My friend Akum came to me on December 5 with the news of Delhi Comic Con 2018 being held in New Delhi from December 7 to 9. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard Comic Con would be Cartoon characters, cosplays etc. I was filled with joy and excitement since I have never been to a Comic Con before, even though I am a nerd.
We had our classes on weekends, so we planned our visit on Friday, which was the Day 1. I was damn excited and was waiting eagerly for the Friday to come. After having lunch at my house, Akum and I went for the Comic Con. We reached there around 3 p.m.
Comic Book Conventions (or Comic Con, in short) have a long and storied history in the United States. The first real comic book convention was held in New York, USA in 1964. Comic Con started as an annual multi-genre entertainment and comic convention in 1970 (March 21) in San Diego, California, USA as the Golden State Comic Book Convention.
The way to the entrance was well-decorated with posters of upcoming movies and comic characters. At the ticket counter or the reception, we found that there were two types of tickets: one for daily pass, which included entry for the particular day with a new nationally famous comic book and 1 poster of Transformer, while the other one was named VIP, which included the basic everyday pack along with a bag and extra posters. We took the basic pack and entered the holy event of the comic world.
Delhi Comic Con 2018 was as vast as it was versatile, spread across the sprawling exhibition grounds of NSIC, Okhla. This is the eighth Comic Con in New Delhi. The first edition was held in New Delhi in 2011 and over the years has expanded to other major cities in India such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad. There are annual comic cons now in all these cities. Cumulatively these five cities attract over 200,000 visitors with over 1200 exhibitors.
After entry, we found that there were over 500 stalls related to comics. That was overwhelming!
Wherever you see you can just find comic characters and equipments. Cosplayers roamed around, dressed as popular characters such as Deadpool, as well as the more niche costumes of The Nun and Bojack Horseman. Comic Con is a multi-genre comic and fantasy convention or, in simpler terms, a place where you can get your geek on and go all in.
The overriding theme here was big franchise studios promoting their movies or shows through giant installations or activity booths. There were Avengers, Aquaman, etc. There was a green screen in the Aquaman zone. I made there some moves and stuff while I was getting recorded and after that the software did its thing. I later saw the result and it was amazing as it looked as if all the actions were done under water! There were many stalls and booths with toys and figurines of various comic characters and not only them but also anime characters from Japanese cartoons and some famous Indian characters too.
Since geek culture has shifted from the margins to the centre of pop culture in India, Comic Con has grown into something greater than just a meet up for fandoms. Excitement got fuelled to another level with the highly-anticipated special session with Vladimir Furdik, the master of White Walkers and the supreme leader of the ‘Army of the Dead’. The Game of Thrones (GoT) fanatics, like me, were overjoyed.
There were counter for Hot Wheels with the ghost rider car. Mattel were celebrating 50 years of Hot Wheels at the Mattel Zone. Mattel zone took me back to my childhood days, when Hot Wheels cars used to be my constant companion.
The main booth participants at Maruti Suzuki Arena included both globally and nationally renowned publishers and exhibitors such as DC Comics, Crossword Bookstores, Penguin Random House India, Planet Superheroes, Darkhorse Comics, Viz Media, Souled Store and Holy Cow Entertainment, Swatch, among others.
A bright red Swift hanging on a caged wall, you surely want to see what’s in there. Maruti Suzuki Arena was possibly the biggest attractions with fans engaging in slew of engagement activities. People were busy clicking photos with the car.
There were hundreds of vibrant cosplayers combating against one another to win the ‘Delhi Comic Con Day 1 Cosplay Contest’ and also to earn the coveted chance of representing the capital city at the Indian Championship of Cosplay 2019 along with winning a whopping prize amount of ₹50,000 ($700) from the pool. The winner of the Indian Championship of Cosplay then represents India at the Crown World Championships of Cosplay, Chicago Comic Con.
Initially dubbed as ‘costuming’, cosplay began in the late 1930s in North America, according to the Artifice. Back then, cosplay did not require participants to mimic a character’s appearance. Rather, they simply needed to dress appropriately for the genre, which is what Forrest J. Ackerman did in his futuristic costume when he attended a sci-fi convention. He was the first attendee to show up in costume, so in the following years, conventions began to look like masquerade balls, and prizes were given to whoever had the ‘best costume.’
It was not until 1984 that the term ‘cosplay’ was invented, combining the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’. This was coined by the Japanese reporter, Nobuyuki Takahashi, after he attended Worldcon in Los Angeles. When translating the word ‘masquerade’ to the Japanese audience, he thought that the word sounded ‘too old-fashioned’ and used ‘cosplay’ to describe the concept.
Fast forward to today, a time when cosplay has created a subculture of its own. In North America, it is no longer odd to see people donned in costume at conventions. Cosplay is no longer limited to just sci-fi or anime, but has branched into other categories, such as superheroes, cartoon characters, video game characters, and more.
To some, cosplaying is a hobby. To others, cosplaying is a lifestyle. What all cosplayers have in common is that each person goes into this hobby because it’s fun. It requires time and dedication, but it is also rewarding to see the results.
The winner of the event was a guy with spider costume who took about 6 months to develop that with shrinking spiderman-eye suit. That was awesome!
There were a few booths for posters and a booth named “Chitra Chaya” who were doing photo printing on wood. That sounded amazing so I booked two photos of my parents so that I could gift them on their anniversary.
Before leaving the Comic Con, we had coffee and fries, along with waffle.
I must say I totally enjoyed the experience of the event. It was my first time at the Comic Con. Overall it’s a wonderful place with amazing crowd who love cartoons to the core. I am now looking forward to be there again next time.