What to expect from Comic Con India’s Pop Culture Forum 2019

What should we expect?

It is a conference where we bring together the different ecosystems of pop culture – brands, retailers, IP owners. Experts will talk about how to leverage social media to market comic book content. There is a panel on how to sell the rights of your content to film, television and OTT apps. Marvel has shown how to leverage comic book characters on multiple platforms. In India,Anurag Kashyap has shown interest in making a movie on Doga, a popular character of Raj comics.

With your nine-year experience of holding Comic Con, how do you see pop culture in India?

For a long time, our popular culture was dominated by either Bollywood or to some extent by cricket and politics. Now, there is a lot more happening. There has been an influx of content and original voices. Popular culture is now a large tent with movies, television, gaming, comics, toys, merchandise…it is an industry that is growing. Most people who participate in Comic Con, from a business point of view, are all young. It is a very young event both in terms of people selling it and those who buy it. The average age of somebody attending Comic Con is 21. Over the past few years, the number of people attending the event has gone up. On an average when we started we used to get about 30,000 to 40,0000 people. Last year, the number touched two lakhscumulatively across the country.

What brings people to Comic Con?

People come for fun. The nostalgia part is very limited. The audience are looking at comic-book characters not just from a comic-book lens but also from a movie or television show’s perspective. So they come as fans of Spiderman, not because they read the comic book but because of the movie that they watched.

Why have we not been able to bring out such movies?

I feel our sensibilities are not the same. Our comics are usually historical and mythological. Unfortunately, the movies and television series that are made in India are for an audience which is not young. That is why they connecting to the web series. There is a sense of freedom in making this type of content because it is not bound by censorship and the pressures of selling a movie.

Do we have clutter-breaking content in comics?

We have many comic books which are not about superheroes but still telling really interesting stories. For instance, there is a spoof comic book called Angry Maushi by Abhijit Kini. It is about a maushi in Mumbai who gets very angry about injustice. There is certainly an opportunity to play with its quirky humour. The Caravan has apparently been sold to be made into a web series. It is about vampires and Indian mysticism.

One panel discussion that’s a do-not-miss?

From a comic book fan’s perspective, the one with the Raj Comics team. Comics in India are largely meant for kids. Raj Comics is an exception. It is for the older kid or adult. It will be interesting to know how Nagraj was made or how Doga created.

At the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, 10 a.m. onwards


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