For the fans, by the fans. That’s DragonCon’s mantra, and though I’ve been to many awesome conventions both big and small, DragonCon always delivers. Guests, creators, and fans alike come out to celebrate their love for fandom with one another, and unlike more commercial cons that thrive on major announcements and reveals, DragonCon is all about the fans at every level, simply geeking out. Whether it be sci-fi, gaming, pop culture, fantasy, or so much more. That’s what I love the most about DragonCon- the ability to turn my nerd noise up to 110% without shame and do it with others who share that same passion.
This year DragonCon had record breaking numbers. With over 85,000 individuals coming in for the 5-day celebration from all around the country, and some internationally, this has become the largest DragonCon event to date. It was also able to amass over $110,000 in charity donations to non-profit organizations for the year of 2019. Plus, DragonCon Super heroes collected contributed more than 3,500 hours to Atlanta non-profit organizations.
This year was a tad different from my last 6+ attending DragonCons and most of that had to do with my duty as media. I was able to talk to over half a dozen comic creators, both established in the industry under big companies and those pushing solo with indie products- but all of them talented individuals with whom I spoke with, and who in the coming days and weeks you will see great content from, with me in the form of interviews, live shows, reviews, and possibly even more.
I woke up bright and early on Friday morning, after late night of last minute prep, obtained my badge without delay in the correct line (after waiting an unnecessary 10 minutes in the wrong line), and made a beeline straight for my DragonCon Shire- The artist alley. My first interview was with Peter David, and after discovering that he was first published at 8 (yes 8!) we discussed at length, certain events that he found to be the most impactful in his own writing. I then went on to speak to Sanford Greene a conversation about culture in art that we both agreed was far too short (short time at conventions) and the both of us agreed to talk again at more length, at a later time.
I sent on to finally meet and interview Ashley Woods, someone who’d become a good online friend over the course of the past three or so years (and then ended up spending way too much time at her table later, talking about gaming, comics, and everything else you can think of), Afua Richardson, with whom I spoke about life imitating art and later went for some good sushi with), as well as Kyle Starks, and Erica Henderson.
Lastly, and surely not least, I was graced by DragonCon’s media team, with an impromptu meeting and interview with Marv Wolfman, one of comics’ most renowned legends (New Teen Titans, Crises Between Infinite Earths). I geeked over talking to him about his exploits and long history, which served as a great cap off for all of my interview sessions.
The rest of my floor walking allowed me to cross paths with with TJ Sterling, writer/artist/creator of Okemus and Onrie Kompan, writer of Yi Soon Shin, as well as my local buddies, Greg Burnham and Marcus Williams of Tuskegee Heirs. I was also able to speak to David Mack, one of the most renown artists in the comic sphere, whom I first discovered from reading Jessica Jones’ Alias. Just being in the room surrounded by so many creators was enough to bring me the joy I needed.
Aside from that my usual exploits allowed me to see my Doctor Who family, this time Catherine Tate Freema Agyeman, and David Tenant, which leaves now only the most recent Doctor and Companion party for me to see in person.
I also was able to represent #SWRepMatters, another organization that I am a part of as a panelist on the representation panel in the Star Wars track, which is another huge fandom of mine, right up there with comics.
Finally, I sat as a panelist for my first time as a writer/creator myself, on the diversity track and it’s incredibly difficult to express the joy that that opportunity instilled. It seemed to be a mark of graduation, passage, or acceptance even. While Scorpio is still new, it seems that enough have recognized it to accept me as a writer, and that in itself is exciting to say the least.
DragonCon is a true fan experience. Meeting with geeks like myself and allowing ourselves to truly just “be” Is what inspires my attendance on a yearly basis. Partying and seeing all those around me dressed as their favorite characters and not caring what others think of them, and hanging with friends that I can only see once a year who share the same passions as me is truly what the con is all about. That’s why it has been, and will continue to be, my favorite convention. Onto 2020 DragonCon. I’ll be ready.