Back in 1998, my parents bought a couple of Chacha Chaudhary‘s Indian Comic Book for me, each one costing a mere 10 bucks! I got to read around 100+ pages of picture stories for a grand total of Rs. 20.
Fast forward 16 years. I bought a mega edition of 160 pages titled “Negatives”, an Raj Comics multi starer featuring the elite superheroes of Raj Comics Universe, famously known as “Bramhaand Rakshak”. Now, I have a no. of complaints when it comes to the story, which was so complex, it made me crave for the good old days of 2000, when Raj Comics had published its 1st multistarrer comic, “ Kohraam” (One of my favorite comics of all time). 128 pages of entertaining story (which doesn’t force you to remember loads of stuff and pull your hair with frustration in the process) for Rs. 40!
Let’s face it, the prices of Indian Comic Book are skyrocketing to say the least. I won’t ever think of getting some Marvel or DC comic books shipped all the way from the USA, as even a single comic book with 22 pages of story would cost me a cool $4 (Around INR 264)!
The potential buyers/fans who want to try an Indian Comic Book face 2 BIG problems:
1. They can’t comprehend the decades-old complex backstory of their favorite superheroes which has been marred by multiple reboots and ridiculous storylines. The comic they want to buy is just a small story which is a part of a bigger storyline, for which they will have to buy all the back issues and crossover books, which is a big turn off. This has recently been seen in Raj Comics where now we have 3 different Nagraj!
2. They can’t come to terms with spending a good chunk of their pocket money on a 22 page story which won’t take even 10 minutes to finish if you are a serious reader. Instead, they’ll think of other forms of entertainment to spend their hard earned cash on, for instance, a movie ticket, a novel, or a video game being sold at a huge discount. These mediums can provide them with hours of entertainment (More than 50-60 hours in case of a game).
Indian Comic Book has a long uphill battle to stay relevant and not irk the fans in the process by raising the prices of comics to ridiculous amounts, to such an extent that even a lifelong fan quits the hobby (I’m looking at you, Marvel).
Quality content and affordable prices are the way to go for budding publishers.