Published: 10th October 2017
A tête-à-tête with international artists at the Hyderabad Comic Con
We catch up with not only the author of The X-Files comics Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo of Absolute Magnitude fame, we even had the chance to catch up with the founder of Comic Con India as well
Listen up, comic book fan! Let’s resurrect the Superman, Batman or any other superhero suit we’ve got hiding in our closets. It's time for the fifth edition of Maruti Suzuki Hyderabad Comic Con 2017! HITEX Exhibition Centre will witness one of the most sought-after pop culture events on October 14 and 15. Expect international guests such as Argentinian artist, Martin Morazzo, known for his work in the web comics, Absolute Magnitude and author of The X-Files comics, Joe Harris, along with a sea of artists and creators displaying their work, cosplays, merchandise displays and a whole lot more. We talk to the international artists and the founder about the event and more.
Flashback: A glimpse of Hyderabad Comic Con last year
Back in 2011, when the first ever Comic Con was organised in India, it was just a personal mission for Jatin Varma, the founder of Comic Con India. There was no plan to conduct the event again, let alone expand to different cities. "However, the response of the first show was so overwhelming that we knew we were on to something and we clearly needed to do this more and get better at it," says Varma, who won the Young Entrepreneur Award at the 2017 Entrepreneur India Awards. And every year, they scale-up the size of the show and try to add new elements to bring their A game.
Face behind it all: Jatin Varma is the founder of Comic Con India
When it comes to Hyderabad, Varma tells us that, "The local ecosystem of pop culture fans and businesses has also grown, though it's still smaller in size when compared to the other markets." And fan choices are also different in terms of content and expectations. "While comics and movies are certainly popular, general entertainment in terms of YouTube stars as well as local talent is a big draw in Hyderabad," says Varma. We ask him what plans he has for the next year and he says, "I'll have that sorted in my head once I wrap up this year's edition!"
Martin Morazzo of Image Comics has never been to India before and is excited by the prospect of visiting and being a part of the Hyderabad Comic Con this year. "I can't wait to experience your culture, in general, and meeting comic book fans, as well as local creators and the books they publish. It's going to be awesome," he says enthusiastically.
The major change in the world of comics has been the birth of the digital market, especially for printed comics. Until then, though web comics have been around for some time now, you could only get the big companies books in print
The artist, who started publishing eight years ago, feels that there are many ways to get noticed as an artist. While the traditional way to go about it would be by attending conventions or sending submissions, the internet and its infinite channels can help one get noticed more easily, he says. From social media and more specialised sites like Deviantart or Tumblr, to contacting people working in other parts of the world via email, the internet knows no bounds. But the most effective albeit harder way is to get a creator-owned project published in the US. "You have to find the right writer-partner and projects to show in different companies. That is the hardest part! Much of your work will get rejected, but if you keep working at it and getting better, one will make it," he informs us, encouragingly.
Joe Harris's education as a film student led him to work in the comic book industry, "while also propelling me to try and make movies and seek opportunities in that industry as well," he says. And as a result, he got the best of both worlds. Not only has he written screenplays for movies like Darkness Falls (Song Pictures), but he is also the writer of the ongoing monthly comic book series The X Files. And he finds being a writer of comics and other media to be very similar. "That I have directed films also informs my comic book writing, as I tend to envision stories that are 'cut' together, in my head, shot by shot," he says, adding that after all, "in producing each medium, you’re telling stories visually and using dialogue and sound — either literally, as in a movie, or virtually and on paper, approximated and simulated in comics — to enhance that visual experience."
It was my job to approximate the experience of watching the show, The X-Files, on paper, using the norms and tricks that come with telling comics in a 20-22 page monthly format
To turn the once-popular TV show, The X-Files into comics, Harris would binge-watch episodes looking for a "neat idea I could pick up on and expand, or a forgotten piece of the mythology I might exploit. I was always looking for great character moments to learn from too," he says. And of course, being a fan of the series which was created in 1993 helped too.