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
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,
And, man, were there costumes!!
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
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).
Kraven the Hunter decides whether it's sporting to hunt a
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
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
We also reconnected with some old and new friends from the
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
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
We know the Gaijin guys as regulars at Charlotte's 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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