now they are barely to be seen. Today, we’re discussing how Indian comics industry can grow once again.
How Indian Comics Industry Can Grow Once Again?
Use of online medium
With increasing number of readers shifting to e-books, kindle and the like, the online book industry is booming like never before. Comics companies could very well take advantage of this growing online space and publish comics online. In fact, this is exactly what Amar Chitra Katha did, during the pandemic when everyone was sitting at home, with great results. They published their comics online for free, which gave their sales a boost even after the scheme was stopped. Creating websites with fun games and comic strips, promoting content on Instagram, engaging user activity online are great ways to exploit the internet platform to grow the industry.
Diversity of characters
Diversity is a much talked about topic in the book community now, and readers all over the world are demanding more representation. Hence if we could include more diverse characters, in terms of gender, religion, region and even nationality, the viewer base would increase greatly. Moreover, even the existing readers would like a dose of original and real characters. It would cater well to modern kids who are becoming more aware and passionate about the rights of representation of the queer community as well as religious and other minorities.
Set area for comics in libraries and bookshops
Comics should be given their own rightful space in bookstores and libraries, which isn’t alienated from the rest of the library. In fact, they should be kept in a place where they are clearly visible from any point in the room, and a decently large collection should be kept. This will allow readers to know in the first place that the comics exist, and browsing through them would open up new opportunities for both the readers and the makers.
Investment in marketing
The comics industry has always focused on content a lot, which is really important. But if the content doesn’t reach the people and stays inaccessible, then what’s the point? This is where marketing comes in. Using marketing strategies to promote comics on all platforms – digital, physical and others will give the industry an edge over global comics. It will enable them to become competent in dealing with the world market for comics. It will also have a positive impact on sales.
Advertisement with focus on family
Family is a great marketing point for comics. This is because its appeal lies in the fact that generations of Indians have devoured them. Hence they make for great bonding times and activities, especially in a country like India where family assumes supreme importance. If advertisements could in some way evoke the nostalgia of the elders in the family and also catch the attention of the youngsters, the advertising campaigns could become extremely successful.
Making comics a part of school curriculum
Comics have never been a part of the school curriculum in India. But with the graphic novel becoming such an important literary form, this isn’t a bad idea. Comics teach as much as they entertain, and comics with underlying moral values would make the syllabus interesting and fun for students. Plus it would provide publicity for the company.
More investment in graphic and cover design
Illustrations are a crucial part of comics. They form the basis for content, and are the first aspect of the comic that attract the readers. Comics are also useful for children who don’t particularly like reading large novels but wish to inculcate the habit of reading. So the illustrations need to be great. They need to have their own style, as is typical of all great art, and should be relatable, iconic and beautiful. Good illustrations and a great cover page attract more readers than you think.
Being more original and true to roots
It will not do to copy global comics in order to boost sales – there are already too many of those. Plus the West will always make white centred comics better than us. What we need to do is to be original and impactful, and capitalize on our strengths – the biggest of which is our culture. We must draw on our culture, traditions, society and folklore to create comics and characters that are both relatable and interesting.