Taylor E., Here…
Dallas Comic Con’s Fan Days (formerly “Sci-Fi Expo”) marks the beginning of convention season, and if the rest of the year’s is a great as Fan Days was, we’re in for a 2015! With a great guest list, terrific cosplay, and amazing artists, Fan Days had something for everyone.
Historically, Sci-Fi Expo was the “quiet” convention and an easy opening to the convention season. Usually there was one, maybe two, big names, and attendance was decent, but not crazy. Since Dallas Comic Con was acquired by Fan Expo, the guest list has expanded, with bigger names making the trek to the Big D and this year the quiet, first con of the year was HUGE. This year was Arrow stars Stephen Amell and John Barrowman’s second Fan Expo convention. Other media guests included David Ramsey (Arrow), Melissa McBride (The Walking Dead), Alex Kingston (Doctor Who, ER, Arrow), and Emma Caulfield (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), and Colin Baker (Doctor Who). There was something for nearly every fandom at Fan Days!
And with these guests came amazing panels. John Barrowman never disappoints; His panel was hilarious, inappropriate, and insightful. We heard stories of on-set shenanigans (like making “eyes” at David Ramsey while filming, and giving David and Stephen Amell the giggles), inappropriate behavior by his husband, Scott (like Scott sniffing the sheets after Stephen Amell stayed the night), and a couple audience members received deep responses regarding questions on sexuality and identity, and the value of reading. Stephen Amell melted hearts at his panel not only with his good looks, but with his amazing generosity and kindness towards a family that lost their newborn son recently.
Vendors and artists alike shared the exhibit hall this year, a welcome change from local and big-names artists alike being housed on the third and fourth floors at past conventions. In the past, conventions goers would typically do the majority of their shopping in the main exhibit hall, not realizing the local artists or comic artists were upstairs. Having vendors and artists sharing one space allows con-goers to do all their shopping in one place, and the artists that were passed over in the past got more attention.
One of my favorite local artists, Matt Houk (www.matthouk.net) was in attendance. He is an amazing artists known for his beautiful watercolors. This year I bought a Green Arrow watercolor from him, as well as requested a Batwoman watercolor, which is by far my favorite piece yet!
Finally, what is a comic convention without cosplay? This year I saw amazing work by both local and celebrity cosplayers alike. There were a lot of Arrow inspired costumes this year; I saw numerous Arrows, Black Canaries, and Arsenals, as well as a girl dressed as my favorite, Felicity! I also so a lot of Doctor Who cosplayers, as well as the usual array of anime, Trekkies, and Star Wars. The kids this year were great as well. There were a lot of kids under five in costumes that made my ovaries hurt! One little boy who dressed as Batman last year (and shouted “I AM THE NIGHT!” in a tiny voice) was Green Arrow this year, declaring “YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!”. There was also a tiny Batman with a tattered Superman cape in one gloved fist, and a kryptonite sword in the other.
All in all the convention ran smoothly. Traffic flowed well for the most part (a major feat with as many guests as they had and the odd layout of the Irving Convention Center). I was glad to see more ICC staff present, working the escalators, than I had at past conventions. The staff also blocked off the escalators to accommodate traffic leaving the larger panels, ..also nice to see more food trucks again this year! The convention center’s food is on the…not so good side (pizza, popcorn, and hotdogs), so having other options like sushi and tacos, is very welcomed. Hopefully in the future we’ll see more healthier options (and maybe more affordable, too) come to the con.
The best addition to the food options though has to be Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda. Their root beer is AMAZING. For $15 you get a comparative aluminum mug and free refills for the entire day; bring your mug back to any convention for all of 2015 and get free refills all day for only $5. I must have drank six mugs full all weekend. My favorite flavor? Buck’n Birch Beer, a black cherry root beer. Mmmm!
Fan Days 2015 was definitely a huge success! With such an awesome start to the convention season, this fangirl is eagerly awaiting what the rest of the year brings.
– Taylor Elizabeth