Bringing comedy culture to life

The only form of content most of us consumed as children were comic books – whether it was flipping through the pages of newspapers to read the daily Calvin and Hobbes strip or waiting for the fortnightly edition by Tinkle, these volumes containing stories with graphics often occupied young voracious readers. . Indeed, many illustrated pieces gave birth to memorable characters appreciated by patrons.

Over time, comics have evolved – webcomics are now usually filled with thoughtful content. Although still nascent in India, a few passionate designers are pushing the boundaries in this field. Bakarmax, a comic and animation studio that was recently part of Shark Tank India, is a prominent name among this slew. Founded by Dwarka resident Sumit Kumar, this studio creates content for multiple brands and companies while creating original comics and publishing works created by cartoonists.

Find your passion
Kumar’s interest – he interned with cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma, creator of Chacha Chaudhary – in comics began at a young age. “Maybe I got lucky; I found what interested me and kept working on it,” he shares. Bakarmax began as a passion project for the 35-year-old during a time when he worked for the company that organized India’s first edition of Comic Con – a convention focused on comics and related forms of pop culture – while simultaneously working on his first graphic novel, The Itch You Can’t Scratch.

“Until then it was just a fling with the cartoons, I wasn’t married to it. Later I realized that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Certain to his decision, Kumar joined news agencies and advertising agencies to hone his skills while working alone on Bakarmax since 2016.

With Bakarmax, Kumar wanted to work on making comics “no strings attached”. The medium helped him develop a unique voice. “If I don’t do comics for a while, I get really upset; it’s in my body now,” he says.

Push the limits
Bakarmax’s 10-person team creates a series of captivating stories – political satires, insane but humorous takes on everyday cases, and more – in the most laid back way. From illustrating the experiences of a frustrated pear called ‘Babu Gosha’ to navigating the adventures of Poojita, a girl who lives in Doordarshan, this team has been adept at presenting a series of comics, ever so often for hearty laughter and at other times for serious contemplation.

Bakarmax is also a platform for aspiring cartoonists and external contributors who can also submit their own comics. Their work also focuses on political narratives. “We prefer absurdity to politics. If a comic has a message, that’s great. But it doesn’t have to be,” says Kumar.

Talking about the team’s long-term plan, Kumar mentions that they want to expand the domain of anime series in India. “We haven’t developed adult cartoons in India yet. We don’t have anything like The Simpsons here, that’s why no one wants to take a risk by funding a similar project. But we want to explore that side and experiment,” he concludes.

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