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Dallas Comic Con: Fanboys and Girls Gear Up For Stan Lee, Spock and Leia

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Galaxies will collide when a pair of science fiction icons, Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy and Star Wars' Carrie Fisher, enter the same orbit at Dallas Comic Con at Irving Convention Center this weekend. If that isn't enough to incite a fanboy riot, the place might blow when headliner Stan Lee, the godfather of Marvel Comics, strolls on stage. For the uninitiated, Lee is the force behind comics like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Avengers, Incredible Hulk, and X-Men.

The 2011 Dallas Comic Con, touted as the biggest and best since its inception in 1994, has grown so much a move to the more spacious Irving Convention Center was necessary. The big names, like Nimoy, Fisher and Lee, will draw fans who love the movies. But the 300,000 square feet of convention space will largely be dedicated to the brother- and sisterhood of comic books: the writers, artists, inkers and colorists who breathe life into some of the most iconic heroes and villains created. There are many talented people attending, and these are -- purely subjective, but absolutely correct, naturally -- must-see picks:

Bernie Wrightson, the co-creator of experiment-gone-terribly-wrong Swamp Thing, a DC Comics smash hit. Wrightson's unquestioned masterpiece is a pen-and-ink illustrated version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

James O'Barr, creator of The Crow, the story of a murdered musician risen from the grave that launched the cult classic flick starring the late Brandon Lee. O'Barr released the graphic novel Sundown, a Gothic western, this year.

Jimmy Palmiotti, co-creator of Painkiller Jane and writer of Jonah Hex. Sorry guys, Kristanna Loken and Megan Fox couldn't make it.

Local outfits Lone Star Comics, Zeus Comics and Titan Comics will be in attendance to hawk stuff and talk with fellow fanboys and gals. Small press setups from around Texas will have a heavy presence. Look for Ty Tyner, Space Gun Studios and Shonuff Studios, McLain McGuire, Nate Bramble, the list goes on.

Prints, books, sketches, cartoons, collectibles, plus much more will be available for purchase. The offerings include a lithograph by legacy Marvel artist John Romita, Jr. for $20 (he'll sign it for free!) and a reprint of Lee's The Amazing Spider-Man #1 for $5 (an original copy auctions for oh, around $100k).

Most writers and artists will sign books for free, but a signature from the big players requires a ticket and a small loan. Lee charges $50 for his John Hancock and $40 for a snapshot; Nimoy leads the pack with $75 for an autograph and $65 for a photo. Fisher charges $50 for an autograph, but she isn't taking pictures. Tom Jane (The Punisher, Hung) asks an affordable $10 for a signature. A Saturday night meet-and-greet with Lee and Romita, Jr. costs a cool $350. But for über-fans, it's worth the investment.

Other notable appearances include John Wesley Shipp (The Flash, Dawson's Creek) and Richard LeParmentier, Admiral Motti in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Members of AMC's Walking Dead cast will appear Saturday on the main stage.

Online ticket sales are unavailable, but general admission tickets are $20 at the door. Kids 12 and under get in free. Dallas Comic Con takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Irving Convention Center. Check out the schedule and program at scifiexpo.com.

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