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Sci-Fi Rules

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Back in the day, father and son bonded by going fishing or to a baseball game; on Sunday, father Michael Gonzales and 7-year-old son, Nolan, did it by dressing up like characters in the video game “Gears of War.”

The Albuquerque pair were among visitors at the first Sci Fi and Horror Expo at the Convention Center.

“We came down to meet Ray Park, a real cool guy, really down to earth,” Gonzales said of Park, who played the demonic Darth Maul in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” and Toad in “X-Men 2000.”

Describing their out of this world getups, Gonzales said he fashioned them out of parts of football pads, baseball catcher’s shin guards and stereo speaker components.

“It’s fun for all ages,” Gonzales said of the expo. “We like dressing up, we like coming here together and we like the atmosphere; really, we like everything about it.”

Science fiction and horror movie stars who made appearances during the two-day event included Edward Furlong, who played Connor in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Deep Roy, who includes among his numerous credits Oompa Loompa in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005,” and Dean Stockwell, who among his many credits includes Rear Admiral Clavicci in “Quantum Leap.”

The convention also featured panels, merchant booths, and photo and autograph opportunities with stars.

“These actors love their fans; they actually turn down work to come here and see their fans,” said organizer Jim Burleson, who owns Tall Tales Comics in Albuquerque.

“We really want to cater to the fans we had in January with Albuquerque Comic Con,” Burleson added, referring to the hugely successful annual celebration of comic books and comic book movies.

Burleson said both events signal the state’s growing status as a hotbed for science fiction and horror movies.

“Albuquerque and New Mexico are great venues for any film genre, though personally I’d love to see more movies of science fiction and horror movies made here,” he added.

About 5,000 attended the two-day event, which Burleson said was “somewhat discouraging,” considering more than 10,000 attended the Comic Con event in January.

Conflicts with other shows and parents getting their kids ready for back to school probably cut into attendance, he added.

“Still, we all had a great time, and all the stars love Albuquerque, and so we plan on doing this again at the next Comic Con in January,” he said.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal