Comic Con. The word evokes a range of feelings from a vast diversity of people who come together to celebrate their passions and show their allegiances to their fandoms. The ways to do this are many, be it through dressing up as their favorite character, meeting the actors and actresses who bring those characters to life, or expressing it in countless other ways, Dallas Comic Con of 2014 offered something for everyone. Between the vendors offering one of a kind collectibles, getting one on one time with celebrity guests, the panels that brought like minds together, and the sense of camaraderie and belonging between the attendees, I was not disappointed in my first foray into the world of comic book conventions.
They say that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. To copy one’s passion, and to take on the likeness of it is the epitome of the deep commitment that each person in a costume, devotes to their fandom. I knew going into this that I would see people dressed up, that I might even be impressed by a few of them, but I was overwhelmed by how well done and detailed most of them were. Armor that looked like it could take a blaster bolt, a dress in transition of bursting into flames, authentic Russian gas masks, just to name a few examples of time, effort, and imagination represented in those in costume.
It was like an all you can eat buffet for the eyes and the ultimate geek pop quiz wrapped into one. The variety of how people could put their spin on one character was amazing to see. Some costumes more elaborate than others but each person wore it with a sense of pride and confidence that was to be admired. The individuals in costume were a delight. Each one stopping and taking a photo when asked, and not once acting as if it were an imposition. They helped the dreams of fans become real for a moment. The imagination and creativity of some people showed in the combination of two concepts in one costume, for example: a Pirate Deadpool or a Steam Punk Stormtrooper are pretty cool to behold.
I also enjoyed the transgender costumes. A female Thor or a male Alice are pretty nifty. I was intrigued that some of the Cosplayers that were at the convention also took part in charity work dressed as their character. I was inspired by their philanthropic attitudes to give back to the community. I’ve been told part of the Con experience is seeing everyone in costume, I was not disappointed, but thrilled and excited to see who would be around the next corner.
THE TOYS/COMICS/AND GAMES
Everyone has heard the saying “feeling like a kid in a candy store.” Never had a truer statement been spoken in regards to the vendors and the items they offered to the public. The unique items on display to collectors and passersby knew no limits. Armies of figurines, rare and common filled the aisles. Countless comics and books in droves for those so inclined to read them to enjoy. And for those who wanted just a simple t-shirt to show off their allegiance, there was a large selection to choose from. Some of the vendors offered services and helpful hints from professionals of the trade that appeared to be once in a life time.
The 3D printing booth, offered anyone the opportunity to immortalize themselves as a collectable figurine. I also spotted a zombie shooting range to test your post-apocalyptic survival skills. Artists came out in droves to show off their talents. The abundance of original art was a feast for the eyes. Including the artists who create the monsters and aliens we love with special effects make up. The vendors offered items that I would not have been able to see had they not been there, such as the 1967 Chevrolet Impala from Supernatual or the Landspeeder from Star Wars.
And speaking of Star Wars, the 501st was out and about looking to fill the ranks, but their rebel counter parts were right there as well proudly representing the cause. What struck me about the vendors is how friendly and knowledgeable they were. No matter what it was they had, they seemed to want to be there. It did not appear that they considered it a job or a moment of their life they would never get back but they seemed like at that moment, they were in their element. The sheer amount of items on display was a bit overwhelming at first and I’m still pretty sure I did not see everything, but what I did see kept me smiling the entire time I was there.
One thing every attendee looks forward to is a chance to meet the celebrity guests. Whether it be an artist that they respect, an author that has thrilled their minds, or an actor who has entertained them on the screen, Dallas Comic Con is a chance to shake hands with the people behind the passions. The guest list was a star studded one and almost everyone was bursting with excitement at the opportunity to meet their heroes and villains. I did not get the chance to meet everyone that I would have liked but those I did, I was not disappointed. I mean, Stan Lee, Nathan Fillion, and William Shatner had thousands of people around them at all times.
The first person I met was an artist who is known for his work on Heavy Metal and for co-creating Swamp Thing, Bernie Wrightson. Admittedly, I was not aware of who he was at first, but luckily I had someone with me who was knowledgeable on his works and had met him at a previous event. Mr. Wrightson not only remembered her but was kind enough to autograph a book that featured his work for her. His ability to put something down on a piece of paper and then detail it and bring it to a form of life is under appreciated. I wish I had known who he was before the con. His work took my breath away.
When I heard that John de Lancie was going to be attending, I knew he was on my must meet list. I grew up watching him play Q on Star Trek the Next Generation. I loved the character and the way Mr. De Lancie played him, made the character for me. But the man behind the character deserves just as much admiration. It was a pleasure to meet him and what I found most amazing is he also had an interest in getting to know me for the few minutes I had with him. He asked what I did for a living (kinda surreal having Q ask what I do, almost expected him to snap his fingers and then I’d magically know how to do something else.) and listened as I answered his question.
When I signed on to cover Dallas Comic Con, Manu Bennett had not yet been confirmed. When I found out he was going to be in attendance, he made the short list of must see people. I know him as Crixus from the show Spartacus. He was the undefeated Gaul who I have written so much about previously. This character was the best part of the show for me. Now here was my chance to meet the man who portrayed the character I loved. He listened and held eye contact as I gushed over how much I loved Crixus. He didn’t say much, possibly because I couldn’t shut up about how amazing I thought he was, but he did thank me for telling him what I thought.
The next person I had the honor of meeting haunted my nightmares when I was a child, but is someone who portrayed a character that I can credit my love of horror movies to. I am talking about the legendary Robert Englund. Best known as Freddy Krueger. He took time with each person who came up to meet him and was aware of everything around him. How do I know this? Another fan and I were having a conversation waiting our turn to meet the man who had terrified us as children and he overheard us and began to join in. It wasn’t our turn yet but found our conversation so interesting that he wanted in on it. He made us laugh and we both got to have time to tell him how much we appreciated the work he had done as the character we love him best for. What did I learn from Mr. Englund? Freddy really enjoys his work. What else did I learn from Mr. Englund? That he enjoys his work and loves the fans right back.
Of all the people I met, David Morrissey was the person I wanted to meet the most. His portrayal of the Governor on The Walking Dead was amazing. His ability to bring that character to life sent chills up my spine as I watched him on the screen. The Governor became one of my top villains and here was my chance to meet the actor who made him real. I can only say he must have seen me bouncing up and down in the line with excitement for when it was my turn, he talked with me. He asked what I thought about the character, what I had expected and hoped as I watched the Governor on the show. We even spoke a bit about his episode of Doctor Who and I made him laugh with one of my comments. He appeared to be just as excited to be there with the fans as I was to meet him. Meeting Mr. Morrissey was easily the highlight of my weekend.
Even though I was not able to meet everyone I wanted to, one thing I noticed that each special guest had in common was the want to be there. There was an exchange of admiration and appreciation between fans and their heroes and the actors and their guests.
One of the many things that attracts people to conventions such as Dallas Comic Con, are the Q&A sessions with the actors, musicians, artists, writers and creators that brought their fandoms to life. This past weekend was no exception. Something to be seen and done near every hour. I attended a few of the panels and was thoroughly impressed with each one. I was lucky enough to attend the Firefly reunion panel, a high light being Alan Tudyk calling Nathan Fillion from Australia in the middle of the panel or the message from Joss Whedon to all of us.
And who can really put into words what it is like to be in the same room as Stan Lee and Dan Slott? Highlight from that panel, Stan Lee would like to have the super power of Luck, but has no idea how to show it on screen or in a comic. Rock Legend Alice Cooper’s panel was also educational as I learned he likes to golf. That actually shocked me, but hey, it’s the man behind the act after all.
The cherry on top, panel wise, was the Manu Bennett Q&A that was added last minute. It’s difficult to choose just a couple things as a highlight to the panel, but hearing how he got the part of Crixus and where he was in his life when he got that call was touching and awe inspiring. The panels of the weekend also offered something to everyone and it gave us memories that we will all hold dear.
Since this was my first experience into the world of Comicon and thoroughly enjoyed myself, I’d rate it very highly. The quality and variety of entertainment was never waning. Boredom was no where to be seen or heard as there was always something to see and do. Other attendees were more than happy to share their joy with each other we all became connected in our common interests for a moment, and then we move on to the next thing that we found. It is an experience I highly recommend to any and all. If you have a passion for the stories, the characters, the process of how to create it for yourself, then Dallas Comic Con was definitely the place to be, and if future events are like this one, they will be the place you will find me. And enjoy the rest of the fun images below.