When someone owns a vast collection of 8,000 comic books, it is safe to say that they are completely invested in the world of comics and are up to something bigger than just reading it. The same was the case with the founder of Fenil Comics, Fenil Sherdiwala. At the young age of 14, he created his first superhero, Faulaad and in the year 2010, he decided to pursue his childhood dream and ventured into this creative yet not so famous industry with his publishing unit, Fenil Comics.
1 March marks the completion of 10 years of Fenil Comics and to celebrate it, Sherdiwala decided to make it ‘A Free Comic Book Month’ and has rolled out three more comic books.
In conversation with AnimationXpress, Sherdiwala talks about his decade long journey in the comic book industry, audience perception, future plans and a lot more.
Back in 2011 what made you venture into this not so famous industry?
As you know, I have always been a regular comic book reader from my childhood and own a massive collection of comics. My childhood passion for comics inspired me to develop a superhero when I was just 14. In the year 2010, I decided to work seriously on my childhood dream and ended up hiring some good creators from the industry and re-worked my childhood character, Faulaad. Eventually, in 2011 we launched our first ever comic book – FAULAAD. It was a total flop show at that time as we managed to sell only 50 copies in the first six months. But there were two more parts in the pipeline of the series. So we decided to launch some more characters and created more than 35 characters in the year 2011 itself!
How many comics have been released so far? Which character is the most popular?
We have released 32 comics to date. There are many superheroes in the Fenil Comics universe. Faulaad, Om, Bajarangi, Jasoos Balram, Crime Fighter, Prince F, Vetaal, Stunt Girl have been created by me. Taskara and Zura are created by the famous film actor Kiriti Rambhatla. All these characters have a different storyline and they all are popular among Fenil Comics fans.
How has the audience perception changed over the years?
For us, the audience perception has not changed yet. They are still asking for hard copies of our books. I know the future is digital but fans are still asking for physical copies.
In terms of sales, can you share how were the figures back when you started versus now?
I can’t disclose the perfect sales number but I can proudly say that the sales graph of our books is getting higher and higher, year after year. We are getting good response from our fans and our characters are becoming popular among fans.
How did Fenil Comics celebrate this milestone?
In 2021, we completed 10 years of our publishing house and 1 March marks the birthdate of our publishing house, Faulaad and mine! We named this celebration – FENIL COMICS JANMOTSAV. We launched Faulaad’s Collector edition in hardcover format. We gave lots of freebies with this book like Faulaad magnet sticker, Faulaad rejected scriptbook (which was never released), Faulaad character card, Faulaad comics art print and Faulaad poster. These gifts are special for Faulaad’s fans. We are also giving Autographed Free Comics of CRIMEFIGHTER available on our online store. To celebrate its launch, we introduced India’s first-ever Free Comic Book Month. Fans just need to pay the shipping charge for it. Isn’t it a big surprise?
How has your work evolved over the past decade?
We are doing many new things in this field. We launched the first-ever character encyclopedia book of India which is a popular trend in the USA. We also launched the world’s first-ever rejected script book for fans. We try to offer something unique all the time. In the last 10 years, we earned the trust and love of our fans.
Can you share details about the recent comic books launch?
We released three titles: Faulaad – Collector’s Edition, Bajarangi Digest Book 1 and Exilium Book 3 in Hindi. Faulaad Collector Edition is a hardcover edition with 132 pages inside. The printing quality of all these three books is world-class as we used 210 gsm pages inside all of them. Bajarangi is a digest of three editions that is in trade paperback format. Exilium is an adaptation of an Australian graphic novel series created by Benjamin Slabak.
What are your future plans?
We are planning to enter the USA market, so we are working on its business strategy.
Will we be seeing any web series or movie around any of your comic characters?
We have already created VETAAL’s web series which is currently under editing and the VFX work is being carried out. Soon we will reveal more news on it. Additionally, we are also working on two more OTT movies for our characters Crimefighter and Jasoos Balram.
What would you like to say to the upcoming generation and would you recommend them to join the industry?
For the upcoming generation, I have just one message: Readership builds you, so keep reading. I always welcome new creators, publishers and supported them all the time. So I will recommend them to join the industry.