Keeping the comic culture alive

This city-based animation studio is creating a space for readers to indulge in webcomics

author_img Anjani Chadha Published :  28th June 2022 02:12 PM   |   Published :   |  28th June 2022 02:12 PM
culture alive

Keeping comic culture alive

The one form of content that most of us consumed as children were comic books—be it sifting through newspaper pages to read the daily Calvin and Hobbes strip or awaiting the fortnightly edition of Tinkle, these volumes featuring stories with graphics often kept voracious young readers occupied. In fact, many illustrated pieces have given rise to memorable characters that are loved among patrons.

Over time, comics have evolved—webcomics now are usually packed with thoughtful content. Though still at a nascent stage in India, a few passionate cartoonists are pushing the boundaries in this domain. A prominent name among this slew is Bakarmax, a comic and animation studio that was recently part of Shark Tank India. Founded by Dwarka-resident Sumit Kumar, this Studio makes content for several brands and businesses while also making original comics and publishing works created by cartoonists. 

Finding his passion
Kumar’s—he interned with cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma, creator of Chacha Chaudhary—interest in comics began at a young age. “Maybe I lucked out; I found what was interesting to me and I just kept working on it,” he shares. Bakarmax started as a passion project for the 35-year-old at a time when he was working at the firm that organised India’s first edition of Comic Con—a convention focused on comic books and related forms of pop culture—while simultaneously working on his debut graphic novel, The Itch You Can’t Scratch.

“Until then it was just a fling with cartoons, I wasn’t married to it. Later, it struck me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Certain about his decision, Kumar joined news organisations and ad agencies in order to hone his skills while concurrently working single-handedly on Bakarmax—since 2016. 

With Bakarmax, Kumar wanted to work on making comics “without any conditions”. The medium has helped him develop a unique voice. “If I don’t make a comic for a while, I get really upset; it is in my body now,” he says.

Pushing the boundaries
The team of 10 at Bakarmax creates an array of engaging stories—political satires, mindless yet humorous take on daily instances, and more—in the most casual manner. Whether it is about illustrating the experiences of a frustrated pear called ‘Babu Gosha’ or navigating the adventures of Poojita, a girl who lives in Doordarshan, this team has been adept at presenting a series of comic strips, ever so often for a hearty laugh and at other times for serious contemplation.

Bakarmax is also a platform for budding cartoonists and external contributors who can send their own comic strips as well. Their work also focuses on political narratives. “We love absurdity over politics. If a comic has a message, that’s great. But, this is not mandatory,” says Kumar. 

Talking about the team’s long-term plan, Kumar mentions that they want to expand the realm of animated series in India. “We are yet to develop animated cartoons for adults in India. We do not have something like The Simpsons here, which is why nobody wants to take a risk in funding a similar project. But, we want to explore that side and experiment,” he concludes.