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As the Delhi Comic Con enters its third and final day, Business Standard brings you a few quirky glimpses of the colourful fan fest. Jatin Varma on the challenges of taking Comic Con to more cities In the seven years since its inception, Comic Con India has expanded from India's top two metropolises to a total of six major cities. When Business Standard asked its founder-owner Jatin Varma about the possibilities of expanding the Con to Tier-II cities, however, Varma explained how challenging such an endeavour could be. He pointed out, "Events as an industry is not recognised by the government. As such, there is very low support in terms of infrastructure. We have faced major infrastructural challenges going into even Tier-I cities like Kolkata. Our current venue (the NSIC grounds, Okhla) is a barren land, which the National Small Industries Corporation has so generously lent us for the past few years. Moreover, because this is an open-air venue, we are also at the mercy of the weather." In fact, Varma also mentioned that it is often very difficult to impress upon the government authorities the exact nature and cultural importance of an event like Comic Con. ALSO READ: Comic Con Delhi 2017: No Artists' Alley this year may hit the 'little guy' Hands-on comics Varma had also mentioned that this year, the event organisers invited comic creators to share their experiences and insights regarding the art of creating comics with the Comic Con audience. True to this endeavour, comic artists like Abhijeet Kini (creator of Angry Maushi), Brown Paperbag artist Sailesh Gopalan, and Rajani Thindiath and Sean D'mello, the brains behind ACK-Tinkle's latest superhero Wingstar, talked about the process of creating comics in their own unique way. While Kini drew his popular characters on the stage itself, giving a live demonstration of the process, Gopalan told Business Standard that during his workshop on the last day of the Con, he would concentrate mainly on the challenges a digital comic artist in India often faces. Thindiath and D'mello, while launching India's youngest superhero, discussed how the character's unique physical attributes actually translated into the drawing of the character through a live demonstration.
Both Kini and the Tinkle artists found their sessions largely attended by enthusiastic younger audiences. ALSO READ: Comic Con: Archie's dark avatar works as well as classic, says Dan ParentA new reality One of the prime attractions for this year's Comic Con has been the massive Virtual Reality Dome run by Scrolime, creators of the Mahabharata: Gods and Heroes e-comics app. While the Mahabharata e-comics itself boasts an edgy art style by comics artist Igor Baranko and a semblance of three-dimensional space without any external hardware, viewing it inside the Dome created a planetarium effect in miniature. Featuring almost ten minutes of clips from the e-comics and point-of-view shots of high-altitude skydiving, the dome created an experience of infinite space and movement within its closed walls. No wonder the dome featured one of the longest queues on the Comic Con floor. ALSO READ: Return of the 'Con': Step over to the corporate side of Comic Con Mario on the walls A staple photograph-template from the Delhi Comic Con in the past few years has been that of people posing in front of the massive artwork panels beside the main entrance. While one half of this wall featured artwork by Kini this time, with his signature Maushi standing out between a hoard of other pop culture figures, many comic fans were also drawn to the other half of the panel. This half featured a long stretch from the interphase of cult-classic platform game Mario. The game-platform panel was in many ways a tribute to and a marker of the massive gaming zone that dominated the Comic Con this year. ALSO READ: Comic Con India: Travel-weary but alive, Archie is back in the country Cosplay reaches new levels While cos-players are a staple at any comic con, what was refreshing about this year's costumed superfans was the sheer diversity of their reach. There was hardly any fandom – across TV, cinema, video games, and comics – which was left out. Unlike in 2015, when DC Comics super-villain, the Joker, was the unanimous choice, this year, fans dipped into some of the most nascent fandoms, like Stranger Things and WestWorld, to bring out some very interesting costumes and accessories. Our favourite was the faceless space ninja, who would not identify herself, despite the best of our efforts.
Debarghya Sanyal is pursuing a PhD in Comics and Graphic Novels from the University of Oregon, US