I Am, Convention Man

This past weekend has blown me away.

As a nerdy, geeky, wannabe comic/animation writer, I thought it was high time that I sallied up and made my way to one of the larger conventions in the surrounding area. My friends, Emily and Jake, went to the Fan Expo in Dallas last year and had the chance to meet the Weasley Twins, the late King Joffery, and many other geeky celebs. I knew that this was the place I needed to be at.

So, fast forward and I’ve bought my tickets, found us a place to stay with my old boss and friend Stephen, and gathered two of my friends to join me on this journey. Boy, what a journey it was.

Day 1

The drive was the worst part of this day as I am not much of a fan of driving through the boring flatness of Texas (sorry Texans). Once we’d braved our way through the Dallas traffic, we finally made it to the convention center. My friend Sarah, one of the two that joined me in my quest, had surprised me by saying that she’d bought an extra print for her photo op with Stan Lee, yes, THE STAN LEE, and that I’d be joining her. I couldn’t have been happier, meeting one of the greats and one of my idols. While in line, Sarah and I made friends with some of the folks around us, in particular, my new nerdy friend from West Virginia! The line finally started moving and we were on our way to meet Stan. He was just as pleasant as he’d appeared on every movie and interview I’d seen him in. We spent the rest of the day wandering around the booths and buying ridiculous items we had no need for, but who cared, THIS WAS DALLAS FAN EXPO!

Day 2

We returned the next day, Sarah and Morgan in their appropriate, photo op shirts. Me, well, I was dressed at Rick Sanchez and damn, I was rocking it. I was so excited for the day as I had planned it out in advance. The number one thing on my list? Actually being a part of the voice actor panel where they did a live script reading for The Princess Bride. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like hearing Squidward mouth off to Ms. Keane! I also witnessed a Rocky Horror shadow-cast, got to listen to the cast of RWBY talk about what it was like working together and what might be coming in season 5, and finally, I was able to speak with another one of my idols Alan Tudyk. He was there for a panel talking about his show, Con Man, with Nolan North and PJ Haarsma. I’ve never felt so honored before speaking with them and having them wish me luck in all of my endeavors. Alan even signed an old Bungie notebook he had and handed it off to me (which I have decidedly kept on my person since). I took photo after photo after photo with people who loved the fact that I was walking around, flipping people off as I yelled, “Peace Among Worlds!” (In true Rick fashion.) This was my new home, my new family, and I’d never felt more alive.

Day 3

We were pooped. There were only a few more panels that I wanted to make it out to go see and I was so thankful that I did. I was able to listen to some of the top writers for comics (including Gail Simone, Tom King, Ed Brisson, and Sean McKeever) and learn about what it takes to be a part of the industry. They were amazing and I was even able to shake hands with a few of them. I made one final go at the booths and ended up making a fantastic purchase on The Softwire series, written by PJ Haarsma. (If PJ sees this, I already finished book one and haven’t stopped since buying them!) The final act of our journey included an hour and a half wait in line to make sure that we got in to see Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy talk about The Killing Joke and how wonderful it was to work with each other.

Honestly, I don’t think I could have asked for a better first experience when it came to going to a convention. I made new friends, learned new skills and secrets, and got to speak with some of the idols that I’d worshiped for years. I can’t wait to make the trip back out there next year and continue making more friends in the world in which I was born to be in.

Stay nerdy folks!

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