Like every year before it, DragonCon transformed the heart of Atlanta into a surreal utopia for the world’s most passionate nerds, geeks, and fans to gather and set their passions free. During the 4-day event, Heroes, Villains, Dark Elves, Jedi, Yordles, Pokemon, and Doctor incarnations treaded the city grounds en masse, moving to and fro between panels, meeting their favorite stars, or playing their favorite games. It is without a doubt, the convention I look forward to most on an annual basis, and I’m glad that this year turned out as well as the last.
Before, I go into any of the finer details, I’d like to give a shout out to Twitter’s blerd community for making this experience at DragonCon different for me than any of the others. My blog has been running for just a few months now, but during that time, I ran across Black Girl Nerd’s twitter profile and followed. Since then, I was exposed to a vast black and brown community of blerds that I’d never known even existed. I joined this community, becoming follower/followee of many, and during DragonCon, thanks to a meetup orchestrated by Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds, was actually able to meet a good handful of these awesome people. In most cases, we carried on like we’d been homies for years. The experience was awe-inspiring. I mean truly, I feel like I’ve made some good friends, even amid all of the hustle and bustle of the Con.
Now! Let’s talk details. After an early wake up and breakfast on Friday, I drove to the MARTA, which I took into the city, from which I near ran down to the Sheraton to pick up my badge, only to run back up to the Hyatt to seat myself in my first panel, which just so happened to be Charlie Cox, who plays Matt Murdock/Daredevil on Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix series. He was a great guy, making the entire panel easy to enjoy as he discussed the details of filming the Daredevil series. I found that while he doesn’t actually practice martial arts, he is so convincing in his choreography that we would not know otherwise. In the first season we found that his famous hallway scene in episode 2, though traded with his stunt double (in and out of the rooms), was a true continuous shot that took 8 takes to perfect. The similar stairway scene in season 2, was not continuous, but with excellent cinematography was easily made to look as such. He was also able to do more (without his double stepping in) in the second season as he’d grown more physically fit, and accustomed to his role. Among other things it was also interesting to hear that he was quite literally terrified during those intense moments with Vincent D'Onofrio (Kingpin), and didn’t have to do much acting. Very interesting panel.
From there I slid into a flurry of Star Wars panels where I met a group of similarly enthusiastic geeks and discussed Star Wars Episode VII, VIII, Rogue One, as well as the work of artists on Star Wars comics and animation, with people like Henry Gilroy and Mark Maddox. We watched pretty much every trailer available, and learned a wealth of information that I hadn’t known about Rogue One (releasing December 16, 2016), and came out far more excited for it, than I had been before hand. I also got a fire lit under my behind to finish reading Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which I’d started just last week and am about halfway through. On Sunday I made sure to watch the Star Wars Trivia contest, with brutalizing questions, that even being a Star Wars nerd, were largely impossible for me to answer. Check out a sample of the “easy” round below.
Later, the DC/Marvel Trivia went underway, and the rule for contestants to be able to buzz in answers at any time during the question proved to be as fun as always. The questions designed to trick early buzzers were hilarious. I was able to play in this one and I came out as one of 7 (answering all my questions correctly) in a room of well over 50 to gain a “Green Card” which would’ve put me into the finals, had we had the time. I’m glad we didn’t because I’m quite sure some of these other finalists would’ve smashed me.
I had to rush out of their in any case to meet the blerd fam at the Black Girl Nerd’s Blerd Tweetup, hosted at Joystick where I caught the tail end of a live Black Girl Nerd’s podcast episode featuring Afua Richardson, artist of the upcoming World of Wakanda book, to be written by Roxanne Gay. I was able to speak to Afua for a few minutes afterwards, finding her to be one of the most pure spirits I’d ever had the chance to converse with. It was also here that I met the Jamie Broadnax, of Black Girl Nerds, The Blerd Gurl (who I will forever refer to as the Negrosonic Middleage Blerdhead), Ira L. Hobbs of Blavity and so many more. Most of them ended up being “the crew” with whom I met up with several times, in and between events, and they made this year’s experience, especially memorable. Not to mention, I learned a wealth of information concerning press which gives me some things to think about.
I returned the next day, and attended the parade with the wife, baby, mother and sister-in-laws as per usual and pretty much spent the entire day playing in the Realms Open Championship Heroclix tournament. It was bittersweet, because while I love the game, and the tournament was fun, it took a chunk out of my Saturday, where I missed some amazing panels (as told by the blerd fam). I ended up finishing in 6th place, and won enough prizes to make it difficult to carry everything in one bag. I met with the blerds again, before calling it a night.
Sunday opened up with a panel on All-New, All Different Marvel featuring Afua Richardson, long time writer of many shows and comics, Peter David, and Power Man and Iron Fist artist Sanford Green (who looks so much like Luke Cage that it’s scary). Before the panel begun I actually ended up sitting next to Jamie Broadnax and was able to chat it up with her a little about a little press and Con stuff. It was certainly great to talk to her, and I am mad I forgot to ask for a picture with her. In any case, the panel turned out to be one of my favorites, likely because I loved all the panelists so much and as I’m sure readers well know, comic books are my thing. The discussion centered around diversity in the books as well as diversity in the creators of these books. Afua hit on the point that Marvel is creating more diversity in response to changing user base as well as demand, noting that there is a dual drive on both a financial and reader response front. Peter also mentioned that Marvel is pushing for changes, and doing so specifically with intent to keep continuity in place. “Everything should count.” Aside from that, something that might soothe some souls is the fact that Peter David himself said that while they are throwing some punches at Fox, Marvel is not doing away with the X-men. The team will survive “Death of X.”
Most of the day after was spent with fellow blerd and Whovian, Tai Gooden, bouncing around Dr. Who panels. Along with Mel of Nerds of Prey, we waited in a long winding line to see Arthur Davill (Rory) and Alex Kingston (River Song), who both turned out to be absolutely fantastic. I mean I love Alex Kingston. She has the most bubbly, eccentric personality and Arthur had this very demure reticence that I can relate to 100%. It was a treat to see the both of them together and I would jump at the opportunity to do so again.
Afterwards we walked into a discussion about the next season of Doctor Who (10), which will be featuring a new companion, who happens to be a women of color named Bill, played by Pearl Mackie. Being filmed in Spain and Vancouver, the first episode of Season 10 will be called “Star in her Eyes”, and though they don’t have a great deal of information yet storywise, we do have speculation that she may be from the 1980s, and we do know that she is intended to have a wholly new tone and relationship with The Doctor. We also briefly discussed a new show in the Whoverse called “Class”, written by Patrick Ness, which will feature an LBGT character, set to debut in October, so stay on the lookout!
For the most part this was my DragonCon experience! After saying my goodbye’s to Tai, I stopped at the Star Wars Trivia, A Flash Panel, generally discussing the series, and finally played a Heroes & Villians version of “Cards Against Humanity” before calling it a day. Among other things, I met some great artists, dodged between the Crazy 88, had a beer with Bender, and deciphered R2-D2’s beeping. I decided to take off Monday and get some much needed rest, but I must say the experience was fulfilling as always, and even moreso, having met so many other blerds. It was incredible to say the least, but before you bounce out, take a look at some of the most awesome cosplay that I was able to capture.