LADIES AND gentlemen, winter is here. Superheroes and comic characters have jumped out of the pages of your comics and arrived on earth—more specifically, at NSIC Grounds in Okhla, New Delhi, for Delhi Comic Con 2015.
With a bigger venue, the festival, which ends today, has been showcasing some spectacular events, including a bunch of fan sessions, cosplays, book launches and international guest appearances, all through the three days of its duration this year. But the biggest attraction is internationally-acclaimed actor Kristian Nairn, who is known best for his role as Hodor in the award-winning HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones. Also in attendance is Rob Denbleyker, the author of Cyanide and Happiness, the popular black comedy and satire Webcomic.
A common sight at this year’s edition is fans dressed as their favourite comic characters—Fred the Flinstone, the villainous Two Face and Joker of Batman fame, the Amazonian super-heroine Wonder Woman, the ultimate anti-hero Deadpool… the list is endless. Take, for instance, Kainaat and her friend Mohammed, whom we spotted wearing Catwoman and V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks, respectively. “We’ve been waiting for the event ever since the tickets came out. I missed school today, so I could be here. The open venue is also a nice change,” said Kainaat, a class XII Delhi student and a big anime comics fan.
The bigger space—the event is spread across 1,00,000 sq ft—has also allowed for more events and experiences for fans this year. With the release of JJ Abrams’ film Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens just round the corner, there was a huge queue outside the Star Wars Battlepod stall on Friday, the first day of the fest, as they were offering free 3D gaming experience for fans. The sight of schoolchildren dressed up as their favourite Mario characters, waiting for a chance to try the Star Wars game, is an evident reminder of India’s never-ending love for comics. And the exhibitors at the event agree. Abhijeet Kini Studios’ Abhijeet Kini, who is featuring a new part of the Angry Maushi comics series and other merchandise at his stall this year, says that Comic Con not only gives fans a chance to come closer to comics, but also provides an ideal platform for artists to show their work to people. “Every year, we’ve got new artists coming up. Comic Con gives a platform and a venue, where anyone can bravely present their work. And with a rise in the glam factor and pop culture element, there has been an increase in the footfall as well. More importantly, the audience is taking comics and artists more seriously now, and not just as a hobby.”
Among the international guests at the event this year is Canadian comic book artist Ty Templeton, who started his journey from a comic strip for the college newspaper when he was in art college in Toronto, Canada. Originally a musician, comics as a profession happened almost accidentally for Templeton when he was approached by a publisher. The Eisner Award-nominated artist also teaches comic book writing and drawing, and believes comics have now become a popular source of entertainment. “Comics are the universal language of humanity. The first comics ever created are about 12,000 years old and they come from India. They were essentially cave paintings in pre-historic India. It’s the first example of stories being told with pictures. And 12,000 years later, we can still understand these stories,” says Templeton, whose work includes popular Batman and Spiderman series and Stig’s Inferno, among others.
Delhi Comic Con 2015 ends today