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Pop culture fans gather for Dallas Comic Con Fan Days

Photo: Everyone’s favorite “How to Train Your Dragon” character, Toothless, meets young fans at Dallas Comic Con Fan Days. /Photo by Adam Stephens

If it is a movie, a comic, a television show, an anime, a cartoon, or a video game, you could find it represented at the Dallas Comic Con Fan Days. Held at the Irving Convention Center on Valentine’s Day weekend, fans of all things pop culture came out in colorfully costumed droves to meet celebrities and enjoy a variety of activities.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Fan Days featured a Valentine’s Day themed activity called ‘Sci-Fi Speed Dating.’ Eligible singles had a chance of meeting people who shared their love of pop culture and making a love connection. There were sessions available for everyone, including those within the LGBTQ community.

One of the main draws of any comic convention is the chance to meet celebrities. This year’s event featured a question and answer session with the original cast members of Dukes of Hazzard: John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach (Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke). The three answered questions regarding the show, the movie, and their other appearances.

When asked what advice he would give his younger self early in his acting career, Schneider answered, “Words are very important. Some are fantastic, and some are very damaging. ‘Cheated’ is a bad word that can cost you twenty million.”

Other panels featured actors from more recent shows, such as cousins Robbie Amell (Stephen Jameson from The Tomorrow People and Firestorm from The Flash) and Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen from Arrow). Both actors addressed questions from fans young and old about their current shows (making sure to skirt around questions asking for spoilers).

“I think Flash is more fun than some other TV shows,” Robbie said. “It’s easier to just have a good time watching it. Of course, right now we have good versions of DC and Marvel. It’s a lucky time right now for comic book shows and movies.”

“I like playing someone heroic,” Stephen said. “In my early career, I got a little worried, because out of my first seven jobs, the one time I wasn’t a villain, I was a hooker, and I wondered about that. I like playing Oliver, because he has moments that are heroic and some moments that aren’t so heroic, which I think humanizes him.”

Stephen Amell’s panel was crashed halfway through by WWE Wrestler Stardust (Cody Rhodes) who, after much scenery-chewing, presented him with a Slammy Award, which Amell won last year from the WWE under the “Celebrity Moment of the Year” category. Both celebrities signed the trophy and announced that it would be raffled off in order to raise money for Elijah Mainville, a young boy battling cancer. Stardust then proceeded to splash Amell with water before making his exit.

Other celebrities included Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Bruce Greenwood (Pike from Star Trek: Into Darkness), Will Friedle (Boy Meets World), and Sean Pertwee and David Mazouz (Gotham). Fans had plenty of opportunities for photo ops and autographs. Various comic book artists made appearances as well, including Neal Adams, known for creating some of the most iconic modern imagery for DC Comics characters.

Also featured was a cosplay costume contest held in the Grand Ballroom and hosted by the Joker, where fans of all ages had an opportunity to show off custom-made costumes. Other attractions included a Star Wars Universe panel where members of fan groups such as The 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, Astromechs, and Galactic Academy discussed their groups and their charity work; a UGC Gaming Lounge holding tournaments for Halo 5, Super Smash Bros. 4, and Super Smash Bros. Melee; various workshops and seminars held by professionals who offered portfolio reviews, and a retailer area featuring a vast array of collectibles of all kinds.

“We love that our fans cherish the all-out fandom experience that is Dallas Fan Days,” Dallas Comic Con Fan Days Show Director Andrew Moyes said. “The die-hard affection they show at this event makes us want to have fantastic programming each year. It’s a wonderful relationship.”