Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dragon Con 2014 - Thoughts on Con by R.T. Ewell

Hey everybody – Phantom here. I am looking for stories about Dragon Con. I don’t care how long they are, how dirty or clean they are, or when they took place. If you have a Con-related story you’d like to share, send it to me at phantomtroublemaker@gmail.com and I will post it here on the site. Be sure to include pictures (if possible), how you want to be credited, and any links you’d like to attach. We have less than two weeks before Con, so I’ll be posting your stories as soon as I get them.
I am a nerd through and through. I always have been and always will be. About fifteen years ago I discovered conventions. Normally, they are called comic book conventions (or simply cons for short) but in this day and age most of them are really more like pop culture conventions. The things they do best is bring nostalgia and current pop culture together while also being relevant to all ages. I fell in love immediately. The atmosphere, the people, the artists, the cool stuff to buy, and absolutely not least, the costumes. My first convention was a con in Knoxville, TN that no longer exists called Adventure Con. After that I attended such cons as Chiller Theatre in New Jersey, Fanboy Expo in Tennessee, MegaCon in Florida, ConNooga in Chattanooga and the granddaddy of them all - San Diego Comic Con. I was very fortunate to attend all of these but nestled amongst that group of outstanding cons was a little one called Dragon Con.
I am not saying anything that anyone doesn’t already know, but Dragon Con is unlike any of those other cons I just mentioned. It is its own beast, if you will. One of the things that makes it special is the fact that it takes place in hotels and not convention centers like most others. I had the opportunity to go about six years ago when it was in three separate hotels. Now it has grown to five host hotels where all sorts of different activities take place. Don't let the fact that it takes place in hotels mislead you. Dragon Con brings well over 60,000 people to the Atlanta area every year.
This year I will be attending once again after that hiatus. Things are different this time around as I do not have my own hotel room like last time nor am I going to be able to stay for the entire con. I will be sleeping on the floor as is the Dragon Con way and I will have to leave sometime early Saturday night. Most people probably wouldn't even bother, but that’s what Dragon Con means to me and thousands of other people. It’s a time where you are surrounded by people that are just as nerdy as you. Probably even nerdier. That first year I immediately felt like I fit in and that it was something that was missing in my life. I have heard many people call Dragon Con home and I feel much the same way even though I have only gone once.
Everyone is there to celebrate what we are in our everyday lives - fans.
The first year I went I took one costume. It was Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and was very well received. A good friend of mine made me the apron - which is awesome - while I got some hand-me-down clothes from another. I bought the chainsaw but made additions to it to make it a bit more realistic looking. I am not sure if I am taking it this year as my mask dry rotted and funds will be low. However I am working on two, maybe even three to take that have been ideas floating around in my head for a while. Most of them are very low cost which is the great thing about Dragon Con. People don't ridicule you, laugh at you, or make fun of you. They embrace your fandom.
I have wanted to go every year since that first year but for one reason or another, it hasn't happened. This year I was bound and determined to make sure it did. It might not be the ideal situation to some but for me, it’s worth it. I have been introduced to so many people over the past couple of years through podcasts (like the ESO Network) and whatnot. I've met a lot of them but there are still others I haven't. I have met Phantom Troublemaker before but it was a brief encounter of about 30 seconds at Days Of The Dead in passing.
One of the things I am interested in seeing is all of the fantastic authors, artists, and musicians. I love meeting new creative people and seeing the projects they have going on. I do know that Scott Sigler, one of my favorite writers is going to be there, so it will great to finally meet him. His Galactic Football Series is terrific and great for young sports fans to get into science fiction. Nocturnal was also a good read that came out last year and I am hoping to get him to sign my copy.
I'm sure there are a ton more things that I will want to do, but I'm waiting for schedules to be released. Chances are I will miss a lot of stuff simply because of the logistics of having over 60,000 people in the heart of Atlanta. Because of that there is always a chance for frustration, but if you are lucky enough to be in a host hotel you have 24 hour access to Dragon Con TV. DC*TV can be a life saver if you just want to watch the costume contest, certain panels, or just funny clips produced in-house by the incredible DC*TV team. You can do so in the comfort of your room.
Along with all of this there are still celebrities and stuff to buy in the dealers room. I may not get any autographs from the celebrities but they did add Paul Blackthorne, so that is very tempting. Most people will know him from Arrow (& possibly Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files) but I know him from The River. Which was an excellent show on ABC which sadly only made it one season. As far as the dealer room goes, I'm not looking for anything in particular. I'm sure there will be many things that make me go “I totally need that,” but I usually wait until the con to see what they have. Now, if any LEGO minifigs are around, I may not be able to resist the temptation.
*Side Note: Why does Rocket Raccoon have to be included in a set that is way too expensive and one I don't care about?
Words can't express how excited I am about being able to attend Dragon Con this year. I know it will be hard to leave Saturday night just when the party is starting. Unfortunately being an adult often takes some of the fun away, but I am not letting it stop me from experiencing as much of Dragon Con as I can!

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