Comic Con Delhi, this year, was highly anticipated. Comic fans were excited, pepped up and really looking forward to the 5th edition of Comic Con; thanks to all the hoopla it made on the social circuit. But the reviews were not even close to good. Is Comic Con losing its sheen? Has it become just another commercialized fest? Where were the prominent Indian comic artists? Lets’s explore.
Comic Con was a lot of things other than comics
The idea of a fest dedicated to comic culture should celebrate the essence of popular culture and conserve the withering art form by bringing more people to popularize it. However, the Delhi Comic Con was a stark contrast to this notion. We should have been aware of intense commercialization with their schedule release. A majority 80% of the stalls were allotted to ‘others’ and only 15% were allotted to ‘Indian Comics Village and Artist Alley’.
Hodor from ‘Game Of Thrones’ was the star attraction of the event. Apart from his 20 minute, crisp interaction with the audience, he was mostly kept aloof in a little cubical box; perhaps owning to his exclusive autograph and photograph prices. Cyrus Broacha of ‘MTV Bakra’ gathered more audience with his stand-up gigs than Ty Templeton’s confession of owning a Desi Spiderman comic book ever could.
Do authors at the literature festivals charge to greet their fans? A fest is a thrilling amalgamation of writers/artists and readers/viewers coming together to interact. It is an event to stir up conversations coming from similar tastes or passions. Certainly not an opportunity to make great bucks.
Why was Comic Con so commercialized?
Honestly, in my opinion, the stalls were extremely pricey, rarely comical and not at all heart-throbbing. Should I spend Rs 899 on a t-shirt shouting, ‘Fries Before Guys’. Come on, there’s nothing pop-culture about it! Reebok shoes, hand-woven gloves and Coldplay posters – what’s the relevance? Why were Indian comic artists given stalls almost invisible to the wide audience. Garbage Bin has a marvelous fan-following; but unfortunately, their stall didn’t. How could they, when they were tucked on to one corner? Penguins and Harper Collins were selling more novels than comic books – like don’t the bookstores otherwise sell them? Aren’t you suppose to stir a market for comic books?
The event was snazzy and pretty. The Cosplayers were good eye-candies. The volunteers were prompt. The organizers were well-sponsored. The management wasn’t bad either. But do these things really matter when Comic Con has lost it’s core essence? The crowd turn-up this year was much more than the last five years; but so were the expectations. Unfortunately, they weren’t met. Also, the food was bad. We survived on cup noodles.