The serious business of comics: what fans can expect at Comic Con, 2018

November 15, 2018

India’s biggest comic fan festival, Comic Con 2018 will be held in Bengaluru this year on November 17 and 18. Here’s what you can expect at the two-day conference...

Love Batman and Superman? How about Super Kudi or Pavitr Prabhakar? From international favourites to desi counterparts, the comic ecosystem is full of exciting new stories, heroes and pursuits. If you are a comic lover, don’t miss the next edition of Comic Con, India's biggest comic fan festival at KTPO Trade & Convention Centre, Bengaluru on November 17 and 18, between 11 am and 4 pm.

YS Weekender caught up Jatin Varma, Founder and Managing Director, Comic Con India, for a curtain raiser on the event. The young founder who was awarded the Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 by Entrepreneur India last year, spoke to us about the highlights of the event this year and its journey so far.

This time, there will be a ‘Gaming Zone for Geek and Nerds’, Indian and international guests, meet-and-greet sessions, gaming tournaments, fan meetups, and experiential zones, not to forget the coolest array of comics, merchandise, toys, cosplays, gaming, movies and television. The guest line-up for #ComicCon 2018 has the best of comic book creators from around the world.

Jatin Varma

Edited excerpts from an interview…

YS Weekender: What are the highlights of the Comic Con convention this year?

Jatin Varma: The special international guests are Ron Marz, writer for the Green Lantern, Witchblade, Silver Surfer and many more; Vanesa Del Rey, creator of Redlands, Glenn Rane, principal artist for Blizzard Entertainment’s popular games such as Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo, Ryan O’Sullivan, writer for the Image Comics series Void Trip, and Dan Watters, writer for Image comics series Limbo as well as the comic series adaptations for Assassin’s Creed.

Our lineup also includes a performance by Sahil Shah, stand-up comedian from East India Comedy, who is going to perform live at the show. Comic Con India’s Live from Comic Con, hosted by VJ Zerxes Wadia and Tania Dutta, will be the first-of-its-kind live studio and reportage from the show floor that will capture all the action at Bengaluru Comic Con, bringing the show live to audiences at home.

There will also be exclusive experiential and gaming zones with multiple fan experiences. Image Comics, one of the biggest comic book publishers in the world, is also making its India debut at Bengaluru, with a special booth showcasing some of their best titles such as The Walking Dead, Spawn, Saga, Descender, Chew and many more.  There will also be plays, exhibitors, and merchandise from across the world, panels and sessions.

YSW: How did you conceive of the Comic Con plan and how did it develop over the years?

JV: It started off as a personal quest back in 2011 and gradually developed into a venture. We started with an inaugural show in February, 2011 in Delhi, which was held over two days. It featured 25 exhibitors and attracted around 5,000 visitors. Over the years since, CCI has expanded to five cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. It has attracted over 2,00,000 visitors cumulatively and over 1,200 exhibitors.

YSW: You started off as an entrepreneur in India. What was it like?

JV: Yes, I was an entrepreneur, but my family had agreed to financially support me in my goals and I felt if I didn’t take advantage of this, I'd end up regretting it for the rest of my life.

YSW: Tell us something that no one knows about Comic Con in India.

JV: One my reasons for starting out Comic Con in India was to get easier access to buying comics for myself! And it worked!

The Comic Con festival features special events

YSW: How much has the love of comics increased over the years? And how have tastes changed today?

JV: The love of comics has certainly increased over the years, but it’s not defined by just the books themselves; it includes movies, merchandise, toys, games and more. And comics are directly and indirectly inspiring more amazing content.

YSW: What do you hope to achieve with each convention?

JV: Our aim is to introduce the Comic Con experience to as many new people each year as possible, and get everyone to showcase and celebrate their fandom. On the business side of it, we aim for all our exhibitors, partners and participants to have a successful show and market themselves to this niche audience in the best way possible.

YSW: What is your opinion on graphic novels?

JV: I love them! Everything about them is interesting and unique. It is such a powerful visual medium.

YSW: Is cartooning growing to be an art that is in great demand or is it waning every year?

JV: Comic book art or graphic art is part of art in general and I don't think its dying. It’s not the easiest profession, I'll give you that, but each year we get to see such beautiful and amazing work and it won't ever die out.

YSW: According to you, why are comics, as an art form, so important?

JV: Comics aren't always light or funny, but in my opinion, they are the one of the best forms of storytelling, and that keeps bringing me back to them.

YSW: What is your advice to those who want to get into the profession of ‘comics’?

JV: I would simply say -- don't view purely from a publishing perspective; look at it from a larger content-creation perspective.

YSW: What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs starting out on a journey much like yours?

JV: The only advice I can provide is please hunker down and build up your idea or business. Everything else will follow on its own.

YSW: What are your plans for the future?

JV: This year, we hope to put together an amazing experience for the fans attending the show, making it the best weekend of the year. In the future, we hope to expand to more cities and bring the experience to thousands of more fans across the country.

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