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THE INDIAN COMICS JOURNAL

contents 2012 VOL. 1

Page 4 An Interview With Indie Comics’ Fountain Head

Page 34 TICJ's Recommendation On what to pick up and what to read

In talk with Graphic Novel publishing veteran, Chris Oliveros of D&Q

Page 8 Final Draft

Shamik Dasgupta on how he got 'pow-ed' into the comic world

Page 10 Mario Miranda: An Artist Like No Other ICJ's Tribute to the legend that was Mario de Miranda

Page 12 Inside The Fantastic World Of Fantagraphics Q'n'A with Indie Comics Publisher and Comics Critic, Gary Groth

Page 16 Robert Crumb FYI

A brief look into the life and works of R. Crumb

Page 21 Drawing Board

Savio Mascarenhas' Tutorial for the Layman

Page 36 HOT PICKS

Merch to watch out for at this year’s Indian Comic Con

Page 38 SPONSORS/PARTNERS Our well-wishers and partners in crime

Page 40 COMIC CON INDIA AWARDS 2011

A Peek at this year’s nominees for the First Annual Comic Con India Awards

Page 44 PARTICIPANTS

Back with our old comrades in arm and some brand new faces

Page 48 SPECIAL GUESTS

Who’s coming to the 2nd Comic Con?

COVER

Art by Chandrakant Rane.

Page 24 Remembering Uncle Pai

Some of Anant Pai's many fans reminisce about his life, his work and his legacy

Page 28 A Glance At Campfire Andy Dodd on what keeps the fire burning at the camp

Page 32 Libera Artisti

TICJ Profile: Promising New Illustration Studios. This issue - Libera Artisti


Mario de Miranda (1926 – 2011)

illustration by harsho mohan chattoraj


MARIO MIRANDA an artist like no other Before the internet, before cable TV, Doordarshan was the one thing that all of India saw for entertainment. And DD, being a state run channel, had a propensity for creating and airing public service messages and programming which promoted Indian values and 'Unity in Diversity'. Most of these are now forgotten, lying in the dustbins of our cultural consciousness…but one such piece lives on. Yes I'm talking about that anthem of national integration called 'Miley sur mera tumhara'. In the absence of thirty different 24-hour news channels and six sports channels showing some cricket match or the other, I used to sit enthralled whenever that song came on…filled with a sense of wonder and pride about our great country, humming along to the song (even in the languages I didn't understand at all), trying to spot and identify the whole galaxy of stars and celebrities who appeared throughout the video. And amidst all those film stars, singers and cricketers, suddenly I saw one face that I didn't quite recognize. It was when the tempo of the music suddenly changes, the mood becomes distinctly European and we see images of Goan people with their churches and grand buildings…and then one man sitting in thought on an idyllic seaside in Goa, drawing something. In my naiveté, I asked my parents “Who is this man and what is he doing in the midst of so many stars?” And that was when I first heard the name of Mario Miranda. The question of who he was had been answered. But the other question still remained…what was a cartoonist doing in a video alongside the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar? I only realized this much later…but the fact is that he deserved to be in that video more than many others who were featured.

Mario De Miranda was an artist like no other, inarguably one of the best cartoonists India has ever seen. The first ever works by Mario were on the walls of his house as a young child. His mother noticed these drawings and to encourage her child (or maybe discourage him from 'dirtying' the walls) she bought him a sketchbook…which became his first 'Diary'.

His early work in the diaries focused on recreating scenes of Goan village life and caricaturing the various characters he saw around him…in his own unique style. This went on for quite some time before his friends noticed and coaxed him into making postcards for them, which earned him some pocket money. He finished his education and worked in an Advertising firm for four years before finally becoming a full time cartoonist with The Illustrated Weekly of India. He also worked for The Times of India group. It was during this phase that he created his most well known characters Miss Nimbupani and Miss Fonseca. Subsequently he visited Europe and broadened his horizons by meeting and working with some of the great cartoonists of Europe. Many years later he visited America and worked with the legendary Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts. Some of his work has been published in the British magazines Punch and Lilliput and in the legendary humor magazine Mad, apart from various newspapers in Europe. As a cartoonist, and as an artist…Mario was one of the few Indians whose work could be called great at an international level. He held solo exhibitions in over 20 countries and was awarded Spain's highest civilian honor and Portuguese knighthood, in addition to the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan conferred by the Government of India. He did truly deserve to be in that video more than most of the others. Mario de Miranda passed away on the 11th of December, 2011. But every time we think of Goa, every time we are reminded of Miss Nimbupani, and every time we see that delightful and distinctly unique style of art (in a book, as framed artwork or as a mural on a wall in a Café in Mumbai)…his work lives among us.

Humanity shone through his wry sketches... He made funny things very human. His cartoons were not cruel. He was a genius." - Alyque Padamsee


PRESENTING

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

For Four Decades, Robert Crumb Has Shocked, Entertained, Titillated And Challenged The Imaginations (and The Inhibitions) Of Comics Fans The World Over. In Truth, Alternative Comics As We Know Them Today Might Never Have Come About Without R. Crumb's Influence. THE ACKNOWLEDGED “FATHER” OF THE UNDERGROUND COMICS COULD ALSO BE CONSIDERED THE “ “GRANDFATHER” Of ALTERNATIVE COMICS.


Crumb's earliest cartoons were inspired more by the work of Carl Barks and Walt Kelly than the superhero comics enjoying their first wave of popularity at the time of Crumb's childhood in the late '40s.

The Man Who Once Admitted To Being “sexually AROUSED By Bugs Bunny” At The Age Of 5 Began Honing His Skills Drawing His Own Versions Of “ funny ANIMAL COMICS, Max and Charles. These early efforts included the first incarnation of Fritz the Cat — after whom, years later, the concept of “funny animals” would never be the same. In his teens, Crumb came to realize the incompatibility between the values espoused by his parents' generation (and most of his peers) and his own. His admitted inability to “fit in” would enable him to develop the ability to question concepts such as conformity, normalcy — and sexuality. Meanwhile, his taste in sex objects graduated from Bugs Bunny to Sheena of the Jungle and “playing footsie” with female classmates ... who would remain unattainable for the young Robert throughout his high school years. After graduating from high school, Crumb moved to Cleveland, where he was hired by American Greetings, his first exposure to “corporate” life. As a greeting card artist, he was instructed to render his drawing as harmlessly “cute” as possible — something that would spill over into his later underground work, but with startling results. At this time, he met, and soon after, married, “the first girl (he) could get along with,” Dana Morgan. Although to all outward appearances, Crumb seemed well and truly integrated into the “normal” existence that he had shunned as a teenager, he became more disillusioned with “the system” and the general dreariness of the 9-to-5 life. This began to change with Crumb's introduction to LSD in the mid-'60s. In Crumb's words, the psychedelic experience was “...indescribable, but afterward, you no longer feel a member of this accepted version of reality.” Apparently, the version of reality Crumb had begrudgingly accepted until this point suddenly became unacceptable, as in January of 1967, after talking with some friends in a Cleveland bar, he decided to drop everything — literally — and join them on their journey to San Francisco. The “Summer of Love” did seem to live up to its muchromanticized reputation for R. Crumb — at least for a while. The gentle anarchy of Haight-Ashbury combined with his experiments with hallucinogens caused Crumb's talent to blossom in ways not even he could have imagined. With his inhibitions not so much relaxed as demolished, Crumb felt himself free to create the

cartoon universe that would redefine the art of comics forever. In the years 1967-1971, odd little magazines that certainly looked like the average, normal, allAmerican comic book began to appear in the kind of shops frequented by denizens of the “counterculture.” With ZAP Comics #1, the underground comic book was officially born. It would be followed by titles like Despair, Big Ass, Motor City Comics and Mr. Natural, and Robert Crumb would be, for the first time in his life, “accepted.” In truth, not only accepted, but downright hip. Crumb's cartoons became hip in their own right — Mr. Natural, Angelfood McSpade, Flakey Foont, and most especially, the hedonistic anthropomorphic version of Crumb's childhood pet, Fritz (a cat), would become cult icons. Fritz, however, would fall into the clutches of animator Ralph Bakshi, who had virtually steamrolled over Crumb to secure the film rights to Fritz the Cat — which became a box office hit, but Crumb was so repelled by the film that he decided to assassinate Fritz in The People's Comics soon after.


Further disillusionment would come in the wake of popularity of the phrase “Keep On Truckin.” Birthed in the pages of ZAP, “K.O.T.” proliferated, adorning everything from bumper stickers to T-shirts to buttons, etc., etc ... it was the perfect commodity for a culture with a taste for catch phrases. It would prove a litigious nightmare for Crumb, as attorney Albert Morse took it upon himself to file 18 copyright infringement actions on Crumb's behalf over the “ownership” of three words. “Keep On Truckin” was judged to be Public Domain, and will very probably, as Crumb says, “...follow me to the grave.” Crumb's growing disillusionment would be further exacerbated by a $20,000 bill from the IRS for back taxes (the debt would eventually be paid, through contributions and the selling of publishing rights to Germany). One bright spot, however, would be Crumb's meeting cartoonist Aline Kominsky, whom he would marry in 1978.


Crumb would later refer to the '70s as his “lost decade,” but some of his most memorable work was produced at that time, particularly in the magazine Arcade, edited by fellow underground veterans Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead), and Art Spiegelman (Maus).

Crumb's Work At This Time Reflected The Disenchantment And Confusion Felt By Most Who Had “survived” The '60s. His Voluptuous, Acid-inspired Romps Gave Way To Comparatively Sober, Introspective Dialogues And Biting Indictments Of AMERICAN CULTURE. Interestingly, Crumb insists he was just “floundering around” at this time. He would not feel his work was “back on track” until the birth of Weirdo, a magazine partly inspired by Arcade and partly by the work of the “new wave” of cartoonists, many of whom had been inspired by Crumb's work, such as Peter Bagge (who would take over editorship with issue #10). Weirdo was considered an alternative even to the “alternative” at the time (the often “precious” RAW) and reaction to Crumb's brainchild ranged from virulently negative to positive ... with reservations. Still,Weirdo gave artists such as Bagge, Dori Seda, Kaz, and Doug Allen their first “big breaks.” Crumb's feelings of disgust with American culture and values, which seems to have grown with the rise of '80s neo-conservatism, precipitated his move to rural Southern France. He continues to reside there with wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and they raised their cartoonist daughter Sophie there until she moved out on her own. The details of his daily life there are revealed in Fantagraphics Books' Self-Loathing Comics #2, released in 1997. A resurgence of interest in Crumb's work resulted from Terry Zwigoff's critically acclaimed documentary Crumb. Now, with international gallery showings and massive media coverage at the release of The R. Crumb Handbook, Fantagraphics' 17th volume of The Complete Crumb Comics and Crumb Sketchbook Vol. 10, there is a rising awareness of Crumb in popular culture.Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me — a collection of Crumb's personal letters spanning the late 1950s through the late '70s, and offering a rare glimpse into the influences and experiences that shaped Crumb's artistic development through his most formative years — is available from Fantagraphics as well.

ROBERT CRUMB Live In Session nd At The 2 Annual Indian Comics th Convention On 19 February, At Dilli Haat. Artist's Profile text courtesy Fantagraphics website. All artwork copyright © Robert Crumb


nd

2 Annual Indian Comic Con

SPECIAL GUESTS R Crumb

Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Robert Crumb is an American illustrator most recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and as one of the founders of the Underground Comix movement. He is most known for his "Keep on Truckin'" comic and the characters Fritz the Cat, and Mr. Natural.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb is an American underground comics artist, and wife of cartoonist R. Crumb. Since the late 1970s, she and Robert have produced a series of collaborative comics called Dirty Laundry (also known as Aline & Bob's Dirty Laundry), a comic about the Crumb family life.

Gary Groth

Chris Oliveros

Gary Groth is an American comic book editor, publisher and critic. He is the co-founder of Fantagraphics Books and editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal, created by Groth because he wanted to create a magazine that addressed comics from a serious critical and artistic point of view.

In 1989, Chris Oliveros humbly went in search of artists to contribute to his yet-to-be-published magazine anthology ‘Drawn & Quarterly’. Now, D+Q has grown to be a book publisher with over 20 titles a year and an extraordinary back-list of perennial best-selling titles that are regarded as literary classics.

Orijit Sen

Vaibhav Kumaresh

Orijit Sen is the creator of one of India’s first graphic novels, The River of Stories. He is also the co-founder and Creative Director of People Tree, which he co-founded with wife Gurpreet in 1990. His other published works include Imung, the awardwinning collaboration Trash!

Vaibhav Kumaresh is an animation film maker, best known for his iconic work which includes the Amaron Battery commercials and Simpoo the angry math teacher on Channel [V]. He has also made animated segments for successful films such as Taare Zameen Par.

Reena Puri

Savio Mascarenhas

Reena Puri is the current editor of Amar Chitra Katha. A graduate in English, she had worked with various newspapers and magazines till she discovered that writing comics was her forte. She was Associate Editor of Tinkle and worked with the late Anant Pai till 2005.

Savio Mascarenhas is the Art Director for Suppandi-48, and a veteran comics artist well-known for his work drawing Shikari Shambu in Tinkle, the magazine that inspired him to be a cartoonist to begin with. He also created the characters Little Shambu, and Super Suppandi.

Rajani Thindiath Rajani Thindiath is the Editor of Tinkle. After a degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Animation, Rajani figured her love for reading and a fancy for telling tall tales could be better used in writing stories. Over the last four years she has also written for regular Tinkle characters.

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