Comic Con India celebrates the illustrated medium and brings together the comic industry. It gives fans an excellent platform to interact with comic artists and know more about the art form.BE’s Anustup Roy Barman talked with Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India, regarding the problems, prospects, and the future missions of Comic Con India.
Q. How did the idea of Comic Con come to your mind?
A. I had been reading and collecting comics since childhood. However, when I was in college, I re-connected with comics in a deeper way by being introduced to work by Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar,
and Will Eisner. This continued when I came back to India, running my fledgling publishing business producing ‘Random’, a humour magazine on the lines of MAD magazine. Through the magazine I met a lot of new creators and the idea of doing the first ever comic con in India came about. My event experience was limited to organising an awards show, but I decided to go ahead with the idea. I had modest expectations regarding footfall. We ended up getting more than a thousand.
Q. What are the nuances of a Comic Con event?
A. Comic Con is an abbreviation of Comics Convention. The concept started in the United States as an event to connect readers and comic book creators. The concept picked up steam and spread across the world. And over the years, comic cons have represented to the world a lot beyond comics such as pop culture, television, films, gaming, and much more. The same is the case in India.
Q. Do you organise these events regularly?
A. Yes we have been organising different editions of our shows annually in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune.
Q. Does Comic Con India organise other events too, apart from the comic conventions?
A. We organise ancillary events for promoting our larger conventions. These are usually around various elements from the show like comic creators, cosplay or on gaming.
Q. How do you find financial help for the events?
A. I had an existing business before I initiated Comic Con India (CCI). I could invest in CCI through my existing business.
Q. Do you have any plan of expanding abroad?
A. We are solely focused on the Indian market and in order to expand the scope of our business within the country, we have entered into a joint venture with Reed Exhibitions in 2014.
The Reed portfolio of pop culture events includes New York Comic Con, PAX, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Oz Comic-Con, Singapore Toy, Gaming & Comics Convention, and Star Wars Celebration among many others. The Comic Con India team now works closely with the ‘ReedPOP’ division of Reed Exhibitions, which the largest producer of pop culture events in the world.
Q. Can you describe the growth of your company?
A. We started in 2011, with two events- one in Delhi and the other in Mumbai. We had around 15,000 visitors coming in cumulatively with revenue of Rs. 50 lakh. This year we plan to bring in over 200,000 visitors cumulatively with five shows and over 50 ancillary events. This year we hope to cross Rs.15 crore in terms of revenue.