Mingling with Chota Bheem and Shambhu

Fun reading

The second edition of the ‘Annual Indian Comics Convention’ witnessed a huge outpouring of comic book lovers.

Theatrical : Artistes dress as comic characters.

Hosted recently at INA Dilli Haat, the convention featured a large book fair of comics, graphic novels and various other attractions. No wonder kids their parents and even grandparents were in full attendance.

The convention was an initiative by the Twenty Onwards Media group which also organises the famous ‘Golden Kela Awards’. They publish a few graphic novels of their own too.

The first edition of the ‘Comic Con’, as it is called, was held last year at the same place and was met with huge success. Thereafter they also held a roving ‘Comic Con Express’ event in Mumbai. This time they were back to create a bigger and even more exciting event for the industry and comic book lovers in Delhi.

Jatin Varma, the founder of ‘Comic Con’, says, “The aim of this convention was to create an event around the comic books industry in India. We want to bring comics and graphic novel publishers, artists, illustrators, people from the animation and even gaming industry together.

Somehow, in spite of having a tradition of comic book reading in India, which includes the very popular Amar Chitra Katha, we haven’t had an event of this kind here. The ‘San Diego Comic Festival’ in the US is very big there. We want to create a similar event here.”

The convention has certainly grown by leaps and bounds in just two years. Last year there were 35 exhibits of various Indian and international comic and graphic book publishers at the fair. This time there were 55. Last year, there were seven book launches at the convention. This time there were 25.

The most popular comic book publishers–Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle, Diamond, Disney and Marvel had set shops at the fair. While the comics were a hit with the kids, youngsters were seen purchasing graphic novels. Merchandise like T-shirts, stickers, key chains, mugs, movie and games CDs and DVDs, were a complete sell-out.

Also the costume play contest was a big attraction. People had come dressed as various comic book and movie characters like Harry Potter, Batman, Cinderella, a geisha and shikari (hunter).

During the convention, comic book artists, editors, graphic novel writers and animation film-makers delivered lectures and conducted workshops. These included celebrated American illustrator Robert Crumb, editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal Gary Groth and the founder of publishing house Drawn and Quarterly Chris Oliveros.

Amar Chitra Katha launched its book Anant Pai–the Master Storyteller in a tribute to him, while Abhishek Sharma, the director of movie Tere Bin Laden unveiled the second part of his graphic novel Munkee Man. An Indian version of Tintin titled Timpa was also launched, while Disney promoted its movie John Carter.

Children and their parents had a field day. Jaya Bohra, who brought her two school going daughters to the convention, said, “We used to read so many comics as children. These days kids just don’t read.

What better way to revive the comic culture in children than an exciting event like this?” Her daughters proudly sported the comic books they bought here--Chhota Bheem and Geronimo Stilt.

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