Baltimore Comic Con is like coming home.
It’s starting to feel a little repetitive to say that this year’s Awesome Con in Washington DC was bigger and better than the year before but it’s no less than true than in years past. Now in its fourth year, Awesome Con’s main hall filled up even more of that giant hall in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown DC and the star powers of the guests increased. How many other conventions can say they secured both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who let alone conventions that are less than five years old?
It’s true that Awesome Con continues to have growing pains. More than a few con-goers were unhappy on Sunday when it became clear that autograph and photo op lines for the Doctor Who duo were a bit of a mess. The demand was clearly too high and the people running it were unprepared for the volume. The panel even ended up being delayed nearly two hours to try and accommodate the rush. Awesome Con Founder Ben Penrod took to social media the next day to issue an apology and explanation; something that Awesome Con has always been very prompt about. Like Penrod says in the post, they’re still learning and they never make the same mistake twice. (Anyone remember the badge fiasco of 2014? That hasn’t happened since.) I’m always impressed by a convention that not only immediately owns up to their mistakes but also demonstrates that they’ve learned from the experience. Continue reading
Another year, another awesome Awesome Con. As promised, this still relatively young convention headed by Ben Penrod pulled together another great show that left attendees happy and content by the end of Sunday. When you look around the hall, it’s hard to remember that Awesome Con is a mere three years old and that it was mostly confined to a hall perhaps a quarter of the size of its current location in its inaugural year in 2013. While it’s true that DC was thirsty for a convention just like this, what has really helped Awesome Con succeed is its willingness to listen, learn, and correct its mistakes. Last year, the biggest complaint was over registration. They were prepared this year and no one was forced to wait outside in the heat thanks to a combination of changing their precise location within the convention center, mailing out 3-day badges to those who preordered in time, and having a huge area dedicated to registration and entering. Panel lines also appeared to be managed much better this year with some rooms actually being dedicated line spaces for the larger rooms.
One of the great things about Awesome Con is that it’s hard to get bored. The convention hall was even bigger then last year, featuring tons of dealers, lots of great artists, and even a corner for all things Star Wars. The aisles are adequately wide enough so that one never felt claustrophobic trying to get through the crowds. The convention also made good use of the expanse convention center building. What fascinated me was how freaking huge that convention center is. I thought there was only the building used the previous two years but oh no. There is way more then that which is great news is Awesome Con wants to keep growing larger and larger. Space won’t be an issue any time soon.
Detouring back for a moment, the Star Wars corner was a great addition to the convention as a one stop shop for all the GFFA action. The local 501st, Rebel Legion, and Mandalorian Mercs groups all had tables set up as did the Artoo Builders and the local DC Collectors. The corner also featured Rob and Leanne Hannah; creators of the Blue Milk Special web comic. As someone who was fresh off a Star Wars centric convention, I loved this area of the floor because it felt like home. The Star Wars corner also hosted ‘Blast a Trooper’ for charity which is exactly what it sounds like. My hat is off to those brave souls who were willingly shot at with nerf guns in the name of charity. Continue reading
Geek Girl Con is not a very large convention, only taking up the atrium of the Seattle Conference Center, and this year it happened to fall on the same weekend as New York Comic Con. Understandably, there were not a lot of big names present at Geek Girl Con 2014. But GGCs fourth year (and my third year attending) was, once again, a very fun time.
What makes Geek Girl Con stand out is its focus. It doesn’t specifically emphasize comics or anime or games or any particular medium or fandom like that. Instead, it is focused on celebrating geeky women and creating a safe, inclusive space for people of all types to enjoy the things they love and you could really tell, both from the make-up of the attendees and from the panel topics. Not only were a very large portion of the attendees women, but throughout the conventions various forms of non-traditional gender presentation were on display, even beyond the cosplay. The whole convention just has an open and friendly atmosphere and there really does seem to be a sense of community. Continue reading
Another February means another Katsucon. It’s one of the largest anime conventions on the East Coast and makes its home at the Gaylord Hotel and Resort in National Harbor, MD, just outside of Washington DC. This year, it was quite the frozen convention to say the least (you’ll get that pun in a minute) with a massive snow storm bringing the East Coast to a standstill. Hundreds of eager con-goers found their travel plans suddenly thrown into chaos as flights, trains, and buses were cancelled right and left. While there are undoubtedly plenty of attendees who weren’t able to make it, the convention was still rather filled with more and more people trickling in over Friday and Saturday. Friday was, however, a good day for costumers who wanted to get pictures in the famed gazebo.
When you step back and compare Baltimore to other conventions, it’s hard to call it anything but rather excellent. Baltimore Comic Con is that perfect established mid sized convention where the emphasis is absolutely on comics. There are no media guests, only comic creators. Sure, you can still see costumes wandering around the convention of all the usual fandom suspects (I have a list of costumes you’ll see at every convention) but this is still a comic book show.
This was (surprisingly) my first year attending Baltimore Comic Con even though it’s my “local” con but it absolutely left me with a positive feeling and a desire to return again next year. I absolutely recommend it for any interested geeks but especially those who want to see a comic focused show.
That’s the short version. The long version can be found after the jump.
Washington D.C. finally got its very own comic convention this weekend with the inaugural Awesome Con DC! Over Saturday and Sunday, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown DC turned into a haven of geekiness as nerds flocked from along the east coast to check out this brand new convention. While it didn’t have the numbers to rival the more famous conventions, one certainly wouldn’t have been able to guess that this was only its first year based upon the attendance which only bodes well for future years.
Awesome Con was a comfortable size with a great location especially for those in the DC Metro region who took public transportation in. There were some issues with weekend track work on the metro but none of that was the convention’s fault. This was by far one of the most kid friendly conventions that I’ve ever attended. The convention even had a small track just for the kids and a costume contest for them each day. It was a great convention for both kids and convention newcomers alike. The convention was also well attended (I’ve heard weekend attendance was around 8000) and the location leaves it with plenty of room to grow before possibly having to shop around for a new place. Above all else though, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves which is always the most important thing.
Read on after the jump for a more in-depth look at in very first Awesome Con!