Discount Taste

Today on the site we bring you Ryan Holmberg and his tales of bird poo Indian comics.

I had been under the impression that Comix India, inaugurated in 2010, was the first amateur comics magazine in India. It might have been the first with significant heft and geographical reach. Chronologically, however, there is at least one precedent.

Out of Kolkata’s Jadavpur University in 2009 came Drighangchoo. It only lasted three issues. It is a pamphlet affair in black and white. The first issue is half prose, but by no. 2 Drighangchoo is a robust comics magazine. It is printed cheaply but the artwork can be as good as what one finds in the luxurious mini-comics from Manta Ray in Bangalore. And dealing as some Drighangchoo comics do with harder social issues, it is generally a meatier magazine than its more polished peers. It definitely feels like something produced on a university campus, due to its jocular but palpably self-conscious editorial commentary, peppered with baroque self-deprecations and mocking academy-ese. But the evident earnestness of the project and the increasing quality of the contents and production from issue to issue suggest that, had it lived a bit longer, Drighangchoo might have become a standard-bearer in amateur comics publishing in India, or at least in Bengal.


I am so baffled by all the year-end list and how they don't coincide at all with my experience of the comics-reading year, and yet I can't look away. I'm fascinated. Why here's the Montreal Gazette. Here's part four of Comics Alliance. This one from the Village Voice is incredibly confusing and yet alluring in its singularity. Naturally I approve of this take on Pompeii. That confuses me not. Had enough? I might've.

Also bizarre is the first paragraph of this Gilbert Hernandez profile. Read it and then think about the last half-decade in comics. Then read it again. Strange, right?

Here, go cleanse yourself with this funny Steve Brodner list. Have a good weekend.

6 Responses to Discount Taste

  1. DT says:

    If it can be pointed out without sounding too obsequious, this was a banner year for manga in translation, largely due to Dan’s efforts through Picturebox, and any best-of list that doesn’t recognize that just ain’t legit.

    That said, the fact that these lists vary so widely in content I think has to do with the lack of comics literacy/expertise/awareness in the media. Survey the best-of lists by mainstream literary and pop music critics and you’ll surely find much more consensus — because they’re written by professional critics, not whoever in the newsroom happens to have an interest in comics and can quickly churn out a few hundred words of copy in the form of a click-baiting list.

    Maybe we should be happy comics aren’t yet subject to what at its worst is a kind of critical groupthink. But that’s only because they still aren’t taken very seriously in the MSM.

  2. Rob Barrett says:

    Are the lists really *that* different, though? I’m seeing an awful lot of Battling Boy, Boxers and Saints, The Property, Encyclopedia of Early Earth, something by Gilbert H., and so on. There’s definitely a core consensus of some sort.

  3. Tucker Stone says:

    If it ain’t got Red Team at #1, it ain’t a best of list. ‘Nuff said!

  4. DT says:

    It’s not just the issue of consensus, it’s quality. I’ve seen like *one* list with “Barrel of Monkeys” on it, easily one of the best books of the year if not the past five years. The color sections of “Gold Pollen” were some of the most achingly beautiful comics printed in 2013, a year that also saw translations of stellar work by Yokoyama, Mizuki, Sugiura (!!) and Maruo. There’s well-deserved praise for Santoro and Modan, but what about Castree and Davidson?

    Another issue: Most of these lists are beholden to the popular conception of the “graphic novel” to the exclusion of art comics (based on content) and web/mini-comics (based on format). Simon Hanselmann had a fantastic year. Where’s he?

  5. patrick ford says:

    Surely if there were any logic to these lists they would all be identical lists of the years 10 best selling comics.

  6. GFK says:

    “Best selling comic”? What is that?

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