The Mad Hatter forgot the ‘Futterwacken’ and danced with the minions for a change; Superman took it easy and was found smoking sheesha when Darth Vader finally admitted to his son Luke Skywalker: “Luke, habibi, I am your father.” Sounds odd?
Every second spent at the third edition of the Middle East Film and Comic Convention (MEFCC) , according to its visitors, was truly extraordinary. “This is the best Comic Con in the world. They invited me again, and I was honestly desperate to come back,” said American screenplay writer and recurring guest at the MEFCC Max Landis.
The convention, which started on Thursday , opened to the public on Friday at the Dubai World Trade Centre to a crowd of several thousand visitors. The MEFCC has established itself as a regional hub for comic books, science fiction and other fantasy genre lovers.
Crowds made huge lines at the entry gates to purchase tickets. “I had to wait 45 minutes to get into the exhibition halls at 1pm. The convention is open till 10pm and I can’t even imagine what the crowds in the evening are going to be like,” said one visitor. More crowds are expected to visit the halls, according to organisers.
From the gaming arena, the celebrity lineup for Comic Con, the Marvel Stand, the new venue, and the Geek Out Zone, everything about the 2014 edition of the convention was an additional incentive for the crowds to attend. The three-day fest will end today with a one-hour video conference session with comic book legend Stan Lee.
The Dubai Culture Arts Alley is a massive highlight of the event with over 200 creators, enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs on display giving fans the opportunity to meet or purchase some unique pop culture art. “There is a massive demand for pop culture here in the UAE. Not everyone likes traditional or contemporary forms of art. Especially among youngsters, pop art is more appealing,” said Abeid Abdullah, Emirati visitor at the Comic Con.
The MEFCC is one of the last events under the Dubai Art Season initiative. Lubna Al Shamsi, Project Lead, SIKKA Art Fair and the Dubai Art Season Initiative, told Khaleej Times: “This year’s Middle East Film and Comic Con will once again unite comic book lovers, film enthusiasts, and visual arts connoisseurs, on one common platform. As a pillar event under the Dubai Art Season, Comic Con em the Middle East Film and Comic Convention bodies our mandate to promote and foster a genuine appreciation for local creativity in all forms.” More details like event listings, exhibitions, competitions and ticket prices are available on www.mefcc.com.
Like every Comic Con across the globe, from San Diego to Dubai, the most-awaited moment is the panel interaction with convention celebrities. A media and fan interaction took place at the Comic Con. Some of the A-list visitors included actor and voice over artist Seth Green; actor Giancarlo Esposito, best known for playing the role of ‘Gus’ in Breaking Bad; creator of animated series Robot Chicken, Tom Root; martial arts artist and actor Michael Jai White; and Doctor Who himself Sylvester McCoy. Other stars were writer Max Landis; Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch; martial arts expert Tony Jaa; and award-winning voice over artist Christopher Sabat.
Some of the fans raised the question of a lack of female ‘celebrity’ participation at the Con, to which Green responded: “The more you talk about separation of genders, the more it becomes a ‘thing’.” He added: “Ladies, Comic Con is yours to own and participate as well.”
Landis added: “Historically, if you look at the Dubai Comic Con, more than half the participants at the Comic Con are women.”
Worlds of adventure
Visitors flocked to the IMG Worlds of Adventure (IMGWOA) at the MEFCC. The IMGWAO is the first mega-themed entertainment destination.
“IMG Worlds of Adventure is a comic lover’s dream and will be the first and only entertainment destination in the world to bring together massive global entertainment brands. IMGWOA will offer fans the opportunity to live out their fantasies through an amazing selection of multi-sensory attractions, thrilling mega coasters, immersive rides, a state-of-the-art 12-screen cinema, vast themed retail stores and original dining outlets,” said Adam Alexander Page, vice-president of group marketing at Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group.
A model of the colossal 1.5-million-sq-ft project is on display at the MEFCC. Visitors are being offered the chance to play games based on the different immersive zones which are themed around iconic global entertainment brands in addition to Lost Valley-Dinosaur Adventure that sees the pre-historic world roar back to life through animatronic dinosaurs and hair-raising rides and attractions.