What’s On previews Comic Con Dubai – Middle East Film and Comic Con – and the special guests set for Dubai World Trade Centre, April 9 to 11.
Every spring, like clockwork, thousands of pop culture aficionados descend en masse upon Dubai to get their fill of everything from comic books and manga to video games and celebrity guests. A veritable cornucopia of nerdy pursuits that over time, thanks in no small part to the explosion of superhero films at the Hollywood box office, has moved out of the realm of the awkward comic collector and into the conscience of the mainstream.
Now in its fourth year, the Middle East Film & Comic Con organisers predict it will be bigger, better and crazier than ever, expecting a footfall of some 50,000 eager attendees as it returns to the Dubai International Exhibition Centre. An ambitious goal, but one that immediately becomes obtainable once you realise the calibre of talent coming to town this year.
Top billing goes to William Shatner, the screen legend whose most famous work portraying tacit king of the nerds, Captain James Tiberius Kirk, is sure to bring all manner of closeted Star Trek fans out of the woodwork at warp speed, particularly in light of the recent passing of his on-screen co-star Leonard Nimoy. Shatner will meet fans for signings and photo ops (for which the queues will undoubtedly snake for miles) as well as demonstrating his droll humour as part of a Q&A panel.
Other guests include the likes of actor Sam J Jones, best known for his role as 1980s cult hero Flash Gordon, as well as Gillian Anderson, the star of The X-Files, who will no doubt be quizzed about recent news that the show will reboot later this year, with her and David Duchovny starring
Further to that, Clive Standen, of The Vikings, Robin Hood, Doctor Who and Hammer of the Gods fame, will appear. So too, Hayley Atwell, the Marvel Universe’s Agent Carter.
An Artist’s Alley will feature work from international and regional artists, with mainstream and independent comic publishers such as Marvel and Image on hand to showcase their latest and greatest. Hollywood screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle) also makes his annual return as host of the hugely popular Cosplay competition.
Among the exhibits will be The Tumbler, a replica of the car that featured in Batman Begins. The street machine is fully road-worthy with a working interior and is a perfect representation of the iconic vehicle.
There’s never been a better time to immerse oneself in a cross-section of all things popular culture, and it’s doubly encouraging to see the level of passion and enthusiasm that’s shared by countless rabid fans across the Middle East that come together once a year to let their geek flags fly.
Returning to MEFCC again this year will be the VIP Lounge, a special gifting service that has also entertained special guests at Dubai International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Brand including Koton, Rivoli Eyewear, Swatch, Bedashing, SPIN Dubai, Sunny’s Pop and CARA jewelers Viking Line will also be looking after the likes of Shatner, Anderson, Atwell and Jones.
SIX MUST-SEES AT MEFCC 2015
The actor will field all your burning TJ Hooker-related questions. Oh wait, that’s right, there’s that other little known television show that you might recognise him from, something about trekking across vast expanses of space. Sure to be a fun and lighthearted panel, you can be sure Captain Kirk will be setting his phasers to stun.
Hosted by MEFCC regular, Max Landis, this is a chance to bust out your arts and crafts skills, slap on some body paint and get creative. With prizes over several categories including Best Movie Character, Best Video Game Character and Best Group, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your friends together for the a dramatic reenactment of the Mos Eisley cantina scene from Star Wars.
It wouldn’t be a comic convention without awesome artwork on display. Artist Alley will showcase work from international heavy hitters such as Andy Suriano and Mahmud Asra who have worked with industry giants such as Marvel and Disney. This year there’s also a fantastic range of some of the Middle East’s rising stars on show.
A replica of the car that featured in Batman Begins, this fully road-worthy beast will be on show all weekend.
International Tabletop Day
On April 10, MEFCC will celebrate these cardboard connoisseurs with International Tabletop Day, where visitors can drop in for games of Sheriff Of Nottingham and a giant-sized Star Wars X-Wing game.
The star of The X-Files has a special place in the hearts of many a male sci-fi fan. Her appearance comes just weeks after her TV partner David Duchovny announced they will reunite for one last X-Files hurrah.
FIVE MINUTES WITH FLASH GORDON
You must have clocked up a few Comic-Con appearances. Do you enjoy them? Yes, I’ve done a few over the years and really enjoy the fans’ excitement and stories. I always arrive one hour early and walk the whole venue to get the fans’ perspective.
Why does sci-fi attract such a loyal fan base? The fact of it. In science fiction just about anything and everything is acceptable. The creative dynamics are unrestricted and reach all demographics and cultures.
What is it about Flash Gordon that has made it such a cult classic? It’s an eclectic blend of traditional good versus evil, great action, memorable characters, comedy, special effects and catchy one liners. And it’s visually masterful. I did not know it would evolve into what it is today.
Any chance of a remake? Matthew Reilly at Fox Studios acquired the screenplay rights to Flash Gordon and told me he has [producer] John Davis developing a new movie version. I believe it will happen.
How did you get involved in the Mark Wahlberg film Ted? Seth MacFarlane called me and told me that when he was eight years old, Flash Gordon and myself influenced his life so much that he wanted to be a creative person in the industry.
Was it fun to film? Yes, both the first and the sequel were a blast. Ted 2 will be out this summer and is expected to be even funnier. I just signed for Ted 3 also.
April 9 to 11
Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Thur 10am to 9pm, Fri noon to 10pm, Sat noon to 10pm, Dhs130. Tel: (04) 4474344. Metro: Dubai World Trade Centre. mefcc.com