Darragh Murphy finds out what’s in store at the UAE’s film and comic convention
Finally, the place where superhero costumes run rampant and geeking out is a regular occurrence returns, as the 7th Middle East Film and Comic Con will set up shop for an entire weekend from Thursday April 5 to Saturday 7. Taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre, let’s take a peek at what’s on the agenda…
1 Meet the stars
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe taking over the film industry and social media going nostalgia-crazy over remakes from the “golden age” of TV, fans from every niche genre of geek culture see more and more talented and popular actors take on the roles of their favourite characters. This means comic convention attendees get to meet some pretty famous faces, and MEFCC has quite the line-up this year. Guardians of the Galaxy’s Karen Gillan (who was the fierce, blue cyborg alien Nebula if you can’t quite pinpoint her role) will be making an apperance at the event. She also played the famous Amy Pond in Doctor Who. Also set to attend is legendary Karl Urban, who has made it into several of the biggest nerd favourites around, including The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek and the recent Thor: Ragnarok. Blimey. The Green Power Ranger himself will also be attending the convention, though Jason David Frank is now a professional UFC fighter. This is not the star you want to be crowding… There are plenty more dropping by, including voice actor Ray Chase and Filipina Cosplayer and star Alodia Gosiengfiao. We just have to remember they unfortunately won’t be the real characters. Gutted.
2 Catch up with the artists With great power, comes great artistic technique. Oh wait, that’s not right. Either way, these are the people who brought some of the most iconic characters to life, whether it be through the panels of a comic, manga pages or the fluttering pictures seen on screen. Remember Ryu’s signature Hadouken move? Lead artist at Udon Entertainment Long Vo draws that for a living, working on projects from the Street Fighter comics to Street Fighter 4 and 5, and the upcoming Ultra Street Fighter 2 for the Nintendo Switch. Marvel Comics star and creator of the hit Marvel Zombies event Arthur Suydam will be coming along, and even Phil Ortiz will be popping by – this is the man who has worked on everything from Bugs Bunny to character design for more than 200 characters in The Simpsons. Many other artists from the likes of DC and Variant Comics are also set to arrive. Meeting the stars who played the characters is cool, but how about the people who created your heroes? That’s just on another level.
3 Gear up as your favourite character Would it really be a proper comic con if people didn’t dress up in weird and wonderful costumes? Not only does it show people what others are interested in, but it’s just plain fun. From those who just throw on a Spider-Man T-shirt and prefer to ogle at others to the creative and bombastic costume designs of the cosplayers, there’s something for everyone to see. For those who really want to impress, Huawei has set up the largest cosplay competition in the region at MEFCC, with a range of categories such as Best Gaming Character, Group Costumes and Kids’ Cosplay for the little ones. With prizes going up to Dhs3,000, it’s time to get your best gear out and strut your pop culture stuff.
4 Shop for exclusive merchandise Collectors from all corners of the globe are in for a geek-tastic treat. There will be more than 400 exhibitors bringing exclusive products, rare collectibles and original art, some of which that can only be bought at this convention. From Super Mario board games and swanky game controllers, to beautiful sketches of iconic characters from renowned artists and limited-edition figures, this is the stuff that needs to be displayed on your shelves. Never touched or taken out of the box though – got to keep them in that pristine condition and all…
5 Watch exclusive previews Getting that chance to watch teaser snippets of upcoming blockbusters will get anyone’s blood pumping. Thanks to Roxy Cinema lending its helpful hand to MEFCC, fans will get to boast to their friends that they were one of the first to catch a glimpse of the next big flick. Be a good sport and don’t spoil anything though, leave something for the rest of us to dream on about. This part of the venue is expected to be packed, with classic cult hits playing throughout the weekend for fans to reignite their love for old time favourites, and Q&A sessions with celebrities and artists to get the lowdown on topics the internet won’t have the answers for. It’s an on-screen and off-screen show to remember.
6 Test your mettle at games
Think all those hours of Overwatch, Call of Duty and FIFA have paid off? If you reckon you’ve got what it takes, the only real way to find out is to compete with the region’s pro eSport players at the specially designed eSports Arena. These guys don’t kid around though, as their skill is literally paid for in professional competitions around the region. Compete and win plentiful prizes, along with well-deserved bragging rights. Give it a shot because, who knows, messing with the best may just lead to a new career choice. Dhs110 (single day tickets), Dhs250 (three day tickets), Dhs350 (Power Pass). Apr 5-7, 2pm-10pm (Thu), 11am-10pm (Fri), 11am-9pm (Sat). Dubai World Trade Centre, www.mefcc.com/en.
IN NUMBERS Middle East Film & Comic Con
6 The number of Middle East Film and Comic Con events there have been. This year is the seventh edition.
23 The number of celebrities and renowned artists expected to attendthis year’s biggest event.
400 The number of exhibitors coming to sell exclusive merchandise, from original art to rare collectibles.
50K The amount of people expected to dress up as their favourite characters and attend this year.