Indian Comic Con 2014 Travelog: Epilogue
The day after the hustle and bustle of Indian Comic Con, Mark Waid and Christy Blanch invited me to join them with their new friend Sumit Ray, who they met at the Indian Comic Con. He had offered to show them around and were taking him up on the offer. What followed was a completely unscripted experience that was more than I could’ve hoped for.
After a small stop to pick up more friends Aakshat Sinha & Bhanu Pratap we wound down the busy highways of Delhi until we left the main city behind.
We eventually made it to a suburb on the outskirts of another state in India and arrived at our destination - the headquarters of World Comics Network. It was a studio/apartment where cartoonist & founder Sharad Sharma lived and worked. The studio/apartment was equal parts workspace, comics museum, and home.
Soon, other people started to arrive, Shirkant Sablania, Kailash Iyer, Akshata Udiaver and more, all artists and writers that help Sharad with the World Comics Network. Then over tea they started to tell us all about where their organization has been and what they’ve done.
The World Comics Network has gone to conflict areas throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America, even the Antarctic, to teach people (some who have never read a comic) to create comics of their lives and experiences. Sharad and his team hold workshops and teach people that comics can be a way to communicate and voice the tragic, infuriating, and sometimes heartfelt experiences that people in these conflict regions have lived. And once created, these comics are printed and xeroxed to be placed on street posts, public walls, trees and anywhere else they can be seen. All in the hopes of sharing these stories with as many people as possible. The World Comics Network also collects some of these stories to print in a newspaper format to share even further through self distribution. We were told that some of comics produced have also gone on to be used as tools for advocacy, literacy, and even as ways to disseminate information for health organizations abroad.
Once we finished our discussion, it was time to eat and we were surprised with a home cooked Indian meal prepared by some of the artists and writers there. Needless to say it was absolutely delicious. The rest of our time we just talked about comics and they showed us some of the works the World Comics Network has produced.
And of course no Mark Waid visit can end with out a bit of signing and autographing that Mark was gracious enough to oblige.
The motto of the World Comics Network is “Comics Power!” which takes on many different meanings in the context of their organization. Power to share stories and ideas. Power to bring people of different backgrounds together. Power for change. Sharad and his team believe that comics do all these things and after seeing first hand how it brought all of us together to share ideas, hopes and even a meal I walked away believing in Comics Power.
To find out more about the World Comics Network please visit their website.
- Ivan Salazar, comiXologist
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