Have you ever experienced controlled chaos? That is how I would describe my experience at this year’s Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia, the mother of all comic cons in the southern United States.
This year was my first time attending and it certainly won’t be my last. I was attending as press and was traveling with fellow BayouCon-ers Justin Toney and Alec Savoie. Beginning the road trip at midnight on Thursday to avoid another hotel night was probably not the best idea, but I think we managed pretty well despite being dead tired that Friday night.
As an autograph collector, my focus at cons tends to be get in, get the autographs then see what else there is to do. But at Dragon*Con, the autographs took a back seat to the spectacle. A convention spread across five hotels and an event center is a monster. Getting from one place to another was quite a walk, so initial panel plans were thrown out of the window once I saw how far I would have to walk back and forth.
Dragon*Con always delivers a great lineup for autograph seekers, and this year was no exception. Fans of The Hobbit, Warehouse 13, Defiance, Star Trek, Stargate, Being Human, Once Upon a Time and several other shows were treated to several cast members from each of those shows.
My plan was to avoid the Walk of Fame (autograph room) on Saturday
and it worked beautifully. On Friday and Sunday, I was pretty much able
to walk up to whoever I wanted with some exceptions. My only wait was
for Warehouse 13’s Joanne Kelly, and it was well worth it as she was
fantastically nice. My wife and I loved Warehouse 13 and watched it from
the very first episode through this year’s series finale. Joanne and
Saul Rubinek, who I visited for his autograph after, really seemed excited to talk about
the show. You could tell that it was very something special to them. And if you've never seen Warehouse 13, Syfy has 11 full episodes that you can watch online HERE!
|My autographs from Joanne Kelly & Saul Rubinek.|
|My Joe Flanigan autograph.|
I did spend some time in the Walk of Fame talking to voice actors John Stocker and Kyle Hebert (a Lake Charles, Louisiana native) and Atlanta local Walking Dead zombie (and former Bayou Con guest) Michael Koske.
The other autographs I nabbed over the weekend were of behind the scenes guys at either their tables in the Artist Alley or after their panel. And that’s the benefit of a big con. The sheer number of guests pretty much guarantees that you will have several people that you want to meet.
I will say the press registration process was very simple. Once we found the press room, we had our badges and were on our way within five minutes. And I will say that the MOST important thing you can do before going to Dragon*Con next year is download the app. The paper guide that they give you is great but there is no easier way of figuring out where you are, where a guest you want to meet is going to be, or where the heck is Peachtree Ballroom Annex 54C...lol.
|Gates McFadden & Garret Wang during Gates' panel|
|Monty Python cosplayers at Dragon*Con.|
|One of the most creative costume groups I saw was this|
group of DC / Star Wars mashups.
And last but not least, I have to mention the costumes. The costumes at this year's Dragon*Con were some of the best, most creative and most elaborate I've seen at any convention. The con is truly a celebration of fandom and all of its elements.
|The crowd in the Hyatt lobby on Friday.|
But despite the crowds, this was a great con and all three of us had a blast. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the con suite which provided free sodas, juices and snacks all weekend. I took advantage of their services several times during the weekend when I didn’t feel like paying $5 for a canned drink.
|One of the weirdest escalators|
you will ever ride on:
So overall, my opinion of Dragon*Con is that is a monster of a convention where you really need to come in with a plan if you want to see everything you want to. It's also a great melting pot of all kinds of fandom where anyone can find something they are interested in and can dress as any character they want to. I will definitely be back in the future, but maybe I'll find something else to do during the middle of the day on Saturday.
Eric LeBlanc is the owner of SciFiActorAppearances.com and also a graphic designer / photographer by day. Comments, actor listings, complaints, verbal threats, offers of monetary bribes or anything else sci-fi realted can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.