Atlanta’s Dragon Con, a five-day accident that took abode this Labor Day weekend, is the antipode of San Diego’s Comic-Con (SDCC). Across SDCC is industry-led and abounding of absolute events, Dragon Con is fan-led and has at atomic two or three themed parties a night, which are accessible to all attendees. Dragon Con is one big party, really. A Mardi Gras for nerds. And admitting the abridgement of industry presence, the con is brimming abounding of appropriate guests and panels that baby to fandoms, from Filk to The X-Files to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So how absolutely does Dragon Con alter from SDCC? Let me calculation the ways…
SDCC, like best cons, takes abode at a assemblage centermost (although it has bled into the surrounding streets of San Diego over the accomplished few years). Dragon Con, however, admitting accepting added than 80,000 attendees, has no distinct centralized amplitude that houses everything. All the panels, parties, bell-ringer halls, artisan alleys, and gaming apartment booty abode in seven abstracted barrio (five of which are hotels) amassed in burghal Atlanta. Similar to SDCC, the streets can get crowded, but the heaviest cartage (at night, at least) is in the auberge lobbies, across bodies accumulate to booze and booty in the cosplay.
You can’t allocution about Dragon Con afterwards talking about the cosplay; able-bodied over bisected of the attendees dress up in some array of accouterments at some point during the con. There is additionally an absolute fan-led clue committed to costuming, and it’s bright from the added busy apparel that cosplayers army to this con in droves. And yes, I apperceive that SDCC has lots of cosplayers as well. But clashing Comic-Con, the cosplayers at Dragon Con far outnumber the nerds in noncombatant clothing. A cardinal of attendees additionally alike their cosplay, and the cardinal of groups activity about in apparel is impressive. On a accustomed night of the con, one ability see a army of Yip Yips scurrying beyond the auberge lobby, a army of porgs assuming for photos, or a aggregation of dancing inflatable T-Rex dinosaurs bouncing beyond the floor. There are additionally several apparel contests and contest throughout the weekend, including the Friday Night Apparel Contest, Masquerade, and Project Cosplay.
Dragon Con combines cosplay with lots of alcohol, which is the compound for a nerdy, Mardi Gras-like atmosphere. We’ve talked about the cosplay, now let’s allocution about the booze. Let’s say you’re activity to an 11:00 A.M. console on Steampunk Teapot Racing, and you crave a beer. At best cons, that would be an issue. At Dragon Con, however, it’s no problem! Anniversary auberge antechamber is alike with bartenders on every attic aloof cat-and-mouse for your order, and you can booty your booze from auberge to auberge as continued as you biking via skybridge instead of activity outside. Not activity to panels but appetite a bit of a fizz afore you boutique the bell-ringer floors (there were three bell-ringer floors this year, added an added fourth attic committed to Artisan Alley)? Don’t worry! There’s a full-service bar appropriate afterwards you airing into America’s Mart. But conceivably you appetite a snack, but can’t brainstorm bistro article afterwards alcohol? You’re in luck! This year, the Hilton heard your cry and provided alcoholic ice cream.
And again there are the parties. There are several “official” parties anniversary night, which are about themed about some fandom. Some of the parties this year were The 8-Bit Bash, Wakanda Welcomes the World to Dragon Con, and Yule Ball. Best of these get-togethers booty abode in a auberge ballroom, and all these contest are accessible to all attendees.
One of the better Mardi Gras-like celebrations, however, doesn’t booty abode at night and doesn’t absorb as abundant booze; on Saturday morning, Dragon Con (with permission from the burghal of Atlanta, of course) hosts a parade, across anyone who can acquisition a atom can acclamation the hundreds of attendees who advance by in their cosplay finest.
There is some accomplished programming at SDCC; aloof ask anyone who’s been in Hall H for a Star Wars or Marvel console in the aftermost few years. What SDCC doesn’t have, however, are specific advance that focus on a accurate fandom or across of interest. Dragon Con’s absolute programming is structured on fan-based tracks, across anniversary clue has its own amount accumulation of volunteers who were amenable for alignment their own contest and agreeable bedfellow panelists.
For 2018 there were at atomic 36 fan-based advance (examples of advance accommodate Anime/Manga, Fantasy Literature, Star Wars, Puppetry, and Table Top Gaming) that provided about 3,500 hours of content. Anniversary clue has its own sub-community aural Dragon Con; they anniversary use the aforementioned apartment for panels, and followers of a clue generally see the aforementioned faces at altered contest that the clue hosts. The across of these advance is why Dragon Con is accepted as a abode across all types of nerds can bless their disparate types of nerdiness, as able-bodied as acquisition others who allotment their accurate affectionate of fandom. And if there’s too abundant for you to see while at the con (a actual acceptable thing), you can additionally about-face to Dragon Con TV, addition fan-led accomplishment that streams panels on auberge channels during the assemblage and, for an added $10, lets associates epitomize the panels online for the three months afterwards the con.
While Dragon Con has developed decidedly in admeasurement over the aftermost bristles years, the accident still provides assertive touches that are difficult to do at a beyond and added all-embracing con like SDCC. For example, all the apartment and places across parties booty abode accept baptize coolers set up so anyone can hydrate themselves for chargeless (something abnormally important if bubbler is involved). And in the Hyatt, Dragon Con still hosts a “Con Suite,” a attitude across any attendee can get a bit of chargeless aliment to course them over if that $7.00 dried allotment of pizza doesn’t assume account the money.
Another baby (or not so small) affair that SDCC goers can acknowledge is that badges for Dragon Con don’t advertise out; bodies can still appear on Saturday and get a day canyon for the con, article that hasn’t been accessible at SDCC for several years. And while Dragon Con won’t acceptable allure the brand of Robert Downey Jr. or Tom Cruise anytime soon, attendees still get the adventitious to booty their account with acclaimed stars like Karen Gillian of Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy acclaim or with abundant associates of the casts of Black Lightning or The Expanse.
So if SDCC is too abundant for you, or if you’re attractive to dive abysmal into a specific fandom of yours, accord Dragon Con a go. And if you do appear aing year, try bathrobe up one night, alike if you don’t anticipate you’re into cosplay. You accept a year afore the aing con, which is added than abundant time to put calm a apparel together, so accord it a try! You’ll acknowledge me, I promise.
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