You know the cast of every comic book movie before TMZ does, your bed still has Star Wars sheets (original ones, not the prequels), and you consider dressing up as a White Walker serious business. Unfortunately, you had a work thing this weekend and missed out on the Dallas Fan Expo at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Obviously, the Fan Expo was filled with comic books, people in costumes and celebrities eager to meet their fans, but what else happened Friday through Sunday? Fear not — we’ll clue you in on some of the things you missed by not going to Fan Expo.
Burn searing hot ink Into your flesh
Not so long ago, if you wanted a tattoo at a comic book convention, you had to pay a guy with a Bic pen and lighter to give you some prison ink in the parking lot. You asked for SpongeBob riding a skateboard, but instead Scary Parking Lot Man tattooed a teardrop on your cheek, and then you got fired from your job at the bank. The whole debacle could have been avoided if you'd gotten a tattoo on the convention floor of the Fan Expo.
Marc Draven and his company, Ink Fusion Empire, create intricate tattoos at conventions around the country and attended the Dallas Fan Expo for their second year. Throughout the weekend, the area known as the Tattoo Zone was booked to capacity with patrons taking advantage of Ink Fusion Empire’s talents. The tattoo artists created original works or covered up ink to make people hirable again.
Give Ben Affleck your tax return
If your dream was to meet Batman, you finally had your chance — Val Kilmer attended and took pictures. If you don’t consider Kilmer to be Batman (no one does), Ben Affleck was also there to smile politely as you took a picture with him. Because Affleck is a man of the people, a millionaire happy to meet his fans, he only charged a cool $500 to take a picture with him and sign a keepsake. The $500 combo was called the Ultimate Ben Affleck Package, which isn’t a term even Jennifer Garner ever used.
If you’re some kind of pauper and didn’t have $500 to give Affleck for a minute of his time, then for $250, you could have either a signature or a picture. If you see reports saying the economy is doing poor, the long lines to meet Affleck were reassurance money is still available to buy the essentials.
Meet the love of your life
Batman may be a lifelong bachelor, but that doesn’t mean the other Batmen in attendance at the Fan Expo wanted the same fate. Geek Speed Dating hosted a free speed-dating sessions to match Supergirls with their Supermen (not the best example because they’re cousins, but you get the point). Lines as long as 50 male hopefuls waited for the room to fill with enough open-minded females to participate in two-minute dates.
After an hourlong session of dates, the singles gave feedback about whom they would like to have a longer date with and let modern love take its course. This might seem like an unconventional way to date, but at least you see your better half in a costume now and not when you come home early from work.
Own a box of random junk
All over the convention floor were booths filled with mystery boxes for sale. The prices varied from $25 to $99, and the contents of the boxed were undisclosed. The boxes were a popular item at the Fan Expo, with many convention-goers carrying around at least one while they shopped for things they could actually see. The promise of rare collectibles models the successful Loot Crate service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with random goodies such as T-shirts, posters or toys.
The industry is massive, with Loot Crate boasting sales of more than 14 million crates within its first five years. So learn from this — the next time you’re having a yard sale, just pack your trash into a sealed box. Watch as cars filled with people start popping curbs to take home wedding presents you weren’t able to return for store credit.
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Discover the next Picasso
For people who didn’t have Affleck sign their overdrafted debit cards, the Artist Alley section had art of all types available for purchase. In the Artist Alley, up and coming artists had their work on display next to titans of the comic book industry such as Rob Liefeld and Greg Capullo. The area was a highlight of the convention, showcasing untapped talent in multiple fields of expression.
Walking through the booths, an attendee could find masters in woodwork, metalwork, watercolor, leatherwork, sketch and even original self-published novels. In a museum, you can’t pick up a painting without being kicked out, but in the Artist Alley, not only could you touch an original work, but you also had the creator in front of you to answer questions. Creators were happier if you gave them money because making art is great, but getting paid for it is better.
Learn life lessons from Chuck Norris
The man, the myth, the Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris, was there to impart his wisdom to people in the main theater. Chuck Norris didn’t need your money to speak to you; Chuck Norris makes his own money, and it’s accepted worldwide. There were a lot of ex-superheroes present at Fan Expo, but Norris was the only celebrity who could double as his own security.
Norris was available to take photos and sign collectibles for fans, but the crowd packed in Sunday morning to hear stories from the famed action star. Missing out on seeing him speak wouldn’t necessarily make your life worse, but it’s scientifically proven that everyone Chuck Norris speaks to is cured of all ailments and lives an extra 100 years.