Time to dust off that superhero costume again. This Halloween, one Dubai event is promising pop culture fans a festival to remember with the first PopCon Dubai, which will run from October 27 to 29 at Dubai Outlet Mall.
Featuring a line-up of celebrities, comic book artists, social media stars and world-renowned cosplayers, here are the activities you should not miss at the three-day event:
Meet the stars
You’re going to get the chance to rub shoulders with some hot stars including Theo Rossi, one of the baddies from Netflix show Luke Cage; Brianna Hildebrand, best known for her role as Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool; E! news presenter and reality star Giuliana Rancic, who will host the event; and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wrestler and Sons of Anarchy actor Randy Couture.
While entry to the event is free, you will have to pay separately for celebrity meet-and-greets and workshops. Check the website for timings and price.
Whilce Portacio, the creator of Marvel Comics character Bishop, will sign autographs along with Agnes Garbowska, who has worked with many major comic book publishers including for titles such as My Little Pony, Jem and the Holograms for IDW Publishing, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Powerpuff Girls; Jason Palmer, best known for his illustration art of Firefly, Star Wars, Once Upon a Time and Indiana Jones; and David Yardin, who has illustrated stories for DC Comics’ Injustice: Gods Among Us and Marvel Comics’ A+X, as well as covers for Thunderbolts, Storm, Magneto, Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five and is currently the cover artist on Extraordinary X-Men.
Cosplay stars + competition
A pop culture event is not a pop culture event without the cosplaying. At PopCon, the stakes are high. Winners get Dh5,000 (third place), Dh10,000 (second place) and Dh25,000 (first place) in cash. Plus, the first-place winner gets to represent the Middle East at the next Cosplay Authority Global Challenge (Cage) with airfare and accommodation paid for. Judges include Julian Checkley, the founder of Order 66 Creature and Effects, a company that provides prosthetics, costumes and models for movies; Yugana Senshi Oun, the Singaporean cosplayer and viral sensation; and Abu Dhabi-based cosplayer Sumi Cosplay.
Pop culture is big business. So there will be a lot of opportunities for attendees to learn from the experts. Miranda Davidson Studios, the Dubai-based company which has supplied the cast for top Hollywood productions in the UAE, including Star Trek Beyond, will conduct workshops on how to kill it at a casting. Giuliana Rancic, the former E! new presenter and reality star, will host a Mini Academy on how to host your own TV show. Rancic will also host a beauty panel discussions alongside make-up artists Etienne Ortega and Chrisspy Makeup and Kuwaiti social media personality Fouz Al Fahad of The Real Fouz fame. Cosplayers Yugana Senshi Oun, Sumi Cosplay and Julian Checkley will each hold their own tutorials too.
Social media stars
A social media panel will include guests such as Kuwaiti fashion and beauty blogger Fatima Al Momen (@falmomen); traveller Haifa Baseisso (@flywithhaifa); beauty and lifestyle blogger Irene Khan (@irenesarah); UAE-based Max Stanton (@MaxOfArabia) and Emirati commentator Khalid Al Ameri.
Marvel at Marvel
For fans of all things Marvel, Hall M is where you need to be. They’re promising an exclusive showcase of Marvel content in gaming, TV and movies with Stephen Wacker, Marvel’s VP of Animation, Development & Current Series in attendance. Wacker will also be on the look-out for budding artists who could get their big break.
Bring some money if you’re a comic book lover. Limited-edition comic Champions #1 with a variant cover by Whilce Portacio, will be on sale at Comicave. This exclusive variant cover is limited to 3,000 units worldwide, making it an instant collectible, What’s more? Portacio himself will be on hand to sign it. The cover is priced at Dh55, which also includes the chance to step into Iron Man’s Hulkbuster.
Want to be Iron Man for a day? The 3-metre Hulkbuster will be at PopCon Dubai. Made by Comicave Studios, the life size Hulkbuster will be available for fans to step into the statue and “suit up” in the armour. Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour featured in Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Voice over and music talents
Fans will get to meet with voice over talent Wahid Jalal, known from his success in the title role of the 1973 Arabic police drama Inspector Wahid. Jalal’s distinctive voice became familiar to an entire generation that grew up with the cartoons of the 1980s such as Adventures of Zeina and Nahhoul, which was a huge success with Lebanese and Arab children. He also lent his voice to the equally popular animated hits The Adventures of Sinbad, The Adventures of Sasuki, Treasure Island, Sandy Belle, and Maymouna and Masoud.
Retro video game lovers can look forward to live performances by Professor Sakamoto from Japan, a composer and performer of video game music.
Don’t miss it!
Entry to PopCon Dubai is free, but meet-and-greets, workshops and signings are chargeable. For packages and tickets, go to platinumlist.net. For timings and a full schedule, go to popcon.com.