Established in 1987, Dragon Con is the biggest nerd convention in the South East, and I have been once again and returned to tell the tale! I call it a nerd convention because there really isn’t a focus from what I can tell. Everything from Comics and Star Trek to Steampunk and My Little Pony is represented there with numerous celebrities to meet and panels to attend. There is always something to do, so how did this year stack up?
A friend and I went up Thursday to pick up our badges and get a lay of the participating hotels after running into a few friends in the long registration line. All of the hotels are located in the heart of Atlanta, and I am ashamed to say that we got lost on the way back to the car, but received one of the best calf workouts ever. The Con is constantly growing. Thusly, a new building was added this year to house the higher number of vendors that were selling a slew of different items, everything from action figures and comics to leather gauntlets and real swords. But this was one of the bigger problems. Dragon Con has a good thing going on with the hotels, allowing them a lot of freedoms that they wouldn’t get with a typical convention center, but things are too spread out and some of the choices on location, organization for events, and setup, were not as well done as they have been in the past. Whoever’s bright idea it was to open up the dealer’s area at one should be drug out into the street and flogged. There also needs to be a better system for managing the lines than just tape on the carpet.
Lines were ridiculous as always, but the one for the wrestling event that I attended wrapped almost all the way around the Hyatt, which is quite an accomplishment. The wrestlers were good, but what really made that event was the crazy fans, slapping their alcohol bags (no, really, special kinds of fans) and the hilarious chants. I was lucky enough to meet up with guys from The Offenders Podcast and see that with them, as well as watch them do a few interviews that had me cracking up.
Actors from Star Trek, The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, and several Power Rangers were all in attendance to sign autographs. I saw and spoke to most of them, but autographs are too expensive. I tried to get a few interviews in myself, but they are all supposed to get back with me soon, especially George Takei. We are buddies now. The other way to see the actors and listen to them tell great stories is the panels, something I rather enjoy but am usually selective about which ones I attend. Out of all of them this year though, I was shocked that the best one was the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers Q&A that I went to at first to just hang out with some friends. However, it was not only entertaining and more adult than I anticipated, but it was very interesting and full of passionate speakers.
My only regret was getting to the Before Watchmen panel too late to get in, but I did have a chance to talk to Amanda Conner who worked on one of the books. She and a lot of other comic artists and writers were in attendance. Comic Artist Alley was probably my favorite part, spending way too much time down there talking to creators and eyeing art I wanted.
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