Here be Dragons

...and Ewoks and fairies and princesses and Stormtroop­ers and fans galore

The Covington News - - Sunday Living -

When I first moved to the area two years ago, one of the first things I did was to at­tend Dragon*Con, one of the coun­try’s largest sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy con­ven­tions. This year was my third at­tend­ing ‘the con’ and it was the best one yet.

I’ve been a fan of sci­ence fic­tion since I first saw “Star Wars Episode VI: Re­turn of the Jedi” when I was a six. Over the years my fond­ness for the fan­tas­tic and mytho­log­i­cal world of sci-fi has de­vel­oped into a full­blown case of geekini­tis. So when it’s time for Dragon*Con each year, I’m in geek nir­vana.

Each year the con­ven­tion keeps get­ting big­ger and big­ger as more and more peo­ple give into their in­ner nerd (and are the bet­ter for it) and al­low them­selves to in­dulge in a week­end of Stormtroop­ers, comics and ro­bots. Now en­com­pass­ing four ho­tels, the con has be­come a ‘big tent’ for many col­lected fan­doms, hous­ing fans of anime, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings alike.

At the con­ven­tion it’s like an in­vis­i­ble self­im­posed gag around my mouth is re­moved and I find my­self hap­pily de­bat­ing with com­plete strangers the real mo­ti­va­tions be­hind Anakin Sky­walker’s fall to the dark side (I’m not buy­ing that drivel spooned out in “Re­venge of the Sith”) while the group be­hind me prat­tles on freely about the lat­est fan sight­ing of Sean Astin, who is a fre­quent con­ven­tion at­tendee.

I’m a lit­tle amazed each year to see how many new dif­fer­ent sci-fi/fan­tasy worlds keep sprout­ing up. Even for one fairly-in-tunedgeek, I can’t keep up with all of the new books and games that keep com­ing out. I don’t rec­og­nize half of the char­ac­ters in cos­tumes that waltz past me in the Hy­att’s lobby. But it’s all part of the ap­peal of Dragon*Con – get­ting tuned into some­thing that you oth­er­wise might have passed up.

Like Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer cre­ator Joss Whe­don’s new “Dr. Hor­ri­ble’s Sing-Along Blog,” a short mu­si­cal star­ring the hi­lar­i­ous Neal Pa­trick Har­ris and pro­duced ex­clu­sively for In­ter­net dis­tri­bu­tion that be­came a huge hit with fans/acolytes of Whe­don over the sum­mer.

I spent a large part of this year’s con­ven­tion hang­ing out with the Whe­do­n­verse folks, de­bat­ing why Joss had to go and kill Wash from “Fire­fly.” Years af­ter the TV show’s un­war­ranted and un­cool can­cel­la­tion by Fox and the even more abrupt ax­ing of one of the show’s most beloved char­ac­ters in the movie “Seren­ity,” the fans are still not over it.

My high­light from this year’s con was def­i­nitely hear­ing Academy Award nom­i­nee Ed­ward James Ol­mos, who plays Ad­mi­ral Adama in “Bat­tlestar Galac­tica” (one of the best TV shows ever cre­ated, pe­riod) lead a crowd of thou­sands of fans in chant­ing the show’s fa­mous say­ing, “So say we all” for sev­eral feet stamp­ing, fist pump­ing rounds. It was thrilling; es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing this was one of the first con­ven­tions Ol­mos has ever at­tended.

It’s my opin­ion (also shared by Ol­mos) that sci-fi con­ven­tions are one of Amer­ica’s best-kept se­crets. To all of you out there who think you’re too cool to at­tend one be­cause they’re only for geeks, nerds and fan­girls, I’ve got news for you, you’re not too cool and you re­ally should at­tend.

For in­for­ma­tion on next year’s Dragon*Con, held La­bor Day week­end, visit www.dragoncon.


Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Geeks on pa­rade: (Clock­wise) This knight rid­ing a dragon cos­tume was part of a dragon rid­ing fam­ily that was a big hit at this year’s Dragon*Con; hun­dreds of storm troop­ers line the streets of At­lanta as the Star Wars cos­tumed par­tic­i­pants make their way past the Hy­att Satur­day morn­ing; cos­tumed as one of Xerxes’ elite body­guards the Im­mor­tals, from the movie “300.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

(Above) Wicket the Ewok joins a host of cos­tumed Star Wars char­ac­ters as they pa­rade through the streets of At­lanta in the an­nual Dragon*Con cos­tume pa­rade.

Comic hero cameos: ( Left) Adam West makes his way down Peachtree Street in an orig­i­nal Bat­mo­bile as he is sur­rounded by thou­sands of scream­ing fans who turned out for the an­nual Dragon*Con cos­tume pa­rade Satur­day morn­ing.

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