Whenever Comic Con got closer, you were either saving money to buy merchandise or preparing your costume and props for cosplay. For the uninitiated, you were simply preparing yourselves to experience your first ever Comic Con. This year’s Mumbai Comic Con witnessed all kinds of participants. Cosplay went to a different level with more enthusiasts showing off their hard work while booths selling merchandise made everyone’s wallet weep. Additionally, experience zones from Justice League, Mountain Dew, Thor: Ragnarok, Star Wars, and WWE 2K17, ensured that fans could feel close to their beloved franchises. Budding artists and illustrators got to interact with acclaimed guests such as Nick Seluk (creator of Awkward Yeti), David Lloyd (illustrator of V for Vendetta) and Andrew Griffith (artist of Transformers) to name a few.
Starting off as an Express edition of Comic Con back in 2011, Mumbai Comic Con has come a long way hosting consecutive conventions to bring multiple fandoms under a single roof. If you’re one of those who closely relates to the TV shows and movies you watch, or the comic books you read, Comic Con is an event that you should never miss. The seventh edition of Mumbai Comic Con offered the same and ensured that attendees had enough memories to take back until they wait for next year’s convention. But there could have been so much more considering for how long these conventions have been running in the country. Having spent all day on the crowded show floor all day, we had mixed reactions at the end of the convention.
Mumbai Comic Con 2017 was another great year for cosplay. We got to see enthusiasts cosplaying as their favourite characters from different TV shows, movies, and comic books. This year, the cosplay competition saw many kids participating as well. Where we saw incredible cosplays such as Reinhardt from Overwatch and Death Prophet from Dota 2 (both of whom were the winners of the Rs. 50,000 cash prizes), we also got to see funny cosplays like PK and characters from Bhool Bhulaiyaa, both from Bollywood. Every Comic Con, we try to identify the most popular character being cosplayed and this year it was The Joker, right from Jack Nicholson’s rendition to Jared Leto’s darker version. We also spotted numerous Naruto fans, Eleven from Stranger Things, a few Rick and Morty fans, and stumbled across a group cosplaying as PUBG in-game characters.
It was a little disappointing that the main stage area wasn’t given enough space to accommodate the crazy number of attendees, especially on the final day. The audience cheered along as their favourite characters made their way on the stage. Apart from the competition, professional cosplayer Nicole Marie Jean was invited for a special session to share some experiences from her seven-year career of cosplaying. Participants who cosplayed just for fun without enrolling into the competition found themselves surrounded by people, clicking pictures with them. Looking at so many people donning the costumes of your favourite characters was a memorable sight.
Merchandise and comic books
Probably the heart and soul of any Comic Con, booths selling merchandise were present in abundance across the show floor. From bob-heads to figurines, t-shirts to hoodies, you could find almost every kind of accessory belonging to your favourite franchise and character. T-shirts and posters were probably the most sold items since we spotted a lot of people carrying one. Whether it was Game of Thrones or Rick and Morty, no franchise was left out. Thanks to the amazing discounts offered on t-shirts, it seemed to be difficult to settle for just one.
A few comic books from Indian artists and publications were released for the first time at the convention. Abhijeet Kini, creator of the popular comic Angry Maushi announced his new series Rhyme Fighters to celebrate local everyday heroes like the Mumbai dabbawalas. Holy Cow Entertainment released new editions, Age of Immortals and Caster while TBSPlanet Comics launched a couple of new titles including Burf 2, Rudra, and a sequel to their horror comics Footsteps. A special session was organised to honour editor Reena Puri and art director Savio Mascarenhas to celebrate 50 years of success of Amar Chitra Katha.
We came across several local comic book publishers including Abhijeet Kini Studios, Amar Chitra Katha, Brown PaperBag, Holy Cow Entertainment, and more. Harpercollins India had many international comics including Alibaba and the 40 thieves, Lord of the Rings, Phantom, and more. On the other hand, the collection from DC Comics and Marvel wasn’t as expected. We spotted Injustice, The Dark Knight Returns, Earth One and even The Killing Joke. We were excited about how DC Rebirth and Dark Nights: Metal became popular right after their release. But we only found a few issues from Rebirth and none from DC Metal. Marvel’s comic book collection (officially licensed under Comic Con) was rather disappointing since there were only a handful of comics that included issues related to recently popular TV shows and movies such as Iron Fist, Star Wars, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Where’s Secret Empire? Where’s Marvel Legacy?
Fun activity booths and guests
Apart from the stalls with posters hanging on their walls, this year we saw several activity booths offering fans a fun experience. Mountain Dew brought their gaming truck to the convention where gamers got to play popular titles including Rocket League and Street Fighter while sipping on bottles of free Mountain Dew. The Star Wars: The Last Jedi booth attracted fans who wanted to get pictured in Jedi robes and lightsabers. It would be too much to ask but bringing the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR experience would have been a great idea. With Thor: Ragnarok basking in its box office glory, Marvel fans got an opportunity to click pictures with life-size figurines of Thor and Hulk. Justice League also provided a similar experience with figurines of Aquaman, Cyborg, Batman, Wonder Woman and Flash. No Superman though. Warner Bros. also set up a green screen where you could click pictures and have yourself digitally placed over the Justice League poster. This was an interesting experience for die-hard DC fans and it was done for free. A 360-degree VR experience was also conducted by Fulldome for the animated Mahabharata movie, that saw a serpentine queue.
The guest list at Mumbai Comic Con 2017 included comic book artists such as Nick Seluk (creator of Awkward Yeti), Andrew Griffith (artist of Transformers), David Lloyd (illustrator of V for Vendetta), Saumin Patel (illustrator of Agent Vinod graphic novel) and many more. They shared experiences about their journeys and interacted with the audience. The convention had also invited popular comedians including Mallika Dua and Sahil Shah, and YouTubers including Nikunj from BeYouNick and Prajakta from mostlysane.
It’s been seven years since Comic Con started in India and it’s about time we had panel discussions of big movie or TV show franchises (local and international), similar to an extent to its big brothers at San Diego and New York. The presence of such personalities opens up the floor for questions from fans that sometime ultimately lead to exclusive revelations. This year, the guest list of Mumbai Comic Con didn’t include any actor or writer from a popular TV show or movie. Having invited celebrities such as Mark Gatiss (writer of Sherlock and Doctor Who), Sylvester McCoy (seventh Doctor from Doctor Who) and Jim Beaver (Uncle Bobby from Supernatural), it’s fair to expect someone popular every year. With Justice League just a week away from release, it would have been great if Warner Bros. had dropped a Mumbai Comic Con exclusive or unreleased trailer to hype up the fans. The same could have been done by Disney for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Or maybe a glimpse of the highly anticipated Infinity War trailer? Marvel? Essentially, exclusive content, announcements, and experiences will make the convention more memorable.
It’s commendable that locally renowned artists are being invited to motivate and share their experiences with aspiring artists who attend the convention. As the years progress, we are witnessing more artists being invited as guests. This way, budding artists are getting more opportunities to personally interact with their heroes and receive a positive influence on their careers.
Cosplay is also receiving the same scale of popularity through Comic Con, where we get to witness jaw-dropping costumes and props every year. Cosplayers are taking extra efforts to implement even the tiniest details accurately in their creations. Few cosplayers have already upgraded their skills to be capable enough to embed motors and LED lights in their costumes.
Anyone going up on stage at Comic Con is expected to talk more about pop culture and make references to the different fandoms being celebrated at the convention. Artists and illustrators spoke about their work on various projects including comic books. However, we would have preferred that the entertainers discussed and made jokes on characters from TV shows, comics, or movies, rather than sticking to generic content. It’s a comic convention after all.
In conclusion, Mumbai Comic Con 2017 was a brilliant experience for upcoming artists, cosplayers, and people who wanted to buy merchandise. Although the convention could have included more activities and events to offer a wholesome experience for comic book nerds, we’re never going to have enough of it. Of course, if this was your first time attending a Comic Con, you would have been mesmerised looking at so many like-minded people under one roof. Here’s looking forward to the next year of Comic Con at Mumbai to fulfill what we expect every year – satisfying our geekdom with fellow geeks.