Dragon*Con 2004


That's pretty much the reaction to our first outing to the triptohoptic experience that is Dragon*Con. While we've heard the whispered awe circulating in the sci-fi/comics crowds for years, this was the first year that either of the GravyBoy creators ever made the trip to downtown Atlanta to join in the Dragon*Con experience.

Though Dragon*Con is a 4-day event (Thursday through Monday on Labor Day weekend), we decided that we'd ease our way in by just doing Saturday.

We arrived in downtown Atlanta (the land of a thousand streets named Peachtree). The directions we pulled off the web got us close enough that we were able to park and follow some people that were obviously heading in the direction of the con.

It was remarkably easy to pick out the people on the streets who were heading to Dragon*Con despite the huge variety of people at the convention. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is a certain commonality amongst those of us on the outskirts of proper society that enables us to recognize one another in a crowd. It's like a kinship - a vibe or an aura we all give off - a common bond that unites us together so fundamentally that we know one another on sight. The costumes helped, too.

And, man, were there costumes!!

The first thing we saw of the convention was the famous costume parade featuring the 501st Stormtrooper division and many others in full costume. For the casual passerby, it looked like downtown Atlanta had been turned into a police state by the Sci-fi channel and Cartoon Network.


Around every corner of the convention there was a costume more elaborate than the last. Representatives of every genre and decade were there in droves. Videogame characters walked freely amongst creatures of myth and characters from every cult classic movie and TV show of the last 3 decades. The meeting areas of the host hotels were filled with multicolored spandex and hundreds of popping flashbulbs (think Aerosmith concert with super heroes).

Left: Kraven the Hunter decides whether it's sporting to hunt a tree.

Right: Halo's Master Chief monitors the activity of the main lobby in the host hotel. 

Left: Iron Man at the bar. (sigh) Too easy.

Right: Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm glad I'm not the only one with photographic proof.

Left: Emma Frost finally dumps the loser brigade and joins up with the big guys.  (I wonder if we should tell her that each of those guys has been dead at least once.)

Right: Part of the 501st. Making the world safe for galactic trade.

Thanks to Becky (Gravyboard member RosieCotton) for these 2 photos.

One thing you can definitely say about Dragon*Con is that it is a highly organized event. There is some chaos to be expected at any convention, but it is kept to a minimum here - and this despite the fact that there is no one central location per se. Most conventions have a main meeting hall and several break-away areas for panels and special events. Dragon*Con, as it turns out, is all break-away groups and special events. At any given moment, there are 10 different events taking place, from a Q&A session with Warren Ellis to the Buffy prom to the Dawn look-alike contest, there's more than enough to keep your head spinning if you don't pay close attention to the event schedule. And the events don't stop. Whether it's 2:00 in the afternoon or 2:00 in the morning, there's something to do - scheduled events, parties, impromptu gaming sessions... It's a non-stop weekend.

Luckily, we didn't have to face the miasma alone. Early on in the con, we ran into our friend Becky from Greensboro. Becky's an old pro at the con and she gave us some guidance and advice on how to survive the experience.

We also reconnected with some old and new friends from the ComicBook Resources forum on Saturday with the CBR:IRL meeting. We had lunch with the CBR group and got even more tips on the can't-miss-events of Dragon*Con.

The veteran Con-ers also pointed us to the Dragon*Con suite, where refreshments were free and the living was easy. It's good to have contacts on the inside.

We had lunch with the CBR folks and got to know some of them pretty well. It was a few of the CBR folks that talked us into the Dragon*Con outing in the first place, so it was only fitting.

This picture was snapped by CBR regular, self-described God Emperor Trainee, and all-around cool guy,  Ragnarok_2012.

Once we finally made it to the comic book section of the con, we were glad to see some familiar faces in the form of the guys from Gaijin Studios.

We know the Gaijin guys as regulars at Charlotte's HeroesCon (HeroesCon 2004 Review), and they gave us some useful info on the comic book aspects of Dragon*Con.

All our sources tell us that the comic book professional showing is usually pretty light at the Con, but the fans and pros that are there are serious about their comics.

I'd agree with that assessment. We took the GravyBoy 0 ashcan previews to the con and managed to give out our entire stock of more than 200 in one day. Note for next year... more ashcans for Dragon*Con. We managed to sell a few books while we were there, too. The overall response has been pretty great.

We were at Dragon*Con for fourteen hours straight and never once wanted for something to do. The parties and planned events were still going hard when we left. The stamina of some of the con-goers amazes me. That one day experience left us drained for a week. To those who made the full 4 days, I salute you.


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Dragon*Con  Highlights:

- Discovering that "DragonCon" has a little * in the middle of it.

- Staying at Marty's father-in-law's house in Marietta. Can't beat free room and board and it doubles as a family trip.

- Guest passes - no lines, no wait.



- In the course of one evening, Brian's swimming trunks permanently turned from a dark green color to safety orange. We believe the culprit to be too much bromine in the hot tub.

- Adult Swim forum. We got there a little late and only managed to catch the end, but it was great to get to see the faces of the twisted minds behind Cartoon Network's late-night secret. We were even there for the possible birthing of a Harvey Birdman, Sealab crossover.

- Meeting Julie Benz, who played Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The wife and I were always impressed with her acting ability and what she managed to do with what started out as a 2-dimensional character. in person, she was a genuinely sweet and warm-hearted woman with a wonderful sense of decorum. Loves her.

- Ashcans. Seriously, we left a stack of them on a table of flyers and promotional material and they were gone within 5 minutes.

Special Thanks to CBR regulars and GravyBoard members Quarterwolf and Jade for handing out ashcans at the con for us. It makes us feel less like shills when other people do the shilling for us. Their efforts are even more laudable when you consider that we had just met Quarterwolf that day (very cool guy) and Jade was feeling very sickly. Thank you guys!

- Marty inventing the word 'triptohoptic' to describe Dragon*Con

Check back for more highlights as our memories come back.