The Dallas Comic Convention will be under new ownership and a new roof when it opens its doors to the costumed masses this May.
The convention group announced on its website that Fan Expo HQ, a division of the Swiss/British company Informa, now owns the Dallas Comic Con. For the last 12 years, C2 Ventures, also known as Official Pix, ran the local fan convention. The Star Wars autograph firm based out of Flower Mound is owned and operated by Ben Stevens and Phillip Wise.
The announcement also included a change of venue for the annual event scheduled for May 16-18. The Dallas Comic Con will move from the Irving Convention Center to the Dallas Convention Center because it needed a bigger place to house all the geek goodies they have in store for the attendees, according to event manager Mark Walters.
"This is the biggest and most ambitious thing we've ever done," Walters said.
The Fan Expo acquisition will only cover the convention side of Official Pix's business, which also includes the recent Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days in October. Walters said their exponential growth attracted Fan Expo's interest and it saw an opportunity in their fan convention business.
"It's just a situation where we've been doing shows for a lot of years and they saw it and seemed very happy with it," Walters said. "They do events in Toronto where they get hundreds of thousands of people, so they saw a lot of potential in this where they could expand out and bring some of that formula into what we've been doing. We're already in the position where we're expanding and moving to the Dallas Convention Center."
Walters said that previous Dallas Comic Con's held at the Plano and Irving Convention Centers had to move subsequent locations as the Comic Con expanded. In fact, the convention tripled in attendance in 2011 alone when it first set up shop at Irving's new convention center. The reason for their move to the Dallas Convention Center is similar and simple: They needed more space.
"We realized we had already outgrown the facility and we had to start looking somewhere to accommodate more people and more events," Walters said. "The Dallas Convention Center seemed to make the most sense."
Of course, Walters couldn't divulge exactly who or what they are planning to bring to the convention in May except that Fan Expo could bring some of the names and faces that have eluded them at cons in the past.
"We do have a lot of things in the works," he said. "There are a lot of connections and a lot of relationships that the guys at Fan Expo have with people that up until now, we haven't been able to bring down here. I think people will see some new and exciting things in May that we haven't seen so far. I feel like it's going to be a great thing for Dallas."
News of an acquisition may send off some alarm bells in comic fan's heads, but Walters assured future ticket holders that Fan Expo can deliver a show to match the bigger and better venue.
"I feel like this new acquisition with Fan Expo being involved means bigger things for Dallas," Walters said. "Dallas is finally going to get a show renowned around the world. People are going to be talking about this for years to come."