Abu Dhabi to Host Regional Comic-Con

I’ve never been the sort who got excited about San Diego’s massive Comic-Con. At least to a cursory glance, it’s seemed to be more about promoting Hollywood blockbusters than about, well, comics.

But I can nonetheless get excited about the Abu Dhabi Comic-Con, set for March 2011, the same month as city’s 2011 international book fair.

No, you probably won’t find me at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre dressed up as a vampire hunter or Princess Leia. But I am interested in new Arabic-language comics and graphic novels, which could fill a largely empty market niche and be big boost for reluctant young readers.

Reluctant adult readers, too.

I hope Magdy al-Shafee, author of the censored Metro, touted as Egypt’s first graphic novel, will find a way to be there.

The PR firm ExtraCake PRA told the Middle East Times that, among others, they are pursuing Dr. Naif al Mutawa, creator of the recently launched comic series The 99, for a possible Q&A session.

According to Arafaat Khan of ExtraCake:

These people [young Arab writer/illustrators] produce their own comic books, like eight-pagers, and at their own cost, but they don’t have an outlet to sell these things.


…some people are already saying: ‘Oh yeah, I’m probably going to have my preview book at the Middle East comic-con.’ We haven’t even sent out our press release.

Khan told the Jerusalem Post that, while the Abu Dhabi convention would have local artists, in the main it would be similar to those held in the U.S. and Canada:

…we will follow the tried and tested international ideas. We are going to have expos, merchandise, games and show classical movies and hopefully some new trailers.