Today on the site: Ryan Holmberg on a comics cafe in Mumbai:
“It’s in the suburbs,” I was told. But what this means in Mumbai is not what it means in the States. Despite the unpleasant realities of sprawl in America, there is still a lingering notion that the ‘burbs are between town and country, combining the best of both: convenience without crime and congestion, green and fresh air while still being plugged into the grid. Not so in Mumbai, where suburbs means, simply, at the fringe of municipal limits and, more importantly, relatively affordable real estate. It does not mean freedom from big city troubles, for while things might be more spread out in the Mumbai suburbs, with more big leafy green tropical trees, the traffic is worse than in town and the roads are a permanent wreck.
I begin with this to preemptively dissuade readers from thinking of Leaping Windows – India’s first comics café, located in Versova, near-ish the sea just northwest of the large and tangled “suburb” of Andheri – through the clichéd American lens of “comics in the suburbs.” Leaping Windows is very much an urban institution. Were it not, it could not exist. Despite being geographically inconvenient for most of Mumbai’s population, Leaping Windows has done well enough to inspire a second outlet in Bangalore. This is thanks to a diversified business model. It not only has a café with a full menu, free wi-fi, and a quietish place for locals to come and chat or work. It also has a library with a collection of some 2,000 comic books (counting only the trade paperbacks and graphic novels) that you can use for 30 INR an hour (that’s 50 cents in your Richie Rich dollar). It also has a membership program through which comics can be borrowed, delivered straight to your door (4500 INR for a one year, approximately 75 USD).
A chunk of Jeet Heer’s forthcoming book about Francoise Mouly is now online.
Also from Jeet, “a precursor to Steinberg?“.
This is an amazing set of Jack Kirby photos.
And Tom Spurgeon has some stats on young cartoonists.