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Report: Comic Con Express, Mumbai

Comic Con Express took place in Mumbai this weekend at the World Trade Centre, and it was a resounding success. The first Comic Con in India was held in New Delhi this February and since it was fairly well received, the organizers decided to take it to Mumbai. The World Trade Centre was an appropriate venue to host the event, as around 50 stalls of enthusiastic participants ranging from comic book publishers to t-shirt vendors fit comfortably in the confines of the SoBo expo institution. The organizers went to the extent of arranging an hourly shuttle bus service that ran from Churchgate station to the venue.

Both days (the convention ran all-day on Saturday and Sunday) had a lot of workshops and talks scheduled by the organizers and the packed Saturday lineup started with the launch of ‘Operation Resue’ by Indrajaal comics. This short launch was followed quickly by a session with the Comic Addicts, the people behind one of India’s biggest comic fan sites, as well as the launch of Akshay Dhar’s ‘Retrograde’ by VJs Juhi and Andy, and finally Sufi Comics launched their comic ’40 Sufi Comics’. The second half of the day had longer sessions starting off with Karan Vir Arora, founder of Vimanika launching ‘Shiva: The Legends of The Immortal’ with an authentic looking Shiva model posing with the comic. Level 10, another publisher, launched a desi manga series called ‘Batu Gaiden’. Acclaimed comic artist and writer Aabid Surti narrated some of his favourite memories working with comic books and interacted with the audience. The last event of the day was the launch of ‘Zombie Talkies’, by Pop Culture Comics which is an off-shoot of the film Rock The Shaadi which is slated to be Bollywood’s first zombie film.

Sunday was full of launches and as well, starting with a promotion for the 4th Annual Golden Kela awards which was presented by Cyrus Broacha. Journalist and film critic Mayank Shekhar launched ‘Widhwa Ma – Andhi Behen!’ which was followed by 30- minute sessions by t-shirt company Inkfruit, who explained how their tees are developed. Holy Cow Comics presented previews of their upcoming titles ‘Serengeti Stripes’ and ‘The Skull Rosary’ as well as launched the double issue special of ‘Ravanayan’. There were also launches by Campfire Comics, who launched a graphic novel of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and Mario de Miranda, who launched his new book ’1951′. Amar Chitra Katha screened a special preview of their upcoming feature-length film Sons of Ram which was about Luv and Kush. Another big launch was Tere Bin Laden director Abhishek Sharma’s graphic novel ‘Munkeeman’ which was launched by actor Irrfan Khan and his mere presence on stage sent the photographers in the crowd into a frenzy. Finally, Vimanika Comics launched their first international title ‘The War of The Independents’, which has over 200 characters in it which are either independent or creator-owned. This was the final launch of Comic Con Express and the scale of the comic is very impressive indeed.

A few Comic Con attendees indulged in some cosplay, impersonating some of their favourite characters such as Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader and Nightcrawler. Their dedication was rewarded by the organizers who had arranged a cosplay contest, which was a contest to award the people with the best costumes on each day a prize. Cosplaying is a tradition in Comic Cons around the world, and to see it in Mumbai was quite interesting. Saturday’s Comic Con attendees were well-informed and extremely supportive of the participants; very few people left the event empty-handed. Sunday’s crowd had more families and people from outside the comic book community attending, but they were still good  patrons. Everyone really embraced the spirit of Comic Con and artists and organizers expressed that Comic Con Express 2011 greatly exceeded their expectations in terms of attendance and sales. Writers, artists and publishers all got to speak to their fans and share their hopes for this optimistic, well-supported and growing community.

More from Comic Con soon.

Photos by Naman Saraiya

Spotted: Superman at ComicCon Express 2011 @ World Trade Center, Mumbai

Unmasked at ComicCon Express 2011 @ World Trade Center, Mumbai

Headbangers Merch at ComicCon Express 2011 @ World Trade Center, Mumbai

Spotted: Chacha Chaudhary at ComicCon Express 2011 @ World Trade Center, Mumbai

ComicCon Express 2011 @ World Trade Center, Mumbai

ComicCon Express 2011 @ World Trade Center, Mumbai

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