It is a country often depicted for being regressive and offering limited sources of entertainment, but for the first time ever Saudi Arabia hosted the Comic Con expo. The Red Sea city of Jeddah in the kingdom saw a display of robots, video games and giant anime figures over the weekend.
The event, which started on Friday, brought some 20,000 young enthusiasts dressed in their favourite comic book character, commonly with painted faces. Comic Con started in the year 1970 and has now turned into a global phenomena with sci-fi lovers using the expo as a celebration of comic culture.
Spectators attend Comic Con expo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Reuters)
Participants were also seen enjoying the pop art booths, while gamers took part in various video game competitions.
As reported to Al Jazeera, Obada Awad, Riyadh-based Time Entertainment, who organised the event, said, "It was better than expected. We prepared so many scenarios for every possible thing that could happen, but this was the best possible turnout."
Boys play games during Comic Con expo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia February (Reuters)
The first-ever global comics expo was held under the Saudi General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia, which, has been hosting a series of festivals, comedy shows and concerts throughout the year. As part of an economic and social reform drive, Saudi Arabia aims at creating jobs and weaning the country off its dependence on oil and related products.
In recent times, the kingdom has seen a spurt in comic book lovers. While the US comic book industry has started integrating prominent Muslim and Arab heroes in their plots, West Asia is constructing their own comic superheroes. Deena Mohamed’s Qahera, Joumana Medlej’s Malaak are some superheroes bred out of this need.