Holy mother of all that is good and great in this world! I have found my tribe. I had no idea cons are such an amazing experience. I literally floated through my weekend on adrenaline from the energy in downtown Atlanta. There were so many amazing people gathered in one place. From the beautiful and strange to the art and the artists, Dragon*Con was EPIC!
My first night on the Marriott Marquis floor was awe-inspiring. The cosplay is a force to be reckoned with. For those of you who don’t understand why on Earth all these people dress up, Jimmy Palmiotti said it best:”It’s a place where everyone can come, be accepted and feel like themselves.” That may sound oxymoronic, but it’s true. The air is thick with free spiritedness, creativity, and it just puts everyone in a good damn mood. The alcohol helps too. There are few things more entertaining than a large group of jovial, drunk geeks.
After soaking up the cosplay and geek goodness, I went out at night in downtown ATL. On a weekend with Dragon*Con, a Gay Pride Fest and a football game; the streets were a variable playground … and I played … all three nights. If I had to pick a favorite night, it was Saturday at The Shelter, an eclectic club featuring live body painting by artists David Mack and Stephanie Anderson.
I may have had late nights, but I was up bright and early to attend panels and explore the Con. Saturday’s “True Blood” panel included Kristen Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, and Sam Trammel. All three actors are grateful for the success of the show and take their jobs quite seriously. If you’ve been watching, you know “True Blood” is ripe with socio-political metaphors. I feel a future article coming on. The best part was Kristen Bauer’s anecdote of how she met her husband; some say stalker, I say charming! And Nelsan Ellis can call me “hooker” any day.
I ventured over to the Walk of Fame out of sheer curiosity. I strolled around and chatted briefly with Kristen Bauer, William B. Davis, Nelsan Ellis, and Tia Carrere. It’s an interesting scene, but my intellect went into overdrive. It seemed as if the people were on display like zoo animals, and then it felt kind of wrong. As I headed back over to the cosplay action of the Marriott, walking and texting led to a clumsy collision with Stan Lee. I apologized, but his bodyguards were kind of pissed. Whoopsy.
Much of my time was spent in Comics and Pop-Artists Alley. I’ve never felt more at home anywhere. I love art, and there were so many wonderful artists present. Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Tim Sale, David Mack, John Tyler Christopher, Georges Jeanty, Cully Hamner, and the list goes on. That’s my kind of heaven.
I do have one bone to pick, so listen up, fanboys! The artists and writers visit with hundreds of people a day. Many of them take the time to actually talk to their fans. It is an amazing experience to shoot the shit with people you admire, express to them what you loved about their work, and maybe get a book signed. To the greedy, disrespectful motherfuckers who brought 10, 20, even 30 books to be signed: STOP IT! You are treating the artist/writer like a commodity and not a person, and it’s is exhausting for them. Don’t you think the con is exhausting as it is? Not only that, but there are other people who would like to chat with their favorite writer. Yet, they have to wait while you creepily hover over the writer/artist as they courteously sign all of your shit. It’s incredibly inconsiderate. The artists are too nice to say anything, but I will not use so much restraint at the next con. You can bet on that.
There were so many wonderful moments at Dragon*Con, but I’d like to give special thanks to the Bane cosplayer who lifted me in the air with one arm. That was all kinds of awesome, and surprising! Five minutes later, I’m riding the escalator with George Perez. He’s standing with a beautiful Supergirl and says, “You don’t see her everyday.” I say, “I don’t see YOU everyday!!!” George being the darling that he is, gave me a big hug and a wet one on the cheek. This is the awesome kind of thing that only happens at cons.
My darling Gail Simone, was tweeting about her regrets for not attending Dragon*Con this year, as she is an avid cosplay fan. Gail, it’s probably for the best. Given my excitement at the event, I might have tackled you out of pure joy. Okay, maybe not. But I would have wanted to. I suppose I would have settled for a hug, and the requisite fangirl gushing. I hope I’ll see you there next year. I will definitely be there, and at every other con I can get to.
While E. and I LOVED Dragon*Con, Entertainment Weekly has a different opinion. In their section called the Bullseye, breaking down the “hits” and “misses” of pop culture, they provided the following summation: “DragonCon: For those who aren’t cool enough for Comic Con.”
HEY! EW! There are thousands of people who would beg to differ. I’ma cool-ass chick. If you feel so inclined, e-mail EW at email@example.com. Let ’em know that Dragon*Con is amazing in it’s own right.
I posted a bunch of my favorite pics after the jump. You can catch me over at StimulatedBoredom.com talking about Dragon*Con and other random goings on.