March 2011 will see the first ever regional comic-con in the Middle East, hosted at Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Centre.
From the Jerusalem Post:
Fans of comics, sci-fi and fantasy in the Middle East will now have their own comic convention. In March 2011 Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Centre will be the first in the region to host its own version of the San Diego Comic-Con International.
The event in San Diego started in 1974 as a meeting point for people interested in science fiction, comic books and movies. It has since grown into a four-day event with over 140,000 visitors and important industry events involving computer games, pop culture, Japanese cartoons known as anime and sale of memorabilia and merchandise.
The organizers of the event in the United Arab Emirates are expecting 10,000 to 15,000 visitors.
Arafaat Ali Khan is the managing partner at ExtraCake PR, which is organizing the event.
“We have been thinking about this since we were in diapers, so it’s been going on for a long time,” Khan told The Media Line.
“What we see now is that there is interest in the infrastructure as far as stores over here stocking anime, [Japanese] manga [cartoons] and comics,” he said. “It’s all coming together at the right time.”
“The genre is exploding in the Middle East. We have a growth in the sales and bookstores are dedicating entire shelves to comics,” Khan said.
“Then there is the latest trend in this part of the world – that is the talent of artists and writers that have no outlet for their passion and to become serious artists,” he said.
Khan said that the convention would be similar to the ones held in the U.S.
“The main difference will be the market but we will follow the tried and tested international ideas,” Khan said. “We are going to have expos, merchandise, games and show classical movies and hopefully some new trailers.”
Today the American comic and sci-fi events are used as major marketing platforms for feature films. Movie stars, both past and present from various genres attend to promote their latest works.
No special guests, however, have been announced for the Abu Dhabi event as of yet.
Local comic book fan Saeed Sabbagh said the event would be a good opportunity for networking. – continue reading!