This is our review of AwesomeCon in Washington, DC on the weekend of March 30 to April 1, 2018.
This was our third trip to this convention event. It is a fairly large scale event with tens of thousands of visitors to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There were dozens of celebrity guests from film and television, as well as from the world of comics. This event is more than just a comic book convention. It steps up the content to a full media show with vendors selling everything, including: t-shirts, toys, comics, leather wear, knitted items, and other artistic objects. There is really something for everyone from every corner of geek culture.
As a veteran of this show, I have to say that the organizers really had their act together. Everything flowed for us. While I know that everyone has an individual experience, it felt to us that there was nothing in our way to prevent us from doing the things we wanted to get done. Comic guests were accessible. The physical layout did not impede foot traffic. Facilities and food were available in close enough proximity to the visitors without encroaching on the floor space.
Overall, we had a fantastic time. I would highly recommend this con if you haven’t been. Now please note, we did not partake in the celebrity photo ops or autograph sessions; so, I can’t really speak to those. However, in the past we have done that, and it worked out just fine.
I just need to take some time to talk about the experiences with the comic professionals that we saw there. They were wonderful. Each person took time to talk to the person who came to see them. While there are “handlers” managing the lines of the bigger comic stars, those creators still take the time to say a few words to the fans in order to make them feel special. I am sure the creators know how much it means, because they are fans too, but seeing the joy on peoples faces really brings to mind a quote that I recently saw.
Sure, we’re a weird, insular, subculture-serving art form perpetually teetering on the brink of extinction, but that’s where the magic happens, baby.
I’ll share just two quick stories from the show here. I won’t use the names of the creators, mostly because it really doesn’t matter, but also because I don’t want to embarrass them.
I was speaking with an absolutely legendary comic writer/artist, and through the conversation, he was talking about his craft and how he went about it. He said to me, “It is important to do your best when you are making a comic, because every comic is someone’s first.” This really struck me. It is absolutely true, but it also applies to comic conventions. Some people travel far to get to them and may only ever go to one convention. The creators in the comic community, in general, seem to make the extra effort to make fans feel included. As I was looking around, I saw people enjoying the interactions they had with creators and getting a little bit of magic back.
The second story was from Sunday of the con. This also happened to be Easter Sunday. I witnessed an interaction with a fan getting an autograph. The creator is a multi-award winning “rockstar” of a creator right now. (He would disagree, but he is not here to stop me from saying it.) The fan was a second grader who had two comics she wanted signed. The little girl also brought a plastic Easter egg filled with chocolate candies to give to the creator as an Easter gift. The creator thanked the little girl and offered to share with her. He was polite, engaging, and sincere as always, but then he said something to the little girl that was just the sweetest thing I saw all show. He told her that because she had brought him that little gift, she was now his favorite fan of the day. This seven or eight year old child couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear as she left the table. It was a small effort for the creator, but you see that kind of thing all the time at the conventions that I go to.
AwesomeCon was a treat to attend, and we definitely plan on going back next year.