Dallas Comic Con was founded by Ben Stevens (producer of the Sci-Fi Expo), Philip Wise (owner of Star Wars fansites rebelscum.com and theforce.net) with the assistance of consultant Mark Walters (of Dallas Comic & Toy Fest and Dallas Fantasy Fair). The inaugural Dallas Comic Con was held on October 12-13, 2002. It drew about 5,000 pop culture fans. Special guests included famous actors such as Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), Peter Mayhew (Star Wars), Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Traci Lords (Blade), Jackson Bostwick (Shazam!), David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London), and others.
Despite what its name suggests, Dallas Comic Con/Fan Expo Dallas hasn’t always been held in the city of Dallas. Early editions were held in Plano and Richardson. In 2011, the event moved to Irving. Currently, the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas hosts a spin-off event, Dallas Fan Days, while the main festival is held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas that contains over 93,000 square meters of exhibit space.
Since 2014, Texas’s largest fan convention has been owned, produced and managed by Informa Exhibition (FAN EXPO HQ) which also organizes fan conventions in Orlando, Regina, Vancouver and Toronto. As Informa has named most of its conventions Fan Expo, Dallas Comic Con was renamed to Fan Expo Presents Dallas Comic Con in 2015 and to Fan Expo Dallas in 2016.
Fan Expo Dallas is a three-day event that attracts over 200,000 attendees each year. The convention’s programming includes costume contests, parties, cosplay red carpet, the exhibitor area, the Artist Alley, the Small Press/Indy Pavilion, special events, panels, Q&As, workshops and seminars, a speed dating event, meetings with international award-winning and best selling afters, and a lot of other attractions. Over 600 retailers offer everything comics, gaming, anime, sci-fi and horror, whether it’s original artwork, comics, graphic novels, toys, games, collectibles, T-shirts, or other merchandise.
Thousands of fans attend Fan Expo Dallas to interact with celebrity guests. Each year, the organizers invite actors known for their roles in science fiction and fantasy films and television shows. Attendees have a unique opportunity to participate in panels, photo ops and autograph sessions with their favorite actors. Frequent guests at Fan Expo Dallas include Summer Glau, Carry Fisher, and others. The 2014 edition of the convention even featured partial cast reunions of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Firefly and Nightmare on Elm Street.