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Looking back at Dragon*Con

Looking back at Dragon*Con

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I'm a geek - I admit it.  Much like a good friend of mine worships Johnny Depp, I have a girl-crush on Felicia Day.  I've been playing video games before they were cool, and I still chain-read novels with cover-art featuring pastel horses, medieval defense weapons, and futuristic space vehicles.  Even with all this geek-cred, I admit I was a little underprepared by my experience this Labor Day weekend at Dragon*Con, the annual sci-fi and fantasy convention held in Atlanta.

Copyright 2010 DCI, Inc. All rights reserved

I was excited to go, of course.  My favorite authors were attending - Diana Gabaldon (author of the Outlander series) with a copy of her new graphic novel "The Exile ", and Mercedes Lackey (author of the Heralds of Valdemar series) discussing her "Secret World Chronicle" podcast novels.  Really, though, I expected to be a little bored outside of those select few panels.

Author Diana Gabaldon. Photo by Nancy Castaldo. Copyright Random
House, Inc. All rights reserved

Wow, was I wrong.  I don't think it's possible for anyone, sci-fi fan or not, to be bored at Dragon*Con.  Between the people in costume just walking around...  the parade....  And the panels, oh the panels.  I think there may be a panel for everything you can think of that might relate even peripherally to sci-fi or fantasy.  It seemed like there were at least thirty things going on all at the same time, from ten in the morning until eleven-thirty at night, from Friday to Monday.  And that's excluding eating, people-watching, and parties.

Dozens of Star Wars characters marched through the streets of Atlanta during
the Dragon*Con parade on September 4th. Photo by Jaime Schilling

The greatest part?  There were quite a few panels that combined my love of geek culture with Disney. In "The Disney Curse, Revisited," not only was there an in-depth discussion of the similarities between Disney's "The Lion King" with Tezuka's "Kimba The White Lion", but also a discussion of how some of the concepts for Kimba may have been "inherited" from Rudyard Kipling's story "The White Seal."  In "The Rocketeer," Laura Martin discussed how she was hand-picked by Dave Stevens to color the deluxe edition of his comics, and explained her process in re-coloring the artwork to make it stand as a unified whole.  The best - "European Animation" showed a full screening of Walt Disney & Salvador Dali's short "Destino"  (For those that haven't see it, Destino will be included as a special feature on the upcoming 4-Disc Fantasia & Fantasia 2000 Special Edition. Which is scheduled for a November 30, 2010 release).

Even Ursula, Maleficent and Cruella couldn't resist the charms
of Dragon*Con. Photo by Jaime Schilling

And of course, we attended a large number of panels that weren't even peripherally related to Disney - from "The Future of Board Games" which discussed excellent board games not in the tradition of Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers, to "The History of the Jet Propusion Lab" the presenters and attendees were engaged and informative.  I wouldn't have considered myself particularly interested nor knowledgeable about the space program before attending Dragon*Con - but after attending a few "Space" panels where the conversation wasn't over my head, I'm now a lot more interested than I was.

Gandalf the Grey gets down at Dragon*Con. Photo by Jaime Schilling

The next Dragon*Con will be held September 2-5, 2011 in Atlanta.  If you're anywhere in the southeast and have some time available - I guarantee it's an experience you're not likely to forget.

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