Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part One (Thursday)

by Aaron Einhorn
For many years now, I have wanted to go to Dragon*Con (or Dragon Con, if you prefer. They lost the asterisk when they disbanded and reformed.) Ever since I began doing superhero costuming, I had heard about the crazy and amazing times at Dragon Con from my friends on The Superhero Costuming Forum, and wanted to figure out a way to get there.

This past October, a friend of mine intended to get a booth, and so I entered into the insanity that is trying to get a hotel room at one of the “host” hotels of the convention, and wonder of wonders, ended up with a room at the Marriott Marquis – the central hub of most of the convention.

Between October and this past weekend, Christina decided to come to the convention with me, we arranged for the girls to spend the weekend at Camp Grandma, and another set of friends replaced my original friend for sharing the room.

I had major costuming plans for the convention, as you can see below.

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The plan was to wear Shining Armor on Thursday night for an informal My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic group, wear Jack of Hearts on Friday for two photoshoots, with Ultimate Spider-Man being worn midway through the day for another, to wear Superman Red on Saturday for the big DC photoshoot, and to wear US Agent on Sunday for the big Marvel shoot. I marked the Dragon Con app on my iPhone with a dozen or so panels I wanted to attend, and then off we went to sunny (and HOT!) Atlanta.

Thursday

This was our fairly low-key day. We flew in early in the morning, took the Marta train from the airport to the convention center (which was surprisingly easy), and learned what Dragon Con registration is like. For the uninitiated, trying to get over 50,000 people through a registration line is, shall we say, time consuming. When I arrived in line for registration at 9:30 a.m. (with registration opening at 10:00 a.m.), the line wrapped completely around the Sheraton Hotel. The police who were managing the line had no clue what the organization was, so the line was self-policing. Finally, at 10:00, the line began moving – and for those of us in line then, it moved pretty consistently into the center, through an immense snake, and up to the counter.

After registration, Christina and I went to the Hard Rock Café for lunch. I love the Hard Rock, and make it a point to eat at it anytime I’m in a city that has one. It still saddens me to realize I have yet to make it to the Hard Rock in my own state. But soon.

Following that, after we went back to the room to relax, we hung with some friends when I discovered that my pony costume just was not coming together. I bailed on wearing the suit, although my friend Wiccy still ran around as Queen Chrysalis.

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From there, I went to the meet and greet for the SCF. This was an odd experience for me. I was surrounded by people who I sort-of-kind-of knew from the internet, but mostly when they were in costume, which they weren’t. I had a few friends there I had met at other conventions, and a few folks I had stopped and had dinner with when we drove back through Atlanta from Disney World, but mostly it was a sea of strangers. Everyone was very nice, but I had a lot of trouble forcing myself to actually talk to people. I’m kind of kicking myself for this, because I probably could have got a lot more from the night if I’d made more of an effort to be more social, but it was still a good time.

One of the cool moments from the meet-up however would lead to a costume trade in my future. You see, my Superman Red was originally worn by Jonathan Carroll. I purchased it from him after Danny Kelly was selling his Superman Blue costume, and I was just a few minutes too late to purchase it, leading to Danny putting me in touch with Jonathan. But it turns out that the guy who bought Blue would have actually preferred to have Red, and I wanted Blue. So, we agreed that we would trade after the convention.

On the way back to our room, Christina and I ran into one of my friends from Columbus, and managed to snap a picture of her very impressive Tia Dalma costume.

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Then it was off to the room to watch some Dragon Con TV and get rest before the next morning when things would be kicking off with a bang. The day would start with me changing in to a half-alien, then becoming a teen bit by a radioactive spider, back into my half-alien guise, and then into a super soldier. Along the way, I would also sell off one costume in my line-up, meet an immortal trickster, have some of the best shwarma I’ve ever had, and ditch out on attending a ball held in honor of one of my favorite TV shows.

Here’s a teaser of what Friday held for me…

JLA

Can we say “Epic”?
Photocredit: Pat Loika

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