Cartoons come to life
Don't be surprised if you cross paths with a Wookie or find Wonder Woman out for a walk along JBR this weekend. Halloween hasn't come early.
Fantasy fans and comic book connoisseurs are due to converge on the first Middle East Film and Comic Convention (MEFCC). The eagerly awaited event takes place on Friday and Saturday at the Mina Seyahi in Dubai, and Ben Caddy, boss of organisers Extra Cake PRA, says: “There are so many fans here who don’t have a regular outlet to express their enthusiasm.”
The show is a unique chance to learn about comic and sci-fi cultures from around the world.
“Manga comics, for example, have become a staple at stores around the region,” Caddy says of the Japanese style of cartoon artwork, pictured.
Cartoonist Yishan Li is just one of the big draws due to attend the event. The Beijing-based artist is a practitioner of the Japanese manga cartoons and revels in her art’s geekiness. She says: “A lot of people think it’s a really geeky thing to do, to read comics. In a way it’s true but as long as people are being made happy by them, and it helps them enjoy a story, that’s good enough for me.”
Yishan says there are so many types of manga to explore. “The biggest branches are Shonen and Shojo,” she explains. “Shonen is for the boys and Shojo is for girls.”
PENCIL IN A DATE WITH THESE HEROES
GET STARRY EYED
Autograph collectors - books at the ready. Want to get up close to Conan the Barbarian? Fancy your chances against a warrior dwarf? Fanatic about the zombie-blasting TV show ‘The Walking Dead’? Stars from all of these, and a whole lot more, will be at the MEFCC. Top of the billing is Jason Momoa, of Conan fame, who also played the visceral Khal Drogo in smash-hit show ‘Game of Thrones’. Laurie Holden the gun-toting star of ‘The Walking Dead’ is also in town along with Gimli (aka John Rhys-Davies) from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and many more.
There will be more cosplayers (fans who dress up as their favourite character) than you can shake the Red Queen sword of Nero at. Want to join in the dress-up fun but pushed for time to create an outfit? Just visit Mr Ben’s Comic Con Costume Closet, which will have a booth full of sci-fi and film get-ups. Before you do though, make sure you have researched your character at the Jashanmal Comics Village or SP:TV’s Manga Town. If you’re still stuck for inspiration, Cosplay queen Alodia Gosiengfiao will be there to give tips.
MARVEL AT MARVEL
Getting Marvel, the world’s largest comic publishers on board is “a huge deal” for the event organisers. Apart from perhaps DC Comics, no other firm has done more to shape the global comicbook market than Marvel Entertainment, which gave birth to titles such as X-men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. Marvel’s uber-blockbuster movie ‘The Avengers’ is due out next month so hopefully Thor, Iron Man or our personal favourite Black Widow will be walking the halls.
Classic sci-fi, awesome Anime and a few MEFCC sneak previews make the VOX Cinema’s Movie Club a must. Celebrities will be hosting Q&As and fans can enjoy expert panel chats.
DRAWING YOU IN
Meet celebrated comicbook artists such as Alvin Lee, who has penned comics from Star Wars and Thundercats to Spider-Man and The Hulk. Other top artists include Jeremy Haun - of the popular Darkness series - and Graveyard of Empires writer Mark Stable. It’s not all out-of-towners though, regional artists will also be in attendance. City of Life’ director Ali F Mostafa and the creator of Islamic superhero story ‘The 99’, Naif Al Mutawa, are on the roster. Plus there’s loads of emerging Middle East artists to meet at The Artists Alley.
Get your thumbs-a-twiddling at the Gamezone with new releases and put your prowess on the line in the Powerleague Gaming Championships.