Sometimes you just have to let your nerd flag fly. You need to let out your inner gaming guru, your cosplay goddess, your comic ... gremlin? A good, geeky convention can be the perfect place for a mild-mannered reporter (or salesclerk, or businesswoman, or mailman) to hang out with other like-minded individuals for a day or weekend of friends and fun times.
There are a ton of great geek events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, meaning there's something for just about everyone. Here are some of the more notable events heading our way soon.
These shows don't focus too heavily on one aspect of geek culture, and instead try to be all things to all geeks.
Presented by (and known as) Dallas Comic Con, this is by far one of the biggest Dallas-Fort Worth geek events of the year, packed with panels, a huge merchant area, photo ops and more. This year's celebrity lineup is pretty stellar and includes names like Stan Lee, Nathan Fillion, Billie Piper, Adam West and more.
May 29-31 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas. Single-day prices are $25-$40 for adults, $10 for ages 6-12. fanexpodallas.com.
While its primary focus is Japanese shows and culture, A-Kon also sports guests and events related to tabletop and video games as well as a bit of music.
June 5-7 at the Hilton Anatole, Dallas. $53.75 in advance for a three-day pass. a-kon.com.
Unsurprisingly, AnimeFest is anime-centric. But in addition to showcasing artists and voice actors, the show is full of cosplay, comics and video games, though Japanese pop culture is still the focus.
Sept. 4-7 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The price is currently $40 (rates go up every month until the show), $15 for children 8-12. animefest.org.
Happening the first Saturday of every month, the North Dallas Toy Show is a good stop for collectors looking for toys, action figures, comic, trading cards and more.
While we may not be the home of shows like GenCon or PAX (San Antonio nabbed PAX South, much to my dismay), there's no real shortage of D-FW conventions to attend if you're into tabletop or video games.
Formerly known as the ScrewAttack Gaming Convention, SGC is a great video game-centric show that sports a classic arcade, tournaments, an indie game showcase, panels and more.
July 17-19 at the Embassy Suites, Frisco. $28-$195. sgconvention.com
The 20th anniversary of QuakeCon will be celebrated this year, and the show that started with a few friends in a Garland hotel is now one of the biggest PC gaming events in the world. Gamers from all over will camp out in the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area to play games with old friends and new all weekend, while general attendees can catch cool panels or get hands on with unreleased games.
July 23-26 at the Hilton Anatole, Dallas. Free for general attendance. quakecon.org
Console game tournaments, arcade machines, a LAN room, tabletop games and more are complimented by a variety of pop culture guests, including Peter Mayhew (Star Wars' Chewbacca) and Verne Troyer (Austin Powers' Mini Me).
July 24-26 at the Crowne Plaza, Addison. $15 to $150. dallasgamingexpo.com
More than 75 arcade cabinets, tournaments for various games (from retro to Super Smash Bros.), panels and vendors.
August 1-2 at Plano Centre. $15 to $50. letsplaygamingexpo.com
If old-school gaming is your thing (and why wouldn't it be?), Retropalooza is where you want to go. It's a family friendly celebration of retro games and vintage toys.
September 26-27 at the Arlington Convention Center. $10 to $30. Free for children 12 and younger. retropalooza.net
Tabletop/Pen & Paper
Into the likes of D&D and Warhammer? These events are for you.
ReaperCon is all about miniatures, and they take the hobby seriously. There are pain contests, classes, and, of course, games to play.
April 30-May 3 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lewisville. reapercon.com
If you're into old-school Dungeons & Dragons and its contemporaries, NTRPG Con has your back. Don't worry, your newer editions of D&D (or Pathfinder, or whatever you're into) are also welcome.
June 4-7 at the DFW Airport Marriot South. $25 to $55. ntrpgcon.com
Roleplaying games, board games and miniatures are the focus of Texicon, which will also feature seminars about the industry and tournaments for a couple of games.
June 25-28 at the Grapevine Convention Center. $20 to $50. texicon.net
Your favorite shows and movies
While you can get your geek show fix at several of the more all-purpose conventions, the hardest of hardcore fans might want to attend an event that's all about their favorite show.
If you want to try to encapsulate 50 years of great television, you need your own event. The highlight of WhoFest 2 will be the attendance of the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, but a variety of panels, games, contests and more celebrity guests should help make this a fun event for all Doctor Who fans. Allons-y!
April 24-26 at the Westin Dallas Fort Worth Airport Hotel, Irving. $70 for adults, $35 for children 6-12, $1 for children 5 and under. whofestdfw.com.
Horror geeks are geeks too, and they'll get a chance to meet several fan-favorite actors including Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, Sket Ulrich, Brad Dourif and Elvira.
May 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Hotel. $25 to $83.95. texasfrightmareweekend.com
Series stars Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley will be joined by other members of the Vampire Diaries cast for a weekend of panels, autographs, a costume contest and even a dance party.
August 14-16 at The Westin Park Central Hotel. creationent.com/cal/tvd_dallas.html
Supernatural is celebrating its 10th anniversary and it's still going strong. The show's stars, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, are both from Texas, and they'll be coming home along with other members of the cast for panels and autographs.
September 11-13 at the Plano Center. $30 to $170. creationent.com/cal/supernatural_dallas.htm