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THE DRAGON CON CHRONICLES 2014 – AUGUST 30, 2014 – DAY 2

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.

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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.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 2
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 2

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.

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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.

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superman_229

CHECKING MY LONGBOXES EPISODE #13 – MY LOOT FROM DRAGON*CON 2014

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.

DCon Logo 2014

THE DRAGON CON CHRONICLES 2014 – AUGUST 29, 2014 – DAY 1

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.

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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.

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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.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
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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.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

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”.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 1

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.

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THE DRAGON CON CHRONICLES 2014 – AUGUST 28,2014 – DAY 0

It’s that time of the year again, the time where I regal my faithful readers with the latest edition of my Dragon Con Chronicles, a day by day account of my adventures in one of the best conventions that take place in the continental U.S.A. But first a let us have a couple of introductory paragraphs so that the new readers can get up to speed.

Dragon*Con is a U.S.A. based multi-genre convention. It was founded in 1987 and takes place once each year in Atlanta, Georgia usually on Labor Day weekend. Due to the growth of the event through the years, the convention takes places in five hotels the Hilton Atlanta, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, the Marriott Marquis Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel and the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Since 2013 they moved the dealer tables and exhibitor booths to The Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart adding this way another building that host hosts part of the official activities of this event.

If you are a geek and you are enthusiastic about a particular field (comic books, video games, cosplay to mention some), Dragon*Con probably has not just one activity but a set of activities related to your field of interest spread all over the 4 days the convention last. Let’s suppose you are going to Dragon*Con and that you like comic books. You like them so much that you not just read them but collect them, analyze their stories, grade their conditions, etc. Wouldn’t be nice to go to a convention that offered not just one but a series of comic book related events spread through its duration? Dragon*Con is that kind of convention because it has something called Fan Tracks which is the name they use when they refer to a whole set of activities that have a theme in common. In the case of comic books they call that set the Comics and Pop Art Fan Track. Dragon*Con has by my count 42 Fan Tracks that cover the gamut of all the currently relevant fields of geek interest. That means hundreds of hours of different kinds of activities, all of them running simultaneously.

The day right after I came back from Dragon*Con 2013 I bought my 4 day pass. I wasn’t able to get a room at Hyatt this year instead I made a reservation at the Omni Hotel. I also bought my plane ticket before that year ended. The plane ride to Atlanta was fast and without incident, using the airline’s iPhone app to do my check in the day before helped on that. Once I had all my bags I used the Airport Shuttle Service and saved myself about $70 in Taxi Cab fare since I bought myself a round trip. The check in at the Omni was also quick and without incident also because I did my check in online the day before.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0

After settling in my room I went to the Sheraton to finish my pre-registration and get my 4 day badge. It was the fastest registration for a convention that I have ever done. The guy who gave me my badge warned me that if I lose it I had to pay full price ($150) for the replacement. I left the Sheraton feeling really hungry since I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast in Puerto Rico at 4:00 AM so I headed to The Mall at the Peachtree Center to grab a bite. At the Mall I said hi to Meg Galacticat (whom I met last year) and her husband Christopher. Afterwards I had my first taste of Chicken Swarma ever at the Mediterranean food restaurant Aviva by Kameel. I was attended by Kameel himself, that guy is just awesome.

From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0
From Dragon Con 2014 Day 0

Once my belly was full I photos of some cosplayers and headed to the CVS Pharmacy at the Mall to stock up on snacks for the weekend before heading back to my hotel room for a shower, some rest and a change of clothes before heading to the  Hyatt.

When I got there both old and new friends started to appear; Janet Osburn and her husband Nate, the Hatcher sisters (Hailey & Anna), JD Stretch and Jessica Paulding; all of them members of the Battlestar Galactica fan club called The Colonial Fleet. Around 7:30 PM all these people and the rest of the members got together in front of the Hyatt and from there we all went to have dinner at Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery. The food was great so were the people with whom I shared this meal.

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Around 9:00 PM I left Max Lager’s and went back first to the Hyatt and later to the Marriott where I crashed into a Cosplay Playboy Bunny Party. I had a lot of fun. I cannot stress enough the fact that even when Dragon*Con didn’t officially starts until Friday, the mood everywhere was like the convention was in full swing with the main hotels filled with people cosplaying left and right. After taking a good amount of photos I called it a night and headed back to my hotel room around 10: 30 PM so I could get my minimum 5 hour REM sleep time in order to get ready for Friday morning, the official beginning of Dragon*Con 2014.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #1

CHECKING MY LONGBOXES EPISODE #11 – GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (1990)

In a few weeks (August 1, 2014 to be precise) we will see the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie so one more time for nostalgia’s sake I dipped again into my Longboxes to share with you some treasures of years gone by in the for of cover scans from early and not so early appearances of the Guardians in comic book form. I am including under each cover scan the title of the main story and the artists’s credits.

Also check out at the bottom of this post for the 2nd official trailer for the movie. Enjoy.

Marvel Presents (1969) #12

The Shipyard of Deep Space!
Script: Roger Stern
Pencils: Al Milgrom
Inks: Bob Wiacek
Colors: Phil Rachelson [as Phil Rache]
Letters: Irving Watanabe

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #1

But Are They Ready for… Taserface!
Script: Jim Valentino
Pencils: Jim Valentino
Inks: Steve Montano
Colors: Evelyn Stein
Letters: Ken Lopez

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #25

And Now…. Galactus
Script: Jim Valentino
Pencils: Jim Valentino
Inks: Steve Montano
Colors: Evelyn Stein
Letters: Ken Lopez

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #50

Coldly Sublime, Intolerably Just!
Script: Michael Gallagher
Pencils: Kevin West (breakdowns)
Inks: Steve Montano (finishes)
Colors: Evelyn Stein
Letters: Ken Lopez

Aaand here is the trailer.