Comic Con 2023: Artistic marvels steal the show

- December 10, 2023
| By : Mohd Shehwaaz Khan |

Comic Con 2023 brought together a diverse array of cosplayers, from Western superheroes to Indian favorites like Nagraj and Sufi Comics, showcasing the imaginative and experimental nature of the comic geek community

Upbeat music, happy faces, and experimental cosplays. This was the common atmosphere at Comic Con 2023. At one glance, the event looked like a carnival in a multiverse, where Jasmine from Aladdin, Misa from Death Note, Simon Riley Ghost from Call of Duty, and multiple versions of Batman and Spiderman walked side by side, posing for pictures and spreading smiles. 

From manga characters to fantastical creatures from distant realms, the diversity of costumes not only reflected the imagination of the comic geeks, but also how experimental such cosplays can be. For instance, two Spiderman characters dressed as Indian grooms!

“I think it’s unique. We did it for the sole reason that nobody was going to do it,” one of them laughed. “It is also the Indian interpretation of Western superheroes that are beloved to us.”

Meransh, a 10-year-old dressed as Simon Riley Ghost, has visited Comic Con almost every year and was excited for this year as well. Encouraged by his mother, he dressed himself as his beloved character because he is obsessed with the game Call of Duty.

“I was preparing for the event for a long time and this is the outcome,” he exclaimed while occupied by people eagerly waiting to get pictures for him.

The cosplayers were not merely enthusiasts in costume; they were artists in motion. It was not just the craftsmanship that set them apart; it was the sheer sincerity with which they inhabited their chosen characters. Each of them had become the character they were representing, often improvising every gesture and expressions of the fictional character.

The comic book stalls were adorned with colourful spines and captivating cover art. You think of a comic book and it was available in the festival. From the beloved western superheroes such as Superman and Batman to the homegrown Nagraj, Commando Dhruv, and Chacha Chaudhary!

“We have made solid comics worth 15-20 lakhs on this day itself,” said one of the representatives at Raj Comics. “A lot of people think that comic books are out of fashion but they are not. Almost 2,000 comic books are sold within the launch in at least an hour, if the title is good. They are at the cost of 500 – 600 each, and still people buy them in bulk. Not just English but also the ones in Hindi.”

He informed that launching a comic leads to profit of almost Rs 20 lakhs, and it could even be better if the language is English and the publication popular.

Muhammad Ali Vakil and four others came up with the idea of Sufi Comics in 2011 in Bangalore. Ever since, their comic books have been in demand. The comics visually narrate the stories presented in Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi’s poetry, which is rich in Quranic tales.

“We wanted to educate the audience about the rich storytelling culture among the Sufi poets and saints. Due to social media, the consumption of stories has become visual, so I wanted to create comics around the legends of Sufis and the stories written by them,” said Vakil.

Independent artists, seated behind their tables adorned with prints and other creations, engaged with visitors on a personal level. 

Artist Sumin Suresh Pal, who creates popular art around Hindu gods, was ever busy explaining his concept to the visitors. His artwork is colorful, often employing the comic-style visuals and narrative.

“The qualities that Hindu gods inhabit are timeless. Artists, for over thousands of years, have interpreted them with their own times and culture. However, their essence remains the same,” Pal said.

He added that he wanted to create the visual imagery of the Hindu gods which the current generation could relate to.

“I am a comic book fan. There could not have been a better way to convey the essence of Hindu gods than art that is often depicted in comic books,” he said.

For Gaurav Basu, the inspiration comes from psychedelic art in the 60s and 70s from bands like Pink Floyd, metal music, and comic books.

A metal musician himself, Basu says, “Metal art tends to be dark. But I also give colours and comic-style imagery to make it unique. I am heavily influenced by psychedelic rock and this also shows in my art.”

Most of his artwork, which are both personal and commercial, often infuses Japanese art, Tibetan folk, and Thai art.

The festival is a celebration of creativity, a gathering of kindred spirits, and a tribute to the power of storytelling in all its visual glory.