Star Wars: Battle Pod.
Star Wars: Battle Pod.

Comic con is back, and it’s bigger

The annual event brings the 'Star Wars' battle pod, Hodor from 'Game Of Thrones', and 200 booths selling comic books

Delhi’s fifth comic con, which starts today, will feature the arcade game Star Wars: Battle Pods—right in time for what will probably be the year’s biggest cinematic release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The film is scheduled to release on 18 December.

Built by Japan’s Bandai Namco Entertainment, the game—unveiled last year at the New York Comic Con—is a single-seater pod that lets you play out space fight sequences from the original Star Wars trilogy, complete with the thrill of acceleration, sound of explosions and seats vibrating from impact. It comes with a 180-degree dome-shaped screen and 5.1-channel surround sound.

This year’s convention is the “biggest yet", says Jatin Varma, founder of Comic Con India. The event, which usually takes place in February or March, was delayed this year for want of a bigger venue.

The three-day event is being held at the sprawling NSIC Grounds in Okhla, with over 150 exhibitors and participants. The earlier editions were held at Dilli Haat and Thyagaraj Sports Complex. Last year’s edition at the sports complex saw a turnout of around 35,000 comic enthusiasts.

There will be over 20 Indian and two international artistes in over 40 panel discussions. One of the artistes is Kristian Nairn, best known for his role as Hodor in the popular TV series Game Of Thrones.

Critics say the convention relies mostly on the popularity of TV artistes and movie merchandise, diluting the event’s purpose. Varma disagrees: “There is a connection between all these genres." The original Game Of Thrones books only became popular after the TV series, which paved the way for a comic series adaptation in 2014 by Daniel Abraham and Tommy Patterson.

For those wishing to buy comic books and graphic novels that are not easily available in the market, Varma says, there will be 200 booths for publishers and merchandise exhibitors. Indian publishing labels such as Campfire Graphic Novels, Vimanika Comics and Holy Cow Entertainment will rub shoulders with internationally established publications like DC Comics and Marvel.

What’s more, Dinesh Shamdasani, chief executive officer of the American publishing house Valiant Entertainment, considered a viable alternative to Marvel and DC comics, will be one of the special guests at the convention.

The Cosplay segment, where people can dress up as their favourite comic character, has only grown in popularity, with just 13 Cosplayers in its first edition in 2011 to over 3,000 last year. This year’s winners will get to travel to the Beijing Comic Con in June.

Among the international artist-and-author sessions will be Ty Templeton (The Simpsons) and Rob DenBleyker (Cyanide And Happiness). Also in attendance will be members from the US-based group Rattapallax, which created the augmented-reality project Priya’s Shakti, after co-writer Ram Devineni took part in the 2012 Delhi gangrape protests.

The Delhi Comic Con is on till 6 December, 11am-8pm, at NSIC Grounds, Okhla. Tickets, 350 and 650, available on in.bookmyshow.com. For details, visit www.comiccondelhi.com

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