The Irving Convention Center was once again host to Dallas Comic Con Fan Days on October 17-19, 2014. The write up is coming a bit late because, well, once I got the photos out, I sort of forgot about the rest. Our six month old puppy takes care of that. So I apologize to the powers that be that this has taken so long. It really shouldn’t have, because I had an absolute blast this year.
Though the guest list was changing up until the last minute, Fan Days still boasted some sweet celebrity appearances: Kevin Sorbo, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Paul McGann, James and Oliver Phelps, Ray Park, Jason David Frank, and more. Plus comic creators Mike Zeck, Simon Bisley, Mike McKone, and lots of other comic and fan artists, as well as craft creators (costumes, jewelry, plushies, hats, etc.). And, of course, plenty of dealers selling comics and toys. In fact, there seemed to be a lot of toy sellers this time around, with a good share of them selling vintage toys, and multiple booths selling tons of Funko POP! figures (I got four lovelies myself). There were a handful of DCC/Fan Expo convention exclusives as well, including Stan Lee and Captain America POP! figures, Dr. Who collectibles, and special edition comic books.
I was fairly busy throughout the weekend. Friday I spent the day exploring the con floor, taking photos, meeting up with people. The great thing about having so many local conventions now is that a community builds up around them. From volunteers to artists to cosplayers, there’s a sort of convention family that has formed, and I feel so honored to have become a part of it. It makes getting the photographs I need easier, too, since there are people who recognize me now and know I work the con as a media representative (speaking of, a very special shout out to the two volunteers during Saturday night’s cosplay contest that helped me get the photos I needed; you guys were a huge help). That said, two very special people deserve recognition here, and they are Jacob Long and Devin Pike. Jacob is the founder of North Texas Cosplay, an ever-growing group of local cosplayers, and he also runs a new feature he’s trying to get into the DCC conventions called the Cosplayer Hideaway. This is a special room set aside for cosplayers, where they can make repairs, sit down and rest, eat, socialize, get a drink of water, all without being bothered by photographers or the crowd of the convention in general. The room is stocked with water and emergency repair supplies, and it’s always buzzing with activity. Both Jacob and Devin worked to make sure this room was available at Fan Days.
Devin, apart from running the cosplay events at the show, also organized two convention after parties on Friday and Saturday night. Friday night’s party was at the Table and Tavern in the Las Colinas area of Irving, not far from the convention center. This very charming location hosted a fairly good amount of fans, including a lot of cosplayers. Lady Amaraldi performed two magic acts during the evening, there was a large Cards Against Humanity tournament, and a room devoted to karaoke. Personally I had a blast. It was the perfect sized event for someone like me who doesn’t like large crowds and loud noises. The venue is relatively new, I think, and it had a nice atmosphere. Plus the employees were amazing, accommodating, really all around exemplary. The party Saturday was at the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill in Dallas, though I didn’t attend (big bar/music venues aren’t my scene). Present were performers Jonathan Coulton, Philip Nelson, and Red Leather. Other entertainment included DJs, dancing, video games, and more.
Saturday was big on crowds and big on cosplayers (with the red carpet walk on in the afternoon, and the main cosplay competition that evening), though the event staff did a good job of keeping traffic flowing and the escalators running. I didn’t have any trouble parking any of the three days, either, despite the start of construction on Irving’s new entertainment center across the street from the convention center. The lines inside seemed manageable from what I could tell, and there were plenty of food and beverage options. I’m not sure how they swung it with the convention center, but there was a line of 2-6 (or so) food trucks parked right outside all weekend. There was also a very nifty booth in the main lobby for Wild Bill’s Olde Fashion Soda Pop Co. They were selling collectible stainless steel mugs (for about as cheap as $12) which you could refill throughout the weekend (for an extra $5 per day after the day you bought the mug) with their collection of sodas. Very good sodas, including root beer, vanilla cream, orange, and grape. These mugs can be taken to other events the company attends where you can get much the same deal on a day of refills.
Sunday was still bustling, but quieter, and that day I attended as part of a cosplay group. Cosplay is a part of the convention experience that I’ve only recently gotten into, and I always have a lot of fun. This time I took part in a steampunk Wizard of Oz group, where I cosplayed a female Wizard. We also had a Tin Man, Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Glinda, and Wicked Witch. Not to toot our horns (well, alright, I am), but we were quite a hit, and I hope we can pull the group together again some time. The younger generation also got a chance to shine on Sunday during the kids’ cosplay competition. This con is great for the kids, by the way, and there’s always a lot of families in attendance, many of them cosplaying together.
On my end, I didn’t notice many negatives. Despite the size of the venue (too small for an event this size), the crowd seemed to move smoothly. Staff was posted next to the escalators to ensure they weren’t crowded on and the line continued to move. There were some last minute guest changes, some good, some bad. Fan Expo wrangled some last minute editions, including Karen Allen (Marion from the Indiana Jones films). Several guests added extra photo ops to their schedules as well, which I’m sure was a delight to their fans. Events appeared to run on time, although Saturday night’s cosplay competition ran long. The staff in general seemed on top of things. The few complaints I heard came from the dealer room, where several artists in attendance have been questioning their return to the Fan Expo run conventions. Prices have gone up, the dealer room is organized poorly, and the quality on display has fallen (meaning there’s an over abundance of tracers rather than legitimate artists). Otherwise, well, I certainly had fun, but I didn’t get any autographs or photos, and I only popped into a couple Q&As (though for those, I had no problem getting a seat).
Thanks again to: Jacob Long, Devin Pike, the volunteers, the cosplayers, and the event staff. Come back later for a post spotlighting the amazing cosplay talent on display throughout the weekend.