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Comic ‘heroes’ come to town

Published : Oct 23, 2016, 9:48 pm IST
Updated : Oct 23, 2016, 9:48 pm IST

The real heroes behind comic books—the artists— were greeted warmly by crazy fans at Comic Con, Mumbai. They speak about their journey and experiences with comic book conventions

Cameron Stewart
 Cameron Stewart

The real heroes behind comic books—the artists— were greeted warmly by crazy fans at Comic Con, Mumbai. They speak about their journey and experiences with comic book conventions

While cosplayers are definitely treated as celebrities at the Comic Con, with random comic book fans coming up and asking for selfies and photographs, some celebrities just need to walk through the doors to be greeted with wild cheers. Mumbai’s Comic Con 2016 convention saw Jim Beaver, as well as comic book artists Cameron Stewart and Edwin Huang making an entry to much fanfare.

It’s the first visit to an Indian Comic Con for both the atists, and, indeed, to the country.

“I haven’t had a chance to see any of the city or the rest of India as yet but I’m staying till the end of the month and am looking forward to visiting Goa and also since I’m here during Diwali, I’m excited to see that,” says Cameron, who is best known for hiw work on the Catwoman sequence in the DC Batman series. “Catwoman is important to me, because it was a pretty developmental time in my career, which people still ask about, so I think that was a pivotal point in my career,” he smiles.

Not just Catwoman, Cameron has also dabbled in the Batgirl series too. In this case, though, he completely changed the track and mood of the series. “What I wanted to do with Batgirl was to take it in the absolute opposite direction from the dark and grim atmosphere that the Batman series had turned into in the past 10 years. I wanted to create something light and fun,” he adds.

While Cameron deviated from the DC universe while creating Batgirl, Edwin has tried his best to stick to the original plot with his Street Fighter comics. “We try to do our best to adhere to the original content. I try to work with the script that my writer gives me and we elaborate on the storylines that were touched upon during the actual games. This is so that we can give fans that want to know more about the characters what they want,” he says. For Edwin, the love of all things Street Fighter goes all the way back to when he was a child. “I grew up playing Street Fighter in the early 90s and throughout highschool I knew I wanted to draw for a living. So, I kind of mingled the love for the two,” he says. “I’m still a bit intimidated by the fact that Street Fighter is such a cult in itself, and a bit of that feeling was there when I was drawing the cover boys like Riu and Chun Lui. But now I’ve been working in the franchise long enough to get used to it.”

While Edwin found a challenge in making comic art out of the iconic video game, for Cameron, a real challenge had been his semi autobiographic work, Sin Titulo, a noir crime thriller. “There are parts that are pulled from strange experiences I’ve had as a kid or weird dreams that I’ve had. A lot of it is about my relationship with my father,” he explains. “It was easier to draw and write for this because I already knew the material so well. It’s also difficult because it’s sharing a part of yourself.”

The response for the graphic novel was monumental and it eventually won the artist an Eisner Award for it too. While the award is definitely a perk, Cameron also looks back at interactions with fans and conventions with equal enthusiasm. “There’s a comic con in Amedora, which is a small town close to Lisbon, Portugal that goes on for three weeks. They transform public spaces like train stations or car parks into art galleries. Each room has the works of an artist, so my room had three-dimensional structures and murals on the walls. It’s a fascinating experience to see your work elevated into an exhibit in an art gallery,” he recalls, talking about his most memorable convention memory so far.