Dallas Comic Con 2013

dccDallas Comic Con 2013 has been put to bed for another year.

I have a lot of great things to say about this con, and what great guests, dealers, and groups they had. Not only was everyone in good spirits (including William Shatner himself!), but most of the other attendees I met were generally a fun bunch showing the sense of community that I’ve longed to see up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There were some spots, especially in the dealers room, where some of us became a bit finicky. That’s to be expected considering what sort of deals we all were looking for from some awesome dealers. Let me go over the pros and cons of this convention, because as much fun as I had, there were some cons to this that should be addressed.


The Guests: Mr. Stevens and Mr. Walters did an incredible job in getting a diverse group of guests for this con. Richard Dean Anderson (MacGuyver, Stargate: SG-1), Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS, Arkham Asylum), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Natasha Henstridge (Species), Adam Baldwin (Firefly), and even Andrew McCarthy (Mannequin). There were a host of others, including Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, and Gates McFadden of Star Trek: the Next Generation fame, and two of the Power Rangers. The latter drew a very sizable crowd for their autograph lines. I keep forgetting just how popular the Power Rangers continue to be, despite knowing that Nickelodeon has given them another incarnation. I didn’t find anyone complaining about how horrible it was meeting these wonderful people. I, myself, felt a sense of personal enjoyment at how complimentary all of them were to their fans. Even in the lines that were moving pretty quickly, the actors took time to converse and make the person feel like they were important being there.

The Groups: Whenever I do a write up for a con, I usually mention the 501st as having quite a strong presence. I won’t say that it wasn’t felt here, as they did a charity event to raise money for charity, specifically for Kari Giles, who is being treated for stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I cannot tell you how awesome it is that this great group were out giving their all for charity. That’s what the 501st, outside of the Star Wars Universe, is known for.

JoshuaA group that needs a big mention is the U.S.S. Joshua. With a name like that, I guess it would be hard to deny a fandom to Star Trek, but that’s only a part of it. During Friday, my group and I were at their table and asking about certain items that interested us. Without hesitation, one of the ladies would take us over to another dealer’s table so that we might purchase the items we were looking for. My friend, Kim, ended up with a couple of sonic screwdrivers and a host of other things for just this reason. I ended up with a Zat’nik’tel (Stargate weapon). They also put up a scaled down replica of the Atlantis Stargate for photo opportunities in the main lobby. The table out there had a range of weaponry that you could use for effect in your photo. I cannot stress enough how great it was to get to have that sort of fun.

I want to thank the Joshua and the 501st for all their efforts in making the fan community that little bit more. Supporting causes and being united in fandoms, regardless of what you enjoy, is something I firmly believe we should all strive for. Groups like this make that a possibility.

Con Management: I was very elated that they made sure that people were put into the garage, for the most part, before the con opened. May in Texas can be cruel, but the breeze in the garage area was quite helpful to keep us going. It was also quite nice to have food and drinks available on Saturday outside before we went in. There were some tasty treats that tided us over for a time while we went through the Convention Center time and again.  Spiner

I was also pleased that they used both the 3rd floor and the 4th for the autographs and Q&A’s. It helped so that the artists had a chance to talk about things going on in their worlds and hand over advice to those fans that might want to get a few tips. I’m quite thrilled with the idea of giving the artists alley the time to take center stage.


Volunteers: Let me be fair on this one. I cannot blame all the volunteers, because so many of them were good people doing the job. One in particular, a kilted man working the autograph room, had a great amount of enthusiam. He was keep the line for Richard Dean Anderson entertained with his zany antics, while Mr. Anderson was at lunch. There were several others who were generally friendly and tried to be as informative as the could be. I won’t knock them all. However, there were some rather belligerent volunteers this time around. While waiting outside for our chance to get in on Saturday, I told one of my group to go tell one of the volunteers that they had a voucher for a photo opportunity with Mr. Anderson. The guy proceeded not tell her, but yell, that there was nothing to be done for it and she needed to get in line. She was told by the person at the photo shoot she should have mentioned to one of the volunteers that she had such a ticket and that they would have let her in.

I will grant that we were sitting at the tables in the garage, awaiting our chance to get into a packed to capacity building. The line was the line, and for those of us who did not have such an important ticket, it was on us that we weren’t standing in it as people were crowded in. However, when someone has such a ticket, the last thing they need is to be dressed down by someone who should calmly and politely inform an individual about what to do, and try to make sure that the rather expensive privilege is met.

Parking Garage eatery: As I said above, it was nice of the con to make sure that we had something to eat as we waited for our day to get started. The place they chose, whose name I do not recall at this moment, made a large group of people upset. Each of the food items were marked at 5 dollars per item. The drinks were 3 dollars, when we arrived. Upon finishing one drink, one of my group realized that she was still thirsty and went back for another, she was the last person to get a drink for the price originally paid. According to the server, the con representatives told them to raise the prices of the stuff outside. I don’t know if it was just for drinks or for everything. We later found out that they were charging 4 dollars per drink for everything from their sodas to store brand 16 oz bottles of water. The ones that are usually around .99 cents. I expect to pay more at a con, and that’s fine, but there was something incredibly ridiculous about such a raise in prices. 

CrowdThe Facility: The Irving Convention Center looks like an obvious place for Dallas Comic Con. It’s usually referred to as “the Sandcrawler,” as it looks like the Jawa vehicle from Star Wars. However, I’m going to bet that this convention did well over what the last DCC did numbers wise. Friday was about what a typical Sci-Fi Expo Saturday would be. Saturday and Sunday was sheer insanity with the sea of people that were there. It’s clear that this particular con has outgrown the center’s ability to hold us all. The Q&A’s on Sunday were nearly impossible to get into just due to the amount of people that wanted to attend them, but add to that the autograph room for most the media guests cut off a substantial section of that room. Understandably, in the past the Q&As haven’t filled up. However, this time the Irving Fire Marshals were telling people that no one else could enter. Dallas Convention Center might be a far better location for the event.Q&A Line

Let me be perfectly honest, for all the problems I’ve mentioned, I would not trade the fun time I had at the event. Despite the cancellation of Nathan Fillion, due to sickness on his part, the convention was a rousing success and a great time to be had. There were some things that were discussed as issues from the last time that were addressed and dealt with, and as an ever-growing con, they will keep finding these growing pains. Regardless of that, I will be gladly attending next year with a smile and a full wallet. Keep up the good work guys, you’re THE major con, and I’m proud to have watched it grow over the years!