There is a classic cult following of comic lovers in and around the world and with that there are ardent followers of Comic Con around the world. Over the years the fever of Comic Con has taken over Indians as well but recently the comic lovers’ enthusiasm was curbed due to the pandemic and Comic Con was out of action because of the restrictions. But now that the Comic Con is back on ground in India, it has received a notable reception from not just comic lovers but gamers, cosplayers, anime lovers and superhero movie lovers among others.
This year’s first Comic Con India convention was held at Bengaluru on 19 and 20 November at KTPO Trade Centre, Whitefield. It featured national and international artists and publishers like Yanick Paquette, Acid Toad, Awkwerrrd, Indusverse Comics, Bakarmax and others and was a successful affair with cosplay competitions, gaming tournaments, activities and much more.
Commenting on the success, Comic Con India founder Jatin Varma said, “Our objective with Comic Con India was to bring the Indian pop culture community together and provide a platform to all enthusiasts to showcase their passion. It is surreal that we have completed a decade and are able to continue celebrating our fandom at this enormous scale. With the success of Bengaluru Comic Con 2022 which witnessed about 45K number of attendees over both days, it gives me immense hope for our upcoming Cons at Delhi and Mumbai as well!”
Some of the artists shared their thoughts about Bengaluru Comic Con:
Bakarmax – Surprisingly for Bakarmax, the pandemic was good as they built the publication at that time. But they have certainly observed some changes after and during the pandemic. According to them the trend of Instagram reels has taken over and it’s becoming a choice as a publishing platform for many and that has affected the lives of the artists. As per Bakarmax founder Sumit Kumar, “Artists and creators should actually work ten times as hard to come up with ideas and concepts with obsession – ideas that become properties with fandom!” They had plenty of things to launch and relaunch; their book Itch you can’t scratch has completed 10 years, they have recently launched Kashmir Ki Kahani and they were also having proof copies of Varun Grover’s Karejwa. Kumar also spoke about the Kickstarter of their adult animated show Aaapki Poojita, which has now received 100 per cent crowd funding.
Brown PaperBag – Just like everyone else, the team Brown PaperBag were also eagerly waiting to attend Bengaluru Comic Con. They didn’t have any major plans as such for the event but they sold some prints of their existing comics and exhibited live sketches at their booth. The team hopes that Comic Con India keeps providing the necessary support and encouragement to independent artists as there is a potential of building a much bigger community of comic artists in India.
Happy Fluff – Illustrator and creator of Happy Fluff comics Akshara Ashok was happy that the pandemic is over and is looking forward to Bengaluru Comic Con as it’s her first time. According to her, the pandemic had given a creative and mental block to the artists and now it is finally a chance to meet and greet with everyone. The pandemic also forced the artists to learn animation or give it a try due to the growing trend of reels, according to the team. She creates calendars every year, so this time she launched it first at Comic Con apart from selling some merchandise.
War & Peas – Creators Elizabeth Pich and Jonathan Kunz at War & Peas were excited to be a part of this Comic Con as they had missed such festivals due to the pandemic. They said, “We were worried that the people might lose essential social skills and be weirded out by human interaction even more. But now we are relieved that people are just as weird as they were before the pandemic.” They are happy because they got to meet their fans in person, giving signed posters and clicking pictures with them. Unfortunately didn’t have anything new to showcase at the event but they are working on a book which will soon be launched.
Here’s what some of the publishers and artists have to say ahead of Delhi and Mumbai Comic Con 2022:
Abhijeet Kini – The two years of pandemic being strange and full of uncertainties, according to Abhijeet Kini Studios founder Abhijeet Kin. Everyone in the comic publishing had to modify their style of work. Print is here to stay but there has been an increase in the use of the internet for publishing in the last couple of years. Kini is happy with the work that Comic Con India is doing to help the artists grow and it has come a long way since its inception in India. Having missed the Comic Con for three years, Kini is very much excited to be a part of it this year. Talking about his plans for this Comic Con he said, “We will be launching a brand new comic which we will announce real soon. Our merchandise line also would have some new collectibles for people to buy. All in all, our art gallery has been updated for the prints and merch, and you will see a lot more designs this time around. That way, the pandemic pause gave us time to regroup and revamp.”
Holy Cow Entertainment (HCE)- The team feels like it’s their homecoming as Comic Con India is back on ground after a break and they are excited to be a part of it. According to Holy Cow Entertainment, the comic industry did well considering the pandemic as according to the team, the pandemic provided people with more time at their hands and they kept reading and hence the demand for comics raised gradually along with the production. HCE feels Comic Con India has done a great job as because of it the artists and their fans are directly able to interact with each other as well as get the signed copies from their favourite artists. HCE has already launched The Last Asuran Vol. 2 and The Holy Cow Art of Gaurav Shrivastav at Bengaluru Comic Con, and we have to wait and watch to see what’s in store for Delhi and Mumbai Comic Con. Apart from that, they had launched six new books and three collected reprints during Covid-19 pandemic.
After the turn up of fans at Bengaluru Comic Con, it’ll be interesting to see the footfall of Delhi and Mumbai Comic Con. Delhi Comic Con will be held on 9 and 10 December at NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Okhla and Mumbai Comic Con on 11 and 12 February at Jio World Center, BKC.