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With an increasingly devastating 2016 nearing its’ tail end and the USA electing the former host of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ the leader of the free world, it’s easy for usually slightly sardonic people like me to fall into a state of hopeless nihilism. So when I got the opportunity to cover the Bangalore Comic-Con for the website, I was quite intrigued but wasn’t sure how it would exactly be therapeutic. But still grateful for the opportunity, I still grabbed my notepad and recharged my Cell and called an Uber. Fingers crossed and nervous.


And boy, what a respite it was.

From the first moment it was a huge wave of relief that perhaps that world wasn’t going crazy for a change. Where it seems like every place in the world seemed to be losing it, this seemed completely untouched by any of that. Outside, I saw plenty of Indian teenagers gush about NARUTO and DRAGONBALL Z whilst in the waiting lines to buy tickets, I saw foreign tourists dressing up their little kids as superheroes, walking arm in arm and taking pictures. I saw a couple dressed up as Snow White and Batman posing eagerly and freely for strangers. Eager students working part time offered me high-fives on the way to the entrance. It seemed like a place where everyone was having a great time. So I eagerly went inside.

And it was even better.

The humdrum of buzzy activity with a whole auditorium of people excited about pop culture proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience for me personally. There was a plethora of Geeky activities to Indulge in , be it shopping for various merchandise featuring the Joker (Romero, Nicholson, Ledger, Leto were all covered. No surprises for guessing which one was the most popular) or seeing girls in their early teens roaming around dressed as Harley Quinn (with ‘Daddy’s Little Monster’ on the tee intact. Yikes) to seeing young parents getting their little ones into photo-ops with many, many cosplay Kylo Rens, to various stalls offering great deals on an inexhaustible variety of comics, graphic novels and toys,it was fascinating to realize how popular culture can bind people together in various ways that even I, being the cynical person who rallies against corporate mentality found incredibly touching.

Aside from the fun and games, it was also a great place for entrepreneurs as well. Various aspiring comic book publishers were there to strut their stuff and woo the geek crowd. I was lucky enough to have a few conversations with them regarding their work and was surprised by how much energy and passion these people have put into making creative endeavors a sustainable way of making a living. I was delighted to meet Mr. Manjunath Mysore, the co-founder and COO of the ‘Raconteur’ app and his vision to bringing comics from publishers like Valiant, Dynamite etc. and making them available digitally. Another highlight was meeting a smart young man called Akshay Dhar, Founder,Editor and Writer of metadesicomics.com about Grant Morrison’s THE INVISIBLES and other post-modern authors like Thomas Pynchon and William Burroughs. Which almost sounds surreal as I write it. There were also numerous stage games and contests that were just too hard to keep track of. Though, I clearly recall enjoying an IT guy getting on stage and poking gentle fun at his profession.

That was fun.

Gaming was covered too, with a livestream event being hosted by ESL India that streamed various games like Counter Strike GO etc. with detailed and entertaining live commentary to go along with it that made it a great event for public exhibition. There was also a lot of gaming periphery on exhibition including HyperX headsets and various uber-powerful gaming rigs that made a horrible game like Assassins Creed: Unity running on maxed out look absolutely gorgeous. G2A also had set up a booth and were offering great deals on various PS4 and XBONE games for both latest and older titles.

The star attraction on that particular day were famous US comics writers Todd Nauk ( Doctor Who, Amazing Spider-Man) and Jim Demonakos ( Best selling New York Times author of ‘Silence of our Friends’ and himself a convention entrepreneur) who were casually seated on a podium and engaging in generous, gregarious conversation with attendees and enthusiastic geeks, which was just heartening to see. If there’s one regret I have of my journalistic endeavor here is that I missed their expert panel due to getting an urgent call regarding some private business I had to attend too. Later, when I checked them out on social media, I was delighted to see their enthusiasm for the con and various fan pics.

But what most impressed me about Comic Con were the people. Not just Geeks or Volunteers but also families who bought their young ones to have a great time. As someone who’s relatively new to Bangalore, I was struck by how wonderfully polite, erudite and approachable the crowd here is. It’s so easy to just have a casual conversation with almost anyone about anything at comic con. The sense of cynicism that we associate with living in modern society is almost non-existent here. People intermingle with each other because they really like to do it. And that’s an incredibly important thing. It’s a sense of joy that I perhaps haven’t experienced in a while and it’s hard for me to ascertain whether it’s on me or the world has changed. But for that particular day, I felt like I was amongst my own people.

And then I returned to the real world, alas.

Until next time, then.

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