Dubai’s 2018 Comic Con: Mid­dle East’s only plat­form con­nect­ing comic geeks

The Daily News Egypt - - Art & Culture - By Nada Deyaa’

Pass­ing by Su­per­man wav­ing at at­ten­dees and stop­ping to greet them while the Joker stands still with his green hair and wide, wounded smile tak­ing self­ies with fans who are all dressed in cos­tumes and have been pre­par­ing for months for the gala event; that was one of the reg­u­lar scenes at the 2018 Mid­dle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC).

The mas­sive rooms of the Dubai World Trade Cen­tre were filled, ear­lier this month, with cosplay and su­per­hero char­ac­ters who spent their weekend cel­e­brat­ing their pas­sion among sim­i­lar geeks.

Thou­sands of pas­sion­ate comic fans gath­ered in the three-day event to cel­e­brate the city’s an­nual pop cul­ture event.

Dressed as their most beloved char­ac­ters, visi­tors showed up in mostly hand-made de­signs, which they spent months pre­par­ing and tai­lor­ing. Other than hav­ing fun, as the only Mid­dle East plat­form of con­nect­ing geeks and comic lovers, peo­ple ea­gerly wait for the an­nual event to get in­spired, evolve their work, and pro­mote it. to meet peo­ple like him who are ob­sessed with cos­tumes,comics,and art.

For him, such a ma­jor event is a chance to network with peo­ple from his field, as well as to get in­spired with new ideas to ap­ply to his work.

“Yet above all, the one ul­ti­mate rea­son of par­tic­i­pat­ing,is that we [cosplay par­tic­i­pants] make chil­dren happy when they see us and take photos of us,” he ex­plained.

“An­tar and Abla” was a cos­tumed cou­ple who roamed the room pro­mot­ing their lat­est comic book un­der the same ti­tle that was just re­leased on the mar­ket.

Natalia Abu Shakra is a Rus­sian-Jor­da­nian artist who il­lus­trated the story in col­lab­o­ra­tion with her col­league, Haidar, at Kal­i­mat, an art pro­duc­tion com­pany.

Dressed as a princess from the old Ara­bian days, with a long green gown and a loose red head­scarf cov­er­ing her hair as they used to dress in the past, and a war­rior wear­ing a bronze breast­plate, a shield, and a sword, Natalie and Haidar could not find a bet­ter event to pro­mote their new comic book.

Their comic book presents a mod­ern, com­edy per­spec­tive of the fa­mous Arab love story of An­tar and Abla.An­tar, who was a slave and a war­rior known for his ul­ti­mate phys­i­cal power, courage, and wis­dom, fell in love with­Abla,who was fa­mous of her al­lur­ing beauty. Through his po­ems, An­tar de­scribed his jour­ney of do­ing what was be­lieved to be im­pos­si­ble in or­der to gain per­mis­sion to marry her.

Away from the cosplay, in the artists’ al­ley,hun­dreds of ar­ti­sans from all over the world gath­ered to show­case their tal­ents in draw­ing, makeup, and even cre­at­ing comics, in­clud­ing the Egyptian comic book,“Lamis”.

Lamis is the first fe­male su­per­hero comic book in Egypt, first pub­lished in 2016.The comic book fea­tures the story of a drug dealer named Lamis who gains su­per­pow­ers and uses them to achieve her good-na­ture goals.The se­ries takes au­di­ences into the deep world of drugs and dark hu­man na­ture, re­veal­ing the shades of good and bad in each char­ac­ter that read­ers even­tu­ally can per­son­ally con­nect with or see them­selves in.

The char­ac­ter first saw the light at the hands of Safia Baraka, an Egyptian of Pales­tinian ori­gin who wrote the story, and with the help of her hus­band,HamidYe­hia,who drew all of the il­lus­tra­tions; thus, the cou­ple cre­ated Egypt’s first wo­man su­per­hero.

“This event is con­sid­ered the hugest and most suc­cess­ful af­fair for comic lovers in the Mid­dle East, and be­ing a part of it is one of the ul­ti­mate achieve­ments Lamis has made in its two-year life­time,” Baraka said.

With hun­dreds of visi­tors from dif­fer­ent back­grounds stop­ping to see and know more about the book from Baraka and Ye­hia, the cou­ple be­lieve that the Mid­dle East Comic Con al­lowed them to meet around 100,000 comic pas­sion­ates that they would not have found any­where else.

“We could not be­lieve the warm wel­com­ing Arabs show­ered us with in the three days, for hav­ing the first su­per­hero Arab comic in which the su­per­hero hap­pens to be an Egyptian wo­man!” Baraka said.

From the dis­cus­sions the cou­ple had with at­ten­dees of dif­fer­ent ages and back­grounds, they be­lieve that the Ara­bic-speak­ing au­di­ences are ea­ger to find their own comic books that tell their sto­ries and deal with their back­grounds.

“We wit­nessed our­selves how ea­ger Arabs are to know, read, and be in­tro­duced to comics from the Mid­dle East. We were over­whelmed by the num­ber of ap­pre­ci­at­ing and thrilled peo­ple of know­ing about Lamis,” Baraka ex­plained.

Cre­at­ing a wider fan base across the na­tion was not the only achieve­ment of Lamis’ par­tic­i­pa­tion at the MEFCC. “We got to be in­tro­duced to lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ing houses which we have been seek­ing to be adopted and funded by for a long time,” she pointed out.

In­spired and en­cour­aged by the con­nec­tions they made dur­ing the Comic Con, the two are cur­rently work­ing on cre­at­ing a se­ries of comics in which each will have its own char­ac­ter and Lamis will be the con­nec­tion among them all.

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