The incredible ‘SHE’ pillars of the Indian comic industry 

Women are not just limited to kitchen chores but today they are traveling to Mars, leading corporate companies, are entrepreneurs, comic artists, animators, film directors, producers among others. They are brave, independent, courageous, and powerful. Breaking the old stereotype models, the Indian comic industry women are progressing with their creativity, storytelling, writing, and artistic skills. Animation Xpress had a pleasure to get in touch with the comic industry’s magnificent women who are doing wonders with their creativity.

Ritoparna Hazra

Recalling her journey in the comic industry, Amar Chitra Katha deputy art director Ritoparna Hazra shared, “It has been almost eight years since my journey in the comic book industry which started with Amar Chitra Katha. I have learned so much since then and it has been great! I have always enjoyed painting and design, but to be challenged with new things every day and learning about art, colour, layout, design, and everything that’s evolving, all under one big umbrella, has been nothing less than a dream.”

Ritoparna Hazra

The technology made comic creation much easier; the artists have the flexibility and access to the advanced options where they can rebuild-recreate at any point in time. Commenting on how the comic book scene changed over the years, Hazra said, “The comic scene has changed a lot over the years. For instance, even if you just see the colours, we have so many options now; earlier the artist had a limited colour palette to work with. With time and technology, lettering and making corrections have become so much easier. So we make several rounds of corrections to achieve the maximum accuracy possible. We are experimenting with styles and techniques which were not possible earlier. Moreover, the subjects of our comics are also evolving. We are making comics about some lesser-known personalities and women who broke stereotypes and achieved so much, but their stories often remained untold.”

Commenting on the gender bias in the industry and how they are being addressed, Hazra added, “There is always going to be that problem. As we talk about the history and things in the past in the comics, we portray how things were then during those periods. But the editors portray those situations responsibly. We have completely done away with scenes of a woman serving a man, the woman sits down at the same time for a meal and is shown eating side by side with the man. These dated ways of portraying women are being done away with. We are focusing on making women-centric comics now. We are showing the struggles of all these brave and strong-willed women in our new comics who broke barriers to pave the way for women like you and me. So the change is already happening.”

Hazra believes that comics are not just for entertainment, it is also an art form. “As genes pass on our hereditary information, art is a vector for cultural memes that carry information about our culture and heritage. Uncle Pai’s dream was to teach and inspire children about the rich culture of our country using comics. And just like that, I would love it if the children get inspired by the comics that tell stories about great minds in our history.” added Hazra

Hazra’s message to the budding women artists is, “Practice and work towards improving your skills and just do it. Making comics is fun!”

Shilpi Mathur

Sharing her thoughts on how the comic industry has developed in the years and how has been her journey in the comic industry, Amar Chitra Katha and TINKLE business head  Shilpi Mathur reminisced, It’s been quite a journey. I recall the comic industry a decade ago where only physical bookstores existed, ecommerce players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc were just finding their way into Indian households. I have seen growing e-commerce presence from a five per cent to a seven per cent share in the company’s revenue to growing up to 30 to 35 per cent in the current market scenario. The world is going digital and so is ACK. We are one of the first few comic book companies who adapted digital-first strategy. Today we are making our content accessible for Indians sitting in any part of the world. We as Indians like to stay rooted and what’s the best way to find the route to our roots. ACK-TINKLE apps have helped many Indian parents to show what India is and its rich heritage through the ACK comics app. We see a huge response coming from countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia etc. Homegrown comic content traveling overseas and reaching the maximum Indian household is what we want as content creators.”

Shilpi Mathur

On asking whether there is any gender bias observed in the industry and how they are addressing it, Mathur mentioned, “Our industry is full of creativity and not gender bias. There are as many women editors, artists, and business persons as men. I don’t see any gender bias in the industry. Talking about ACK, we respect both genders equally. ACK is led by a woman CEO and in all the key positions there are as many women as men. Both have equal say in the decision-making. Let us make the world a place where only equality prevails.”

She further added, “Talking about our content mix also we make sure we bring comics or develop characters keeping in mind our readers and how impressionable they are. We have released Valiant women who talk about unsung women freedom fighters, Shakti – story of  Navdurga and other goddesses, women path breaker story of women who have broken all the stereotypes and made a change in the system. At the same time, we celebrate Vikram Sarabhai, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam etc.”

Sharing her message to the budding women artist she said, “Be confident, believe in yourself. If Rani of Jhansi, Durgabai Deshmukh or Kalpana Chalwa can leave a mark, why can’t we. We are living in a more progressive world. The challenges faced by women in olden days were much tougher than what we face today.”

Diksha Kini


Kini Studios, an award-winning Mumbai-based creative service agency, is run by Diksha and Abhijeet Kini. Remembering the old days about how her comic career started, Kini Comics co-founder Diksha Kini shared, “My journey with the Indian comic book industry began in 2011 at the first Mumbai Comic-Con where Abhijeet and I experimented with our first black & white comic Milk and Quickies  – a collection of five short stories each with a unique end. We also introduced Angry Maushi as a part of our merchandise line at the con which later transitioned into a comic book at the Mumbai Comic Con 2012 and went on to become a bestseller.”

Commenting on how the comic scene has changed over the years, she shared, “From Chandamama, Chacha Chaudhary, Champak, Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle, India has had a rich tradition of comics. Today there are many independent comic publishers who have joined the scene, leading to a wide collection of Graphic novels. The readership now ranges from children to adults.”

Admitting the fact that there has been a gender gap in the industry, Kini added, “There probably was earlier but now the gap is getting bridged slowly but surely. With social media providing  platforms to women creators to bring out niche content  such as comics based on womanhood, sexuality, and more, we have a lot of women creators and writers entering the industry and the public eye.”

Diksha’s message to budding women comic artists, “Be like Angry Maushi and go with your instinct. Don’t let the world stop you!”

Divya Sherdiwala

After 10 years of success in comics publishing, at the start of 2020, Fenil Sherdiwala decided to expand Fenil Comics business globally.  Divya Sherdiwala who is the co-founder of Fenil Comics publishing decided to carry the responsibility of the business sector on her shoulders. She is now handling Fenil Comics online store and the live-action projects. Sharing her comic journey she added, “My journey was excellent, never thought my husband would give me this responsibility one day. But my past was spent reading comics books written by Fenil Sherdiwala so my experience in Fenil comics working as co-founder is awesome.”

Commenting on the challenges faced by her while handling the comic distribution, Sherdiwala mentioned, “Handling the business side of all firms is itself a challenging work. Comics publishing business is itself challenging in the Indian region. But when I started handling the physical distribution of this business, I divided my distribution into four regions of India – North, East, West, South and it made it easy for me. I now have perfect selling numbers from each region. I’m also handling the Fenil Comics online store but it is a little easier than physical distribution. Solving challenges day after day now makes it very easy for me.”

Speaking about her vision and mission, she shared, “Through Fenil Comics, first of all, I want to serve regular comics at the initial level with perfect distribution of books. But Covid-19 ruined all my plans of physical distribution so I am concentrating more and more on our online store with better services and freebies.”

Animation Xpress wishes a Happy Women’s Day to all the incredible women in the world.