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khan-comics-founders-on-entering-the-international-market-and-making-comics-an-alternative-to-books

KHAN COMICS FOUNDERS ON ENTERING THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET AND MAKING COMICS AN ALTERNATIVE TO BOOKS
97

09.02.2018

KHAN COMICS FOUNDERS ON ENTERING THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET AND MAKING COMICS AN ALTERNATIVE TO BOOKS

Adilya Smagulova, 28, from Almaty, chief executive of the Khan Comics publishing house

Orazkhan Zhakup, 36, from Karaganda, art director of the Khan Comics publishing house

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On idea


Adilya. We met in 2010 and founded a comic books organization which turned into the publishing house.

Orazkhan. To open a publishing house is not a problem. The only thing you need is a legal entity and a little money.

We formed a community of several people making comics. We had to look for a printing house and deal with other organizational issues, but all artists are introverts, so it was me who had to solve the problems. None of the artists was willing to make investments, look for logistics, therefore I and Adilya decided to take responsibility. Finally, we are managers now and have our own publishing house.


On the publishing house


Orazkhan. Adilya acts as a chief executive, and I'm an art director. Now we have six artists working for us, some of them work on a regular basis and receive a monthly fee, and some work on projects. At the moment we are working on four comic books. We’ve prepared two issues of the comic book named "Orda" (Horde), two issues of "Zhetysu"; we are finishing the fourth edition of the comic book named "Yerketai". Two more comics are being made, they have no names yet. We’ve already released about 50 books.

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We are like big children


By publishing comics we’re kind of making our childhood dream come true. We’ve gained a critical mass and reached the breakeven point, which required efforts of a great many people. Having reached a good financial condition we decided to do quality products only.

I believe that everyone must do his/her job: writers should write, artists should draw, and sales managers should sell.


On difficulties


Orazkhan. Difficulties are encountered at all stages of comics’ creation. The biggest difficulty is to work in the Kazakhstani market which is not big, since the population is small. Comics’ culture isn’t as developed as in Russia.

We’d been focused on the CIS and Russian market until recently but then focused on the local market and started translating our comics in Kazakh. But the thing is that publishing comics only in Kazakh limits us to the Kazakh-speaking readers only. Circulations in the Kazakh language range from 500 to 1,000 copies.

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People have different opinions towards our work. Sometimes the elder generation blames comics for being books for the mentally retarded people, while some have more progressive opinion on them.

These days many children aren’t willing to read at all. They’re bored and the information necessary to be conveyed can be given through comics. If the artist is good, a child, a teenager and even an adult can be attracted by the picture which gets the reader acquainted with the content. People might be lazy to read a book, a film may not be shot yet, while pictures in comics can draw an attention to the whole content.


On promotion


Orazkhan. Recently we’ve been represented in Meloman, Marvin, Flip.kz, and the "Mama, pochitai" (Mom, read) bookstore chains. In all networks we’ve got PR-managers responsible for distribution. Our regular customer knows where we are exhibited, and precisely walks to such spots. As for distribution abroad, we translated some comic books into English, and some of them were immediately published in English. We’ve sold our rights to "Yerketay” line to China. It’s being prepared to be reprint in Chinese.

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Adilya. We aren’t searching for readers, as we just had a goal to get into large bookshop chains.

We are engaged in increasing the number of books we’re publishing now. As soon as we complete certain lines and comic stories, we will actively deal with PR.

Now we don’t have an active promotion except for specialized online groups popular in the CIS. In Kazakhstan we work on social networks and the Internet. We’re planning to work on events and information guides to make a noise in spring, 2019.