Comic Con Mumbai 2011, the first of its kind in the city, took place in third week of October. I have much to thank the beautiful @Phyrodite for, not the least of which was, telling me about it and then helping me construct a look for it (more later).
The event wasn’t promoted as well as I would have hoped, given the burgeoning popularity of the visual/text medium (I’ll refrain from calling them either ‘comics’ or ‘graphic novels’ since each seems to incite overstrong responses). Still, it was exciting to think of being able to attend an event that focused solely on this genre and its fans.
That it took place at the undeniably inaccessible World Trade Center, Nariman Point may have been a point lost in its favour. Still the numbers did turn out, horrible public transport and weather notwithstanding. What was slightly disappointing was the size of the actual event. My first pang of disappointment struck when I saw the ubiquitous white-and-blue temporary stalls everywhere. These have become synonymous with boring expos, meets on real estate, technology and other such stuff. I really had expected something more…I don’t know…crazy, quirky, wild, colourful? The stalls were all run by publishers, writers or occasionally an unrelated merchandiser (posters, fridge magnets, music-themed tee-shirts).
I was delighted to find India Book House had a stall there. The people who’ve delighted every Indian child with Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha, had a large stall selling their most popular comics. The covers are now glossy though the print quality suffers in some of these cases. Also, ACK digests are now hardbound editions. As a show of support (and because they were offering a 20% discount!), I picked up two Tinkle digests and two ACK collections (“Tamil Stories” and “Jataka Tales”). I also spotted fellow NovelRacers, Vijayendra Mohanty, there to promote his comic series, Ravanayan (which the boy promptly bought).
There was a costume competition in the evening but then again, I didn’t really see enough of dressed-up people to really make this a success. Most of the visitors were men/overgrown teenboys sporting the now-so-common superhero teeshirts. Among the costumes I did spot were a Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter really is not a graphic novel or comic!), Fred Flintstone (Isn’t that a cartoon, not comic?), two Darth Vaders (I guess Star Warsmania is a given in any comic convention) and the only other graphic novel character – Rorschach (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen). Which brings me to the next part of this post. What did I go as?
I’ve had my eye on a certain Neil Gaiman character for a long time and just hoping for a Halloween party or costume ball of some sort to don the look. Unfortunately for me, @Phyrodite beat me to it! Looking back, I know she made a far better Death than I would have. What else could I pull up at the spur of the moment? I didn’t want to go as a superheroine, given my limited exposure to these only notes teenboy-fantasy-skimpy-costumes. I didn’t want to carry off a character I didn’t know well and I did want to honour one of my favorite stories of all time – the Sandman. So I picked another character, one not as obvious but very powerful in his/her own way. There’s a clue in that last sentence, Sandman-lovers. This is what I took my brief from (Book 4: Season Of Mists):
“Desire smells, almost subliminally of summer peaches, and casts two shadows: one black and sharp-edged, the other translucent and forever wavering, like heat haze.
Desire smiles in brief flashes, like sunlight glinting from a knife-edge. And there is much else that is knife-like about Desire.
Never a possession, always the possessor, with skin as pale as smoke, and eyes tawny and sharp as yellow wine: Desire is everything you have ever wanted. Whoever you are. Whatever you are.
The most striking thing about Desire’s look is that it isn’t an exact half-and-half male/female depiction, but a seamless blend of the two that somehow is both striking and attractive. I’d been meaning to get a haircut anyway and with this, I decided to just go wild and carried the comic with me to the hairdresser. Following a drawn image proved to be too difficult so instead, I explained the character to her. I think she really hit the nail on the head with this haircut!
It was too hot for a suit so I decided to pick the look Desire sports in Chapter 5 of ‘Brief Lives’, when he/she rescues Tiffany, the exotic dancer from the apocalyptic last dance of Ishthar. A white cotton shirt that I’d bought just the previous week was begging to be worn, that’s how cool and starched it was. I discarded my formal trousers in favour of skinny jeans to make the look more ‘spicy’ than staid. These jeans were too tight for me a few months back but happily for me, slip on like second skin now. Second skin I say, because that’s how tight they are. I think they made for a good contrast with the prim cotton shirt. Over this, I slung a black cordruoy jacket, hanging off one shoulder in the classic Desire pose. I think all I was missing was a lit cigarette but I don’t smoke so I gave that a miss.
Footwear would have to be my strappy black sandals since the haircut and shirt made for such a boyish look. It’s the accessories that I was really proud of, at the end. First of all, a red satin pouch that I got as a free makeup kit from Maybelline, doubled up as a waist pouch. The colour, the fabric, combined with the steel chain around my waist added the kinky touch to Desire.
A heart-shaped rose quartz pendant from Magick slipped into one of my ear hoops and stood out really well against the black jacket. A silver charm bracelet with a heart was on my right wrist. And finally, at the end of another steel chain (matching the one around my waist), I attached an old pendant from my college days, that depicts a boy and girl kissing. I wound this around my wrist and swung it around to showcase my character’s belief that human beings are but objects of Desire.
And finally, the most important artefact of an Endless sibling – the sigil. My glass heart pendant was a gift from @Phyrodite. And here’s when Death and Desire walked together!
* The photographs are courtesy Rehab and Valerie, who couldn’t have been more patient as I demanded one more angle, one more frame, one more photograph!
- White cotton shirt with embroidered yoke: Cotton World, Rs.750
- Sparkly jeans, skin fit: Diva, Levis, ~Rs.1500
- Black strappy sandals: Catwalk
- Black cordruoy jacket: Shoppers Stop
- Red satin pouch with steel chain: Make-up kit from Maybelline
- Large glass heart pendant on black chain: Street stall, Hill Road, Bandra, Rs.150
- Small rose quartz heart pendant worn on ear hoop: Magick, Bandra, Rs.150
- Steel boy-and-girl-kiss pendant: Malhar, St.Xaviers’ college circa 1997 (!), ~Rs.200
- Haircut: Enriche, a L’Oreal salon, ~Rs.800