Sandstorm Comics (Sandstorm), a new, soon-to-be unveiled Middle East comics studio, announced the launch of Storm the Block, its inaugural comics and pop culture industry event, scheduled to take place from 8-10 December 2023, in Yas Creative Hub, Abu Dhabi.
Sandstorm, which made its first appearance at the annual Middle East Film and Comic Con in 2022, and appeared at Comic-Con International in San Diego in July 2023, began recruiting talent for its first-ever event in Abu Dhabi. Led by Mohammed Abedin, an Emirati industry leader and lifelong comic book creator, Sandstorm aims to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s growing reputation as a centre for creative content production, helping to build the Middle East’s comics ecosystem by nurturing local talent and providing local and global career opportunities.
Mohammed Abedin, Head of Sandstorm, said: “When we set out to create our own event, we knew it had to be something that represents not only the vibrancy of the region today, but provides an early look into the convergence of culture and art as we see it tomorrow, through the lens of our aspirations for Sandstorm. We believe that Storm the Block will be something that is not only unlike anything people have seen before here in Abu Dhabi, but the world at large; a true cross-section of the greatest talent in comics, influencers of global culture, and art from anywhere and everywhere.”
The inaugural Storm the Block will feature comics talent, animators, influencers and creatives from around the world. Currently confirmed are appearances by multiple artists from Superani, the world-renowned artist studio and collective; Saroush Barazesh (Kings of Nowhere); Marvel and DC artist Bernard Chang; artist and director Chase Conley (The Boondocks, X-Men 97); Riccardo Federici; Sean “Cheeks” Galloway; Coran Kizer Stone (Kizerilla); Ron Marz (Green Lantern); Belén Ortega (Batman, The Joker); Gabriel Picolo (Teen Titans: Beast Boy); and Whyt Manga (Apple Black). US-based publishers attending include Cryptozoic, DSTLRY, Mad Cave, Massive Publishing, Top Cow, and Webtoon. World-famous Japanese retailer Kinokuniya will be offering a specially curated selection of books, stationery and more.
Sandstorm will also be releasing preview issues of its first 13 comic books, created with local authors and renowned international artists. Storm the Block promises to be a unique experience for a global audience pairing the best in comic fandom with the vibrant city of Abu Dhabi.
Those who wish to submit a comic book project for consideration for development, in partnership with Sandstorm’s international pool of talent, can apply by visiting sandstormcomics.com/submissions.