Jatin Varma, founder of Comic Con India, tells Asmita Sarkar how trends define the fiesta every year
From Sacred Games to Game of Thrones, the boundaries that define popular culture keep expanding and have become elastic. This has given space to events like Comic Con to become a celebrational and promotional platform for brands.
For Amazon Prime Video, Marvel Studios, Paytm, TVS, Doritos, AXN and Sony Pix, the platform is a great way to make inroads with the millions of youth hooked to multiple OTTs, social and mainstream media.
For instance, most of the merchandise available at the three-day fiesta and cosplayers had taken inspiration from the movies and TV shows that are currently trending. With Marvel Studios having dropped its Brie Larson starring Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame trailers recently and a Marvel space at the NSIC Okhla, where Comic Con was held this year, merchandise like Thor’s hammer had received more attention, according to ComicCon India Founder, Jatin Varma.
Amazon Prime Video had brought Mirzapur and Julia Roberts-starring Homecoming to its experience zone. When asked how Mirzapur fits into the narrative, Varma said, “Everything in pop culture fits into Comic Con. Any content you see on OTT players is part of pop culture and fits in perfectly. When building a zone, these partners bring in anything from Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) to photo booths to gauge the audience’s attention,” he said.
Also, since Game of Thrones’ last season will be released in April 2019 merchandise from the George RR Martin series has been a hit. While DC Comics had an Aquaman zone this time, since the movie is going to be released this month and Mattel, famed for their patents Hot wheels and Barbie, had a zone too.
“Cosplay remains one of the biggest draws and this year we’re pushing for professional cosplayers so that we create amazing costumes. The fun element comes from regular people trying to cosplay and having fun with it. The theme for this year is that everyone can cosplay. Everyone who’s attending the event can dress up as someone as simple as Clart Kent. There are easily two to three thousand cosplayers across the cities where we conduct the event,” said he.
Varma has also brought Image Comics, the third-largest comic book publisher after Marvel and DC to India for the first time.
“Everyone coming to Comic Con will get their own volume 1 of Chew, which is about a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agent who solves crimes by receiving psychic impressions from food, including people. They are bringing their own talent,” he said.
Weeks before the event began their stalls had been sold, which speaks volumes about its popularity. Big toy brands and indie artists, equally vied for space here.
The main highlight this time was The Night King, Vladimir Furdik, and only a few had gotten to meet him. A contest and lottery was conducted during the three days to meet him while the mainstage was open to everyone.