In conversation with the initiators of Dhaka Comic-Con
Shadma Malik

  • Syed Abu Yousuf and Saadi Rahman 
    Photo- Dhaka Tribune

Comicon was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 by a group of San Diegans, which included Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Ken Krueger and Mike Towry. Later, it was called the “San Diego Comic Book Convention.” The event is commonly known as Comic-Con. Originally showcasing comic books, science fiction, fantasy, film and television, and related popular arts, the convention now includes a larger range of pop culture elements, such as horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels.

This mega event for comic lovers was first introduced in Dhaka by Saadi Rahman and Syed Abu Yousuf in December 2012. The series of events are again going to take place on October 25-26 at Saad Musa City Center, on Jomaz Road, Kuril, Badda.

Dhaka Tribune caught up with Saadi Rahman and Syed Abu Yousuf to learn about the upcoming event: 

Tell us about the upcoming Dhaka Comic-Con 2013:

Saadi: There is a whole lot to say when it comes to this question. It starts off with “Bigger and Better.” That’s what we promised all the attendees last year. So, of course we’ll have our usual cosplay contest on both days, fan art contest, action figure photography, live music featuring Nemesis, Echoes and Naïve, stand-up comedy, short film screenings, display of custom action figures, electro artists performance, comic book launches, animation launches, two music video premieres of Cryptic Fate and Aushtruto, tons of vendors selling toys, comics, memorabilia, and of course the highlight being the entire museum of toys and collectibles. There is actually so much more than what I just mentioned but let’s leave that to be experienced at the event.

How is this event different from the previous one?

Saadi: I repeat: Bigger and Better! Last year we had it at The Bench and really didn’t even anticipate the numbers that showed up. This time we have a massive venue with tons of more participants in every single avenue. Lots of new comic book launches, product launches, video launches, and customized products, not to mention quadruple the number of vendors since last year.

Dhaka Comic-Con is new to this country. What was the plan behind introducing this series of events?

Saadi: All of this happened on a whim honestly. I have been a collector of action figures and comic books for over 30 years now. I obviously inherited this gene from my father who is also a collector. Over the years it was just piling up, till I opened my Facebook page “Saadi’s Collectibles” to share my collectibles with likeminded people. Through this I met some amazing collectors right here in Dhaka. Abu and I quite often laughed and joked about a Comic-Con in Dhaka. That dream finally became a reality in December of 2012. We took a risk, people laughed at us saying only 50 people will show up, but over two days we had almost 10,000 attendees right here in Dhaka’s very first Comic-Con.

What is the reaction of the Bangladeshi audience?

Saadi and Abu: The Bangladeshi audience has completely taken ownership of our local Dhaka Comic-Con. They absolutely love it and are super proud to boast to others how we have our own Comic-Con. It’s important that the other side of the spectrum is mentioned too. Everybody abroad is sometimes in shock and can’t believe that we have our very own Comic-Con in Bangladesh.

How long have you been collecting these comic characters?

Saadi: As I mentioned above for almost over 30 years.

Abu: I would divide my collecting years into three phases. The 90s was all about collecting He-man, GI Joes, Ninja Turtle figures and Chacha Chowdhury comics. The early 2000s was all about collecting comic books and now,

I am into everything related to pop culture.

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