For me day 4th, is the saddest day of Dragon Con on account that it’s the last day of the convention and a lot of people would be going back to their homes today. The high point for me this day would be the planned lunch with members of The Colonial Fleet at the Peachtree Mall during the evening. Therefore I wanted to maximize the use of my morning time wisely. At 9 AM I went to a panel with the male cast of the POWER RANGERS SAMURAI TV series. The panel wasn’t crowded and the panelists were very cool. I left early because I wanted to go one last time to the Artist Alley in order to get Tim Sale’s autograph on some Batman comics that I was carrying but once I arrived I found out that he fell ill and wouldn’t be able to be at his table that day. Luckily his assistant was kind enough to give me a free limited edition poster. Since it was a Dragon Con commemorative poster I proceeded to get as much autographs from as much artists that were that day in the Alley on my new poster. I even ran into Rick Stafford and Freya Fólkvangr so they got to sign my poster too.
Afterwards it was time for lunch so I headed to the Peachtree Mall’s Food Court for the Fleet’s get-together. I was lucky enough to see my friend Tracy Rouse whom I haven’t seen since last year’s DC. Also Jessica, Megan, Nate, Janet, Dean, Damaris and many more were also there. We ate Swarma (just like the Avengers at the end of their movie), we talked, we laughed and we had a good time among friends. As soon as people started leaving the place I left for the Marriot. I wanted to check out the Hall of Fame, the room where most of the invited guests met their fans and gave autographs. I was lucky and got to see mostly from afar some of my favorite actors, even had the chance to chat little bit with Gil Gerard and say hi to Michael Hogan, shake his hand and thank him for participating at the Fleet’s photoshoot the previous day.
Around 4 PM I headed to the Official Closing Ceremonies panel at the Hyatt. This was the first time I stayed for this kind of closing activity. The panel itself was quite brief and it soon evolved into a Q & A session where the attendees started expressing their complaints and misgivings about the Con. I wasn’t in the mood to spend an hour listening to people complain (I can do that at home) so I got up and walked back to my hotel since the shuttle service between the hotels had ceased early.
Since I didn’t have dessert at lunch I stopped to try the waffles at the local Waffle House. They were delicious. After that I went back to my hotel and started packing. Since my flight wasn’t leaving until around 12:00 PM I was able to sleep a little longer and have one last big breakfast buffet at the hotel. I got to the airport on time but the pilots and the crew didn’t so my flight’s departure was delayed. I arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico around 3:30 PM.
Dragon Con 2014 was quite a learning experience in terms of me getting to know the city of Atlanta better on account that I had to walk more from my hotel thru many streets and parks of the city in order to get to the convention. This year I found significant improvements in the way that the convention was ran. The pre-admission process on day 0 was the fastest one and most efficient yet. As in my last two visits the convention was rich with wonderful and innovative cosplays. The invited celebrities were varied and quite personable. The convention could have used more comic book artists in my opinion. I also learned that if I don’t plan ahead and do not take the necessary provisions to do things when I get to Atlanta those things will most probably never get done. I didn’t make plans to hang out with certain people once I got there and guess what, I didn’t hang out with any of them. The more you plan ahead, the less probable that you forget and left stuff undone. Well I guess that’s it for this year’s chronicles. Until 2015, see you then.
Sunday (the 3er day of Dragon Con) is for many people the last day of the convention since they need to use Monday to travel back to their homes in order to report to either their jobs, their colleges, or to take their kids to school early on the Tuesday morning. That means that if you still have convention-related unfinished business you better take care of them that day. Remember that old comic book that you are considering to buy? You better decide that day. Should I get that signed calendar from Yaya Han? Decide fast because time runs out faster than you think.
Around 8:00 AM I was entering the Hyatt. My main objective for the day was to attend the Battlestar Galactica/Star Wars special photoshoot event at 10:00 AM so in order to kill some time I walked around, took some photos of cosplayers and at 9:00 AM went to the Dragon Con Late Show Panel which was about the most recent event-related news, schedule changes and helpful hints to aid the fans in their never ending battle of surviving this year’s convention. They had a special treat for that morning’s attendees, comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick who’s currently writing the comic book series Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble for Marvel Comics. That lady is a wonder to behold and to hear talking.
I left the panel a bit early in order to get on time to the stairways of the Hilton Atlanta Hotel where the special tribute Lance “Flashback” Starmer would take place. Starmer was a member of both The 501st Legion (Star Wars) and The Colonial Fleet (Battlestar Galactica) and he had recently succumbed to cancer. The two units came together to remember and honor him in a very emotional ceremony before The Colonial Fleet’s regular photoshoot would take place.
During their regular photo-shoot The Colonial Fleet was honored by the visit of actors from the Battlestar Galactica (2004) series Michael Hogan (Colonel Saul Tigh), Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh) and Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek).
After the photoshoot I went to the Artist Alley where I met comic book artist David Mack. He is best known for as the creator of Kabuki and for co-creating with Joe Quesada the deaf Marvel Comics superhero Echo. I bought the volume #1 of Kabuki’s adventures (KABUKI: CIRCLE OF BLOOD) and he kindly gave me for free the 2nd volume.
Around 3 PM I went back to the Hilton Atlanta Hotel for the big Marvel Comics photoshoot which had a most impressive display of talents courtesy of all those wonderful cosplayers who put so much effort and love in their costumes.
After that I went back to my hotel, took a shower, ate something and went back to the convention to attend the special screening of the animated movie Justice League: The New Frontier. Afterwards I went to the Marriot’s atrium took more photos but ending up calling it an early night and went back to my hotel using the shuttle service. One more day to go.
Saturday is always the biggest and busiest day of the convention. In the morning we have the Annual Dragon Con Parade, at night we have the biggest parties and during the whole day we have the biggest turn out of people attending the convention. I simply had to plan ahead.
I got up later than I’m used to, but still early enough to stick to my plan which was:
Have a big breakfast that would last me until 3:00 PM.
Get to the staging area of the Dragon*Con Parade early enough so could snap as much behind the scenes phots as I could.
Get out of there before the beginning of the parade.
I arrived around 8:30 AM to the Hardy Ivy Park, which was the beginning of the staging area that extended a few blocks down the street. The parade was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM so I started to cover as much ground as I could and take as much pictures as time could allow. Once this event started the wall of people on both sides of the street wouldn’t let me take a decent photo of the marching cosplayers. I took a fair amount of photos and while I was walking around the area I bumped with a lot of old friends like Rick Strafford, Freya Fólkvangr, Angel E. Martinez, Damaris Degen, Nate and Janet Osburn, Brittany Lunsford and Dean Newbury.
It was barely a few minutes before 10:00 AM, time for me to get out of there. The streets were blocked so that nobody could walk across them during the parade. The Hyatt was on the opposite side of the street from where I was. Then I realized that I was on the side where I could walk to the AmericasMart building, the place where they located all the convention dealers. I got there just in time to catch them opening their doors for the beginning of their business day so I was part of that first batch of morning clients. I was very lucky; it was just like walking into my local shopping center very early in the morning.
My not planned shopping day was quite productive. I met author Kevin J. Anderson a bought an on the spot signed copy of his novel THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON, met for the second time that world famous cosplayer called Yaya Han and bought her 2015 calendar also signed. And bought a lot comic books back issues at bargain prices.
By the time I was done shopping it was around 12:30 PM. Time to head to the hotels where I took more photos of cosplayers, took a selfie with comic book artist George Perez, took behind the scenes photos at three photo-shoots, one was “DC Comics Heroes vs The Legion of Doom”, another one had a “League of Legends” theme and the other was “Game of Thrones”. I also saw and talk with cosplayer Margie Cox also for a second time (and she remembered me from last year!), also met and talked with cosplayer Heather Kelly.
Around 3:30 PM I headed back to my hotel to get some rest in order to have enough energy for that night’s festivities that included a party at the Georgia Aquarium and a Star Trek Party at the Hilton Regency.
Before the Georgia Aquarium I remember one time as a child that my father took the family to a local aquarium in Puerto Rico so this was my second time in one and it quite an experience. I had a lot of fun, took a lot of photos and had the chance of hanging out with Rick Strafford, Freya Fólkvangr and professional photographer Troy Nelson. After a couple of hours I took a shuttle to the Hilton to get to the Dilithium Crystals Party where I took more photos. I stayed there no more than an hour. Afterwards I went to the Marriott, took more photos and hanged out for a while with Hailey Hatcher, Norman and Janet Osburn, called it a night around 11:00 PM and headed back to my hotel to catch some sleep.
Today I wish to share with you some of the comic book treasures that I brought back from Dragon*Con 2014.
First let me show you a cover scan from Superman (Vol. 1) #229. There’s a very personal sentimental value attached to this comic. When I was a child who was barely starting Kindergarden my father took me to get my regular haircut at a Barbershop that had a big stack of comic books for the kids to read while they waited. The memory of reading a comic with Superman gliding through the air (instead of flying) stayed in my brain for all these years. Eventually thanks to the Grand Comics Database I was able to identify the cover and by a struck of luck I found a copy of this elusive comic book.
Superman #229. The Ex-Superman! Script: Leo Dorfman, Pencils: Curt Swan.
Next is this copy of Superboy (1949) #189 which has the story The Curse of the Hangman’s Noose! Script: Leo Dorfman Pencils: Bob Brown Inks: Murphy Anderson. Let’s just say that the cover got my attention.
Superboy (1949) #189.
On my next installment I’ll show you more samples of my Dragon*Con loot.
I wanted to start the first official day of Dragon*Con in a different way from previous years by attending to an event with more substance. So, after having breakfast I walked to the Hilton Atlanta to attend the panel offered by the Science Track called “Everything Stem Cells” presented by Michael Gilkey. It was both refreshing and revealing and I enjoyed it very much, still I left early in order to catch the last minutes of the “Welcome Panel” offered by the Comics and Pop Art Track at the Hyatt. I got there just in time to catch the last minutes of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s speech. She’s the writer of such comic books as, Captain Marvel (the Carol Danvers version) and Avengers Assemble, wonderful woman.
Afterwards I found myself walking into a Marvel Mutants Photoshoot where I didn’t waste any time taking some photos. One of my favorite cosplayers the beautiful Gillykins was there in her classic Scarlett Witch cosplay. There was also this most excellent X-Force (1990’s version) cosplay group. Around midday I found my friend Freya Fólkvangr whom I met last year. This time she was wearing her Warrior Woman (from The Road Warrior movie) cosplay.
Early in the evening I headed to the Artist Alley where I was able to achieve a long time goal of mine. I met the legendary Mike Grell, a comic book artist who is well known for his work in titles like Superboy and The Legion of Superheroes, Warlord, Green Lantern/Green Arrow (DC Comics) to name a few. He has to his credit creating Jon Sable, Freelance (First Comics). He is also one of the two artists (the other being Curt Swan who died on June 17, 1996) who worked on the very first Superman comic that I ever read in my life, Action Comics #450. I read this comic first in a Spanish translated version and in 2004 I found and bought a copy of the original version which I took to Dragon*Con for him to sign which he did.
I also had the good luck of meeting another famous comic book artist, Tim Sale. He is famous for his collaborations with writer Jeph Loeb among them I can mention from the top of my head such classics as; Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman For All Seasons & Batman: Dark Victory. He signed my copy of Captain America: White #0.
Later in the evening I managed to snuck inside the Cult Classics of the 80’s with Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders). It was quite fun seeing them in action. There was even a guy from the audience (cosplaying Elwes’s character from Robin Hood) who got onstage to help Cary sing the lyrics of “Men in Tights”.
Around 3:20 PM I went back to my hotel to rest a bit and put on my Clark Kent cosplay. This would be the first and only time that I did cosplay at Dragon*Con this year. I simply couldn’t stand the heat. That costume was making me sweat a lot. Once I was ready I went back to The Marriot and saw part of the Friday Night Costuming Contest. This particular contest had an emphasis on workmanship. I left the contest early and headed to the Marriot’s Atrium Level which during Dragon*Con is pretty much the main spot to see the costumers show off their creations. Around 10:00 PM I called it a night and returned to my room at the Omni to get a good night sleep in order of getting ready for the parade on Saturday morning.