If you've never been to a Comic-Con (what are you waiting for?) essentially it's a market & trade show - at it's base, it's just one big store. All the vendors gathered together in one convenient place. To get the fans to come shop, the convention books stars (past & present) for Q&A's, autograph sessions & photo ops.
But it's the people that attend that make it so much more.
The fans of everything that make up this culture are so dedicated that they dress up in amazing cosplay some have prepared all year long to show off t's just SO MUCH FUN.
Dallas Fan Days Expo - March 31st - April 2nd - Dallas Convention Center - Dallas, TX
The Dallas Comic Con organization holds three shows a year: Two sattelite events - one in the Summer & again in the Fall.
This event, the BIG one in downtown Dallas dubbed Fan Days held is the largest of it's kind in the area.
To say there was ALOT going on is an understatement, not just at the Expo but Dallas in general & I ever the masochist had signed up to cover it all.
Between pulling double duty at the Dallas International Film Festival happening simultaneously, Edgefest, Wrestlemania & a few gigs of my own performing as my alter ego DJ TrickyKid, I set off to experience one unforgettable extended weekend.
Friday - March 31st
Normally the big guns don't come out to till main Saturday but this year the Expo came out guns' a blazin with two panels back to back featuring heavyweights Stan Lee, the creator of it all & Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
Thanks to the busy schedule I would have to wait till Sunday to see Hamill in his Batman panel & sad to have had to miss this one especially with the recent passing of Carrie Fisher, this was sure to be a memorable experience other than the obvious but had to take solace knowing I'd see him in Florida soon at Star Wars Celebration.
However, Stan Lee, the master himself was certainly not to be missed as while we've heard it before (& as recently as 3 months ago at Marvel's New Year in Dallas) that this was HIS LAST TEXAS APPEARANCE ever.
Regardless, Stan at 94 years young is still so charming & funny and a master storyteller it was not to be missed on it's on accord.
While the questions could have been screened at bit better that led to the material becoming a bit stale and repetitive and certainly a much more muted affair that past appearances it was still a perfect moment seeing the legend riding off into the sunset and shout Excelsior! with him just one more time.
That evening I headed on over to the National Video Game Museum to meet up with MC/partner in crime, my man Tekforce to DJ a private party to commemorate their one year anniversary. If you haven't checked this place out yet, it's a must for any gamer or simply lover of fun & history.
Saturday - April 1st
What is a Con without cosplay right? To start the day Pro Cosplay Superstars Leanna Vamp & Jessica Nigiri held a panel ahead of the awesome cosplay contest later that evening (see below)
I was hoping it was April's Fool to hear that two of the guests I was looking most forward to meeting & interviewing, Willa Holland & Eliza Dushku had cancelled but alas it was true :(
However, all was not lost as the theme this year was centered around The Rocky Horror Picture Show & most of the cast were here in some capacity & how are you gonna throw a Rocky Horror party without Meat Loaf?
His Rocky Horror credits are just the tip of the iceberg of his bona fides. Dramatic singer & actor, funny as hell & just honest and unique & a nickname of a derided entree for middle schoolers everywhere.
This Q&A was particularly interesting as he would shift from being hilariously playful to DEAD serious, almost arrestingly so.
He also was clearly medicated or in the recovery stage of a recent surgery as his speech was quite impeded at times & often needing the assistance of his wife (whom was seated next to me) but it didn't prevent this to being one of my fave panels of the weekend.
Cheers to Kid Cadet for moderating in fine fashion (figuratively & literally).
Sunday - April 2nd
It started with what was billed as another goodbye in the form of the original Batman & Robin - Adam West & Burt Ward making their final con appearances together.
Earlier this year (& most recently at Texas Pinball Festival) I had the opportunity to play the new Batman '66 machine - a new state of the art masterpiece that celebrates that wacky show that introduced most to the caped crusader. Check it out when you get a chance!
Speaking of Batman - Mark Hamill returned today as our gotham hero's nemesis the Joker who he voices on Batman: The Animated Series along with Kevin Conroy who voiced Batman himself. Together promoting the recently released Batman: The Killing Joke film
Kevin Conroy & Mark Hamill
I'm proud to say that I was there at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim when Hamill along with his other Star Wars cast mates made a surprise appearance after the surprise of the first screening of the trailer for The Force Awakens.
However, it didn't give the chance for Hamill to be himself in the way that this panel did & boy did he take advantage of it.
I had no idea he was so animated & charming. At 65 years old, he acted and moved like a kid in his early 20s & was totally irresistable.
May the Force always be with you sir.
The Cast of Rocky Horror w/ Barry Bostwick etc
This was unusual as while Rocky Horror was the central theme to this year's Expo, while they decided to have the big Q&A with the cast in one of the smallest rooms at the furthest end of the convention so inconvenient I missed the first half from simply trying to find it as it were some dirty little secret.
When I arrived to discover that the main star of the film Tim Curry, who was definitely here in the building was nowhere to be found at this panel.
Instead you had Barry Bostwick, who held his own greatly & uproariously funny alongside Patricia Quinn who's over-the-top British mannerisms & attire so boorish I really couldn't decifer if it was all an act.
Of course at it's core, a comic con is really just a marketplace & the celebrities are brought in to attract you to the vendors who sell just about anything a fan of this medium could dream of.
I didn't have a whole lot of time to peruse like I wanted to but on the last day (in the last hour even) I met Jon Hughes, an indie comic book writer & publisher of Overground Comics who had such an impressive display of new offerings of titles that I bought the first issue of everything he had.
The art is some of the best I've ever seen. Check these guys out!
The Cosplayers of Dallas Fan Expo 2017 -
And what is a con without the awesome cosplayers and this con had some of the most impressive I've seen since I started coming three years ago.
A frequent guest & co-host of our weekly TrickyKid Radio Podcast & featured cosplayer right in these very pages, Ashley Williamson is a superstar and that's putting it mildly. Everything you see her do is handmade, one of kind creations born from her brilliant mind, unstoppable desire & unwavering work ethic. She is at the top of her game & she's only getting started.
Baroness ( left)
& with your truly (right).
Ramon Martinez & Amie Danielle Dansby
Harley Quinn still proved to be a very popular cosplay with patrons & why wouldn't it be? On the heels of a blockbuster movie, it's a fun & outrageous charachter to play that lends itself to infinite interpretations & who doesn't love playing the lovable villain?
Karli Woods (right)
Kissy Cosplay (left)
& Kassidy Morgan & Leslie Rocha (right)
Luck of the Lion Cosplay (left)
& Jackie Kobe (right)
JustCos Cosplay (left)
Lori A Walker (right)
British Pixie (left)
& Leann and Alex Deberry (right)
& Autumn Rayne (right)
The nerds have truly inherited the earth - with pro or amateur, cosplay has taken over & Cosplay Deviants take the tease out of the sexualized approach of sexy cosplay to deliver the real deal. Their site boasts of "actual naughty nerds who love to interact, upload videos, pictures and write in their blogs about how they kicked ass at their local game store from around the world Undressing the Art of Playing Dress Up."
I caught up with the Deviants back at A-Kon last year & was super impressed with their work ethic & business model so I was happy to see them have a footprint at Fan Days this year.
& Mira Shiver (left)
(& with Raen - left)
Also other more maintstream pro cosplayers were in the house represented well -
Silly Little Missy, Brit Bliss & friends
Acleta Arcana, Scarlet Knight & friends
Good times & until next year!