It’s good to be a sci-fi fan, especially if you live in North Texas.
This weekend, two conventions catering to nerd culture are descending on the area, one featuring a dash of Hollywood glamor, the other with more of a literary bent.
Both will encourage you to let your geek flag fly.
DALLAS COMIC SHOW
Hosted by longtime convention organizer Mark Walters, Dallas Comic Show boasts the size and star power of a premier event, but without the exorbitant fees.
“We’re trying to offer fans some of that exciting ‘big box’ show flavor they love, but without breaking the bank,” Walters says. “I’ve worked hard to keep admission costs low so fans can attend, shop and get what they want without maxing out their credit cards.”
The budget-friendly admission fee to DCS will grant you access to a vast vendors room, where you can browse rows and rows of comic books, T-shirts, posters, collectible toys and other memorabilia. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself shopping alongside Harley Quinn, Spider-Man or “The Walking Dead’s” Rick Grimes — many attendees will come dressed as their favorite characters, and most will be happy to stop and pose for a picture free of charge.
You can also attend an assortment of panels, most notably celebrity Q&As.
“The kid in me is freaking out over having Gil Gerard and Erin Gray from ‘Buck Rogers’ together again,” Walters says. “And John Wesley Shipp from ‘The Flash’ and Helen Slater from ‘Supergirl’ are both such awesome people. I’m excited we’ve assembled such a fun list.”
Comic book legends like Neal Adams (‘Batman,’ ‘Green Lantern’) and Howard Chaykin (‘Star Wars’) will appear as well.
“We’ve got a great mix of comic book talent,” Walters says. “Adam Hughes doesn’t do many shows, and he’s making his only Texas appearance in 2017 with us. So many of the comic guys are doing great work right now: Nick Derington’s art on ‘[Doom] Patrol’ is stellar; Mark Brooks is killing it on Han Solo; and Phil Jimenez is doing amazing stuff.”
There are additional fees for celebrity autographs and photo-ops, but many of the comic book creators, including such local artists as Kerry Gammill (“Superman”) and Steve Erwin (“Deathstroke the Terminator”), will sign for free. Sketches, of course, will cost extra.
“For folks who have never been to one of these types of events before, this would be a great way to start,” Walters says.
If you’re the kind of sci-fi fan who prefers the printed page to hobnobbing with celebrities, check out ConDFW, a three-day event boasting more than 60 panelists, including writers, artists, poets, scientists, engineers and educators.
The most prominent guest will be Rachel Caine, a prolific novelist who lives in Fort Worth. In addition to selling and autographing her books, she’s hosting a writers’ workshop focused on “taking a novel from idea to the hands of readers.”
“We asked Rachel to be 2017’s Author Guest of Honor because she’s a New York Times bestselling author who’s written more than 50 novels,” says ConDFW founding member Stephanie Folse. “We also thought it appropriate that with a move to Fort Worth, we feature a Fort Worth author.”
Previously held in Addison, Richardson and Dallas, ConDFW is in its 16th year. It was started by a group of friends who met through Cepheid Variable, the science-fiction club at Texas A&M University.
“We wanted to re-create the camaraderie we’d had there, and when running AggieCon, the longest-running student-run science-fiction convention in the U.S.,” Folse said.
Many ConDFW attendees go every year, giving the show a bit of a family reunion vibe, but Folse says the event is welcoming to all readers and genre fans. She also says that you may make some new friends.
“We encourage newcomers to hit a variety of panels,” she says. “You can find something that suits your interests, whether it’s art, science, humor or publishing industry talk. Discussions tend to continue in the hotel lobby and bar long after the panel has ended.”
Between panels, Folse says, you can “take a walk through the dealers room, where you’ll find books, comics, jewelry, arts and crafts, and costuming supplies. Then take a break in our open gaming area, where you’re sure to find someone interested in playing one of the many tabletop or card games from our Wall of Games.”
There’s also an art show scheduled, along with a charity book swap/auction and a sci-fi spelling bee, the last of which Folse says is one of the more popular activities each year.
Dallas Comic Show
- 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
- Irving Convention Center
- 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving
- Tickets: Saturday, $20; Sunday, $10; both days, $25; child 6-12, $5 (children under 6 are free); VIP, $60
- Opens 2 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
- Radisson Hotel Fort Worth Fossil Creek
- 2540 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth
- Tickets: 1-day $30; 3-day, $45; child 6-12 1-day, $15; child 6-12 3-day, $20 (children under 6 are free)