By Ethan Harmon
I have a friend – let’s call him Jack – that has never attended a comic book convention. He is a fan of superheroes and anime, but he just never made the pilgrimage to a con. So, this year, to get his feet wet and prepare him for the even bigger Dallas Comic Con, I took Jack to Fan Days, the smaller, yet still enjoyable con that begins the year. Although the con still suffers from a few gripes that I’ve expressed over the years, the two of us managed to have a great time.
We did not really have a game-plan going into the convention. We didn’t sit down and say, “Let’s go check out this booth, then meet this artist, and afterward, we can meet Green Arrow.” We, more or less, decided to hit the floor and see where the day took us. And, since the popularity of these conventions has been on the rise, the Irving Convention Center was completely packed. So, we slowly paced from booth to booth, checking out comics, shirts, weapons, and posters. Of course, Jack could not resist the temptation to buy any item that caught his attention.
While walking through the main floor, I was able to talk with my friend and fellow independent comic creator, Devin Kraft. After introducing him to Jack, the two of us talked about our upcoming projects for a bit. We soon departed, but not after I looked through his hardback graphic novel, Dragon Slayer, which looks fantastic.
I soon came across Michael Lark, better known as the artist of Lazarus for Image Comics. I met this man in the airport at New York, right as Chris (my partner in crime and the man who draws my comic, The Singularity) and I were leaving the 2013 New York Comic Con. He talked to us briefly, shook our hands, and gave us some friendly advice. And at Fan Days 2015, I was able to finally thank him for his kind words, which was a good moment for me. I was glad to see that he was in high spirits and genuinely wanted to speak with me.
However, I did not want to keep Jack waiting for too long, as it was his first convention, and ultimately, his day, so we left the main floor and went upstairs in an attempt to meet Stephen Amell and John Barrowman. And, as it has been every year, the amount of celebrity and fandom created a lot of chaos and disorganization. The lines wrapped around hallways with confusion – some even leading outside, forcing fans to bake outside during a surprisingly warm day – and the staff were quick to make matters worse (yelling at attendees, moving lines, moving them back, etc.). It was hectic, stressful, and after a long wait, the two of us decided to call it quits and head out.
And while there was a bit of disappointment (who doesn’t want to meet Captain Jack?), it remained a memorable day. I was able to see a friend and finally say a long overdue “thank you.” Jack finally took a step in a world he had wanted to be a part of and got some cool swag from the vendors. Though Fan Days can be frustrating at moments, it does build excitement for the much larger Dallas Comic Con. And after the weekend, Jack and I are now very excited to venture to the Dallas Convention Center for our next outing.