CB: Hi Jatin, Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
CB: Could you tell us about yourself?
I am the founder of Comic Con India, we organize comic conventions across India, I also run a small publishing label called Pop Culture Publishing, we focus on publishing really off-beat comics/graphic novels as well as hunting down out of print Indian comic titles/characters that were discontinued for one reason or the other and re-publishing them, introducing them to a whole new audience.
CB: How did you get involved in the comics industry?
Back in 2008, I started publishing, Random, something that I’d like to describe as an Indian version of MAD magazine. It started off, as a monthly and very quickly it became a quarterly J . Despite never really making any money, we came across some really talented people and some really interesting stories that really needed to be published. So, when the comic conventions started taking place, we felt we would be able to find an audience for all this great stuff and that’s pretty much our story with PCP.
CB: Can you tell me about Pop Culture Publishing; why it was set-up and your goals for it?
A very open-ended goal to publish interesting stuff, distribution in India is quite horrible for all publishers, so you can imagine its beyond horrendous for a small publisher. Publishing isn’t our core business and we don’t really publish books expecting high turnover or even a profit. However, I see it as an extension of our work with Comic Con India, which is why we focus on publishing stuff which one would consider niche and since last year we have started focusing on re-publishing discontinued comic titles and characters, in order to preserve all this priceless work.
Its honestly not been easy, but we made a start with bringing Timpa from Indrajal comics back, hopefully we’ll be able to bring more stuff.
CB: How would you describe the books that Pop Culture Publishing publishes?
The original stuff I would describe as niche, offbeat, humor based, irreverent.
CB: In terms of looking for new books to publish: how to do you find them?
So, far we have published a lot of stuff from our own bank, which we created with Random. We do get a lot of pitches, if we find something interesting, then we take it up.
CB: What has been the response from comic readers been like to the books Pop Culture Publishing have published?
We certainly get a great response at all the conventions, over all also its been good.
CB: How would you describe the comic scene in India?
Still in nascent stages, quite in niche, but has tremendous potential. As a publisher, all the stories and characters that you publish have a lot of scope to expand beyond just the books.
CB: What titles are currently getting readers excited?
Mythology and history always sell well. But, a lot of contemporary stuff that is being published by small publishers or self-published really gets picked up at the conventions. Hopefully both quality and quantity will see a boost.
CB: Are many Indian comics published in English?
Yes pretty much all of them, it helps the publishers reach a much larger audience.
That’s it for part one, join us next week for part two when talk more about the Indian comic scene