Abandoned by heroes

ASAVARI SHARMA

With Bangalore hosting Comic Con this weekend, enthusiasts in the city ask, ‘When will it be our turn?’

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Photograph by AM.

Have you ever envied Chacha Chaudhary for his “faster-than-asuper-computer” brain or his giant sidekick from Jupiter? Do you know your Green Hornet from your Green Lanterns? Have you ever hidden under the covers following Archie’s complicated love life or the adventures of bumbling Shikari Shambu under torchlight? And do you know who Kal-El really is?

With Bangalore hosting the country’s third annual comic convention Comic Con on June 1–2, Amdavadis both young and young at heart are making a beeline to the south Indian city. However, many Amdavadi graphic novel enthusiasts are disappointed that the while Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have hosted versions of the convention, the pop-culture event is yet to come to the city.

MBA student Rathin Shah says, “I’ve had so much fun reading comics. While I enjoyed Spiderman and Batman, Chacha Chaudhary is my all-time favourite. My nephew has now taken over, and spends vacations engrossed in comics, mostly about cartoon characters. I wish we could host a Comic Con. It’s a great platform to discuss favourite comics with like-minded people.” He is not alone in wishing that the convention — first held in San Diego, USA, in 1970 — finds a place in Ahmedabad.

Fahad Ginwalla, who’s studying communications, feels a local edition of Comic Con would help him connect with the latest comics. “I think it’s a great idea to have Comic Con here, especially since we almost never have such events. Plus, the city doesn’t have too many places to find comic books. I used to be fascinated by Tinkle comics for the variety of stories. Comic Con would give me a chance to connect with the latest comics,” he says.

Pritam Rajashi says it’s hard to meet other comic-book enthusiasts. “Apart from Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and the X-Men, I’ve also spent quality time with Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruva and other Indian superheroes. I still readcomics, but I’ve noticed that interest in the genre has declined, possibly because good comics are getting harder to find. I haven’t met many people who are interested in comics. Comic Con would be a great platform to meet like-minded people and talk about comics,” says the engineering student.

Fans, artists, writers and publishing houses participate in Comic Con.

Fans, artists, writers and publishing houses participate in Comic Con. Photograph by AM.

While superheroes are certainly popular, the Indian market has seen a fair share of heroes who don’t have super powers and aren’t vigilantes. “The Archies and Tintin are among my all-time favourites,” says MBA student Asma Jahan. “I also loved Suppandi and Chacha Chaudhary. It’s sad to think today’s kids won’t have the same amazing connection that we and people of our parents’ generation had with these books. I’d love to go to a Comic Con. It’d be great if it could happen here,” she adds.

City enthusiasts such as engineering student Abhishek Singh don’t restrict themselves to staples from publishing houses such as Diamond Comics, Raj Comics, Marvel and DC. They’re also exploring international options. “I also like the Japanese manga series, Naruto,” he says. However, Singh isn’t convinced Comic Con would work in Ahmedabad. “It’d be nice to have Comic Con, but who’d attend?” he asks. “Most enthusiasts get their fix from the internet. There’s no craze for the genre here. We first need to promote comic books here.”

Comic Con sees participation from fans, artists, writers and publishing houses.

Published by Ahmedabad Mirror (Times Group) on May 27, 2013.

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