Gone are the days when comics only whetted the fancies of a school-goer with mighty superhero tales and stories of lanky characters set against a college backdrop. More pressing issues, that of societal and cultural; the taboos that are normally weaned away from being discussed started finding space in the annals of comics.
But now in another valiant effort to address such difficult subjects, Comix India has renamed its magazine to Verite, French for truth, which publishes comics on realism, unabashed, breaking away from the norms of mainstream Indian comics. Started by Bharat Murthy and Japanese manga editor and researcher Mitsuhiro Asakawa, Verite currently boasts some prominent names from the industry, both household and international, who’ve already finished working on the first edition of the magazine and shall launch in a couple of weeks.
“The whole project is running only on goodwill. I’m grateful to the acclaimed Japanese artists who have faith in this project. They believe such comics should reach a wider readership,” avows Murthy, who also aims to publish alternative Japanese manga.
As unconventional as the venture is, the name’s more so as Murthy goes on to reveal the story behind naming it Verite: “The term is French, meaning truth. One inspiration behind it is the French and international cinema movement in the 1960s called Cinema Verite meaning cinema truth, which was about films that explored the relationship between cinema, reality and truth. Likewise, we want to encourage comics that deal with reality and express the truths of our everyday experience.”
Verite, for all its noble initiative, is also an opportunity for an amateur comic writer to send in stories that tread similar lines, and even if Murthy plays it down due to a lukewarm turn-out of the articles, remains upbeat in his cause. He says, “The response, as I expected, is average. I try to actively look for artists and encourage them to try to explore the comics form in a deeper way.
“I do this beside other commitments, so it takes more time than usual. About eight months to put together the first issue. Hope to reduce the time with future issues.”
However the final goal, as Murthy puts it, is to create a sustainable monthly magazine with subscription. But till then, ardent Manga readers can rejoice as Comix India is coming up with one this year with translation in English, Hindi, Tamil and Bengali. But stay tuned as, “there’s more on the way,” he entices.