While the first day was an amazing experience, the 2nd was even better. Saturday was the first full day of the Comic Con, and the schedule was packed. It was to consist of many open panels from great artists and actors as well as more time spent mulling over some of my favorite comic books. I was excited! Today was going to be a good day.
Upon arriving at ICC, I noticed a few changes, notably, the parking situation. Understandably, Saturday always has more people than Friday, but there were tons today. On Friday, I was able to park in the garage adjacent to the Convention Center which made things incredibly easy. On Saturday, I had to park a considerable distance away in order to find a space. This could have been made easier if there were attendants or some signage available. While searching I ended up driving for about fifteen minutes in order to find the area they were currently stacking cars. This was frustrating, but the comics made me feel better.
One of the new things initiated by Fan Days this time around was an intense weapons screening process. Many other Cons do this as well and it’s for obvious reasons. You can’t have a bunch of nerds running around holding ninja stars and beating each other over the heads with Thor’s hammer. This task was efficiently done by the staff though. They did an excellent job of getting fan goers through the entrance in a short time frame. As each cosplayer came through, they had their weapons tagged with orange flagging tape. However, I wasn’t sure exactly what the staff was screening for. Seriously, all kinds of weapons were getting tagged. From a three year old’s foam sword to Indiana Jones’ whip to electric lightsabers to giant plastic hammers. While I understand the necessity of identifying dangerous weapons, there seemed to be little discrepancy when it came to letting weapons in. Not that I’m complaining. My costume consisted of a bag of guns. I would have been pissed if I couldn’t bring them in.
Now that I mention it, you can’t go to a Con without dressing up. By not participating in cosplay, otherwise known as costume replaying, y etter known as costume roplaying ou really miss out on an important aspect of the Con. The camaraderie of the people attending is excellent. Every single person there shares your interest in the events like you do. They grew up with these characters, they changed their lives, and they continue to share their love for them. As a huge fan of the show Walking Dead, I attended dressed as Rick Grimes. Immediately, love was shown, and I spent the first few hours talking about the show with other fans, taking pictures, as well as reciprocating with other costume wearers. Bring a good camera because you will take hundreds of pictures. To me, this is the best part. You will make tons of friends at a Con, and I continue to every time. There were hundreds of costume attired attendees. Captain Jack Sparrow was there, countless Star Wars and Star Trek costumes, numerous superheroes, 15 Deadpools as always, several anime characters, Link and Princess Zelda, Ms. Marvel was a winner, Harley Quinn, and your occasional Space dog.
After spending a few hours groping as many rare comics as possible, I decided that it was probably a good idea to attend as many panels as I could. I mean I wanted to see some famous people too. So I went upstairs a few times and was able to view a few Q&As. The first I found was Ralph Bakshi. Ralph is popular from Fritz the Cat and Coonskin, popular stories from the 1960s and 70s. His panel was interesting, and he discussed comics and their connections to socio-economic problems in the 60s and 70s. Way over my head, Waaa whaaa. I talked to him later though, and he seemed like a really cool guy. He loves Makers Mark which is fine by me. After a break, I attended Alan Tudyk and Gina Torres’ panel. This was the best one of the day and the pair was hilarious. On screen, the duo helped to make the cult classics Serenity and Firefly popular and continue to have that same cult following at Cons. There were lots of fans, and Alan talked about his new role in Wreck it Ralph while Gina sang us all a song. Towards the end of the day, I attended Lance Henriksen’s panel too. This was another interesting panel and Lance discussed working on Aliens, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Millenium, as well as explaining what an alimony film is.
Like I said before, the booths at Fan Days were packed to the brim. Anything and everything you can imagine was packed into this room. Needless to say there were several that caught my eye. I’m a huge comic nerd and got the chance to meet some really interesting people manning them. A man named “Henry,” whom I did not get a last name from, helped me find an excellent Ms. Marvel comic. There were several internet themed booths helping people find cosplay gear or comics online. Most of all, the artists ruled the aisles. Personally, I ended up buying a few prints from Jon Hughes that will find comfortable homes in my house. To anyone who has not been to a Con before, be prepared to spend a small fortune unless you hunt for deals here. The signatures can also empty your wallet pretty quickly, but are well worth it to loyal fans. On a side note, I would also like to mention that to anyone buying stuff at Cons, be prepared to carry it. Because of this, I like to wait until the end of the day or buy on a less busy day. I bought a few comics on Friday, and it was easy to take back to my car and reenter. However, on a day like Saturday, you’re stuck carrying prints, toys, and expensive comics unless you want to hike 30 minutes to your car. That’s including ten minutes just to get through the weapons screening again.
All in all, Saturday was a great event and I got to meet some great people as well as get some even better nerd gear. The last bit of the day was filled with a Costume Contest which is always entertaining and gives you the chance to take some great pictures of all the great cosplay costumes throughout the event. Some of my favorites include a life size Darth Sideous, Iron Woman, Princess Zelda, Tomb Raider, Bane, Batman, Penguin…I could go on but you should go see yourself next time. Or better yet, make your own and join in. I met a few people that drove up to 10+ hours to get to Dallas for the Con and the event staff was incredibly helpful and friendly. The food, of course, could have been better than hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels, but is worth it for the ability to have all these great things in one place. I could not wait for tomorrow but I couldn’t believe it was almost over.
Review and Photos by Jason Burleson