The Puncher Press events are planned as 2 iterations of an event that celebrates the spirit of independent storytelling and graphic narratives and hopes to create an ecosystem of self-sustenance for a wide range of comix creators and readers by curating a platform that taps into the collective artistic energies and strategies in order to build towards a comix scene that is diverse and inclusive. The magazine of silent comix by 16 homegrown artists would be at the heart of this event, with additional stalls for independent creators to sell self-published work (without profit sharing) towards an environment that aides the distribution of their product.
Madhav Nair is a fourth year visual communication student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. His field of interest lies in graphic novels, illustration, public art and publication design.
After the 3rd Festival of Stories, I wanted towards a direction where I would choose a part of the metro station to inhabit and use that space to set up a small studio and work out of this studio for a few weeks. Here, I set up a small monoprinting press setup and also used some cardboard sheets to make large drawings as well as work towards an anthology of 10 short zines around a single idea. After some deliberation, I wanted to make a set of comics about digestion and circulation, without using too many physical markers from the site I was working on. Over the span of two weeks, I printed a stack of the comix I had finished till that point to be given away at the Rangoli Art Centre. It was at this point that I stepped back and had some interesting conversations with a few other artists and comix makers about the value behind a photocopied zine found in a metro station versus a beautifully printed comic book from a convention and seeing both these dynamics affect the kind of readership and involvement you get from your audience. A starting point here was the conversation we had with Oskar, a comics teacher who was visiting Srishti for a week and spent some time with us talking about his experience with running a magazine and selling comics in Sweden. Here we spoke about the experience of purchasing a comic and how that changes the value given to the product. After this, Amitabh and I spoke to George Mathen and Anpu Varkey and together came up with a plan for a magazine for comix and a planned event with a collection of independent artists as contributors of silent comix as well as a platform for other small press initiatives. For the 4th Festival of Stories, I used this opportunity to beta-test this process and published a 12-page newsprint comic as well conducted a collaborative comix making workshop with Gathr, a Bangalore based organisation that conducts micro-events. At this point, we’re using these processes to inform the way in which we build the larger publication and how we would present it as a platform for independent artists and their comix to inhabit public spaces.