This has been a particularly ‘bloody’ year – terrible battles have been waged, forts have been toppled and territories have been marked. In a galaxy of fandom and franchises not too far away, 2017 would mark a year of reckoning. In Delhi, however, the foot soldiers from every known fandom emerged on a bright Friday morning for what they believed would be the last, most glorious battle in the war for supremacy. And hence commenced the Delhi chapter of Comic Con India, 2017. In the sixth year since its inception in 2011, Comic Con India has entered a licensing deal with Archie Comics, which will include exclusive India titles of the popular comic book series. True to the theme of the fest, therefore, one of the more prominent stars in the exciting line-up of comic book artists arrayed for the Delhi Comic Con this year is Dan Parent. The Archie artist, known primarily as the creator of the first openly homosexual character in the Riverdale mythos, Kevin Keller, has been doing the trips of major Indian cities for the past few months, and has already visited two other Comic Con chapters this year – Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Parent, who told Business Standard, that he was very excited to be here in one of the biggest markets for Archie, would be spending the next two days interacting with fans, signing autographs and talking about his creations. Parent is not the only one.
He will be accompanied on the stage by Malaysia-born comic artist Sonny Liew, best known for his work The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which became first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for fiction in 2016, and Ryan North, the creator of the witty web comics Dinosaur Comics and Adventure Time. The Delhi Comic Con this year would also feature a long line of stand-up comedians, including Abish Mathew, Sahil Shah and Azeem Banatwalla (of the East India Comedy fame). Besides, there is the usual gamut of attractions like cos-play competitions, tattoo artists, quizzes and games, etc. Interestingly, this year’s Comic Con also features major stalls by media-streaming channels, and digital and broadcast entertainment distributers like Amazon Prime Video and AXN What has particularly caught our attention, though, is the massive gaming zone dedicated to ‘The Omen’, a nearly year-long e-sports tournament held across India’s major cities, organised under the HP|ESL India Premiership 2017. The tournament, which started off in April this year, culminates through the Winter Season Finale at the Delhi Comic Con and will feature a purse of Rs 15 lakh. One of the more popular attractions of the Con, the Artist’s Alley, has been conspicuous by its absence this year. While there are stalls for new and upcoming artists, the lack of a single dedicated zone means that the big names in merchandise, publication and entertainment have dominated the floor, often eclipsing new and original art and craftwork. Overall, this actually amps up the air of a corporate Sunday market.
Debarghya Sanyal is pursuing a PhD in Comics and Graphic Novels from the University of Oregon, US