Akshay Dhar writes for Bleeding Cool:
"Updates on the latest event, thoughts from creators and publishers and more!"
Yes, Comic Con India has sold out.
No, it's probably not exactly in the ways you're thinking – (a) yes there is a big corporation involved and (b) the event had so many attendees they might just have run out of tickets.
Firstly, as of this event (originally meant to take place in May), the parent company that has been organising these events since their inception four years ago, has entered into a business partnership with ReedPop who are the folks behind NYCC and other events. The exact nature of this deal I can't tell you, but what is known is that the American group may be putting some serious financial muscle and helping bring in some international talent to the events, the day-to-day handling and organising remains with the original crew. Personally this is a good thing because they know the crowd, the places and the best way to get things done – so a partnered approach utilising each others strengths is definitely the way to go!
Secondly, this was the second time (first was the Delhi Comic Con earlier this year) where there was ticketed entry. Now this was a huge gamble in Delhi that paid off and while Bangalore was not as big, the thousands and thousands that poured in daily showed that even without casual walk-ins, there are enough people to make these events worth sticking with – something that has always been a big hesitation.
NOW! To the event itself!
Bangalore has always been a vibrant and active city, largely because for a long time now, it's been the "Silicon Valley of India" which gives it a HUGE population of relatively young professionals and for an event like this that's always a big plus point. This has shown itself to be true since the event is second only to the Delhi Comic Con this far in terms of fan enthusiasm, awareness and participation.
The influence of the Reedpop team could be seen right off the bat with better levels of organisation overall and minor but noticable changes in the venue like stall layouts and just a smoother functioning event. The folks behind Comic Con India have always outdone themselves but they have had to learn as they went along – this event showed what an injection of experience from numerous events and (of course) a healthy dose of cash-backing can do to improve the experience for attendees.
Cosplay was in abundance – it is undeniably a part of the Convention culture that has not just caught on but exploded amongst the fans here. From comic fans, to gamers to even casual followers of pop-culture trends in movies and television could be seen over the three days of the event, thronging the venue – there was all kinds from the simple Guy Fawkes mask and cape to exceedingly intricate costumes from comics and games. The most detailed costumes of course, were from the manga and anime fanbase who are consistently the most hard-working and minutiae oriented of all cosplayers, event after event. And of course, what event is possible without the odd Darth Vader and Joker – there were definitely costumes from the most expected to surprisingly obscure or unexpected.
The event also played host to a spate of new Indian comic releases since many of the publishers here follow a periodic release instead of the monthly system – the constant annoyance of small publishing that needs time – but clearly with the release schedules of some of them, this is looking better with much more coming much faster in the next few months. The releases included the grand finale of the maxi-series Ravanayan by Holy Cow Entertainment, newcomers Crimzon Studios launched their scifi vehicle The Wreck Age which was a big draw, The Caravan: Blood War from another relative newcomer called Yali Dreams and an action-fest titled Love Me Like A Psycho Robot from Meta Desi Comics, a first in a planned series of special Indian-edition reprints for which they are collaborating with Europe based publisher BookMaker Comics and star artist Stefano Cardoselli (Heavy Metal, 2000AD).
For many fans, possibly the biggest highlight came at the end of the first day. While there were panels spread over three days with various creators from all over, the ones that people were most eager about was the live-via-satellite Q&A session with the one and only Neil Gaiman – a session at which we actually got some very exciting news about his book Anansi Boys (reported HERE first!), not to mention glimpses of an amazing new box for his collection Smoke and Mirrors. Hopefully one of these days he might be willing to actually make the long trip across the globe and meet some of his ardent Indian fans in person.
Amongst the star guests in attendance from lands far, far away (for just the 3rd time in the history of Comic Con India) in the form of several creators starting with Peter Kuper the man responsible for the iconic Spy Vs. Spy for the last many years. There was also Dan Parent from Archie Comics who was one of the crowd favourites given how many folks around here grew up reading them and the queue at his table through the event was pretty steady and long. The attendants also included Marvel editor Sana Amanat who came to talk about what she does and the character she co-created, the new Ms. Marvel, which has been critically acclaimed and deservedly so and not to be left out, the surprise fan-favourite was Rob DenBleyker for webcomic Cyanide and Happiness that had snaking lines throughout the event and was kind enough to play a new unaired animated short for the crowd during his session. Rounding out the guests was David Lloyd who it seems had such a good time in Delhi earlier this year (small surprise given the V for Vendetta fanbase here) that he came back again and this time spoke about his newest venture, an online portal for comics called Aces Weekly which is well worth checking out.
While it was chaotic, filled to the brim and then some, the event was undoubtedly a success. The attendees seemed to all go away happy and in the end that is the main priority when you have such an event – it's all about enjoying some of the best that the medium has to offer with people who share our interest and a chance for creators to meet and interact with the readers, something critical for the indie creators here who show so much promise and there is no better way to learn than to talk to those for whom you make comics.
Plus it is definitely a heartening experience that every creator will relate to when you meet people who recognise your creation, enjoy it and connect to it and share those feelings with you. So with all that in mind, we can now look forward to the next few months of new comic releases and two Conventions yet to come before the year is out in Hyderabad and Mumbai and know that the events are well in hand with more goodies for the fans and of course a very promising year ahead.
Akshay Dhar is a slightly quirky nutter but mostly a decent chap – he's been writing for several years now with stints at Maxim India, as a freelancer and comic publications including "Retrograde" from pop culture publishing and "Showcase: Sheshnaag" from Holy Cow entertainment apart from acting as EIC for Indian fan-site Comic Addicts. He's also the founder of the creator-collective Meta Desi Comics and loves to read, write, explore music, travel and aims to daydream further than anyone has done before!
You can check out his writing and artwork here: