by Talia Myres
Dallas ComicCon was a fairly small event that took place inside the Civic Center in Richardson, Texas. Rather than being set up in various rooms, there was a long, narrow corridor lined with tables where comic book and graphic artists sat. Every artist had prints to sell, some of the work your standard DC/Marvel fare, other pieces with a more macabre feel. But no matter what genre the artist chose, the works were stunning--brilliant colors, every line drawn with exquisite detail and an originality and creativity that was mind blowing.
When we first arrived Saturday morning, René took a stroll through the tables, stopping to observe the various pictures on display. Every so often, as he was observing and commenting on how much he liked their art, the artist would look up and, when registering who was standing in front of him, smile broadly and tell René how much they enjoyed his work.
Once he made his rounds through the tables, René went back to his table, which was set up near the entrance. To the right, we had Yancy Butler (Witchblade) and Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Spin City). On the left was a group of three independent artists who really helped make the weekend enjoyable. Across from us sat James Hampton (you might remember him from F Troop), Jaye Wells (she's the author of Red-Headed Stepchild) and finally, Dean Stockwell (do I even have to say Quantum Leap?).
The table set up was actually quite good, because depending on whether the crowd listened to Marcus--one of the crowd-control folks that weekend and an all-around nice guy--René's table tended to be the first one they came upon. Bob and Linda, who ran the con, had displayed 19 different pictures (each in its own sleeve) and written a number on each one. When a person came to the table, they merely said what number they wanted, and the picture was retrieved from a file folder. That made it a pretty smooth process.
But, 19 different pictures! There were several DS9 photos, including a cast shot with Jadzia Dax and a cast shot featuring Ezri Dax. The three "Odo" photos were two press shots and one that René specifically chose from the PR files kept at Paramount. Apparently, back in the day, the actors could go up to an office and go through tons of press photos and shots taken on the set. René mentioned that he thought only he and Armin ever took advantage of this, though. The result was the two of them coming away with photos that the public has never seen. The other photos consisted of a couple of Boston Legal shots, two head shots, a photo from Benson, and stills from The Patriot, King Kong, The Eyes of Laura Mars, The Little Mermaid, and M*A*S*H. The two most popular photos--enough so that they sold out by early afternoon the first day--were a head shot of Odo peering from up from a stairwell and a Boston Legal shot of Paul Lewiston in his suit against a dark background. Interestingly enough, the photo requested the most that weekend was one that has never graced an ORACLE table: Modoc, from My Best Friend Is a Vampire.
In addition to the pictures for sale, René drew Odo in a bucket, but those didn't sell as much as they usually do at Star Trek conventions. René mentioned that usually was the trend when he did appearances outside of Trek-related cons. But something a lot of people did seize was the opportunity to take a photo with René. The array of people that stopped by to say "hi" and thank him for his years of film and television was varied--little kids who broke into smile when he started singing "Les Poissons," young adults who were fans of Trek, and then older fans whose eyes lit up when they saw the M*A*S*H and Benson photos. One gentleman came back on Sunday dressed in full Klingon regalia!
During the inevitable moments of downtime, René was visited by Barry Bostwick and Yancy Butler, who seemed to take special delight in "re-arranging" his photos. This usually consisted of them scattering the photos like a pile of cards and mixing them up.
There was a table of graphic artists sitting to next René's table throughout the weekend, and they were quite friendly and extremely talented. René kept popping over to watch their work and seemed fascinated by their ability to draw what they did. One of the interesting things they did for fans was to draw in sketchbooks left at their table. At the end of the weekend, when everybody was packing up, the three artists told René they were fans of his and informed him that he was "one of the nicest 'media personalities' they'd ever sat next to."
That right there is a pretty good snapshot of the weekend--down-to-Earth artists, celebrity guests, and extremely nice fans. Although it wasn't a Star Trek convention, the comic con had a unique charm. If you've never been to one, stop by the next time René does one near your home town. You'll have a blast.