Since I’m not writing or running MovieGeekFeed.com anymore, I’ve begun to participate in the Dallas Sci-Fi Expos and Comic-Cons in a different way. I used to show up with a camera in one hand and a video recorder clutched in the other and do nothing but run around trying to get interviews with actors and cover Q&A panels. Things sure have changed since then. I’ve recently become involved in volunteering for the events and helping out with set-up and such. All I can say is that everybody who attends one of the Sci-Fi Expo or Comic-Con events better appreciate the amount of work that goes into it. Don’t get me wrong – I had a blast and met and spent time with some great actors and artists. Let’s give a daily breakdown of how I spent last weekend volunteering and serving the good coordinators of Dallas Comic-Con.
First, let me give you a little information on who was at this latest Dallas Comic-Con event. For the main media guests you had the amazing Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner, Miami Vice, Green Hornet, Stand and Deliver), Luciana Carro (Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Caprica), Alan Harris (The Empire Strikes Back), Lar Park Lincoln (Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood, Knot’s Landing, House II: The Second Story), Mike Edmonds (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Time Bandits, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Billy Blair (Jonah Hex, Machete, Mongolian Death Worm), and Greg Ingram (Machete, Sin City, and Super).
There was also a ton of great comic book artists and writers in attendance to meet and greet their adoring fans. Among these creative geniuses were Keith Pollard (Co-creator of Black Cat, Artist of Spider-Man, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Thor, Vigilante), Adam Warren (artist for Manga Star Wars and Iron Man: Hypervelocity), Angel Medina (artist for Spawn, KISS: Psycho Circus, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk), Pat Broderick (Batman, Detective Comics, Green Lantern, Swamp Thing, X-Men), John Lucas (Superman, Deadpool, The Spirit), Josh Howard (Dead@17, Ghostbusters), Robert James Luedke (Eye Witness series), and at least 24 more. There was a lot of talent sandwiched in that convention center.
I arrived Friday afternoon to help set the event up the day before it started. When I arrived at the venue, there were tables covered with white cloths lining all the walls of the corridors and alcoves. Some of the artists and vendors had already shown up and started setting up. I was immediately put to work sorting t-shirts, posters, stickers, and other free items for the free tables and giveaways. I’ve never seen so many promotional t-shirts in my life. There had to be like five big cases of Last Exorcism shirts in all different sizes. There were six to seven tubes of Resident Evil 4 full size posters. There’s no way that anyone who wanted a poster for that movie didn’t get one. Haha! After doing that, I helped the illustrious Comic-Con coordinator Mark Walters put comics in plastic sleeves and other small tasks like that. I also ran into a vendor who had purchased a Donald Duck Shadow Trooper from Star Wars Celebration V. The cool thing about this particular product was that there were only 5,000 of them made and this guy had picked up, by chance, number 1138. Now anyone who knows anything about the history of Star Wars and George Lucas knows the significance of that number. Lucas’ first film was THX-1138 and he has actually used those numbers in Star Wars as well. We thought it would be neat if he put it up on E-bay for sale at $113.80. I haven’t heard what came of that.
Saturday came very quickly and I was up at the Richardson Civic Center by about 8:30. The day started off with some entrance and pricing fliers being hung on the doors. After some more busy work, I was given my first real assignment for the day. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I was going to be the money handler and escort for the great Edward James Olmos. I am such a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica and Blade Runner. What an honor it was to work with this great actor. Mr. Olmos was a true gentleman and took the time to talk to each and every fan that came up to him. It was also very moving to see how he has influenced so many Hispanics to become teachers and other such things in their lives. We spoke about Galactica, Blade Runner, and whether or not he would end up directing any Caprica episodes. He said he had been approached but it never ended up happening.
I was then told to go help the very charming Luciana Carro with her booth. Two Galactica actors in one day – I had to be dreaming! Ms. Carro was meeting fans and signing autographs. Luciana is a very nice lady and the guys were all fawning over her, of course. Many of them bought Kiss cards, which were a white card that she put lipstick on and kissed them. It was pretty funny to see how many guys bought them. We had a really good conversation about her fiancee and life in general.
I got to sit in on Edward James Olmos’ Q&A session. It was very interesting to hear him talk about Hispanic influence on the American culture, his memories of literally living through the L.A. riots, going to the U.N. for Galactica, and filming memories from different movies and TV shows. He is a very passionate speaker and was very attentive to every question that was asked. His Q&A was over an hour and fifteen minutes long. After that, I escorted him to do his photo opportunities, where people pay to get their picture taken with him professionally. He was very warm and shook hands and hugged people when they came up to get their photos done.
Besides a little wandering through the extremely full and very busy Vendor Room, that was about the extent of my day. I talked to Josh Howard a bit about what’s going on with the Dead@17 movie adaptation and some future projects he is doing. I also chatted very briefly with writer / artist Robert James Luedke, who did the Eye Witness graphic novel series.
I didn’t get to the event on Sunday until around 2PM. I was trying to get there earlier in case Luciana Carro needed help with her booth after her Q&A. I got to the event and she had cancelled her panel. Since she didn’t seem to need any help, I ran over to Con runner Mark to find out what I could do. In between doing some small chores for him, I basically just did an interview with Robert James Luedke about his Eye Witness series. We discussed how people react to his Christian comic series at the big conventions and interesting things. That interview can be found here. I then went to get my Detective Comics print signed by artist Pat Broderick. I collect autographs from everybody who has worked on Batman, Detective Comics, or The Spirit comic books. He was a very nice guy, as was his wife who I met when she came to see Edward James Olmos at his booth. Then I ran over to artist Angel Medina’s booth to have him sign a KISS print and comic book he had drawn. Very cool guy. He said he will be doing a Batman comic sometime in the future, which is very exciting. I also met Alan Harris, who played the bounty hunter Bossk in The Empire Strikes Back. He had flown nine hours from England to get to this event. He shared with me that he was also the guy who was cast in the carbonite block that was used in Empire when Han Solo gets frozen. Since Harrison Ford didn’t want to be covered in plaster for hours, they had Harris do the casting and then cut his face out and replaced it with Ford’s. What interesting facts you pick up at these conventions. After that, I just helped Mark pack up some of his comics and products before calling it a day.
If you’ve never been to a Dallas Comic-Con or Sci-Fi Expo and you’re a movie, comic, collectible, or toy fan you’re doing yourself a grave injustice. These are extremely well-organized events that bring out the best in genre actors, collectible vendors, and comic book artists from all over the world. Do yourself a favor and check the next one out in October. It’s Star Trek Fan Days and will feature William Shatner, Christopher Lloyd, and more.
For more information on the Sci-Fi Expos and Comic-Cons in the Dallas area, go here.