At about 5:00 AM I was already awake. Since this time I was staying in one of the major hotels where the convention took place, the routine was more relaxed for me since I did not have to worry about the availability of transportation to get from one hotel to another. I just had to walk from my hotel to the adjacent hotels. All necessary places were at walking distance; restaurants, pharmacy, shopping mall with terraced restaurants and even public transportation services if needed. However, this year I had a new reason to be uneasy with anticipation. This would be the first time that I would do cosplay at a convention in the United States and I did not know what the American public’s reaction to my cosplay of Peter Griffin (from the animated series Family Guy) would be.
At about 6:10 AM down to the hotel lobby and walked to the hotel restaurant where I was impeccably tended and I ate a big breakfast that lasted until 4:00 PM. This a technique that I have mastered mastered to save on food money. Make 2 instead of 3 meals a day and you tie it up with munchies you bought on Thursday and stored up in your room.
After breakfast I went to the Atlanta Hilton in order to enjoy some of the panels that were occurring in that area before the beginning of the photoshoot sessions in the area of the rear stairs of one of the inner courtyards of the hotel. On the way to my goal I found several cosplayers whom I immediately proceeded to take photos of. Unfortunately I found nothing that was of my interest in what the panels were concerned.
Already at about 9:00 AM I found the first photoshoot with the theme of the superhero team the Golden Age of comics, the Justice Society of America. It was a small group of cosplayers so once I took my photos I went back to the Marriott Hotel to take photos of the cosplayers present there. Actually I was killing time until the beginning of the event that I was really waiting for, The DC vs. Marvel Photoshoot.
This event was a dream come true, a gathering of cosplayers from all over the American nation, ) many of them were residents in Atlanta) wearing their cosplays of characters from DC Comics and Marvel Comics. And as a special guest was one of my favorite comic book artists of all time, George Perez with whom I had the opportunity to speak briefly during a break between sessions. I took pictures like crazy and I also had the pleasure to meet in person two of my favorite cosplayers, BelleChere and Margie Cox.
After the photoshoot I went to the Hyatt to hear the first Battlestar Galactica panel entitled “BSG: Is the War Over?” Once the panel was over I had a last minute idea. I waited for everyone to leave and went backstage to test my luck trying to talk to my friend Edward James Olmos so that I could extend him an invitation for a party to be held on Sunday evening hosted by the enthusiastic group of Battlestar Galactica called “The Colonial Fleet “. Eddie and I have been friends since 2002; the last time we met was 3 years ago or so. Luck smiled at me and I was able to talk to Eddie for a few minutes, he could not give me any assurance about the party but he invited me to look him up around 3:00 PM by the Autograph Signing Area later where he would be at his table signing autographs.
After we finished our first brief meeting I proceeded to find one of the information kiosks in order to figure out where this autograph room was located. I found the kiosk and there told me that the place I was looking was under the name “The Walk Of Fame” and was located in the “Marquis Level” at the Marriott. I immediately went to the place, located Eddie’s table so that I would not miss him later and then I sent a text to Jessica telling her to come by around 3:00 PM if she had the free time.
Then while walking through the convention I found the Atlanta Chapter table of the Star Wars club called “The Rebel Legion” where I met with my friend Angel E. Martinez , the only other Puerto Rican (that I have knowledge of) who traveled to this year’s Dragon*Con. We talked a while and then went on my way. I continued taking pictures and more pictures of cosplayers , the variety of topics in the costumes was overwhelming , super heroes , Star Wars , Video Games , Disney , animation , Doctor Who , one after another after another . I continued this way until about 2:45 PM when I returned to meet with Jessica who was with some friends who were also members of “The Colonial Fleet” and gave her the written invitations for Sunday’s party to give to Eddie. We had a good time talking with Eddie, we delivered the invitations and a couple of puertorrican cigars that I bought in San Juan. After we were done with Eddie we went to meet more of our favorite stars who were also signing autographs there including Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn and Herbert Jefferson Jr. After leaving the “Walk of Fame” we met Rob Emery, another one of Jessica’s friends. Rob stands out in my memory because of his awesome Fry cosplay (Bender and Nibbler included) from the animated series Futurama.
Afterwards I said goodbye to Jessica and tried to go to the America’s Mart building where all the sellers were this year. However, the building was inaccessible by the large number of people trying to get inside. By that time I decided to take a break in order to recharge some energy for the nightly activities so I went to the Food Court at the mall that was near the Hyatt. While buying a coffee I heard someone calling me, I turned around and turns out it was Margie Cox in civilian clothes. She had to say her name because at first I did not recognize her. It turns out that she remembered me when I talked to her during the photoshoot in the morning and wanted to say hello. I felt extremely flattered because it is usually the fanboy the one that recognizes and greets the cosplay star and not vice versa. We talked briefly and then I returned to my hotel room to eat my lunch / dinner, shower, change clothes and rest a bit to get ready to enjoy the coming night.
The nights at Dragon*Con are a one of a kind experience, it feels like there are more cosplays at night than during the day. They sure are more lavish costumes and more “revealing” at that time of the day. In addition I enjoyed the musical show given by the band Grandpa’s Cough Medicine.
I would have stayed up longer but needed to log in a minimum of 5 hours of REM sleep. Saturday morning was the Great Parade Dragon*Con and for the first time in my life I was going to march in it.
To access the Photo Album for Day 1, click the link that appears next.