The big 10: Celebrating 10 years of Comic Con in times of pandemic

By: |
February 21, 2021 1:30 AM

The recently-concluded Comic Con was a week-long celebration to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the event in India

Jatin Varma, founder, Comic Con India; and file photos of visitors at Comic ConJatin Varma, founder, Comic Con India; and file photos of visitors at Comic Con

Comic Con India turned 10 this year and to celebrate the milestone, a week-long celebration was held from February 15 to 20. Owing to the pandemic, however, it took a hybrid form this year. “The event was a mix of exhibition and entertainment. Over the past year, in fact, we have been increasingly active digitally to keep our connection with the audience strong,” says Jatin Varma, founder, Comic Con India, adding, “An event like Comic Con can’t be recreated virtually, as the uniqueness comes from the live experience which can’t be replicated. However having said that, we did take certain elements digital. We hosted a lot of live chats with creators, partners and people from the entire ecosystem. This is something that fans would have seen on our main stage at the live show in the past. But this time, with it being digital, they could view it at leisure from their homes… anyone and everyone could tune in.”

A defining feature of Comic Con has been cosplay, which sees fans dress up enthusiastically as their favourite pop culture characters. This year, however, things were a little different. “Cosplay continues to be big. While the regular show season was paused, we still held a digital Indian Championship of Cosplay Retrospective, where the reigning champions joined us for a panel. The views and responses were phenomenal,” offers Varma.
The celebration also saw videos from all the creators and partners who participated during the first show in 2011. There were live chats with a few creators and guests who were present at the first show. An artwork, specially created to commemorate the 10th anniversary, was also unveiled. The artists involved in creating the artwork were Abhijeet Kini, Saumin Patel, Savio Mascarenhas and Sumit Kumar.

Video commemorations were also done by participants, including creator and writer Aabid Surti, Reena Puri, executive editor, Amar Chitra Katha, Rajani Thindiath, editor, Tinkle Magazine & Digest, Savio Mascarenhas, group art director, Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle, Abhijeet Kini, independent artist and creator, creator of Angry Maushi Vishwajyoti Ghosh, graphic novelist and podcaster Karan Vir Arora, among others. Another draw for fans and visitors at the event is merchandise. When asked if they are considering selling merchandise online as well, Varma says, “We have been beta-testing it… we have seen some success in this model, but we are a events and content company and not really an e-commerce entity. So this will remain a small part of our plan for now.”

Celebrating the illustrated medium, Comic Con India brings together the whole comics industry and related fields such as toys, games, films and animation, along with fans of this culture from all age groups. The first ever Comic Con was held in Delhi in 2011 and then over the period of one year, it expanded to Mumbai and Bengaluru. Today, it has grown to multiple events across the country, including Mumbai Film and Comic Con, Bangalore Comic Con, Hyderabad Comic Con, Ahemdabad Comic Con, etc.

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