The ninth edition Maruti Suzuki Arena Mumbai Comic Con 2019 was back on 7-8 December, with an exciting pop culture extravaganza treating fans with fun, enjoyment and lots of memorable experiences. Fans and participants (for Cosplay) thronged the Bombay Exhibition Centre (NESCO) with full frenzy where they could find their favourite comic characters like The Avengers, Harley Quin, Wonder Woman, WWE stars, Harry Potter including Indian sensations like Chacha Chaudhury, Shaktimaan and his arch nemesis Tamraj Kilvish under the same roof having fun together. Every comic aficionado looks forward to get hold of new comics and graphic novels from across the world. Major attractions in 2019 Mumbai Comic Con were – new launches by Bakarmax, Blaft Publications (How to Love Mathematics), Vivek Goel from Holy Cow Entertainment also introduced the latest volume of his bestsellers, Age of Immortals & Shaitan, along with The Last Asuran. Fans also witnessed a new entrant in the new-age graphic novel space, Indus Verse. Bakarmax publishes desi comics which they generally put on social media and also take out small print publications. Now, they have started doing small animated videos. Talking to AnimationXpress, Goel threw a little light on The Last Asuran, “It’s a big fat 76 paged comics on a character called Desh and his encounters with Vampires. It was launched recently and we’re developing more on it.” The event also saw other Indian comic book publishers, illustrators, webcomic creators and writers like Alicia Souza, Rakesh Khanna, Shubham (Corporat Comics), Saumin Patel, Sailesh Gopalan (Brown PaperBag) and Bhagya Babu (Awkwerrrd) interacting with the passionate crowd. Homegrown comics fans and loyal admirers were also seen surrounding popular artist Abhijeet Kini to get an autographed copy of his brand-new comic books, Ek Din Ka Hero and Fun Tales of India besides the cool merchandise he has been making for quite sometime now. In a candid chat with AnimationXpress, “People are getting more aware and interested about the pop culture domain and lot of comics are being sold out. The crowd are also changing their mindset for the better and getting more inclined to read more Indian comics which we get to know these Comic Cons. We also get a lot of feedback which eventually makes us better.” Ek Din Ka Hero went on to be a huge hit with the young crowd. The heavy influence of anime and pop culture was prominently visible at the stalls of key exhibitors like Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Planet Superheroes, Wizplex, Amar Chitra Katha, The Souled Store, Superhero Toy Store, Epic Stuff, Nerd Arena, Redwolf, and Crossword Bookstores. Excited about the response, Comic Con India founder Jatin Varma said, “Mumbai Comic Con 2019 was simply marvelous, being a true testament to the kind of infectious energy that only interactions between fans and artists can ignite. We were also delighted by the passion that Mumbaikars showed for cosplay and amazed by the number of cosplayers in attendance. Thanks to the city’s enthusiastic pop culture fans, this year’s edition of Mumbai Comic Con is living up to all our expectations every year.” Among other attractions at the event were the bold session hosted by Doritos, Games the Shop and AXN Live R.E.D. An exciting line-up of experiential zones like Maruti Suzuki Arena, Hamleys, Warner Bros,WWE, Cadbury’s, Lionsgate Play and Asian Paints pulled in the crowds, while Comedy Central made the event more nostalgic by recreating the Central Perk coffeehouse, featuring the iconic orange couch from the popular sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S! The enthusiastic crowd at Mumbai Comic Con was given the first-time access to several top international artists such as the UK-based comic book artist Alison Sampson, who interacted at length about her work as well as the upcoming HIT-GIRL in Mumbai series and Sachi Ediriweera, an accomplished designer and comic book artist from Sri Lanka who created Lionborn, the country’s first English graphic novel. Ediriweera shared with AnimationXpress, “It was launched in Sri lanka Comic Con, and it took me a couple of years to write and illustrate it. Lionborn is a standalone GN with an original story. I’m hoping Lionborn does good in India.” Mumbai Comic Con like every year featured highly talented cosplayers displaying their costumes as they battled it out in the Arena on both the days for the Cosplay Contest. With a pool prize worth Rs. 2 lakh on each day of the show, Shine cosplaying as JETFIRE won the grand prize worth Rs. 50,000 as the ICC Qualifier. Chariot Comics founder and Comic Con marketing director Aniruddho Chakraborty added, “It’s amazing to be at Mumbai Comic Con but this time I’m on the crew side instead of being on the exhibitor side. It’s a weird but wonderful feeling and it’s fun. VRICA the last part got delayed and will be out in January 2020 with new and better developments. Shout out to you guys at AnimationXpress for always supproting this community.” With so many exciting launches, remarkable artist sessions, fabulous performances and amazing Cosplays, Mumbai Comic Con 2019 has definitely paved the way for a fantastic New Year for pop culture fans in the entertainment Capital of India!