Random Access: The Comic Fun

By Avanish Tiwary

Among the usual hustle-bustle of the 17-year-old Delhi Haat, the green-coloured Shrek and his wife Fiona were walking coyly with Joker, Spiderman and Saabu. The Indian chapter of Comic Con which happens once in every year in different cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru is an initiative taken by Jatin Varma, an entrepreneur of his own kind.

The whole place was bombarded with posters of different cartoon characters-many new ones like, Super Mummy, Super Kudi and Angry Maushi. People who had come for shopping at Delhi Haat had an unusual experience as they saw many people walking in costumes, thereby intriguing them.

As is the trend every year, comic enthusiasts come dressed as their favorite comic characters. A competition is held where everyday a winner is announced for the most creative and quirky costume.

As the concept of having a comic convention is new in India (this is the third chapter of Comic Con India), people who don’t even have affinity for comics or graphic novels came to see what the fuss was all about. In its three days, Comic Con India, reportedly attracted 300,000 visitors (according to various media reports). To attract such huge audience, almost all the comic and graphic novel publishing houses like Top Cow, Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, First Second, Self Made Hero and Vertical Inc were present at the festival with their new comic releases.

I met a few cartoonists who were also self-publishers and came here because according to them, “It provides a good opportunity for sales once in a year.” Jazyl Homavazir, one such self publisher from Mumbai who specializes in ‘Manga’ (a Japanese form of comic book) and has a dedicated website which he started in 2010 says, “This provides a good platform once a year to make extra sales.” The festival this year also attracted international publishers and Manga publishers from Japan.

However, the concern at the festival was the lack of space. The stalls of all the publishing houses were small and thus crowded. The usual crowd which comes to Delhi Haat for shopping also added to the already present comic enthusiasts. With the increase in popularity, the festival is expecting more people to attend its fourth season next year.

I hope they choose a different venue this time so that people can easily browse through comics in the stalls and not get crammed among comic characters.

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