Want to be an avatar? A super hero? Come play at the Dubai Comic Con

Sewing costumes, applying makeup, and playing games: “cosplayers” from across the region gathered in Dubai last week to dress up like their favorite fantasy character during the Middle East Film & Comic Con event.

Cosplay is a blending of the words “costume” and “play.” It is a performance art of role-playing where participants wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character.

The Dubai annual event allows people of similar interests to share the experience of being a video game or manga character, and even a super hero or an avatar.

 “I consider myself part of the community because we still gather together even if there isn’t a convention going on,” cosplayer Yasmine Alolayan, 26, told the MBRSC Post. “Back home (Saudi Arabia), we actually have a cosplay café where you’d find a lot of us there, most of the time.” 

She chose to dress up as Ceil from the manga series “Black Butler.” “I picked this character because I admire him. He’s constantly underestimated but always manages to surprise people,” Alolayan said.

Ibrahim Roston at Comic Con Dubai, April 2019 Photo: Farah Makhlouf

“This event inspires people to fulfill their dreams, so if someone wants to be Iron Man, they can be Iron Man,” said Ibrahim Roston, 14, a cosplayer from Abu Dhabi. Roston made his costume himself. It took hard work, day and nighy, over three weeks to be completed.

This year’ event gathered about 400 exhibitors and 45,000 to 50,000 attendees over three days, Sales Manager Liam Murphy told the MBRSC Post over the phone.

The exhibitors came from around the world, selling clothing items, original artworks, technological products, figurines, books, video games, posters, and props. The attendees came from 25 different countries, and 65% of them were between 18-35 years, according to the official survey by MEFCC.

Actors Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Katie Cassidy (Arrow), and Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead), were some of the celebrities who attended the Comic Con this year.

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Farah Makhlouf

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