Date: March 4, 2017
Venue: Comic Con Pune
Costume: Dragon Ball Tee that I spent weeks customising.
The first thing that hit us at the event was the scorching heat in Pune. (People still don’t believe in global warming, seriously?) Once I got over the heat, it was time to get lost in the world of superheroes.
The decor looked pretty good as we took a stroll around the place. The stage was built right in front of the ground. There were food stalls on the sides of the ground. Most importantly, the washrooms were pretty clean and the changing rooms had more than enough space.
There were experiential zones: One for Logan, one for Baahubali, one for AXN, a 360-degree experiential zone, and a few more.
It was time. And the first lot of people were about to enter. Fans kept queuing up and the line kept increasing. The excited faces said a lot. The gates opened and the smiles just broadened. Volunteers were all lined up as if forming a guard of honour with their hands up encouraging people to give them a high five!
The real fun started when the Cosplayers started pouring in. The crowd went crazy and it was clickity click time! It was pretty evident how much these Cosplayers love what they do for the amount of effort put into getting their costumes and props ready was visible enough. It showed how much they loved cosplaying. And it was not just teenagers or the millennials who were dressed up. There were some very special appearances by little ones too!
Amidst all this, I happened to have a chat with some of the Cosplayers. This is what they had to say when asked, “Why do you Cosplay?”
Arth as Cyclops from the X-Men Series
“Why do I cosplay? Because it’s better than being a normal human being any day!”
Sanket Kadam as Spiderman
“I cosplay because I’m in the fictional world. When I’m me, I’m an introvert; but when I’m in my character, people say ‘Hi’ to me. I feel good in cosplay and cosplay is a fictional world that when I was a kid, I use to think like if I was Spiderman. Now that I have grown up, the feeling is overwhelming and Comic Con gives the perfect platform for us cosplayers to show our skills.”
Vishwajeet Sathye as Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy
“I cosplay because I get to live the character. Basically, like we used to assign characters when we were children and now Comic Con gives us the chance again. So you can be a child again!”
Pranav as Wolverine from X-Men
“Fun, it’s fun. It’s fun participating here and this character, Wolverine is very close to me.”
“I like Batman and Iron Man and I’ve wanted to do this since the last two years and this costume is not even finished properly yet.”
Sahil as Vegeta from the Dragon Ball Series
“I do this because I get a chance to tell me friends, ‘You know what? Shut up, let me just be myself.'”
David as Tatsumi
“There’s no particular reason for this but I cosplay because I usually get more attention than what I usually do. Also I can find people here who have a taste similar to mine.”
Abhishek Prabhakar as Fred Flintstone
“I cosplay because it’s fun, it’s really amazing to see people. I just enjoy it. Every bit of it. I love the characters and I’m into comics and cartoons and stuff. Usually I feel like a nerd everywhere, like a right person at the wrong place, but here I feel like I’m the right person at the right place! Yaabadabadoo!”
Sayyam as The Joker from Batman
I cosplay completely for enjoyment. One more thing, I think there is a trend of cosplays in the US. It’s exceptional and a lot of people accept it. Until I enter Comic Con, I’m a complete joker but when I enter Comic Con, I become a huge joker! I’m a celebrity when I enter comic con. I think people should understand comics and the excitement and the interest they can generate.”
Somay Bhatnagar as Loki from The Avengers
“First of all, it helps me deal with stress. I work with the biggest e-commerce company and it gets pretty stressful. This really helps me and honestly, Loki is full of mischief and I was mischievous since I was a kid. Except the negative part, I don’t hate my brother, ‘I love my brother. Thor I love you!'”
Rohan Ganapathy as Angemon from Digimon
“The character I’m playing right now is connected to millions and millions of people who’ve watched the show Digimon. It means so much more for me and everyone else. That’s what cosplay means to me, to get that chance, to be all those million people’s favourite for one day. It took three and a half months to put the entire thing together as every feather had to be cut out individually.”
Gauri Kore as Moana
“This is my first time actually and a lot of my friends told me that I look like the original character so I thought I’ll give it a shot.”
Swati Mestri as Winter Soldier from The Avengers
“Actually I’m a hobby cosplayer. I’m not a full timer but I like cosplaying because it is something creative. I’m an artist which is the main reason I like it. Since I’m working, I got only 3-4 hours per day and it took around 20 days to complete the whole thing.”
Joseph as Law from One Piece
“It’s like enacting a character who you admire, get a chance to go out and be that. And people don’t judge you. It’s that one day when people don’t say, ‘Isko dekh ye kaisa karray’, they don’t do that. What’s better than getting a chance to be someone you admire?”
Saumin Patel, a renowned artist from Pune, conducted a live show of his artwork, where he sketched and explained in real-time how one can create their own characters, construct a cover identity, and more. Some young ones even got personalised sketches made by him!
The Pune Comic Con saw the launch of two new comic book titles: Damned & Jataka Manga#1 by ICBM Comics and Caster by Holy Cow Entertainment.
Oh and yeah, we might just be months away from having our own Justice League!
Upon entering the auditorium, we saw a long queue of people waiting desperately to meet and get an autograph from David Lloyd, who was the special international guest for the event. David Lloyd is a British comic book artist best known for V for Vendetta.
It was past 4:00 p.m. now and to be honest, after coming in at 10:30 a.m., things started to get a bit boring now that we had seen almost everything. Just as we sat down and were talking about what to do next, Divyansh Gupta, came on stage. That was one of the biggest highlights of the day at least for me! The crowd just couldn’t get enough of his beat boxing skills.
At about 6:30 p.m., the time the most awaited moment had finally arrived–the Cosplay Contest. With around 100 participants on Day 1, the atmosphere seemed to brighten up.
But there could be just one winner, and the winner for Pune Comic Con Cosplay Contest Day 1 was Ankit Singh cosplaying as Azir from League of Legends.
All in all, The Pune Comic Con was a very well-organized event and it was time well spent. There were five book launches, sessions from renowned guests and tons of merchandise spread out across two days. You can check out some of the awesome merchandise on Redwolf.
As a huge fan, I am really looking forward to many more Comic Cons.
Jatin, the founder of Comic Con India has this to say about Comic Con’s journey so far:
“I didn’t bring Comic Con to India. I just read a lot of comics, I published comics. I thought no one was doing it so I’ll just do it. It’ll be the first ever Comic Con and it’d be pretty cool and then it turned into something bigger. There wasn’t a very long-term planning involved or anything. I never thought I’d be standing in Pune doing the Comic Con. I just thought it’ll happen in Delhi that’s it. It wasn’t a business plan or a well thought-out plan and I don’t suggest other people do it like that, but that’s how it started. We are planning Comic Cons for other cities as well. If not a full-scale event, then at least pop up ones like the one we had in Pune last year. We’re planning to go to Kolkata Ahmadabad, Chennai and some more cities.”
Photography by Kedar Deshmukh