Get ready for Storm the Block! Comics are global and getting more and more global by the month. The Middle East has been a growing region for comics and comic-con culture, most recently led by Abu Dhabi’s Sandstorm Comics.

And now Sandstorm – which is both a studio and a publisher – is getting its own event, Storm the Block, which will take place December 8-10 in Abu Dhabi, with US publishers Cryptozoic, DSTLRY, Mad Cave, Massive Publishing, Top Cow, and Webtoon represented, and more to come.

Sandstorm is led by Mo Abedin, an Emirati industry leader and lifelong comic book fan, with the goal of putting local comics talent on the global map and developing a comics ecosystem in the UAE. (In case anyone is geographically challenged, like The Beat, Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates; it is not the same place as Dubai, which is the largest city in the UAE. Both have pretty spectacular architecture, however.)

According to Abedin, “When we set out to create our own event, we knew it had to be something that represented not only the vibrance of the region today, but 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.”


Guests include Saroush Barazesh (Kings of Nowhere), Marvel and DC artist Bernard Chang, artist and director Chase Conley (The Boondocks, X-Men 97), Riccardo FedericiSean “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). In addition,  artists from Superani, the world-renowned artist studio and collective will attend, along with other artists and animators from the region and beyond. Kinokuniya will be offering a specially curated selection of books, stationary, and more.

At the show, Sandstorm will release preview issues of their first 13 comic books created with local authors and  international artists. They remain open to much more development and publishing: Those interested in submit a comic book project in partnership with Sandstorm’s international pool of talent can apply by visiting

We’re told many more Storm the Block announcements are forthcoming.

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