Dragon Con 2019 was busy! And when I say busy, I mean it attracted a record 85,000 people for the five-day celebration (Aug. 29 – Sept. 2) and raised more than $110,000 for its official charity this year, the American Heart Association’s Georgia affiliate.
As for me, I was busy as well. I did a lot of things, “many many things”, mainly interviews. Every guest I had the chance to speak with was amazing. Interviews included Anderson Cooper from Shazam (He’s a big-time DC fan and actually started out doing stunts before he got into acting) Dino Andrade (the voice of Speedy Gonzalez who was also vocal on suicide and suicide awareness) and Rodger Bumpass & Lory Alan (the voices of Squidward and Pearl from SpongeBob SquarePants). As you can imagine, talking to those two made for a really fun interview. Lory also did the voice of The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3), Jasper (Steven Universe), and Princess Allura (Voltron). Then my mind was blown when I discovered Rodger voiced Professor Membrane (Invader Zim) when I had just watched the movie the week before! Every single interview was amazing.
Other notable guests included George Takei, Sulu from the Star Trek franchise, Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parrilla, David Tennant from Jessica Jones, plus Freema Agyeman, Cary Elwes, Lou Ferrigno, Zachary Levi, Ralph Macchio, Catherine Tate, Cress Williams, and pop duo Aly & AJ.
This year, for a change, I spent most of my time at the Hilton hotel. Most years I’m stuck in between the Marriott Marquis and the Hyatt. But this year, there was a lot more happening at the Hilton. I was happy to see all the black cosplayers and people of color, in general, cosplaying this year, and there seemed to be more advanced cosplay present and lots of photoshoots. They had Marvel, Spider-Man, Dragon Ball, Jo-Jo’s Bizarre adventure, and even DC photoshoots. I took part in the DC shoot as Red Death (fusion between Batman and The Flash). Apart from the shoot, I cosplayed as gender swap Sailor Saturn (Sailor Moon), Perfect Cell (Dragon Ball Z), and Eva Unit 2 (Neon Genesis Evangelion).
There were lots of amazing cosplay this year, too many to list all of them but, I’ll note a few. I met a girl who did a gender swap Spiderman 2099 that looked amazing and I was really touched because it was my favorite comic when I was younger. I met a really nice lady who cosplayed Catwoman, came across a really solid Flash, and one of the media people from Momocon cosplayed as Darla from Shazam. They were all awesome!
The convention also supported a number of movies and television shows made in Georgia including Stranger Things, Black Lightning, Cobra Kai, Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, and The Gifted. Fans also had a chance to talk with creators and professional players from Paladins and SMITE, perhaps the most popular video game to come out of Georgia.
In the artist alley and dealers rooms, I was very impressed. I saw old classmates, spoke with old teachers, and just marveled at the quality of all the artwork there. There was one booth I went to that dealt solely with cosplay. They specialized in silicone and have a store right here in Atlanta. You can go to their store and use their products to make quality cosplay (it really looked like movie quality) and props. If you’re into art and cosplay, hitting the dealers room and artist alley are a must!
The Walk of Fame, the most sacred of grounds, is the place to meet all your favorite celebrities. I really wanted to see the Black Panther cast (I couldn’t believe they were there) but every time I came back they were gone. For the wrestling fans, Kane and Dusty Rhodes were there (with long lines to support their legendary status). Zachary Levi was there and gave out lots of hugs. But the best part of my day was when I spoke to Karan Ashley (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and Austin St. John, the original Red Ranger (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers). I absolutely loved the show but I had some issues with the movie, so he and I exchanged our opinions about the movie right then and there. These are the types of epic moments that only Dragon Con can provide.
The best part about Dragon Con is that there’s always something to do. Whether its video games, dealers rooms, artist alleys, films, cosplay, panels, photoshoots, or an opportunity to make new friends, Dragon Con is the best five-day experience you could possibly have at a con.
I’m already working on my cosplay for next year!
Photography: X and Anna Lira