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What to expect at the Alto Bengaluru Comic Con 2016

With numerous gaming and experiential zones, cosplay contests, comic book and app launches, and an impressive line-up of guest speakers, the 5th edition of the Alto Bengaluru Comic Con promises to be the stuff of every geek’s wildest dreams. “This is the biggest show we’ve put together so far, in terms of exhibitors, zones, guests and content. Last year, the turnout was 35,000, but this year, we’re hoping to surpass that number,” reveals Jatin Varma, founder of Comic Con India. Renowned American illustrators and artists, Joe Harris, Todd Nauck and Jim Demonakos, who will be talking about their work at the event, tell us more.

Jim Demonakos

Founder, Emerald City Comicon, The Comic Stop (a chain of retail stores) and author, Silence of Our Friends.

Trends in the comic book circuit.
We’re seeing a bigger movement towards diversity in comics, with many publishers introducing multi-ethnic and LGBTQ heroes, and focusing on efforts to be more inclusive.

How did you get into comic book writing?
My friend Mark, whose life our graphic novel is loosely based on, is the one who encouraged me. He had written a few comics, and I had done some prose work, but never tried comics, even though I was quite passionate about them. I wrote a few short stories, and then when I worked with Mark, The Silence of Our Friends was born.

What are you expecting from the Bengaluru Comic Con?
I’m excited to speak to the fans
and find out how they are
consuming both their domestic and international pop culture, whether it’s movies, television or, of course, comic books!

Joe Harris 

Artist, Great Pacific, X-Files, Slingers and the Bishop: The Last X-Man series
How did it all begin for you?
I read and collected comics as a child and always aspired to work in this industry. I’m a storyteller. I love movies, comics and fiction.
Your thoughts on the explosion of superhero movies.
They’re fun, colourful, and can be presented in ways that make them impressive and (‘real’ isn’t the right word, because they’re fictitious) they don’t look cheap, you know?

What’s new in the comic book industry?
More diversity, greater representation of women and people of colour, people of different sexualities and both creators, and fans, who bring a diversity of voices and expectations to this medium and culture.

Todd Nauck

Artist, Amazing Spider-Man, Friendly Teen Titans Go, Young Justice

On digital comics.
Artists are able to do amazing things with their art and stories using tablet technology. I have done two series this year in an ‘infinite comics” format: The Amazing Spiderman and Silk, and Deadpool, Too Soon? Both eight part stories were drawn and formatted to be read digitally, and also later in a print version. It seems like some fans like the digital, but there are still a lot of fans who like to hold and collect the printed comic.

Your thoughts on the growing popularity of lesser known heroes.
I think Marvel Studios has been doing a great job with interconnecting their movies into one cinematic universe, much like the comics. I think that builds a bigger story! It’s movies like these that are making superheroes other than household names like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. Characters like Doctor Strange, Rocket Raccoon & Groot, and Ant-Man are now very popular with people who haven’t read lots of comics! Even TV shows like Arrow and Flash are making those characters extra popular as well.

What are you expecting from the Bengaluru Comic Con?
This will be my first visit and I’m very excited. If it is like other conventions, I’ve been a guest at in the US, Canada, England, Mexico, and Spain, then I believe I’ll meet wonderful people .

HIGHLIGHTS
With prizes to be won across five categories (Comic book/Graphic novel, Animated Series/ Movie, Manga/Anime, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Gaming), cosplayers are in for a treat. Each day, one participant will win a cash prize of `50,000 and get a chance to enter the Indian Championships of Cosplay, for a chance at representing the country at the Annual Crown Championships Cosplay at the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo in April 2017.
Put your skills to the test at special gaming and experiential zones set up around the venue, such as the Alto K10 Gaming and Art Zone (art installations and gaming), AXN Experience Zone (where characters such as Sam and Dean, Sherlock, Heisenberg and Dexter will come alive), Nodwin ESL Gaming Zone (online and offline tournaments, celeb showdowns, cosplay competition), Wand Master Training Booth (people can learn to use wands to create spells) and Amazon Battlefield One & FIFA 17 Zone
(gaming).
The event will see the launch of 13 new comic book titles, including Doct M (published by Kalapani Comics), which chronicles the adventures of Dr Harsh Nigam, Space Junkies (by S K Comics), which follows the lives of a bunch of intergalactic heroes, The Age of Immortals (by Holy Cow Entertainment) — a tale about overcoming evil, and Rumi (by Sufi Comics) — a compilation of poet Rumi’s works in graphic form.
Stock up on quirky merchandise and collectibles from stores such as Planet Superheroes, The Souled Store, Frog, PosterBoy, Greenrock, Macmerise, Bombay Merch, MC Sid Razz, Anime Pop Mall, Wacom, Comic Con India Store, G2A.com and more.
At the Artist Alley, visitors can interact with illustrators and graphic artists such as Saumin Suresh Patel, Prasad Bhat, Rajeev Tamhankar, Reshmi Chandrashekhar, Leena Swamy, Milanpreet, and Rohan Swamy.

By Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo and Anagha M

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