The Middle East Film and Comic Con drew to a close last night with spirits only slightly dampened by the unseasonal downpour that forced the outdoor stage to close early as the skies opened at around 5pm.
Over the course of the weekend, fans were treated to meet and greets, panels and photo opportunities with screen favourities such as Shazam's Zachary Levy, The Walking Dead's Ross Marquand, Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon, The Avenger's Benedict Wong and Arrow's Katie Cassidy.
Elsewhere, the ever popular Cosplay competition on Friday night, with the top prize of World Cosplay Summit winner taken by Lucy Watson and Naif Alsheneify. The pair will now travel to Japan for the summit’s global finals.
Artist Alley united local artists with international legends including 2000AD's Simon Bisley and Batman's David Finch, while a host of traders set up shop with wares including rare comics, memorabilia and gadgets. At the quirkier end of the scale, visitors could buy a 3D-printed model of themselves from the Instacloned stand, or engage in laser warfare in the iBattle Battle Zone.
Final numbers were not yet available for this year’s show at the time of writing, however event organiser Michael Lamprecht said the signs were looking good: “The final, final numbers aren’t in yet. Last year we had 45,946 people, and at last count we’re up year-on-year and obviously that’s really good for us. I’m really happy and I’m actually not just saying that for once.”
This year also marked the first full year since the event was acquired by global events organisers Informa, after seven years being operated by a local team of comic book enthusiasts – last year’s event took place after the acquisition, but much of the organisation was already in place.
Some fans had expressed concerns ahead of this year’s Con that the new ownership might affect the festival’s community feel, but Lamprecht was confident his team had stayed true to the event’s roots: “I was actually part of the old team, so I was involved with Comic Con before the acquisition and was already embedded into that community,” he explains. “Informa, while it is a big corporate machine, runs 19 Comic Cons around the world so they do Know what they’re doing and I’ve had a huge global support network, not just in Dubai. We’ve had a lot of compliments from TV partners saying how seamless and well organised its been and I think that’s helped the visitor experience too.”
There was one downside to what Lamprecht described as a “great” weekend – the damp early ending to Saturday nights fun. As the event chief reasonably noted: “You can be so organised, but you can’t plan the weather.”