IRVING, TX—Hosted by Ben Stevens and Philip Wise, who also run a similar event called the Dallas Comic-Con, Fan Days is a geeky gathering of comic book fans, dealers, writers, artists, and anyone else interested in the four-color adventures of men and women in tights. And, as with most of the bigger cons, Fan Days is a place to meet and greet sci-fi celebrities.
This year’s Fan Days, which will take place at the Irving Convention Center Oct. 19-21, is a star-studded attraction, boasting the likes of Stan “The Man” Lee, Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), and animator/director Ralph Bakshi (Cool World, Wizards), among numerous others.
And, of course, there will be the requisite dealer’s room, with vendors selling Golden and Silver Age comic books, rare paperbacks, first-edition hardcover books, vintage movie posters, out-of-print CD soundtracks, graphic novels (many of which will be marked down to 50% off), old toys, and much more.
Johnny Loyd of Fort Worth, who has been going to comic book conventions since 1985, never misses a local sci-fi celebration, and he frequently travels out of state to go to indulge his favorite hobby. Loyd collects super-hero action figures and Star Trek items, and he still remembers a find he made at a Dallas Fantasy Fair during the late 1980s.
“I got a rare Cyborg Super Powers action figure in the package for just $50,” Loyd said. “Now he goes for $350 to $400.” (Cyborg, a member of the Teen Titans at the time, was released in relatively low numbers in the third and final wave of Kenner’s beloved Super Powers line, which was in production from 1984-1986).
Loyd also collects celebrity autographs and photos. At Fan Days, he’s looking forward to meeting Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer, both of whom starred in the 1987 cinematic hit, Starship Troopers. Meyer also played Oracle in the short-lived Birds of Prey television series (2003), which was based on the DC comic book of the same name.
“Convention organizers have gotten smarter over the years,” Loyd said. “They emphasize celebrities more, and that brings people in.”
At the most recent Dallas Comic-Con, which was May 19-20, Ben Stevens was hoping for around 15,000 fans. What he got instead was close to 25,000 attendees, which meant long lines, long waits, and some frustration among fans. Anticipating a similar turnout for Fan Days, Stevens has increased the forthcoming event to three days, rearranged various line configurations, and added extra concession stands.
Father and daughter enjoying cosplay (costume play) at last year’s Fan Days.