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A life in early Dragon Con

unnamedUnless you are completely unfamiliar with geek culture conventions, you’ve heard of Dragon Con. If you haven’t, Dragon Con is a convention held in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s been going on since 1987 and every Labor Day weekend, over 50,000 total strangers come to Atlanta to become best friends for the weekend by sharing their various love affairs with geek culture. We at the Geek Forge call it “Nerdy Gras”.

As you can see from those numbers, Dragon Con doesn’t need me to sell you on the convention, so I’m not going to bother to try. What I’m going to do is tell you why Dragon Con wants you and why you are likely to want Dragon Con.

logo_C3938My history with Dragon Con starts in 1990. I had been a regular attendee of conventions in Atlanta since 1978, but in 1990, Dragon Con hosted the Origins Game Fair and that was something I couldn’t miss. The moment I walked into the Con, I noticed that it was different than other conventions that I had attended. The guests mingled with the fans on an intimate level. The line between fan and guest was blurred to such a degree that it felt like we were all celebrating this event together. Turns out that we were.

 

I could tell you a lot of very personal stories about this shared experience, but I’ll focus on one event that occurred at Dragon Con 1994. In 1994, Image Comics was huge. They were the hot Young Turks of the comic industry and everyone was imitating them. Comics were full of mullets, pouches, gritty heroes, and everyone was wearing leather jackets.

Don Edwing; web source: http://www.galleryofhistory.com/archive/3_2005/art-architecture/252639-DUCK-EDWING.htm
Don Edwing; web source: http://www.galleryofhistory.com/archive/3_2005/art-architecture/252639-DUCK-EDWING.htm

As I walked through the exhibitor’s hall, I pushed my way through the crowd in front of the Image Comics booth to the DC Comics booth and I did a double take. Sandwiched between the two was a small table for MAD Magazine. Sitting at the table was Don “Duck” Edwing. Duck was a gag cartoonist who wrote and drew for MAD for 5 decades. He created this little strip called “Spy vs. Spy.” As creators go, he is kind of a big deal. I stopped to talk for a moment and told Duck how much his work meant to me and I ended up spending half the convention with him and his wife.

I asked Duck what it was like to be sandwiched between all the modern stars of the comics industry. Duck said “Hot commodities come and go, but the fans are forever. They don’t hold conventions for the companies. They hold them for fans.”

That conversation stuck with me over the years and since then I have heard the same words from Jeanette Khan, Martin Nodell, Julius Schwartz, Mike Grell, Stan Lee, and a dozen others. Nowhere is this truer than Dragon Con.

148755_10100393971225756_2684510957559515775_nIt’s been 24 years since my first Dragon Con and the landscape has changed to make that story even more truthful. Dragon Con is a convention where the fans are the stars and the guests are just as likely to take a selfie with a cosplayer or sit down and chat at dinner as fans are to stand in line for an autograph.

Dragon Con is messy, loud, and frantic. It’s often crowded and chaotic. It’s like a family reunion. It’s like a block party. It’s Nerdy Gras and that’s what makes it different; that’s what makes it great. It’s not a convention anymore — it’s a celebration and that itself is worth celebrating.

– Brian

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We made it to Bleeding Cool!

If you’ve been following our costume-making progress over the past year, you’ll know that we made a total of seven new costumes specifically to be worn at DragonCon.  Much to our surprise and delight, five of our new costumes made it to Bleeding Cool yesterday!  Check out all the other great costumes here, and check out ours below!

Deadshot and Scandal Savage, courtesy of BleedingCool.com
Deadshot and Scandal Savage, courtesy of BleedingCool.com
Historically Accurate Disney, courtesy of BleedingCool.com
Historically Accurate Disney, courtesy of BleedingCool.com
Taskmaster, courtesy of BleedingCool.com
Taskmaster, courtesy of BleedingCool.com
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DragonCon 2014 – The aftermath!

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We have (mostly) recovered from DragonCon!  Most of our pictures have already been uploaded, but there are some more lurking on various cameras that we will work on getting up over the next few days, as well as putting on our site.  Until then, you can find our photos on Facebook or Flickr.  Feel free to share and tag yourselves! And if you see wild pictures of us floating around on the Internet, let us know!

We will also be working on write-ups from the weekend, so stay tuned!

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Dragon Con 2014 Costume Lineup!

With Dragon Con only three days away, we thought we’d share our intended costume lineup with you!  For a handy reference, it’s also the current header of our Facebook page!

 

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Friday morning – Historically Accurate Beauty and the Beast
Friday afternoon – Deadshot and Scandal Savage

Saturday morning – Historically Accurate Beauty and the Beast
Saturday afternoon – Captain Cold and Golden Glider

Sunday – Taskmaster and Classic Moonstone

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Record Crowds Expected in Downtown Atlanta for Dragon Con 2014

trek track 1ATLANTA – More than 62,000 people are expected to pack downtown Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend as Dragon Con, the internationally known pop culture, sci fi, fantasy and gaming convention, returns for its 28thconsecutive year.

Dragon Con fans will travel from every state in the nation and a few foreign countries to participate in the four-day convention, where they can meet their favorite actors, artists, authors and creators, and talk about the stuff they love.

Guests – More than 400 guests, from the worlds of movies, television, comics, literature and other universes, will lead panel discussions and meet with fans.  Top celebrities include Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Men movie franchise), Karl Urban (Star Trek movies, Lord of The Rings) and James Gunn, writer and director of this summer’s box office hit Guardian of the Galaxy.

“Our guest list of actors this year includes a number of people from current television shows including Once Upon A Time, Arrow, True Blood and Falling Skies,” said convention co-chair Rachel Reeves.  “It’s an exciting list and I believe our fans will really enjoy the chance to meet their new favorites.”

Stars from television and movies past include Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid, The Outsiders), Walter Koenig (Star Trek), John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Toy Story), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and Ron Glass (Firefly, Barney Miller).  

Cosplay  Dragon Con is well known for the quality of its cosplay – or costume play – and that tradition will certainly continue.  The nation’s top cosplayers will show off their best work during the show, participating in costume contests every night of the convention and promenading throughout the five host hotels and the streets of downtown Atlanta.

Parade – Atlanta’s largest parade, the annual Dragon Con Parade, will step off Saturday, August 30 at 10 a.m.   The route is the same as last year.  From a staging spot on West Peachtree Place near West Peachtree Street, the parade will turn north (right) on Spring Street, east (right) on Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, south (right) on Peachtree Street, east (left) on Andrew Young International Boulevard and north (left) on Peachtree Center Avenue. It will end on Peachtree Center Avenue between John Portman Boulevard and Baker Street, in front of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Parking downtown is expected to be tight, and Dragon Con encourages parade spectators to consider taking MARTA.  The closest MARTA stations to the parade route are Civic Center and Peachtree Center.

Gaming – Perhaps better known for the celebrity guests and cosplayers, Dragon Con is also one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation.  Taking up most of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown and parts of the Sheraton Atlanta, the gaming portion at Dragon Confeatures voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.

Official Charity – Earlier this year, Dragon Con selected the Atlanta Community Food Bank as its official 2014 charity.  Through auctions and other charity events, plus a dollar-for-dollar match from Dragon Con, the convention will raise money to support this important community organization.

Last year, Dragon Con raised more than $87,000 for three official charities, which was more money than any previous year.  Since 2005, Dragon Con has raised almost $311,000 for its official charities.

Dragon Con also conducts the largest convention-based blood drive in the nation.  Last year’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive attracted a record turnout, with 2,972 attendees donating more than 6,000 units of blood and blood products, benefiting LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospital in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast.

About Dragon Con

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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DRAGON CON HOSTS NATIONAL REALMS OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

$15,000 Tournament Purse Expected to Draw Top HeroClix Players From Across the County.  Other Gaming Highlights Include the Return of National Security Decision Making Game and Richard Garriott.

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ATLANTA – The TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship, where the nation’s top HeroClix players can compete for share of a $15,000 purse, is returning for its second year to Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

 

Perhaps better known for its cosplay and the chance to interact with actors, artists, authors and other creators, Dragon Con is actually one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation.  Taking up most of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, the gaming portion at Dragon Con features voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.

 

“We’re thrilled to welcome back to Dragon Con the TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship,” convention co-chair David Cody said.  “Because of the qualifying format and the prize money, we expect some of the top players from around the country to participate in this tournament and make it a very competitive event.  It will be a great part of an already rich lineup of gaming and game-related programming.”

 

In addition to the TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship, other highlights for the year include the return of the National Security Decision Making Game (NSDMG) led by Mark McDonagh, a retired Navy Captain and co-designer of the game, and guest Hall of Fame video game designer and American astronaut Richard “Lord British” Garriott.

 

As gaming at Dragon Con has continued to increase in popularity, the convention has restructured the gaming tracks for 2014 to provide a more streamlined, focused experience.  There will be just three tracks this year.

  • Table Top Gaming – Formerly called Gaming, this track’s programming will continue to focus on pen and paper and table top games.
  • LAN Gaming – Formerly called Digital Gaming, this title is simply a better description of the specific type of gaming in this track.
  • Video Gaming – The old Video Gaming and MMORPG tracks have been combined to better align with the gaming industry and focus on the content rather than the platform.

 

HeroClix is a competitive, table top game using miniature super heroes and villains from throughout pop culture.  The TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship will take place over three days with constructed qualifiers on Friday, August 30th and the Championship event beginning on Saturday, August 31.  The top 32 competitors will share in the $15,000 purse, with the tournament champion taking home $4,000.

 

The National Security Decision Making Game presents players with a range of real world issues that they must decide how to solve, with each play assuming the role of a different political leader or deliberative body.  The game will be offered seven times, five using current global geopolitical issues and two relying on historical scenarios. In addition to the game scenarios, each lasting 4 hours, McDonagh and his team will offer more than a dozen lectures and interactive seminars on various geopolitical subjects, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the current situations in Gaza, Syria and Ukraine and the current thinking on chemical & biological weapons and bioterrorism.

 

About Dragon Con

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on HeroClix, please visit http://maxpoint.tcgplayer.com/heroclix/ROC-Dragon-Con-140829.

For more information about the National Security Decision Making Game, please visit http://www.nsdmg.org or look for NSDMG on Facebook.

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Superhero Gloves

Jen has been struggling with making gloves for the past few years.  Every pattern she tries ends in frustration, broken needles and last-minute trips to the fabric store for dye.  This year, since we started early with all our costumes, we decided to try making gloves once again.  Jen found this tutorial online, and was able to make some modifications to it to find a final form.

You can download the pattern (glove page 1 and glove page 2)Jen created (her first one!) in PDF – note you should download both pages.  You will need to trim the margins between the pages and tape the pattern together. We recommend using a spandex or spandex-like material, and each glove will need an 17″x17″ square of fabric.  Here are the directions:

1. Fold fabric and place fold line along the fabric fold.

2. Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut out.  For the lines between the fingers, cut to the edge of the line.

2014-07-15 16.06.433. Using a straight stitch, stitch as close to the edge as you are comfortable.  Jen recommends using the edge of the presser foot as your reference point.  When stitching at the bottom of the cuts for between the fingers, Jen recommends stitching straight under the cut (pictured right).  Take your time!  Going around the curves of the fingertips can be tricky!

4. Turn gloves right-side out and wear!

You can finish the top edges by folding under the top and using a zig-zag stitch.

Because this uses stretchy material, this pattern should fit a variety of hand sizes.  We’ll be using this on all our costumes this year!

Here’s the finished glove:

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Make a pair and let us know how they turn out!

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DRAGON CON REVEALS NEW SLEEK, ICONIC LOGO

New Modern Logo Honors Past and Represents the Future of Dragon Con

unnamedATLANTA – July 2, 2014 – Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, has a new logo, the first update in almost 20 years.

The new Dragon Con logo features a dragon in profile contained within a circle, with the Dragon Con name arching across the middle. The new colors are blue and gold with a touch of red, giving the design a bold and contemporary look.

“It was time to freshen up our logo, but it was important to maintain some continuity with the past,” said President Pat Henry. “The new logo honors our past, but also gives us something that represents Dragon Con’s present and future.”

The new logo design translates the former logo into a flatter graphic image which should become iconic and stand the test of time. The design is also easily translated into black and white from its rich color palette. The sleek new logo has modern appeal, but still reflects the convention’s humble beginnings.

“We are not the same show that we were back in 1995. We have experienced tremendous growth, morphing from a small convention that catered to a few specific interests into one embraced by the mainstream culture that encompasses so many aspects of fandom,” Henry said. “As we continue to grow and evolve, we believe our logo should reflect that.”

The modernized logo comes on the heels of the decision to update the convention name from Dragon*Con to Dragon Con, as the convention renews its style to reflect that of its membership and offering the best of pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi to its members in the 21st century.

About Dragon Con
Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Temporarily Suspending Custom Orders on July 1

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It’s getting close to that time – DragonCon!  66 days, or a little over 9 weeks.  It’s time for us to kick the costume-making into high gear, so we will be temporarily suspending custom orders on our Etsy store starting July 1st.  Custom orders will resume after DragonCon, so don’t worry!  We just need more than 24 hours in our day to do our day jobs, work on costumes and props, AND do custom orders for the Etsy store.

Thank you all for understanding, and stay tuned for lots of progress photos!