Dragon Con just gets bigger and better every year. According to a press release I received in my email, Dragon Con has “announced a record attendance of more than 80,000 people for the four-day celebration.” And yet, from my perspective as a long-time attendee, things moved surprisingly smoothly this year, with the crowds more evenly dispersed between the five hotels .
There were guest stars for every taste, including the comic creator Stan Lee, whose Marvel creations dominate TV and movies these days. The press release states that Lee, who ” previously announced his retirement from the convention circuit, made his third and perhaps final Dragon Con appearance..” I and everyone else at Lee’s panel appearance clearly heard what Lee said: “What’ya mean final appearance?” He indicated that he would come back next year if asked.”I love coming here!” So we will see. Lee served as Grand Marshall of the Dragon Con parade this year.
Every fandom has its favorites but for me it was the year of Dr. Who. We had the 11th Doctor himself, Matt Smith ,along with Karen Gillian, who was also part of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 panel, Ale Kingston, Billie Piper, who also stars in Penny Dreadful, and the ever charming John Barrowman, who just may be the funniest man on the planet and who channeled Wonder Woman for his big entrance to his panel.
Add to this the amazing cosplay costumes everywhere, and the Con was a feast for eyes and ears.
But Dragon Con has a heart, too. Every year, the convention chooses a charity to benefit and this year it was the Special Olympics. This year due to the damage Texas suffered from Hurricane Harvey, the convention raised money for that as well. I do not have the final figures yet, but Dragon Con promised to match up to $50,000 for Special Olympics and $25,000 for victims of Harvey.
And that’s not all. Again referring to the press release,
“LifeSouth, which has organized the convention’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive since 2002, recognized Dragon Con for its 25,000th donor. This year, some 3,000 donors contributed nearly 6,000 units of blood and blood products, with the milestone donor arriving on Thursday night.”
“Since 2014, which marked the start of the organization’s Superheroes program, Dragon Con and its fans have contributed more than 2,600 hours of community service. During 2017, Dragon Con Superheroes manned a crafts ‘n’ cosplay booth at the Special Olympics Georgia Summer Games, maintained portions of Piedmont Park, participated in the annual Walk to End Lupus Now, and collected toys and games for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.”
Fun fandom, and a flair for giving…who could ask for more than that?