Pune has become home to many annual music festivals and conferences in the last few years. However, Comic Con has been eluding us since 2011. While the first Comic Con Express (smaller, travelling version) was held in Mumbai in 2009, Comic Con has become an annual convention in Delhi since 2011. Mumbai & Bengaluru has had its share of Comic Con Express events however 2016 finally gave Pune its very own Comic Con Express – and it turned out to be a whole lot of fun!
Comic Con Express Pune was held over 2 days on Feb 20-21 at the Deccan College grounds. I had pre-booked my Super Fan pass, which gave me access to both the days along with some goodies. Excitement levels were very high and I’m happy to say that the event lived up to the expectations!
I was most excited about Cosplay and the all the merchandise on sale. Day one was full of surprises. Although I did not dress up, I expected a few enthusiasts to wear masks and maybe some makeup to emulate their favourite characters, but I WAS SO WRONG. There were so many people who came out wearing full costumes, professional looking makeup and crazy props! Cosplay characters I met included Iron Man (won the Cosplay Grand Prize on day one), Hitman, Crime Master Go-Go, Sub Zero, Spiderman, Chacha Chaudhary, Joker (many of them but the girl in the nurse outfit was the best) and Borat.
Day two had more Cosplay characters mingling with the humongous crowd that gathered – Garfield, Batman (with his bat mobile), Deadpool, a little Captain America, Scarecrow, Swat Kats, Wolverine, Mario and Luigi, Fiona and Licker (won the Cosplay Grand Prize on Day two).
Apart from Cosplay, small events and meet ups were also organised. International artists – Peter Nguyen, Artist of Batman: Arkham Unhinged and Ivan Brandon, Author of Wolverine: Rot and Deadpool: Team-Up Drifter were available for 2 full days for crowd interaction. Several Indian artists like Charuhas Pandit (of Chintu fame) and Abhijeet Kini (of Angry Maushi) were also present.
Merchandise sales, however popular, did not live up to my expectations. There were lot of stalls selling similar tees, badges, diaries and masks. I was really hoping to buy some unique merchandise that is usually not available in India but walked out with the usual tees, a phone cover, some badges and a keychain that I can buy on an e-commerce website anyway.
Comic Con Express was an event Pune deserved and got. It turned out to be one of the best events I’ve attended in this city and was ecstatic to see the exuberance of Punekars attending it. Oh, and that list of Cosplay characters, at best, covers half the actual number of Cosplayers who attended Pune Comic Con. So if you didn’t attend it, I hope I’ve made you jealous.