Let's pretend that it's not an ultimate first world problem, but being a nerd is exhausting. It's kinda like being in an RPG where you have to keep evolving your character by gaining XP, upgrading your skills on a daily basis, and all just to keep abreast of the community at large. It's pretty hard out west but is equally a task here in India now that we have a successful series of Comic Con events that happen regularly throughout the year.
I'll skip the history if that's fine, but here's what you need to know.
Comic Con India began in 2011 and now has completed close to 15 editions around the country. Even for someone who was skeptical at first, that is pretty impressive. What really happens here though? For the few years I have been attending, whether it was my first at the former Comic Con Express in Bangalore (its a full blown edition now) or the Film and Comics Convention in Mumbai to this year's Comic Con Express in Pune (the city's first) my major takeaway from every event is that it has always been 80-20 split of merchandise to actual original indigenous content. Does it bother me that it is taking years to change that figure? Yes. Is it actually changing though? Well, yes.
I'm not a hater, and it's easy to be one when you're the only sucker reading Guardians of the Galaxy; skipping class in your college hostel and telling everyone you can find that this shit is gold, only to have the trailer drop a few years later and suddenly everyone is quoting Rocket Raccoon like they've been homies for years. Yes, definition hipster. But looking beyond that to see that more people are actually becoming interested in this culture, and thereby really helping the cause is begrudgingly satisfying.
Similarly at Comic Con Express in Pune when Jishnu and I bumped into Mayank who honestly did not seem to have a clue what it was all about, said "I'm here for ummm BATMAN"; I wasn't surprised but rather thought, yeah man, Batman is the shit. Everyone was there for something, and that's how it all begins. It was really heartening to see the love for Deadpool and other niche characters from the multiverse being cosplayed including Chacha Chaudhary, Netflix Daredevil, Sadness from Inside Out, etc. Okay maybe not so niche but still really awesome costume designs. These guys went all out and for that, more Power Extreme to you.
Geek Fruit's favourite part of these events and I will speak for our whole team here, is to see the awesomely committed Indian Comic Creators like Aniruddho Chakroborty from Chariot Comics, Vivek Goel of Holy Cow Publishing, and fan favourite Abhijeet Kini. I interviewed all of them and it was so refreshing to hear how they are navigating the field of independent comics in our very nascent community. What was even more pleasant to hear was their continued passion for their own work and how they were convinced that their latest issue released was their best work ever. Just FYI we will be reviewing those here in time to come.
Comic Con has always brought some (if few) interesting faces to their events, and Comic Con Express had Peter Nguyen (Batman, Detective Comics) and Ivan Brandon (Drifter, Deadpool) sitting awkwardly at their elevated platform throughout the events signing books and doing quick sketches of their characters. I felt a little bad for Ivan Brandon, who must have been asked mostly about Deadpool, which was clearly the flavour of the month post-movie; and less about Drifter which I hear is pretty interesting. I don't blame him for seeming a little frustrated but hey, we're all in it for the community right? Damn I hope.
I'll give it a pass since it was Comic Con's first edition in Pune, but those panels really need to be held indoors, and need to be scheduled better. Our team was on its feet for two days continuously and even though we wanted to stay for the last few exhibitions, we decided that the heat was not worth it. Being a nerd is exhausting, but if you can do better each time Comic Con folk, we're right with you to the end of the line.
- Great community response
- Indian Publishers!
- Legit Cosplayers (as per usual)
- Bad network coverage (How can I liveblog/tweet this CCI?!)
- An outdoor panel hall = HEAT MAX
- Less Indian Publishers (admittedly not CCI's fault)