Rambler Newspapers

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Expo brings pop culture fun to Irving

Dallas Fan Days 2017 offered a weekend full of comics, celebrities, and camaraderie at the Irving Convention Center Friday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 22.

Over 20,000 die-hard fans of comic books, pop culture, and more poured into Irving to celebrate all things fandom. The show is put on every year by Fan Expo, one of the largest pop culture exhibition groups in the world. Fan Expo also puts on the larger Fan Expo Dallas show presented in the spring. James Armstrong, event coordinator for Dallas Fan Days, said the show offers a little something for everyone.

“Dallas Fan Days is a long-established celebration of all genres,” Armstrong said. “Whether you’re into comic books, anime, science fiction, fantasy, all that kind of stuff is down here at the Irving Convention Center for three days, including a lot of special guests, celebrity guests, professional comic book artists, cosplayers, and a lot of community.”

One of the biggest reasons fans come to Dallas Fan Days is to connect with some of their favorite celebrities from television and film. The show offers photo ops, autographs, and meet-and-greet panels with many celebrity guests. This year’s headliner was British actor David Tennant, best known for his roles as the 10th Doctor on Doctor Who, Zebediah Killgrave, AKA The Purple Man on Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and Detective Alec Hardy on the drama series Broadchurch. Armstrong said he was thrilled to see David Tennant come to Dallas and booking him for this year’s show was no easy feat.

“Definitely the biggest draw [of this year’s show] is Mr. David Tennant,” Armstrong said. “We have the most popular Doctor from the Doctor Who series, and everyone is very excited to have him here at the event. He’s a working actor, and it’s very difficult to land him based on his schedule. A lot of it’s done in the UK, so to have him here in Texas is really exciting.” Other guests at this year’s show were actress Mara Wilson, Graham McTavish from Outlander and The Hobbit, and Kristian Nairn, AKA Hodor from Game of Thrones.

The show also features a number of community events and activities for guests. Fans of cosplay (costume play) showed off their garb in a costume contest and also visited panels to learn tips and techniques for future outfits. Fans looking for love took part in Sci-Fi Speed Dating, a popular event where individuals could connect with fellow fans in an entirely new way. The show also introduced a brand-new kids’ area for children 12 and under, as well as several gaming rooms for board games, video games, and even old-fashioned Dungeons and Dragons tabletop gaming.

In addition to the celebrities and numerous events, many people come to the show to check out the latest comics, toys, and merchandise from both local and national vendors. Nearly 100 vendors and 40 artists came out to the show to connect with their fellow fans. Josh C. Lyman, an illustrator from Austin, Texas, makes his living on the convention circuit. Dallas Fan Days has been one of his stops for the past five years, and one of the reasons he keeps returning is because of the loyal following his art receives.

“As odd as it may sound, there are a lot of vendors out here, but I’m an artist,” Lyman said. “For me, it’s more about whether people come back. Irving is still one of those places where people do come back to the show every year.”