By Ethan Harmon
Upon approaching the Irving Convention Center, I was struck with a sense of familiarity. I had attended this convention multiple times – along with Dallas Comic Con – so I had a good idea of what to expect. As it turned out, trusting my previous experience paid off in full. I got in line on the fourth floor, avoiding the cold, anticipating the moment when I receive my wrist-band and wonder throughout the convention floor.
While waiting, I chatted with those around me, and even took the time to check out some of the cosplayers. I was surprised looking at most of them; the attention to detail was incredible, whether it was a Stormtrooper or the Doctor. Cosplayers pride themselves on their outfits, and considering there was a competition for best outfit in show, I’m sure many were both nervous and excited to debut their wear.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we finally made our way to the registration booths and began to shuffle our way onto the main floor. It was all too familiar, not that familiarity is a bad thing. Booths were set up similarly to last year, with the massive wall of t-shirts greeting you as you made your way through the cramped doorway. Statues, toys, collectibles, comic books, trading cards, cosplay wear and other fanfare decorated the first half of the show floor.
Usually, when I attend these conventions, I have an idea of what I’m looking for, and I generally try to haggle down the price. Unfortunately, the Sci-Fi Expo is notorious for the inability to strike a deal (hey, that’s just my opinion!). The value of a nerd collectible is placed completely on the person attempting to make a purchase. Either I just can’t justify a certain price, or my passion for Spider-man just isn’t worth $400 (I mean, come on! That’s more than my car payment).
After a bit of sight-seeing in the exhibition area, I moved on to my favorite part of any convention: Artist Alley. The Artist Alley is always packed with local, independent creators, hoping to sell pieces of art, comic books or draw something special for a fan. Occasionally, the Alley has some big-name artists and writers – which is always cool to meet people from Marvel or DC – but I usually focus on the local talent. I attend various conventions myself, promoting my comic, The Singularity, so I understand what it is like to be behind the table.
I shook some hands and had quick chats with a lot of indie creators, which is always a highlight. Unfortunately, I was unable to talk with my artist buddy, Devin Kraft nor the infamous Brian Stelfreeze. It was a bit of a letdown, but I had to press onward, and venture deeper into the con. I decided to check out the celebrity panels on the upper floors, hoping to score a photo, an autograph or an interview. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The lines were huge, which essentially dispelled my hope of meeting Karl Urban or Karen Gillan.
I spent a bit more time wondering around and then decided to head out. It was a fun experience, as always, but I want them to add something new or different for the next Sci-Fi Expo. The Irving Convention Center is a bit cramped (luckily, they are moving Dallas Comic Con to a different locale). It seems like I see many of the same booths from year to year. I hope that next year, they decided to add something new to make the experience a bit less familiar. But, that being said, it is still a fun way to spend a day or the weekend. It’s family friendly, fun and it is something that should be experienced at least once.