The death has been announced of publisher and editor Anant Pia (1929 - 2011). Born in Karkala, Karnataka, India he worked for the Times of India managing Indrajal comics which reprinted US titles such as Mandrake and Phantom. Pia left there in 1967 persuading India Book House to publish Amar Chitra Katha ( Immortal Picture Tales) comic book versions of the great Indian religious and mythological epics, fables and folk tales taken from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Panchatantra and Jataka. After a slow start 400 titles went on to sell 90million copies. Anant Pai conceptualized all of these, and wrote the scenarios for most of them. The art was done by artists like Ram Waeerkar, Dilip Kadam, Pratap Mulick, Souren Roy, Jeffrey Fowler, H. S. Chavan, Madhu Powle and Chandrakant D. Rane. Titles were printed in multiple editions to cater for the variety of Indian languages.
Committed educationalist and entertainer Pia started the children’s magazine Tinkle in 1980. Tinkle contained original comic strips plus quizzes and non-fiction articles. It was here he adopted the title of Uncle Pia, a name which stuck.
In 2007 Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) was bought by ACK Media who have produced animated versions of the books for the Cartoon Network.
Shortly before his death Pia was given the lifetime achievement award at India’s first comic convention.
The Guardian April 8th 2011