It's time again to geek out, as Comic Con India brings exclusive experiential (Justice League Experience, Disney Fan Experience,) and gaming zones, cosplay, merchandise, special stage sessions by artists, and performances by the likes of Mallika Dua, Sahil Shah, Prajakta Koli and Beyounick, and other such cool, nerdy stuff.
In attendance at the Mumbai Comic Con this year will also be stalwarts – Andrew Griffith (comic book artist, designer and illustrator of Transformers comics series), David Lloyd (British comics artist of V for Vendetta fame), and Nick Seluk, who's the creator of web-comic, the Awkward Yeti and its popular spinoff Heart and Brain. The artists tell us about what they expect from the convention and who they'd like to be for a cosplay.
Your thoughts before attending the Comic Con in India?
Andrew Griffith: This will be my first time travelling to India in any capacity. I have met Indian fans at other conventions around the world and they've always been very friendly and enthusiastic. So I'm really looking forward to interacting with many Indian fans in Mumbai, as I expect them to be very enjoyable to interact with.
David Lloyd: I've been to comics events in India 4 times, I'm happy to say, and enjoyed myself every time. I find the enthusiasm amongst comic fans here for what I've done - most significantly on V For Vendetta, of course - very heartening. India's a long way away from where V was created, and to think that the message encapsulated in that work has reached to such a far destination, and with such effect, confirms my belief that the power of comics can do much more for a global audience than just amuse it. I'm hoping the response I get in Mumbai is similar to that I've received in other cities. And, as always, I look forward to meeting fellow artists in the area.
Nick Seluk: I’m excited to meet with some of my most passionate fans in person! India has the second most Awkward Yeti fans in the world after the US. And, well, I expect them all to show up.
What according to you is the best feature of Comic Con?
AG: I think the best thing about Comic Cons, in general, is the shared experience between fans and creators based on a love of everything in popular culture. Whether it's comics or science fiction and fantasy, it's great to spend time with people that love the same things you do. It's a great excuse to get together with like-minded people.
DL: I'm sure you'd expect me to say the comics art element, and that is indeed my initial reaction because I count myself as an ambassador for them, and for everything they can do as a medium of expression in a world that still generally underrates their value. Beyond that, I can say that the opportunity of discovery is an important feature of the show: visitors see lots of different things representing a wide range of entertainments and pastimes, so in one place they can sample things they'd otherwise have to travel around to check out.
NS: I love that people can be free to celebrate the things they enjoy with like-minded people. The cosplay is always so entertaining and I love to see the time and effort put into the details. And for me, being able to meet fans in real life brings a new and more valuable dimension to what I do.
How do you see India as a market for comics?
AG: I don't know much about the market for comics and India, or how many are bought and sold, but the fact that India has such a large population combined with the growing tech and educational sectors tells me that there are a lot of intelligent people who comics and science fiction could appeal to. It seems like an almost limitless market for things like comics.
DL: It's a complicated picture, I think. I know that decades ago home-grown comics sold millions but your major sellers now are imported - and Indian creators are copying that style of work to try to compete. Because of that, there's always a danger of all the particularities of the Indian personality not being represented enough in your comics. It's a conundrum that faces any country affected by the successful and widespread reprinting of US and Japanese material. Some have more trouble than others in coping with it, and I wish India luck in its efforts.
NS: I feel like comics capture the essence of what it means to be human - whether it’s a desire to be more than what you are, or relating to our silly everyday struggles. It’s exciting for someone like me to reach audiences worldwide and relate so closely to people in India. I think India will be a growing force in the comic world!
The craziest Comic Con moment or experience yet?
AG: Actually, for me, I tend to geek out at creators who inspired and influenced me, so last year when I did a convention in Shanghai, I had a table in between Art Adams and Whilce Portacio, who were both big influences on me when I was growing up reading comics. It really was crazy in a way that made me feel like I'd really made it to be sitting equal with them.
DL: Can't think of one, I'm afraid. And I have dug deep into my memory to see if there's one there...
NS: The craziest moments for me are when an artist I admire comes to me to tell me they like my work. I usually don’t know what to say so it becomes, appropriately, quite awkward.
Another artist's cosplay you'd choose while attending a Comic-Con?
AG: I might be tempted to dress as Han Solo from Star Wars. He was always a favourite character of mine from the movies, and he wouldn't be that hard to do a costume for.
NS: Maybe The Oatmeal’s the Blerch character because it makes me laugh every time I see it...
DL: Nick Fury in the version Jack Kirby created. But I'd have to bulk up!
When: November 11-12, 2017, 11 am to 8 pm
Where: Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon East