This was the sixth edition of the annual Comic Con event, and as stated by the founder, Jatin Varma, “is a massive leap since what could be called the nascent state of the event.” The introductory handouts for visitors rightly say, “Comic Con is the Ultimate Pop Culture Celebration”. The event is not just about the comic-book universe, it’s about all things that rest under the wide umbrella of Pop Culture. The plethora of stalls and corners ranged from those that made fusion art caricatures of people right before their eyes, if you’re interested in becoming a comic book vigilante, to stages which were hosted by YouTube and Vines sensations like Gaurav Gera with his Chutki and shopkeeper act being performed live. There were segments which provided the ultimate experience of contact with your favourite television shows from the US, like Big Bang Theory, Supernatural and House of Cards through interactive activities.
Alto Comic Con 2016 had a crowd of faces that started from four-year-olds to crazy sixty-year-olds, vindicating the all embracing quality of pop culture being squeezed into one space. You could easily discover one or another compatriot who hailed from Game Of Thrones fandoms, Assassin’s Creed cults and Naruto clans. The event possessed a time-escaping sensation since one could find Mario running around hand-in-hand with characters from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Harry Porter.
The event provided admirers with an experience which was one-of-a-kind and was embellished by MAD Magazine, Cartoon Network, National Geographic caricaturist and illustrator Tom Richmond and Joe Haris, Author of X-Files Comics. Endorsing the spirit of all inclusiveness there was music by DJ Elliot, who played all three days and is the official Walt Disney World DJ.
Added to the mania was pure consumer’s delight: merchandise. If you stay glued to your screen all year round and are intimidated by the prospects of venturing out into the world to find your favorite Sheldon Cooper t-shirts and pillows or Batman Utility belt, then Comic Con is the one adventure you can undertake annually. When it comes to merchandise there can be no possible limit which can be defined at the Comic Con. There were art works by Indian artists like Saumin Suresh, the oldest of issues as far as Archie and Snoopy go, box sets of games that you don’t find in India expect for during the festive seasons, even a free one-year-membership being given away at the G2A.com corner, funky goodies and accessories that would just immortalize your love for those fictional universes named DC and Marvel, and last but not the least, for all Mac fetishising maniacs there were things one can’t even design in their dreams.
Added to the mania was pure consumer’s delight: merchandise. If you stay glued to your screen all year round and are intimidated by the prospects of venturing out into the world to find your favorite Sheldon Cooper t-shirts and pillows or Batman Utility belt, then Comic Con is the one adventure you can undertake annually.
Jatin Varma found great joy in the new elements which had been engraved into the mural of Comic Con, namely the Bahubali Zone which brought to the centre stage the Indian side of Hero creation, the WWE zone where one could emulate one’s favorite wrestlers walk on a stage to their entry tracks and primarily the ESL Premiership Finale of India’s National Gaming competition with a prize pool of over 19 lakh; in games like DOTA 2 and Clash Royal. The main attraction was, as is ordained, The Cosplay competition. Jatin Varma remarked in reminiscence, “there was a time when I had just 10 cosplayers in a day, now I easily see about 500 to 1000 cosplayers in a day at the event.”
Alto Comic Con 2016 can be underlined as a success in terms of the gratifying jollities it offered to true fans and admirers who needed a good weekend out amongst colorful cartoons and gifts. Upon being enquired, Jatin Varma was kind enough to share his ideas for the next Comic Con. “The first thing on the list is more space”, Varma tells Guardian 20 . The founder believes that the number of people participating has seen a rise and to engage such a wide audience calls for a larger space. “Secondly, I want to incorporate the mass, indulge them, engage them, so we might have a proper gaming championship for the numbers that show up next year, “ he adds.
All in all, like the exit board says, “Thank you, you are awesome”– is a remark also on what Comic Con has been for the Pop Culture immersed Indian consumers.