convention

Costume Couture: Wondercon 2018

Costume Couture invaded Wondercon 2018 in Anaheim, California last weekend! Wondercon is one of the biggest comic cons in the United States and is the little sibling to the iconic San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) that happens every July.

In our first trip to Wondercon, Rae and Ian brought some fantastic cosplay including the Rose Quartz and Gijinka Arbok shown in the video below. They also talk about some of the other cosplay they saw at the convention as well as their overall thoughts on the con as a whole.

Catch the episode below, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and then let us know your thoughts on Wondercon and what some of your favorite conventions are across the world.

Hosted by
Rae of SirynRae Cosplay
Ian of Haus of Turner Cosplay

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Costume Couture: Wondercon 2018

GH39 – BlizzCon 2017 Recap

BlizzCon 2017 has happened and it brought news for Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and Starcraft II! We discuss the biggest announcements for the Blizzard games but first, news! Assassin’s Creeds gets something historically right, details on Resident Evil coming to Switch, plus a new Chess game that is worth a look.

00:50 – Assassin’s Creed: Literal History

03:10 – Resident Evil on Switch

06:05 – Ripstone’s Chess Ultra

10:20 – BlizzCon Recap: Overwatch, Hearthstone, WoW, HOTS, and more!

54:50 – Kansas City Comic Con & Show Details

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Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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GH39 – BlizzCon 2017 Recap

SH S4E03: SDCC 2017 Recap

SDCC, the biggest comic con of the year, is over and we’re here to talk about our favorite moments, trailers, and announcements. We’ll be covering major franchises like Marvel and Infinity War, DC Comics and Justice League, plus Netflix’s Stranger Things, and even more.

What was your favorite SDCC moment?

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer

Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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SH S4E03: SDCC 2017 Recap

DCC Wrap-Up and Cosplay Gallery

DCC, Denver Comic Con, is one of the bigger comic convention in the United States, hosting well over 100,000 people in 2016’s convention. Celebrity guests in 2017 included Weird Al Yankovic, Catherine Tate, Clare Kramer, some of the Stranger Things kids, and the entire voice cast of the animated Justice League TV show, among others. Of course, DCC included an array of comic book creators, authors, and animators, making the convention a pop culture scene for just about anyone. While we had a small presence at DCC, we were able to get a couple people on the ground. Check out our small cosplay gallery below and then a first-person account of DCC 2017.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”4″ gal_title=”dcc-2017-cosplay”]

My experience at DCC was for the most part an enjoyable one. It is a huge con and it’s a lot to take in so be prepared. The convention center itself was huge and had a lot of room for all kinds of artists, booths,cosplayers, vendors, and more. They used every inch of that space for what that could so I was impressed. They had some great media guests who I got to meet and get pictures/autographs with. These are guests I haven’t seen at our local con so seeing them was a real treat. But the con wasn’t without its issues. Mainly how they handled the prop policy concerning fake guns (announcing that no kind of gun or anything resembling a gun would be allowed in an hour before the con doors opened on Saturday….even though I still saw some), enforcing bag checks, line control, and costume checks. A serious lack in each department for those if you ask me. Also lacking was the organization skills for huge group photos. You were kind of herded on a stage, was told where to stand and then wasn’t being told you were being photographed until you heard someone say “and now do another pose” Like wait what now? I didn’t know we were starting. If DCC fixes what they did wrong this year then I would highly consider coming back, its a semi close con with lots to do and see. Out of 10 stars, I would give it for sure a 7.5 out of 10.

Did you attend DCC 2017? What did you think of the convention? What were you most excited to see? What annoyed you the most? Comment below!

First-hand account by me, Haus of Turner Cosplay.

Cosplay photography provided by GregRon Photography out of Colorado.

DCC Wrap-Up and Cosplay Gallery

SH S3E13: Planet Comicon Who

We’ve got a special preview of Planet Comicon 2017, the largest comic convention in Kansas City! Thanks to special guest, Kirk Chritton, we discuss upcoming plans for this year’s big PCC event including some of the amazing creator guests who are attending like TMNT’s Kevin Eastman and Harley Quinn’s Amanda Conner. Then we talk about the big celebrity guests including the return of Stephen Amell, a hopeful second chance at John Barrowman, Felica Day, Wil Wheaton returns, and Ron Pearlman will be in the house! But that’s not all, Kirk tells us about this year’s new setup that uses even more space at Bartle Hall, plus new features like the Entertainment Space and cosplay group photo stages.

You can check out all the details plus get tickets to Planet Comicon on their website here.

Head over to our Facebook page to keep up with our latest and stay tuned for our Planet Comicon photo cosplay album, articles, and interviews as we will be part of the press at the main event.

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Kirk Chritton

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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SH S3E13: Planet Comicon Who

NYCC 2016 Is A Mess

New York Comic Con, also known as NYCC, was possibly the largest convention in the US in 2015, by some accounts beating it’s closest competition in San Diego. Crowds aside, the biggest complaint about the event is ticketing. Prices run high from the start, the highest this writer has ever spent on a US convention, and they sell out fast. As in, within 2 hours after the digital sale begins, 3-day, 4-day, and Saturday tickets are sold out. The most problematic symptom of this demand is scalpers, who attendees will see selling tickets on the street during the event for inflated prices. Passes and tickets can also be found online on sites like eBay, Craigslist, and ticket-specific venues for triple or more the original price.

NYCC claimed they were seeking to remedy the issue of resales by creating “Fan Verification.” Basically, to-be attendees, fill out a basic profile with a few vague personalized questions about their interest in the con. A window opens for a few weeks for potential customers to register for fan verification. The window closes and a few weeks after that tickets go on sale as usual. Each customer can purchase up to four passes or four sets of tickets. A few weeks after that, customers who were able to get tickets must insert their registered email into the purchased tickets, and any over-purchased or otherwise unverified purchases will be refunded. Sound conflated? It is! Here’s a flow chart, because this sloppy concept requires the use of a flow chart.

NYCC Chart 1

However, this creates an issue. Because people are permitted to purchase up to four tickets for each day, it means there will inevitably be duplicate purchases. This means tickets sell out faster. It also means that many of those tickets will later go unverified and unsold. Here’s an example:

Say I have three friends (probably an accurate count). Two of them are able to purchase tickets, the third can’t sit online for more than two hours waiting or was unable to get them prior to selling out. I was able to get them. We all purchase the maximum tickets because there is no downside; we will be refunded if they aren’t assigned. We offer the tickets to each other, finding only one of us need a ticket. That’s 3×4=12 tickets purchased, and 4 assigned, creating 8 unused and unsold.

This creates two problems.

  1. People are upset that they couldn’t attend.
  2. NYCC has excess tickets.

I doubt, based on their treatment of attendees, NYCC cares about the former as much as the latter.

So, fan verification was reopened. When tickets were unsold, they were made available without verification, but only single day tickets were available. Since many passes likely went unsold, it seems that only selling individual day passes was done to increase profit generated. Here’s a second chart to include this new layer of insanity.

NYCC Chart 2

This frustrated many attendees, and despite the effort, didn’t seem to stop scalpers. Why would it? It simply added additional work and effort for everyone, not making it more difficult for people who didn’t plan to attend to purchase many tickets. For a scalper, all it required was additional time and email addresses. It didn’t mean any extra work than a normal attendee needed to put in to simply attend a convention.

Having received my pass in the mail, I can say two things: The Walking Dead has been featured for the sixth year, and there is another step in using your pass. Passes must be registered online before use. While only mildly irritating, it doesn’t benefit anyone outside of NYCC and their affiliated corporations by collecting data from participants, as it asks for a name, phone number, and email (which isn’t on your physical pass meaning it won’t deter resale or limited misuse). What it does do, however, is opt users in for Audible, something that must be unchecked during registration. Come on.

NYCC Badge Activation

As many struggle to find specific days, NYCC has an abundance of Thursday passes. They create a video posted on Twitter to promote Thursday attendance. Basically, the message was “stuff happens on Thursday.” It is filled with cosplayers, as cosplay is a draw for many, and for a visual ad, cosplay is a cheap way to produce good images. A few days later, the con posts their updated prop policy. Based on this new information, much of the cosplay in the promotion would not be allowed. Keep in mind, this is a month before the event, and as one of the largest cosplay-oriented conventions in the country, some people have been building their props months ahead of time and putting a good amount of cash into the effort. The announcement is almost casual, but the information is a strict change to the previous policy: no props made from anything but cardboard and foam will be permitted.

NYCC Weapons Policy

Outrage was immediate. In less than a day, NYCC posted an updated update to the policy. It is now at the discretion of the person at the door.

NYCC Weapons Policy Response

Having attended the event last year, this is similar to the previous guidelines. While there are some hard rules, much of the decision is up to the person at the door, and the confusion resulted in props that fit within the guidelines being thrown away in bins outside and weapons that might be questionable being inside. Personally, I was told my prop wasn’t permitted as I was leaving, having carried it all day. Discretion isn’t a great idea when the policies are somewhat vague, the staff is untrained, and authority inflates importance.  The concept of leaving a prop you spent time and money on outside is difficult to accept for many. It’s even more frustrating when vendors inside are selling swords, knives, and other actually dangerous items that would definitely not be permitted at the door while plastic toys are being taken away.

NYCC Trashed Props

Many attendees are saying that this will be their last New York Comic Con, while others are still struggling to get tickets. With an event this large, you would think that getting inside wouldn’t be so difficult, and the planning and regulations would be worked out. A 16-hour drive away, DragonCon 2016 went smoothly. Incredible props and costumes were tagged and made safe, getting a ticket took less than ten minutes, and no one was stabbed with a mechanical pencil.

What has your experience been for some major conventions? Have you attended NYCC, SDCC, Emerald City, or DragonCon? Let us know your experience in the comments.

NYCC 2016 Is A Mess

SH S2E6: SDCC 2016 Wrap-Up

San Diego Comic-Con, also known as SDCC is over for the 2016 year. The countries biggest comic con always brings in the big news from comic book films to TV shows and beyond. If you’re one of the lucky ones able to grab a pass you have access to exclusive merchandise including action figures, posters, cloths, and more. On top of that, you get first dibs at the biggest panels of the year, specifically in the famous Hall H. This year, DC Entertainment and Star Trek had the two biggest showings with Marvel still not disappointing.

This week, we sat down for a special episode with our returning guest Ian of Haus of Turner Cosplay as we talk about the biggest SDCC news from DC, Marvel, Star Trek, and more!

Wished you could be part of the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

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SDCC 2016 Wrap-Up Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S2E6: SDCC 2016 Wrap-Up

Planet Comicon Cosplay Gallery

(Updated: May 26th 7:40AM CST)

This year, we were lucky enough to go to Planet Comicon, Kansas City’s largest comic convention. Planet Comicon has grown considerably since it’s inception in 1999, moving from the small International Trade Center in Overland Park, KS to Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City, KC’s premier convention center.

The convention boasted some fun new features like a free classic arcade with standup games like Ghostbusters, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, and more! This year, Planet Comicon also brought several food trucks inside the convention hall. They even had barrel style root beer. In addition to all of that, Planet Comicon brought in tons of great guests including Neal Adams, Lou Ferrigno, Manu Bennett, Jenna Coleman, Jason Mews, George Takei, Danielle Panabaker, Hayley Atwell, Kevin Smith, and the one and only Stan Lee!

While we don’t have any official attendance numbers, many estimate well over 50,000 with Bartle Hall literally turning people away on Saturday due to reaching capacity. This was, without a doubt, the largest Planet Comicon to date. Check out our gallery below which boasts over 100 people in cosplay including characters from DC Comics, Marvels, video games, and more!

We’ve got two awesome galleries on our Facebook page with over 100 different cosplayers we saw throughout the weekend. Check them out below:

Facebook Gallery #1

Facebook Gallery #2

What did you think? Did you attend Planet Comicon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Planet Comicon Cosplay Gallery

SH S1E23: Planet Comicon Recap & Thundercats Fan Cast

With our hometown comic con over, we recap KC’s largest comic convention, Planet Comicon. We talk about our experiences, how the convention has changed over the years, among other details. Then we switch gears to talk about the classic animated series, Thundercats and who we would cast in a live action feature film adaptation. The original show ran from 1985-1989 with a short resurgence in a completely new version from 2011-2012. Talks of a live action film have been going on for years with even a fan trailer being made. Most recently, Michael Bay’s name has been attached due to some comments he’s made. Join us as we cast the major players like Lion-o, Panthro, Jaga, Tygra, Cheetara, Mummra, and of course, Snarf.

Don’t forget to join us live every week on Twitch at 8PM CST! You can join the conversation and be part of our podcast by chatting with us live! You can also catch the uncut broadcast on our YouTube page.

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Catch you next time!

THUNDERCATS HO!

Planet Comicon & Thundercats Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S1E23: Planet Comicon Recap & Thundercats Fan Cast

The End of Conventions as We Know It

Recently, popular convention chain Wizard World announced their 2015 profits, revealing millions of lost revenue for the year.  Attendance was down, overall spending was down, yet, the quest to make conventions bigger and bigger still got the better of them. The effects were so devastating that the Wizard World CEO stepped down. Now, why in the world would one of the few incorporated convention chains be suffering such high financial loss when nerd culture is at its highest peak ever? Clearly, you can’t be a huge failure if you’re getting currently working celebrities to appear at your cons. Well, there are many reasons why this could be.

wizard-world

Market Saturation

Conventions used to be a once, maybe twice, a year event for most major cities. You’d spend all year making your costumes, or working on your comic checklist, or saving up for the insane amount of stuff you’re going to buy.  However, now, if your city is anything like mine, there’s a convention every week between the months of April through October with more and more popping up every year.  It’s not difficult to throw a convention anymore. Small time con goers have figured out the proper formula of how to put on one of their own, so they do. While I applaud their efforts, ultimately the small cons hurt the big cons in the end.  I know that sounds ridiculous considering in most other fields the opposite is most likely the truth.  However, imagine going to a convention every week for 6 months straight. Most of them are just one or two days out of your schedule. Not a big deal, right? Well, if you spend a minimum of $20 at each of these cons, you’re spending a minimum of $480 at the conventions, without food and travel factored in.  Your con budget gets stretched thinner and thinner each year and you spend less and less at each convention, making the overall convention less successful. It would actually be more beneficial to each convention to have a lower attendance rate if it meant a higher spending budget for each attendee.

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Misnomers

Another issue with this? Conventions are incorrectly labeled as “Comic Cons” more often than not. When I say, “I’m going to Comic Con,” it comes with a certain stigma that might deter others from attending. San Diego no longer has the comic presence it did in the past, so why not call it a media convention? Well, it’s because San Diego believes they invented the comic convention. They even tried to trademark the words ‘Comic Con’ a few years back.  They have the name recognition to attempt something so crazy, even if they were legally unable to.  So while SDCC can’t change their name now, there’s honestly no reason the smaller conventions that popped up within the last year can’t be more creative. Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, describes the convention more accurately and appeals to a wider audience based on name alone.

Nerd Saturation

Aside from conventions popping up, nerds of all kinds have begun turning their passions into businesses, that involves using conventions as large ways to sell your product.  Conventions as we know it, are large money-makers for businesses of all kinds, not just of nerd fandom.  When your attendees start becoming your attractions, or your staff, you lose out on a chunk of your business. It’s the Syndrome from The Incredibles predicament: when everyone is special, no one is. While the internet has room for everyone to emerge from their cocoons and become beautiful butterflies, not every convention can accommodate every artist, cosplayer, celebrity, business. Now, you can’t tell people with genuine talent and product that they’re not welcome at your show, but there has to be some sort of exclusivity. If you have local guest A and local podcast B this year, switch it out next year. This helps with the bigger issue of losing the most loyal clientele without waiting years for a new generation of attendees to pop up.

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The Con Business Model

What once was a chance for people of like mind and interest to come together is now a full blown incorporated business. Once people realized they could make quite a bit off of con attendees, they took advantage of it.  Autographs run from $40 (cheapest I’ve ever seen) to $130 (Stan Lee’s current going rate). They have to be purchased ahead of time now, weeks before the con, instead of there. San Diego Comic Con, or SDCC, is arguably the biggest convention every year and they make their money by what can only be described as taking advantage of the attendees.  If you don’t know the process, then let me inform you: First, previous attendees are given priority over people who have never attended before. They are offered pre-sale tickets well in advance to the general population. When general admission goes on sale to everyone, tickets for the four day convention sell out within 10 minutes, never failing.  Their policy of “click click click until you get in,” is largely biased. While it is THE con to attend every year, there are many fans who are dying to spend their money there but will never be able to.

Then there are all the accessories to the con experience on top of your ticket price, organized by the convention. You can pay extra for early admittance (usually 1/2 hour to 1 full hour before doors open) or you can pay more to have dinner with a famous guest (always wanted to see that extra from Dr. Who eat spaghetti). You can upgrade for a swag bag or special con exclusive action figures that no one else will ever have unless they check eBay in ten minutes. You can pay for a special fast pass to skip ahead of all those terrible lines and get front row seating at that Firefly reunion panel! All of this factors in to what exactly fans enjoy about each show and con professionals know it. If they have a complaint, they’ll solve it, but they’ll charge you an arm for it.  My point is simply: conventions are much more about the money they produce than the people they please.

REU-FILM-COMICCON-18-760x419

So What Happens Now?

That’s a damn good question. I wish I knew. I want conventions to continue. I want to be apart of them. The first time I was working at one was a dream come true.  I like attending them, working them, and traveling to them.  I imagine that Wizard World scaling down is incredibly telling of convention profits as a whole. In the next five years, the same conventions won’t be around. The small ones have a life of about 3-5 years before people get bored with seeing the same Star Wars extra every year. But new ones will pop up and take their place. The medium sized cons with regional popularity may, unfortunately, die off if they can’t make the numbers to become one of the few giant cons. There will be some cons that are able to adapt and change with the times, but the con bubble will burst. The fad will fade and the convention world will be forever changed.

The End of Conventions as We Know It

Con Man, the Web Show Review

 

nathan-fillion-alan-tudyk

The Gist

Con Man Trailer

Con Man is a crowd funded show found on Vimeo. Its about life on the other side of the convention table, you know from that actor who is stuck in a rut. From the comedic mind of Alan Tudyk (Wash; Firefly), this web comedy is about an actor of a sci fi cult classic called Spectrum, that is exactly like Firefly. Tudyk’s character deals with the convention scene and his failures of trying to reinvent himself professionally. While many of his other peers have moved on to greater things, he is going nowhere and he knows, and unlike other celebrities who have found a niche for themselves in the convention scene, Tudyk’s character can’t even do this. He is a failure and this show is all about poking fun at it. You see Tudyk’s character can’t even do conventions right.

The Pros

-Guest Stars: The show has a speckling cult classic of stars that can often be found as satires about their real life selves. Most notably is a cool and relaxed Nathan Fillion (Firefly) who has not only moved on past the show Spectrum (or “Firefly“) but has become greater than he ever was before, all the while looking cool while he does it. Every 10 minute episode has several guest stars that are often either cast against type or are commentary on the comic con phenomena.  Actors such as Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) who is nutty and neurotic, Felicia Day as an over obsessed fan, and Michael Dorn as Shakespearean actor who forcefully inserts his theater onto fans. This show is basically a who’s who of the cult classic comic con scene. Even the smallest of roles is an opportunity for a cult classic actor to drop in unexpectedly. Seeing these actors not only cast against type but as commentary of what an average sci fi fan can only assume what is going through their favorite actor’s minds. Above all else seeing almost everyone from Firefly make an appearance is incredible. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Kaylee wait in line for an autograph, dressed as Cpt. Reynolds, waiting to meet depressed Tudyk.Kaylee Space Cowboy
-Comedic Style: This show is sharp and witty. It never fails to come at you from unexpected angles such as seeing Tudyk’s character finally giving up and admitting to his fans “you know what, I hate Sci Fi” breaking all of their hearts. The writing of the scenes works well with the talent they have and the scenes are expertly setup, often building on established jokes and adding layers for good measure. One my favorite scenes has a gay actor, playing a man pretending to be gay just to attract conservative women who he hopes to “turn him straight.” Seeing veteran actor Leslie Jordon faking masculinity to sell this joke is priceless.

-Acting: Alan Tudyk in this is hilarious as you get to see him really cut loose. And that’s the wonderful thing about the whole indie/crowd funding; you get see actors that you know from some of your favorite sci fi, doing something very different than what your used to. A cult classic show is like a double-edged sword; you love it so much but it boxes in an otherwise talented actor. Seeing Tudyk and others be something new is a great idea. I wish I could see more of this. You often have to justify your conception of what the actor has done in the past with what he is doing now in this scene. This amplifies that punch line when its given.

Con Man Resteroom Scene TxT

The Cons

Seinfeld Comedic Style: It often takes a heavy level of “willing suspension of disbelief” to swallow many of the joke build ups. The pay off for going along with the ridiculous setup, and it’s often worth it, but not always. In one scene you see Tudyk desperately trying to play along with a nutty woman who has a doll obsession, many times putting his foot in his mouth while going along with the charade. In another scene you have to believe that Tudyk actually believes that a ridiculous sounding charity is a real one. Many of the jokes are hard to swallow but if you go along with it, it’s a pretty good comedy. Let’s say if you just can’t swallow the Seinfeld method this show may not be for you. It’s not to say that it’s as good as Seinfeld, it just employs that 90s method. Kinda dated comedy.

Jerry

 

-A Bit Overpriced: With 13 short 10 minute episodes the total running time for the entire first season comes in at about an hour and half. You can rent it for $14.99. Considering most DvD films cost far less than this and this is about a month and half worth of a Netflix subscription, I can’t really justify the cost of it. Not just for one show.

Conclusion

Though Con Man is clever, fresh, and original, I can’t recommend it to everyone just yet. If you want a nod to Firefly or cult classic fandom in general then it may be worth the price. I felt this show would have fit much better as a part of another provider’s monthly deal. Maybe not good enough on its own but would’ve been a great way to sweeten the deal, with say something like CBS or Amazon’s services.

 

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Con Man, the Web Show Review

DragonCon – From a First-Timer

DragonCon, the cosplay convention of the year, or certainly one of the biggest cosplay-centric conventions in the USA. For those who don’t know what it is, DragonCon is a massive, 70,000+ people comic convention held in Atlanta, Georgia with a heavy focus on two things: cosplay and partying. This year’s DragonCon, held last weekend, was the biggest to date, breaking ticket sales records from previous years plus who knows how many other people joined in on the non-official happenings. Now, I’m no noobie to comic conventions. I’ve attended several including my local Planet Comic Con and Blizzard’s BlizzCon in California. With that said, I’m certainly no veteran of the country’s largest shows, having never been to SDCC, New York Comic Con, or C2E2. So please, keep this all in mind as you read my take on DragonCon 2015.

Thor and Star Lord at DragonCon

 

My Expectations for DragonCon

I’m a cosplayer and a nerd. I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Futurama, Tron, and DC Comics. So, my hopes were to spend most of the convention cosplaying. I had three cosplays lined up: Green Lantern, Rocketeer, and I was debuting Star Lord. I also wanted to check out the creators, artists, and vendors. I love getting things signed, purchasing prints, supporting small, Indie, or local publishers, and I’m big on swag and collectibles. If time and money allowed, I wanted to meet a few celebrities, specifically those from Star Trek and The CW’s various DC Comics universe shows. I also wanted to check out the parade which features tons, probably hundreds of cosplays, among other exciting features. Finally, there were a couple of parties I was excited to check out in the evenings, especially one at the Georgia Aquarium after hours.

DragonCon Positives

Wasp and Black Widow at DragonConThis convention has so many talented and dedicated cosplayers, truly. I saw some amazing builds including sewing jobs, armor crafting, and unique ways of creating the illusion of a character’s power… like floating on a cloud, for example. It was great seeing so many characters, so many incarnations, and so many unique concepts. DragonCon also hosted some amazingly talented artists and creators. I was lucky enough to meet Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. Such fantastic people, and incredibly talented. I was pumped to get my books signed by both of them, plus a couple cool prints. Then, there’s the vendor area, which takes up two floors in America’s Mart. So. Many. Vendors. Seriously, it took hours to walk through it all and all of my willpower to not max out my credit card. You could get everything from action figures and statues, to prints, bookmarks, buttons, pins, replica weapons, clothing, and, of course, Funko POP Vinyls.

Outside of the convention itself, I was able to attend the DragonCon Georgia Aquarium night. Imagine a massive cosplay party with a costume contest, all held in a cool aquarium after hours. Ya-Ya Han hosted the costume contest which was display on a big screen for all to see. Meanwhile, all of the exhibits were open so we were able to see the penguins, dolphins, and even the octopus came out to play, which is apparently rare. Atlanta also has some great food. We hit up the Hardrock Cafe, of course, along with Ted’s Montana Grill (since the one out in KC closed), and Pacific Rim… just in case my sushi was going to be delivered by giant Jaegers. It was not. But still, fantastic food.

Convention aside, being in Atlanta means some sight seeing. We took a ride on their big Ferris Wheel called SkyView and also took the self-guided tour of the World of Coca Cola museum. It was a decent tour that ended with a lot of soda tasting. My personal favorite was Inca Cola from Peru.

DragonCon Negatives

Some Lanterns at DragonConAlright, so I had fun. Truly. It was a good weekend and I’m glad I attended. With that said, I doubt I’ll be back. Why? I just don’t think it’s my scene. My issues break down into the following categories: physical size, population size, primary attendee focus.

Let’s talk about the physical size of this convention. It takes place across half a dozen different hotels. We spent time in the Marriott, the Hyatt, the Hilton, America’s Mart, and didn’t even make it to the others like the Winston. Ever have trouble finding a vendor or panel in a giant convention hall? Try hunting something down when you don’t know which hotel hosts which things or where the hotels are in relation to each other. In retrospect, I should have done a lot more research from a mapping perspective and memorized locations. On top of that, I would not have used the skywalks to get around. Too complicated. City streets are much easier. But due to the straight size of the convention, I never saw the Walk of Fame nor any panels. Additionally, so many guests, creators, vendors, artists, etc. were there that I missed tons of people I would have loved to see or I didn’t realize they were there and didn’t bring things to have them sign.

Black Widow with Mr. DNA at DragonConThen there’s the population size. Yes, I get that this convention does not have a cap on tickets and, yes, I get that’s kind of the point but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Many places are impossible to walk due to too much traffic. People are literally walking into each other. No one wants to bend or move. I was strong armed on multiple occasions because people were just rude or frustrated. The patron to convention official or security ratio also seemed way off. Except when entering a badge-specific area, convention officials were no where to be seen and it’s tough to ask them questions at entrances when they are constantly telling you to keep moving, don’t stop… even when you are clearly walking. There were lines wrapped around buildings with people waiting to get into who knows what. I would cross streets out of my way because entire blocks were completely filled with people in line.

Finally, the convention focus. Now, this does not go for everyone, honestly, but the majority of people at DragonCon are there to party more than anything. Thousands of people were just standing, drinking, in areas that don’t even require a badge. Every night was party after party, people walking back to their rooms to replenish their alcohol, etc. In fact, you could do almost everything I did without a badge. The only times my badge was required was to see the creators and the vendors. The hotel lobbies, streets, and parties don’t require a badge. So how many people were there without a badge just to party and cosplay? Who knows but I’d estimate in the multiple thousands.

DragonCon Conclusion

At the end of the day, I had a good time. I bought tons of art and collectibles, got some stuff signed, and cosplayed. With that said, DragonCon is just not for me. I’m not a party-er. I don’t like to drink, especially while in costume, and definitely not in an atmosphere that warned me on several occasions about badge and wallet thieves. I’m not a fan of the multiple hotel situation where I spend more time walking place to place than I do actually being in those places. I think I’ll focus on attending some more Comic Con-focused conventions like C2E2 or Emerald City Comic Con. With that all said, if you love to cosplay, if you love to party, if you love the absolutely massive crowd, and don’t wish to stick to a schedule to get certain things done, then DragonCon might just be the convention for you. If so, you might want to book your room now. Oh, one bright side to driving from Kansas City meant a quick stop in Metropolis, IL to see the home of Superman. They’ve got some great Man of Steel stuff there including a giant statue and a museum.

Have you ever been to DragonCon? Tell us your thoughts below.

DragonCon – From a First-Timer