Dallas Fan Expo 2016 Satisfies Geek Cravings

I get confused as to whether I’m supposed to refer to the event I’m about to write about as Fan Expo Dallas or Dallas Comic Con. People call it both at different times and hashtag it on social media under both names as well. From now on, I’ll be calling it Fan Expo Dallas.

Either way, the convention was once again a raging success with thousands upon thousands of attendees lined up to meet all their favorite actors and artists from movies like “Star Wars” to television shows such as “Arrow” and legendary comic book creators like Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Neal Adams. I only made it out on Sunday and the show floor was packed full of people. I can’t even begin to imagine how crowded it was on Saturday.

Let’s get the negative out of the way before concentrating on the positive. John Cusack wasn’t even there on Sunday. He was one of the celebrities I wanted to see the most. Joan Cusack had to cancel at the last minute, which was a bummer for me as well. The entire Dark Knight III creative team made up of Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Andy Kubert was also gone by Sunday afternoon.

I love taking my son with me to Fan Expo Dallas with me. Celebrities love talking to younger fans. I get to tag along and casually chat up any of them I’m actually interested in speaking with. It was a pleasure to meet “Daredevil” actor Jon Bernthal. My son knew him from “The Walking Dead” as well. I know him as the Punisher, who totally steals the Netflix show from the actual character it’s based on.

As a child of the 1980s, I spent many summer days watching “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” over and over again on HBO. It was easier to access than the first movie because it was rated PG-13. Booger was one of my favorite characters, of course. Getting to say hello to actor Curtis Armstrong, who played the grotesque nose-picking geek, was an absolute honor. I told him thanks for helping make my childhood a little more tolerable. He shook my hand and said, “You’re welcome.”

“Star Wars” was more than well-represented by C-3PO Actor Anthony Daniels and voice actors Steve Blum and James Arnold Taylor. Blum voices Zeb Orrelios on “Star Wars Rebels”. Taylor is well-known as the man who brings to life Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. He also voices Jedi Master Plo-Koon and several other characters on the show.

Taylor spoke with my son and me for quite a while about all the characters he voices. As he went through the list, he would change his voice to match the one he was pointing out. It was hilarious and gave you a glimpse into the great talent this guy has. When asked if he would be in “Star Wars Rebels”, he told us he didn’t think he should be. If Obi-Wan was doing his job correctly, he’d be too busy on Tatooine guarding Luke Skywalker to go running off on any galactic adventures. He said maybe if the “Rebels” crew visited Tatooine for some reason, it would make sense.

Comic Book Writer Grek Pak was in attendance meeting and greeting fans. He was also doing commissions for those who wanted original artwork. Pak works with DC Comics, and I asked him what he thought about the current DC Universe: Rebirth event and the introduction of the “Watchmen” characters into the DC Universe proper. He said it was fine and that reboots and blending characters and universes is what comic books are all about. It’s what keeps the comic book industry alive and fresh.

The 501st was in fine form, raising money for the charities they were with. Attendees could pose with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Kylo Ren, the Seventh Sister, and any number of Mandolorians. Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne even made her way over to pose with the members of the costumed club.

I looked forward to meeting Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne because she’s from my neck of the Texas woods and find her to be a ray of sunshine in a world of pessimists and geeky snobs. She was a wonderful lady who you can tell completely celebrates in her newfound fame, whether it be for fifteen minutes or longer. Candace is a bright light and a pleasure to be around.

One of the coolest things I saw at Fan Expo Dallas was a life-sized Ark of the Covenant from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I asked one of the guys who makes them if it was built from the actual specifications given in the Bible. He told me it was built based on the original specs given to the manufacturers of the actual movie production prop. The object was a thing of sheer beauty and would look lovely in my living room. They only cost $3,000 for the kit to build it yourself. If you want it assembled and delivered to you, you’re looking at upwards of $35,000.

Any pop culture fanatic in the world would find something to enjoy at Fan Expo Dallas. Literally hundreds of booths and vendors line the convention room floors. They sell anything from toys and collectibles to t-shirts and weapons. No subgenre is left untouched, from anime to superheroes and science fiction. If you’ve never been, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on. If you’ve been before, you know you have to go back next year.

Click below to see more pictures from Fan Expo Dallas 2016.
Fan Expo Dallas 2016