A small but determined group of people of Delhi meet on a few Sundays in an inconspicuous location, usually a member’s home and they get doing to some serious eating of samosas. No that’s just once in a while but more often they set out to talk about and draw comics. They make collaborations with others, have impromptu sketch-ups and have themes set out for each meet. Sometimes the more renowned artists like Sumit Kumar and Bhanu Pratap take charge and conduct small workshops for the new and budding comic artists. There are styles to discuss, art forms drawn and pecs and glutes to be made bigger. Right from their own creations to, collection of some rare comics and even debating about the mild sexism in the costume design of female characters, everything and anything comics is a part of Dehli Comics Kala Samagam or DCKS.
Talking about the typical meet-ups Adhiraj Singh (a stand up comic and creator of Uud Bilaw Manus) says, “We had a few workshops in the early months but have now stopped because many of us were busy with our own individual works. The regular meetings would just be meet-and-greets and general discussion about indie publishing, who is free to work with whom, so on, and one time we hung out with Orijit Sen all day in his studio and bugged him with stupid questions. Another time we held a 24-hour comics session.”
Their FB group descriptions says “Fearless. Creative. Adjective” but there is a lot more they get around doing. Time and again they have met with new members and found something interesting that has led to come kickass collaborations. The Inklab for one is a completely comic based zine. Written, drawn and produced by memebers of DCKS. As Adhiraj puts it, “DCKS came about from long-drawn out conversations that us comics creators would have about coming together and starting something, but no one would actually do anything. I had more free time back then so I went about planning and putting together meetings of the core Delhi group. ‘. Inklab is a zine the core DCKS team founded. They have one issue out, and the second issue is underway.
Veraat, another member of DCKS says, “I take a lot of inspiration from gothic and occultist art like Giger and Beksinski with some East Asian artists like Amano. I think DCKS helps people is with the getting started part of comics. The stuff most people overlook or are afraid to admit they don’t know. Say you start making comics but you can’t quite understand how timing or framiing works or how images working through one panel to the next and need to line up. On top of that since there are a lot of professionals here they also help beginners understand the hurdles like how your work and costing model is set up so companies don’t cheat you, making you more aware in the future.”
Sumit Kumar, a graphic novelist and creator of Bakarmax says ‘It started out as Comics Sonics when a bunch of guys (specially Sharad Sharma of Grassroot comics) wanted to start a comics revolution in the city. It didn’t really pick up and soon most members (namely Sumit Kumar of low willpower) lost hope and went back into his black hole to churn out more comics and earn money. While his evil cousin (literally) Shikhant Sablania continued the crusade and was joined by Adhiraj. Adhiraj put it out there that he will sit at Kunzum cafe and wait for people who are into comics to talk and draw stuff. Crickets chirped. This happened a few times over and some guys like Sumit Ray, Aakshat Sinha, Shikhant Sablania, Bhanu Pratap and Suri Singh actually showed up. At this time the plan was to name it Adhiraj Singh Comics Kala Samagam but he didn’t like the idea and called it Dehli Comics Kala Samagam (Typo for the lulz) and this is when well known Andy Dodd (from Campfire publishers and Delhi Indie Night) commented that Indians can’t even spell things right. Well that was taken to heart and the spellings still remain unchanged, making it all the more difficult for people to look them up.
Check them out here https://www.facebook.com/groups/DehliComicsKalaSamagam>)