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Pop Culture Orgy Fan Expo Brings John Cusack, Stan Lee and William Shatner to Town

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Comic conventions have become snarling, hungry beasts that can never be sated. Every year they get bigger, with more parties, famous faces and costumed fans ready to declare their love for their favorite movie, show or comic book franchise. If this metaphorical beast was itself a comic book character, it would be something akin to a cross between the Incredible Hulk and the Joker, and it would be inspiring fear in the hearts of villains all over Dallas, since Fan Expo Dallas kicks off at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center this weekend.

This year's gathering celebrating comics, games and movies runs from Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 5, and features a number of famous faces. You can meet and take pictures with John Cusack; director Kevin Smith and his trusty pal Jason Mewes; Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez; Star Wars' Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew; and Star Trek's William Shatner and George Takei. Shatner and Takei will presumably be at separate booths considering how well they get along with each other.

"Comic conventions" have expanded far beyond comics, so that now they're more about pop culture in general. But if you're still in it purely for the comics, you'll also get to meet legends such as Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and acclaimed comic writer and artist Frank Miller.
If you're worried about your nervous facial expressions and sweaty palms leaving a negative impression on your favorite celebrity, you can focus on the weekend's other activities, like the opening night celebration at Hard Rock Cafe on North Houston Street — which will include a performance by comedic musician Brentalfloss — an official after party with a "Steampunk time travel" theme at the Church Lounge on Swiss Avenue and an "Exit Tunes" dance party with DJ Ryu and DJ Korsk at the convention center.

Other attractions include costume contests for cosplayers eager to put their best threads to the test; a "Geekfest Film Festival" featuring a number of independent movies for the discerning film geek; a live reading of the original Ghostbusters script using the unique voices of famous cartoon voice artists such as Bill Farmer, Richard Horvitz and Jennifer Hale; and original models of monsters from Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Plan on showing up or the Expo will be angry. You wouldn't like the Fan Expo when it's angry. 

Daily and three-day passes for Fan Expo Dallas, $25-$129, can be purchased online or at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St. Expo hours are 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. More info at fanexpodallas.com.

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