The 7th action packed edition of Maruti Suzuki Mumbai Comic Con organised by Comic Con India began on 11 November 2017 and had a lot in store for comics enthusiasts and audiences inclined towards popular culture. The 2 day fest which was held at Bombay Exhibition Centre (Goregaon) went on till 12 November 2017. A pall of elation and ecstasy descended with the anxiously waiting fans, for the Comic Con mania had officially ushered in! This year’s action packed show with an exhibition area double in size from previous along with a range of new activities, features the best of comics, merchandise, toys, experiential zones, international guests, meet and greet sessions, gaming tournaments, fan meet-ups and much more. Famous international personalities like Nick Seluk, creator of the very popular Web Comic The Awkward Yeti, David Lloyd, British comics artist best known for V for Vendetta, Andrew Griffith, comic book artist, designer and illustrator of Transformers comics series, Yishan Li, professional comic book artist for DC & Dark Horse Comics and Nicole Marie Jean, International Pro-Cosplayer attending and taking special sessions at MCC 2017. From Batman to superman to famous manga characters, we witnessed all the superheroes and comic characters come alive as fans dressed in their favorite costumes!! They not only received attention from the audiences, but also interesting prizes from Comic Con India. Each day, winners get chosen from five categories – 1. comic book/graphic novel 2. animated series/movie 3. manga/anime 4. Sci-Fi/fantasy and 5. gaming. Also, on each day, one lucky winner out of the chosen 5 wins INR 50000 (Cash Prize) Each day! And the most prominent thing catching your attention from that moment on is the slew of T-shirts and merchandise stalls lining up to extensive lengths. One cannot help but run their eyes over the funky clothes with various designs and illustrations of famous cartoon, anime and movie characters on them. The likes of Redwolf.in, The Souled Store, Wow Heads, Anime Pop Mall, Entertainment Store et al witnessed throngs of kids and teens alike, rummaging through the Game of Thrones, Naruto, Deadpool, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z T-shirts, tees and merchandises. A few steps further up the venue, and you have massive figurines of Thor and Hulk against the backdrop of a mammoth Thor: Ragnarok movie poster. Whilst the delirium surrounding the release of Marvel’s latest epic fantasy is still palpable, it wasn’t surprising to see people queuing up to snap a picture with the two Avengers. However, a similar scenario whipped up in just the adjacent booth where a mega-screen projecting the trailer of the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi in loop, and a bunch of fanboys (and girls) posing in the famous Star Wars hoodie and wielding the legendary laser sword, turn by turn. And to add to the frenzy, action figures and merchandises of varying shape and sizes of the same were up for sale in one of the stalls. Meanwhile as you perambulate the large Comic Con venue, it was a common sight to see some of the attendees tucked away in their favourite superhero (or supervillain) avatars, participating in the exciting Cosplay Contest with the winner bagging home prize money worth Rs.50,000. Batman, Robin, Joker, Deadpool and Thor were some of the common disguises. New comic releases Day one of the 2017 Mumbai Comic Con had exclusive release of brand new titles from some of the leading Indian comic artists and publications. Holy Cow Entertainment launched new editions of Age of Immortals and Caster; TBSPlanet Comics released three new titles – Rudra, Burf 2 and the second installment of horror comics Footsteps. Angry Maushi creator Abhijeet Kini launched Rhyme Fighters, an ode to unsung heroes of our daily lives such as the Mumbai dabbawallas, the traffic cops et cetera. Additionally, to commemorate half a century of success, there was a special session named 50 years of Amar Chitra Katha and Beyond, featuring editor Reena Puri and art director Savio Mascarenhas. The Justice League corner As DC prepares to riposte Marvel with a superhero team of its own in the shape of Justice League, there had to be a zone solely dedicated to the same. Releasing on 17 November, the mania surrounding the upcoming flick already seemed to have gripped the fans, as one couldn’t resist but strike a pose with the figurines of all the members of the ‘league’ (barring Superman, of course). Adjoining it was a booth with a green screen against which one would stand and get photographed alongside the Justice League in its official poster! No wonder the volumes of cacophony emerging from in and around the cubicle. The poster featuring the person would then be transferred through digital means, but the best part? The experience was absolutely free! The Mountain Dew Gaming zone As you know Comic Con isn’t all about comics and movies, there’s gaming too. And Mountain Dew ensured a slice of entertainment is reserved for all the gamers in the house too, with the gigantic gaming truck in what is officially called The Dew Arena. The gaming enthusiasts flocked the monster truck, twiddling the buttons on the console to bury a massive ball into the back of the net in the exciting Rocket League. On the hindside of the truck was installed a cluster of gaming screens with players battling it out in the high-octane Mortal Combat-esque game, Street Fighter. Whilst the atmosphere was that of a friendly conflict, there were chilled bottles of Mountain Dew being dished out for free to rejuvenate oneself! Family takes precedence in Coco Walt Disney Pictures release Coco chronicles the inspiring tale of young boy attempting to break away from his family’s embargo on music and become an accomplished musician. For all the hoopla ahead of its release, the fans had a Coco corner too, striking a pose against the alluring movie poster with their family and holding aloft placards that read – ‘King of the family’, ‘Queen of the family’ and ‘Rockstar of the family’. The ingress to the photography zone also had a VR headset, giving the visitors a chance to experience the trailer of Coco through the VR lens! It also served as a promotional means to appraise people of Coco’s VR release, and in Oculus. Move on from 3D, virtual reality is here! Mahabharata and Doritos VR zone A greater VR experience awaited the fans in the 360degree VR zone showcasing the Mahabharata animated movie. Done by Fulldome, a VR 360 projection system, it served to promote the film in the Fulldome format whilst also encouraging people to download the Fulldome comic book on android. On the other hand, Doritos, the American tortilla chips brand, presented with some more dose of virtual reality under its arched roof with some gut-wrenching challenges lying in wait inside! Whistling Woods with unique folk-based comics One of the leading film schools and media institutions in Mumbai, Whistling Woods too had set up a booth for the Comic Con, showcasing some of their recent arts. Born Again, co-written by Sunny, depicts an inspiring tale of a boy without a definitive purpose in life and how it turns upside down when he falls in love. Sunny further explains, “It’s about an aimless guy and how the love of his life turns him into a fearless saviour. That’s why it is titled Born Again.” “The illustrations are very typical of comics and came up with whatever we learnt in our institutes. This is one of the finest that we could come up with.” The comic is completely black and white, resembling manga arts, and Sunny explains the reason for making it so. “We are very big manga fans. We love mangas and they are very much black and white. However, we might release a colour version of it in future.” Whistling Woods also came up with a unique publication called Nirvahana, that boasts three different styles of Indian art blended into the narrative. He adds, “We have taken folk tales from East, West and North for this.” Ahona Banerjee, another student of the institution, turned her mother’s travails in life into an inspiring comic that more or less chronicles her journey. She elucidates, “This is inspired by my mother’s struggles. After my father passed away, she went through a lot of ups and downs. This comic tells how she sees herself as different form of goddesses.” Comic sales galore at HarperCollins booth HarperCollinsPublishers India, subsidiary to one of world’s largest comic publishing house HarperCollins Worldwide, put on sale some of the popular comics for the fans to grab a copy of their own. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Campfire’s Alibaba and the 40 thieves, Frew Publications’ The Phantom, Graphic India’s Devi, Chakra, Reincarnation Man as well as an array of mangas for all the Japanese art junkies were on sale as the attendees swarmed the store. The Main Stage Next to the VR dome was set alight a stage that hosted talk sessions with the comic artists. However, the sessions commenced in a rousing way when the visitors were treated with the high-octane trailer of the upcoming Ready Player One and Justice League, coupled with a special video clip from the stars sharing their experience on playing their respective superhero characters. Popular Youtubers and stand-up comedians like Mallika Dua, Mumbai’s very own Prajakta Koli and the very popular team from Beyounick performed live at the show!