The costumed figure shook my hand. For the life of me, I could not figure out who he was. He was dressed like Spiderman but without the webbing. I asked him who he was cosplaying.
“Deadpool”, he yelled over the din.
“Dreadful,” I heard.
“Dedhfool?” I asked him.
My child, the resident expert on anime, manga and weird-ass superheroes, was thoroughly embarrassed to have a noob mom who didn’t even know who Deadpool was.
That was me at one of my first Comic-Con events in Mumbai – thrown into the deep end with hundreds of fans of fantasy, comic books, gaming, anime, superheroes and genres I had never even heard of.
It was an assault on the senses. The colourful, over-the-top cosplayers parading around in costumes that they had slaved over for months in their mother’s halls or dining rooms (in India, homes seldom have basements).
Some of them could only make it through the door in pieces, to be assembled minutes before the main event – the cosplay contest.
Rows of stalls overflowed with tee-shirts, merchandise and keepsakes that only super-geeks would want to buy. Eager fans and shoppers milled around, checking out the merchandise.
Cosplayers paraded up and down the hall, taking selfies and posing for pictures with fans who recognized the characters they were playing. It was colourful, noisy and badass all at once.
As a fan of Star Wars, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, LOTR (Lord of the Rings), and all the Marvel movies, I was hooked. But I still didn’t know who Deadpool was. The next year, the movie came out and I fell in love with the Merc with a mouth.
Since then, we’ve attended every Comic-Con in Mumbai and Pune, planning months in advance for the next one. My child has endless discussions with friends on what to wear, who to cosplay and whether they should plan a group cosplay. An introvert obsessed with anime, manga and Photoshop, he found his tribe, and I could not be happier.
I got into the cosplay game too, dressing up as my favourite characters from shows that I loved. One year, I cosplayed Captain America’s sweetheart, Agent Peggy Carter, and had a blast doing it.
I even got featured on the Comic-Con Twitter page. That’s me standing next to George R.R. Martin, who went around signing death certificates for all the characters from Game Of Thrones 🙂
— Comic Con India (@ComicConIndia) November 12, 2017
Along the way, I met some exceptional people, made new friends and became friends with all of my child’s friends too. Now we’re super-fans at Comic-Con Mumbai, which is usually held on a weekend, in November or December, at the Goregaon Exhibition Center.
Comic-Con Pune, usually held in February at Deccan College Grounds, was cancelled in 2018. But a bunch of enterprising cosplayers are organising alternative cosplay events for disappointed Comic-Con fans in Pune.
If you or your child are artists, writers, comic-book lovers or just misfits who never really managed to find people you could connect with, you just might find your tribe at Comic-Con.
We love cosplaying, buying tees and merchandise, and meeting new people who love the same geeky things we do. And every time a new Marvel or DC movie is released, we scan it closely for potential costumes we can create.
That said, many Indian men don’t understand that “Cosplay is not consent,” and numerous incidents of sexual harassment have been reported at Comic-Con events in India. As a woman, you have every right to keep your distance with men and refuse photos with creeps who get handsy.
As for me, Comic Con India changed my life in many ways, all for the better, so I’ll keep this post updated with new cosplays and new friends I meet. And I hope to see you there too.
Until the next Comic-Con, here are some Facebook pages for cosplayers in India to stay abreast of events and keep in touch with your fellow geeks.