Dallas Fantasy Fair
|Dallas Fantasy Fair|
|Genre||Comic books, movies, pop culture|
|Venue||Sheraton Park Central (1983–1989)|
Marriott Park Central (1986–1988)
Market Hall Convention Center (1992–1995)
Harvey Hotel (1995)
|Organized by||Larry Lankford/Bulldog Conventions|
The Dallas Fantasy Fair was an annual multi-genre fan convention which was held between 1982 and 1995 in Dallas, Texas. From 1989 until the show's demise in 1996, it was the home of the Harvey Award ceremonies. During its heyday, the show was one of the largest comics conventions in the country, third in attendance behind the San Diego Comic-Con and the Chicago Comicon.
Most Dallas Fantasy Fairs took place over three days, From Friday to Sunday. The convention featured a large range of pop culture elements, primarily comic books but also science fiction/fantasy, film/television, animation, anime, manga, toys, horror, and collectible card games. Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, the Dallas Fantasy Fair often featured previews of upcoming films, and such evening events as a costume contest. The convention featured a large floorspace for exhibitors, including comic book dealers and collectibles merchants.
The show included an autograph area, as well as the Artists' Alley where comics artists signed autographs and sold or produced free sketches. (Despite the name, Artists' Alley could include writers and even glamour models.) Organizer Lankford was known for his generosity in regards to Artists' Alley, often giving even marginal creators free tables at the convention.
Antecedents to the Dallas Fantasy Fair included the Southwesterncon, held alternately in Dallas and Houston in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and D-Con, which occurred periodically in the late 1970s. D-Con '79 was produced by Larry Lankford, (born 1960–died Dec. 25, 2013) who went on three years later to found the Dallas Fantasy Fair.
The first Dallas Fantasy Fair was held over four days from June 10–13, 1982, by Lankford's Bulldog Productions the business name, that may have also been called Bulldog Conventions. The Fantasy Fair programming coordinator was Paul McSpadden. (McSpadden later went on to become coordinator of the Harvey Awards.)
In 1988, Bulldog Productions held three iterations of the Fantasy Fair, in the spring, summer, and fall. Throughout the summer of 1988, in addition to the Dallas-based conventions, Lankford put on two-day conventions in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. The Austin event (also known as the Austin Fanfair) became an annual affair in the late 1980s, typically attracting 500–600 attendees (the Dallas convention, meanwhile, averaged about 2,500 visitors).
Mark Walters, promoter of the later Dallas-area convention the "Dallas Comic & Toy Fest" aka "Dallas Comic Show" (est. 2000), and co-promoter of the "Dallas Comic Con" (est. 2002), attended his first convention at the 1990 Fantasy Fair; he soon went to work for Lankford and eventually rose to be his second-in-command.
In 1989–1993, Bulldog Productions put on monthly one-day "Dallas Minicons" in the area which generally attracted about 500 attendees per show.
The March 1993 presentation of the Harvey Awards at the Fantasy Fair occurred shortly after the death of the award's namesake Harvey Kurtzman; much of the show was in the form of a fund-raiser to help pay for the continuance of the awards. (That year there was also a Dallas Fantasy Fair held from June 18–20.)
The 1994 summer edition of the Dallas Fantasy Fair was held at Dallas Market Hall, and saw record attendance for the show, hitting 9500 attendees. At the time it was the third-largest show in the United States behind San Diego Comic-Con and Chicago Comic Con. Guests at the 1994 event included Jim Lee, Alex Ross, Al Williamson, Gil Kane, Peter David, Kurt Busiek, George Perez, Dave Sim, Mark Schultz, Sergio Aragones, Mark Bagley, Mat Broome, James O'Barr, Richard Corben, James O'Barr, and Jim Valentino... to name a few.
In 1995, Bulldog put on three iterations of the show, in April, August (when the Harvey Awards were presented), and November. The summer show featured guests like Rob Liefeld, Jaime Hernandez, Al Williamson, Alex Ross, James O'Barr and Jim Steranko.
The 1996 show, scheduled for July 27–28 at Market Hall, in Dallas, was cancelled on short notice due to money management issues. (The Harvey Awards which were scheduled to be presented there were never publicly presented, instead being mailed to the winners.) The Dallas Collectors Con was put together as a substitute event at the Plano Centre in suburban Plano, Texas, coordinated by Bobby Briggs and Bruce Spiegelman and then joined by John Fairless, J. David Spurlock, and James Mayfield, with official guests Bernie Wrightson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Howard Cruse, Rob Liefeld, and Kurt Busiek.
Locations and dates
This section is missing information about venues and guests.(March 2013)
- Raphael, Jordan (August 1996). "Dallas Fantasy Fair Cancelled: New Con Takes Its Place". The Comics Journal (189). p. 23.
- Melrose, Kevin (February 17, 2014). "Dallas Fantasy Fair founder Larry Lankford passes away". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources.
- Schelly, Bill (2010). Founders of Comic Fandom: Profiles of 90 Publishers, Dealers, Collectors, Writers, Artists and Other Luminaries of the 1950s and 1960s. McFarland. p. 60.
- Hopkins, David (September 19, 2012). "Mark Walters: Leader of the Geeks". D Magazine. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012.
- "People Watch". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. July 26, 1996. p. 7.
- Groth, Gary (September 1982). "Editorial". The Comics Journal (75). p. 4.
- Dean, Michael (June 2002). "Newswatch: 2002 Harvey Awards: Motivations and Mathematics". The Comics Journal (244). pp. 16–21.
- "Summer Comic Conventions," The Comics Journal #122 (June 1988), p. 26.
- Wright, Scott W. (September 10, 1989). "Funny business: Collecting comic books no longer child's play". Austin American-Statesman. p. B1.
- Phinney, Kevin (September 9, 1989). "Comic-book convention lures fans of pop culture". Austin American-Statesman. p. D1.
- Price, Michael H. (March 6, 1993). "Harvey Kurtzman, Founder of Mad, Remembered as a Comic-industry Giant". Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- 1982 Dallas Fantasy Fair program.
- "Peer Pressure," The Comics Journal #105 (Feb. 1986), pp. 69–74.
- Groth, Gary. "Unmasking the Rocketeer" (Dave Stevens interview), The Comics Journal #117 (Sept. 1987), pp. 68.
- "Events," Texas Monthly (Nov. 1986), p. 38.
- "Harvey Kurtzman Interview: 1987," (interview by Scott Nybakken) The Comics Journal #153 (Oct. 1992), pp. 62-69.
- "Victorian Due at Fantasy Fair," The Victorian (July 12, 1989), p. 6.
- Price, Michael H. "Special-effects man became industry giant," Minneapolis Star Tribune (06 Aug 1991)
- The Comics Journal #75 (Sept. 1982).
- "Newswatch: 1994 Major Trade Show Calendar," The Comics Journal #166 (Feb. 1994), p. 46.
- Maurstad, Tom. "Dreamland: Think it's all in your mind? - Maybe not at the Fantasy Fair," Dallas Morning News (Apr. 17, 1995).
- Fowler, Jimmy. "Events for the week," Dallas Observer (Aug. 10, 1995).
- "Inside Plano," The Dallas Morning News (Nov. 25, 1995).