ComicCon India: First Look
Like all great Indian things, the Comic Con too starts slow. It’s a fine morning in Dilli Haat, the festive nature of the place lends a hand to my already bouyant spirit and I take my first steps into India’s first ever Comic Con. Im a little hyped, definitely excited and above all else slightly intimidated. It is one thing entirely to read comics from afar and lash out at the author or the artist for some small nuance you did not like. But here, here I get to meet and greet people who have pioneered the Indian Comic Book Industry for so long.
The old faithful Diamond Comics already has it’s stall set up and I’m drawn there almost subconciously to the bright covers and bold font. Chacha Choudhary prudly adorns the shelves alongside Pinki and Billoo. While right next stall graphic novels are up for sale. New publishers hitherto unknown are making their mark. Unknown logos and unknown comics are popping up all around. Truly this is comic lover’s paradise. The stage is set up for the show, and although the actors have not all arrived, the audience has begun to appear. A slow trickle right now but then hey I have no right to complain seeing I myself could not make it on time. Tardiness is now almost second nature to us and hopefully by the end of the day and many many more articles later…the trickle would have turned into a flood.
I take a moment to shake hands with Rorsharch. While Jaffar glares at me silent and omnious from his stall. Although the sun is rising and the mercury is climbing the enthusiasm of these costumed cavaliers is far from flagging. The crowd has started to build now, little by little Delhi seems to be waking up to its first Comic Con. But just when I thought that this was it. I was in for a surprise.
Hidden from public view a gallery of stalls and goodies awaits those who can discover the indoor section. Stalls featuring some of the most unique toys/collectibles catch the eye immediately. Darth Vader calls out to me from behind a cage of plastic in his trademark voice.
“Give in to the Dark Side!”
He whispers in my ear and I almost succumb to the lure by handing over my watch, my wallet and my phone just so that I can afford the Dark Lord. Unfortunately I still come up short. So snatching a card from Avenger Toys for later I wander the corridors, a little smug with myself at having resisted the lure of the Dark Side. Yeah, I feel definitely Jedi’ish.
But there’s much more than Star Wars. Level Ten comics stands out from the rest with its catchy artwork and Im tempted to immediately blow up five hundred bucks for a copy of their first monthly compilation. But reason prevails and my grumbling stomach reminds me that today it’s either comics or food.
Ill probably buy the comic anyway. Who needs food when there is art to feed your soul.
But toys and flashy posters is not all there is to this place. You see glimpses of a budding comic book industry aching to be let out of its shell. World Comics India is one such stall, their slogan “Comic Power” resonates with my own feelings. Their work serves to remind me of the untapped talent that seethes within us all. Glimpses of great artwork and storylines peep out from every stall. There is animation, there are toys, there are posters and of course there are a plethora of comics. There is only the faintest trace of possible disappointment for a newcomer. For I see all these great comics trapped within formats which are only lacking if at all in production value.
That is the one difference you might note. Some of us have become so used to the idea of DC/Marvel level production that to see these slightly overpriced and yet slightly unpolished products might be a turn off. But what we all must realize is that the true value of these comics lies not in their polish, lies not in their finish. But it lies the fact that this here is the first time comic book artists have gathered at such a grand scale. This is the first time these works of art are probably seeing the light of the day. The first time artists and writers have been allowed this degree of exposure. This is the first time the Indian Comic Book Industry has shown signs of maturity and foresight. It is time for a change. Maybe even a revolution. I can feel it my bones. Change carried on winds of spring. But no revolution, no change is complete without its revolutionaries. The call goes out to all of you. Join the cause. Join the revolution.
Comic Con is here. Where are you?