“Game of Thrones” Kingslayer Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, WWE superstar Randy Orton, and cult sci-fi actress Summer Glau (“Firefly,” “Serenity,” “Castle”) are among new names added to a high-profile roster of guests recruited to attend the fifth Middle East Film and Comic Con to be held in Dubai April 7-9.
They join previously announced Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza, veteran sci-fi and fantasy pics star Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) and Stan Lee, who created pretty much every major superhero in the Marvel Universe. Lee will appear in a live link-up from L.A.
Also making the trek to the growing event billed as the leading pop culture festival in the Middle East is prolific screenwriter Max Landis who penned the script for hot upcoming Will Smith pic “Bright.” And American comic book writer and artist Whilce Portico, known for titles such as “The Punisher,” “Uncanny X-Men,” “Iron Man,” “Wetworks” and “Spawn.”
Landis who is a Dubai Comic Con aficionado, is also the author of the DC Comics seven-episode comic book series “Superman: American Alien,” about how Clark Kent became the archetypal super hero known as Superman. He will host the event’s cosplay competition. Women cosplayers wearing hijabs over superhero garb are known to roam the halls at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Organisers expect more than 70,000 fans from all over the Middle East for the fest which won the ‘Best Exhibition’ Award at the 2015 Middle East Event Awards.
“It may be a cliche, but one go the great things that we’ve discovered is that popular culture really is that bridge between cultures,” enthused MEFCC co-founder Ben Caddy.
“If you go to Comic Con in Chicago or London or wherever, you end up seeing people from Chicago or London. In Dubai you are reaching people from all around the world,” Caddy added. Dubai has a huge and diverse expat population.
As for local mores, Caddy said “there is nothing really specific,” adding that “you just have to apply some common sense pertaining to the local culture.”
Plenty of the region’s comic culture fans are women. Caddy noted that “there are more female comic book artists in the Middle East than male.”
Local guests at the Dubai Comic Con include prominent Emirati film director Ali Mustafa whose buzzed-about upcoming “The Worthy” is a rare case of an Arab sci-fi pic. “The Worthy” is set in a dystopian future in which the world is in chaos due to a water shortage.