Comic book creators, publishers, illustrators and fans are gearing up for Comic Con India in the city on November 17 and 18. Now in its seventh year, the event will feature plenty of Indian and international artists.
One such artist is comic book writer Zafar Khurshid, who will be making the trip to the city for the event. Based in Delhi, he and his writing partner Akshay Dhar, are the force behind the indie label Meta Desi Comics, publishing the Holy Hell comic series.
Releasing their fifth issue of the series at Comic Con, Zafar, who is a lawyer, describes comic book writing as a medium he “stumbled into”. He says he and Akshay are doing something different as compared to other Indian comic books with Holy Hell, a comedic series of stories which is a “crowd favourite”. “We do a good mix of Indian and Western humour,” Zafar says. “It gives people a slightly different flavour.”
Holy Hell won ‘Best Ongoing Series’ at the 2018 Comic Con Awards, a surreal experience for Zafar. “As they said our name, I did a double take and said ‘wait, what?’ “It’s such a wonderful feeling and so great to know that the people at Comic Con like what we do. Obviously, we always know the fans love us.”
Bengaluru-based ‘happiness illustrator’ Alicia Souza will also be displaying her unique art at the event. For the last eight years, she’s built an online platform full of animated takes on her life with her husband and pet dog, leading to freelance work, merchandise, and public talks. “It’s funny and relatable because it’s everyday life, everyone can relate to it. It’s really simple,” she says.
Alicia was raised in Abu Dhabi and moved to Bengaluru nearly a decade ago. It was around that time she decided to pursue illustration as her full-time career. She grew up on daily newspaper comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts. She has even named her dog Charlie Brown.
As a sign of changing times, she shares her work through social media posts. “It has shaped my career. When I started, all I had was Facebook; that’s how I’ve got clients.”
This Comic Con will be her fourth and she’s looking forward to sharing her work and meeting other artists. She says the illustration industry in India is improving. “It’s growing really quickly. The work is amazing and it’s a really exciting place to be because of it.”
Also coming to Comic Con is Vivek Goel. He has been into art since he was a child, but he never imagined it would lead to a successful career in the comic industry. After years of working as a comic book artist, he founded Holy Cow Entertainment in 2011, a publishing house which has worked with more than 40 creators in that time. “I’m a very lucky person,” Vivek says.
As far as the industry is concerned, he says it’s no longer the golden time of the 1990s but there is demand for physical comic books. “It’s not dead, it’s still growing. It’s going to be really risky over the next 70 to 80 years for the brand but I think comics can survive.”
Comic Con is being held at KTPO Convention Centre in Whitefield.