Fan Expo unites creators and enthusiasts

Jack Ramirez Bernal and Jonathan Lin
Staff Writers

The annual Fan Expo, a three-day event for fans of animation, comics, video games, TV shows and movies, took place at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas May 3-5. Fans had the opportunity to express their love and passion for all things tailored to die hard fans.

Attendees had the chance to meet famous celebrities in person, attend discussion panels and purchase all kinds of toys, clothing and memorabilia. There was also room for those who enjoy roleplaying as their favorite characters, also known as cosplayers.

Lucie Pohl, a voice actress for “Overwatch,” is shocked as Ren, a cosplayer dressed as Mercy, directs her attention to another exhibit.

Lucie Pohl, a voice actress for “Overwatch,” is shocked as Ren, a cosplayer dressed as Mercy, directs her attention to another exhibit.

Attendees had the opportunity to meet celebrities including “Shazam” star Zachary Levi, “Designated Survivor” and “24” star Kiefer Sutherland and cast members from “Back to the Future,” “Luke Cage,” “The Flash” and other shows.

There were also appearances by Peter Cullen, the voice of Autobot leader, Optimus Prime from the “Transformers” franchise, Lucie Pohl and Gaku Space as popular “Overwatch” characters Mercy and Genji respectively, and voice actors for other games and animes. Cosplay celebrities Yaya Han, Liui Aquino and Mcubed were among those who came to interact with the fans.

People had the opportunity to get autographs from and pictures with some of the celebrity guests and purchase merchandise.

The event also showcased several panel discussions. One of them was Yaya Han’s panel on designing and constructing her cosplay costumes—in this case, the construction and design of a Batgirl suit.

“As cosplayers, it’s all about socialization.” Han said. “It’s all about your comfort level and creativity.”

Han tackled the details of cosplay design, from the materials to the different types of fabrics used for creativity and functionality. She also discussed the dilemma of establishing the line between creative freedom and staying true to the source material.

“If you can’t find the reference, make the costume,” she said. “Accuracy should not stop you from cosplaying.”

Former Richland professor Jean-Patrick Nova dressed as the Gate monster.

Former Richland professor Jean-Patrick Nova dressed as the Gate monster.

Another panel introduced the new streaming series, “The Gate,” by Kevin Huckabee. Filled with alchemy, dark magical arts, monsters and the theme of vengeance and destiny, this new series combines the elements of horror and the supernatural.

Huckabee described how he got the inspiration for the project when he was 18 and lost his father to illness. That led him to the idea of controlling one’s own inner darkness to overcome personal obstacles.

Jean-Patrick Nova, a former media arts professor from Richland who wore the Gate creature costume, talked about the potential of Huckabee’s franchise.

“The social media momentum is already behind it,” Nova said. “He is out to create cult following and he’s got a really long mythology behind it, so definitely that sort of market is a good opportunity.”

“The Gate” franchise is being produced in Dallas. The team working on the project has a contract with Crypt TV and has released a short film. Huckabee and the development staff are aiming to take “The Gate” beyond film production and into the business of comic books and videogames.

Fan Expo 2019 allowed all those who attended to connect with people with an attraction for all that is geek in the media worlds of sci-fi, horror, videogames and more. Regardless of fandom or the franchise, people came to express their insights, passion and creativity.