The Middle East Film and Comic Con returns to Dubai World Trade Centre this weekend for its sixth edition, promising more of celebrity guests, comic-book artists, workshops, gaming and cosplay fun that make it a favourite pop-culture fixture for about 70,000 comic and pop culture fans every year.
Here is our round-up of this year’s highlights.
As the convention has grown from humble beginnings, so has the calibre of celebrity guests it attracts to appear in question-and-answer sessions, sign autographs and mingle with fans.
This year’s big names include:
Anthony Mackie: MEFCC has recruited its first Avenger (after Marvel’s Agent Carter, actress Hayley Atwell’s appearance two years ago) in the shape of Anthony Mackie who has appeared in multiple Avengers and Captain America movies, and had a cameo in Ant-Man.
His notable non-superhero films include The Hurt Locker and 8 Mile.
Kevin Smith: The Clerks, Mall Rats and Chasing Amy director, actor and comic-store owner will not attend the convention in person, but will greet fans for a live video question-and-answer session from the United States on Saturday at 8pm.
Liam Cunningham: The Irish actor’s long career has included roles in movies including Clash of the Titans, First Knight and Jude, and TV series including Outcasts and Northanger Abbey. He is best known, however, as honourable and loyal Davos Seaworth in HBO’s epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones.
Josh McDermitt: Best known to genre fans as the eccentric Dr Eugene Porter in AMC’s hit zombie thriller The Walking Dead, McDermitt is also an established stand-up comic who has appeared alongside Louis CK, among others.
Greg Grunberg: Grunberg is a childhood friend of Star Wars and Star Trek director J J Abrams, on whose TV shows Felicity and Alias he got his big breaks. He reunited with Abrams with a cameo in Lost as X-wing pilot Snap Wexley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Commander Finnegan in Star Trek Beyond. He also played telepathic cop Matt Parkman in the superhero TV drama Heroes. Grunberg also produces and hosts, with Kevin Smith, a pop-culture talk show called Geeking Out for TV network AMC, and will host the video session with Smith at Comic Con.
Kane: Comic Con usually has a treat or two for wrestling fans, and this year is no exception, with the addition of World Wrestling Entertainment’s seven-foot giant Kane to the guest list.
No comics convention would be complete without its share of artists, and this year’s Comic Con has some of the best illustrators in the business. These include:
Chad Hardin: The lead artist of DC’s popular Harley Quinn series, Hardin’s artwork has inspired a million fancy-dress costumes.
Simone Bianchi: The Italian artist is currently best known for his work with Marvel Comics, particularly on Wolverine and other X-Men titles.
Otto Schmidt: Having previously worked for Disney and Marvel, Schmidt last year joined DC for the hugely successful relaunch of Green Arrow.
From gaming to gigging, there’s much more to Comic Con than celeb spotting. Here is our pick of this year’s other highlights.
Star Trek 50-Year Exhibition
Check out 50 artworks by 50 artists from 10 countries, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, which was first broadcast on September 8, 1966. It includes work by Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, and is being presented at Comic Con by Dubai Film & TV Commission.
SyFy main stage & Splash Cosplay Competition
More local bands and DJs than ever before will provide musical entertainment on the main stage in between the star guests, alongside Comic Con favourites, including the Geek Quiz and the now legendary Splash Cosplay Competition.
Novo & IMAX Cine Club
Catch exclusive previews and trailers of film and TV shows, plus an exclusive preview of director Luc Besson’s much-anticipated sci-fi movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which is due for release in July.
For the first time at Comic Con, test your combat skills in the battle zone, a Call of Duty-style obstacle course.
International Artists’ Alley
Get a sketch or autograph from top professional comics and manga artists, or buy some exclusive artwork.
HubZero Artists Alley
Find something unique here and support regional talent.
As usual, there is a full programme of workshops, covering animation, filmmaking and cosplay. It is a rare chance to learn from the best. As these are on a first-come-first-served basis, don’t miss your chance.
MBC Meet the Stars
Do not miss this great chance to meet some of the broadcaster’s eclectic bunch of film & TV stars.
Dodgeball and Teen Wolf Basketball Tournaments
Dodge, dip, duck, dive and dunk at the Rani Fun Zone with Bounce Dubai.
Zoom Festival Area
There are F&B options if you need to take a break from the convention chaos to relax and refuel.
• Tickets cost from Dh100. For full details of tickets and timings, visit www.mefcc.com