DragonCon ends tomorrow. It’s been terrific and honestly, somewhat eye-opening for me. It’s enormous (60,000+ people), with an unending number of talks and panels on anything connected to games, movies, fiction, and a ton of other topics. I spoke on a panel on Friday on “making awesome video games,” which was fun and easy duty.
It’s also sort of a concentrated geek Mardi Gras that takes over downtown Atlanta (the locals love it too, which is nice — they say it “makes Labor Day into Atlanta’s favorite holiday”). The lobbies of the Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and other hotels downtown are packed (and I mean packed, several floors deep) with people just about 24 hours a day. I’ve been to big conventions before, but nothing as concentrated as this.
There are people in costumes (“cosplay”), many stunningly elaborate, as far as the eye can see. They’re all made by fans of just about anything you can imagine. Some are sly jokes, but most are just unadulterated and un-self-conscious love for some character — or “property” as those of us on my side of the industry looking-glass tend to say.
On that note I have to say that being here has been a useful re-education for me: It’s helped me regain an understanding of the real joy people derive from fiction, shows, and games (my own little “Sullivan’s Travels” moment). Sure it’s all froth, but everyone knows that and they jump in anyway. People “like liking things,” as one TV character said, and being able to share that with others brings its own form of joy.
For my part, and at the behest of two of my daughters, both veterans of the convention, I put on a tux and a small arc reactor I made over the past few weeks, resulting in an older (but I’m told creditable) Tony Stark — or as one person said, “oh, you’re ‘The Most Interesting (iron)Man in the World!’” There will, I’m sure, be pictures.
And with any luck at all, I’ll be back next year.