An article in the Times of India highlights the complaints from attendees of Comic Con Express, the first ever comic convention in Hyderabad, India. The biggest complaint was that the convention had very little to do with comic book and more to do with merchandising as only 20 of the 70 booth were comic book related.
One attendee said it was nothing more than a place to buy t-shirts and coasters and preferred the convention in Bangalore. Another who had been to the San Diego Comic Con complained that there were no creators as guests. A third sounding more defeated said they had noticed at other conventions as well the the soul of comics was diminishing.
Organizers of the event say that merchandise is a bit part of every convention and that the interest in the convention in Hyderabad was better than they had anticipated and stronger than the first years for the Dubai and Delhi conventions. There original plan was to just test the waters… seems the waters are just fine as 25,000 people attended the show.
Also in defense of the convention, you look at their website and you’ll see that not only did they have 10 listed creators, a few publishers, two full days of panels and a cosplay contest… they also had low cost tables for independent artists. On top of that, admission was free.
Their mission statement: Comic Con Express is the traveling version of the Indian Comic Con, the annual Comics Convention at Delhi. Comic Con Express was started with the aim of taking Comic Con to cities throughout India to support and boost the comics industry by increasing local interaction and participation.
Our prime motive is to bolster the nascent comic culture throughout India, by taking the best the Indian comics industry has to offer to people who would otherwise never get a chance to have the Comic Con experience.
Comic Con Express also seeks to promote local artists and writers from various cities, by giving them an opportunity to interact with established artists, writers and publishers and a space to bring their work to the attention of people from the industry.
Take all of that into account along with the companies mission statement and I think they are on the right track.