Deserts, Camels and Comic-Con

So out of deserts, camels and Comic-Con, which one seems out of place? Comic-Con you say? Well you are sadly incorrect. In March 2011, Abu Dhabi, one of the richest cities in the United Arab Emirates, will play host to their own (and possibly all of the Middle East) first Comic-Con, which will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center. Organizers from the event are projecting somewhere in the ballpark of about 10,000 to 15,000 visitors.

Arafaat Ali Khan, a managing partner at ExtraCake PR, which is the event organizer, had this to say:

We have been thinking about this since we were in diapers, so it’s been going on for a long time. What we see now is that there is interest in the infrastructure as far as stores over here stocking anime, [Japanese] manga [cartoons] and comics. It’s all coming together at the right time. The genre is exploding in the Middle East. We have a growth in the sales and bookstores are dedicating entire shelves to comics. Then there is the latest trend in this part of the world – that is the talent of artists and writers that have no outlet for their passion and to become serious artists. The main difference will be the market but 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.

Khan also went on to say that the convention would be similar to the ones held in the U.S. Currently there are no special guests that have been booked as of yet. Over the last few years, the demand for comics, anime, gaming, etc. has been growing exponentially in the Middle East, just as Khan stated. Turner Broadcasting, which owns Cartoon Network, recently announced that they will be launching an Arabic Cartoon Network later this year.

I believe it would be intriguing to see what they are able to come up with. Not just with the western comic and movie culture, but what the Middle East has to offer. I’m sure there would be some great and interesting Middle Eastern movies, comics, etc.

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