This article comes to us from our guest author, Abhishek Shirali. Abhishek is a Consultant by day, social media expert by night (he claims only nights), and traveller/photographer on weekends. Follow him on Twitter at @abhishekshirali to learn about things you never wanted to know. Also, we would like to thank Comic-Con India for the photographs on this post. Visit them at comicconindia.com and http://www.fb.com/ComicConIndia.
As the month of February, and with it the beautiful Delhi winter, drew to a close in 2011, it brought with it one of the most-awaited events of the year. The capital was hosting its first ever Comic-Con, its very own comic book convention and was finally giving comic-book lovers its due. High expectations, shaped primarily by the famous Comic-Con International in San Diego, were inevitable. But even those with the lowest of expectations were let down.
But not unlike the Indian cricket fan, comic-book lovers are eternally optimistic and forever faithful.
The Comic-Con returned to Delhi in 2012. And this time it did not disappoint. In the last year, the Comic-Con has “grown up” and has realized that it needs to cater to everyone – artists, authors, the die-hard comic book fan, the curious onlooker and of course, that driver of the economy, the businessman. It had merchandise, it had new artist stalls, in-conversation events, discount shops – and best of all it had the cosplay enthusiasts.
The Comic-Con this year was brilliant – but there were a few events/artists that stood out.
In conversation with Robert Crumb:
First and foremost an artist, Crumb is considered the founder of the underground comix movement. The founder of characters such as Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat, talked about, amongst other things, the influence of LSD on his art. Imagine his surprise when the audience told him that LSD is freely available here as well. I have a feeling he probably was tempted to see what “Indian LSD” is like.
Anant Pai – The Master Storyteller:
If you’re like me and grew up during the 80s and the 90s, you probably read the Amar Chitra Katha – the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and other historical comics. And you always knew who Uncle Pai was. Uncle Pai’s biography, “Anant Pai: Master Storyteller” was launched at the Comic-Con this year. As Reena Puri, Amar Chitra Katha editor said, “What can be the best way to pay tribute to a storyteller? Tell his story.” Amen!
The Kuru Chronicles:
Prominent photographer and artist Ari Jayaprakash launched the art work for his upcoming book “The Kuru Chronicles”. The art-work is brilliant, scary and makes you wonder about the fantastic talent this man possesses. Set in a parallel dsytopianCalcutta future, on a cold winter morning 5 entities are brought together in a singularly extraordinary event. The aftermath of which coincides with the advent of Kalki and the Kal Yuga. Dark, atmospheric, a tantrik psycho cannibalistic entre spread over 280 pages in 26 chapters, spanning 17 years. Pick it up soon. This one’s going to be a winner.
One of the artists you heard a lot about during the first Comic Con was Abhijeet Kinni and his UbiMa. Everyone was awaiting a sequel – but I think it never came. However, what did come was the revolutionary Chairman Meow. Comparisons with Kung-Fu Panda are inevitable – the author brings it up himself – and the characters are similar. Will yourself through the first 5-6 pages and you immediately understand the characters and marvel at the brilliance of the artist and the author. And if you were ever interested in Communism, you might find this quite interesting.
Ever wondered about the stark “whiteness” of the Ramayana? About how the entire story was mired in either white or black. The Ravanayan series by Vikas Goel and Vijayendra Mohanty looks at Ramayana from, you guessed it, Ravana’s point of view and as such is as grey as a stormy morning. Vikas is an awesome artist, something he agrees to quite readily and Vijayendra’s understated writing makes this one of those series that you would love to go through in one sitting.
So that’s it folks. These are my highlights from the event. Are there any artists and publishers you are looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!