Oh Dragon-Con, how I love our yearly affair. I’ve been going to Dragon-Con since 1999. I’ve only missed 2 or 3 years since then, and have gone 9 straight years. It’s one of the most important events I look forward to every year, even more than my own birthday. Dragon-Con is always Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday.
Dragon-Con is the premiere cosplay convention in the United States. I would even bet on the best in the world. I’ve been to just about every large sci-fi fantasy conventions in the USA and a few over the border and overseas. If you wanna see the best costumes, Dragon-Con is where it’s at. The serious cosplay attendees usually bring a costume for each day of the four day convention. For me, I just usually do one new one each year. I may bring out an old one for fun sometimes. This year, and like last year, yours truly Mr Raider Nerd, did a Oakland Raiders nerdy mash up. Last year I was Indiana Jones Raider Nerd
This year I was Star Wars Mandalorian Raider Nerd!:
Most of the costumes done by others were way out of my league, but that’s ok. There is room for all types of cosplay participates. Yes, there are some very complicated and movie set professional costumes at Dragon-Con. There was many Marvel costumes from Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, etc. as well as from the DC universe and many other popular movies and TV shows. The ones I like are the obscure and creative non mainstream costumes like these:
Im a big fan of getting autographs at Dragon-Con. The usual autograph line is 15 to 60 minutes. I was fortunate enough to get autographs from Patrick Stewart (Star Trek & X-Men), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager) John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Empire Strikes Back, Toy Story), Walter Koenig (Star Trek TOS), Stephen Collins (Star Trek the Motion Picture) and Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy). Trust me, I wanted more! But with the average autograph commanding $40 bucks or more, my wallet declined me of more autograph funds.
The highlight of the Dragon-Con weekend for me was meeting, getting a free autograph and picture of director James Gunn who directed the biggest movie, and best reviewed movie of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy. I love this movie. Just like everyone I know, this movie is so good for so many reasons, which puts this movie in a very special place in history. It was announced Friday that James Gunn was doing free autographs (1 per person) and 1 picture on Saturday and Sunday only. However, his autograph time was only limited to 2 hours on Saturday and 1 1/2 hours on Sunday. His autograph session on Saturday started at 2pm. I got in line as soon as the autograph hall opened up at 10am, 4 hours early! I usually don’t like to be in line that long, but it was worth it to me this time. I got to know my line neighbors and we had fun chatting, costume watching and holding each other’s line spots for bathroom breaks and short autograph lines nearby. When James Gunn arrived his line went by fast and was very cool with each fan!
James Gunn and his brother Sean Gunn did a great Guardians of the Galaxy panel on Saturday and Sunday. I had time and attended the panel on Sunday. The highlights included the topics of the Awesome Mix soundtrack, the announcement that he is writing the sequel, his charity to plant a tree for Groot and the alternate deleted Stan Lee cameo that was in The Collector scene. Here is a picture of the stand in actor that Stan Lee’s face would had been digitally added later:
The other highlight for me at Dragon-Con was playing games like Star Trek CCG (Collectible Card Game), Tribbles CCG, Star Wars CCG and Lord of the Rings CCG in the gaming hall with good friends and friends I haven’t seen since last year. I’m proud to say that I won both Tribble tournaments!!
One thing you should know about Dragon-Con if you haven’t been before is the hotels. Dragon-Con is not in you’re traditional convention hall. Dragon-Con is 5 or 6 hotels all with in a short walk within each other or next to each other that are also connected by skywalks. The hotels are another wonderful characteristic about Dragon-Con. Newbies can get confused and lost at first visit, but any Dragon-Con vet is more than happy and welcome to give directions. I can’t imagine Dragon-Con moving to a convention hall because downtown Atlanta is much apart of Dragon-Con as the attendees and guests. Dragon-Con brings much needed character, fun, and escape to the city of Atlanta. If you haven’t been, do yourself a favor an come to Dragon-Con in 2015. You will need a hotel, book now!!!