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By Lee Roberts

Dragon Con 2018 Highlights

It felt like it took forever to get here, then 4 months went by so fast, and before I could be prepared, Dragon Con 2018 was here. Just as I was getting into the full effect of the con, it was over. Now that I sit here looking back on those 6 days, yes I added an extra day, they went by so fast that the Flash himself would be left standing still.

So much happened while I was there, I hung out with a few celebrities, I got hugged by a few celebrities, I saw so much amazing cosplay, I missed just as much amazing cosplay, the panels, the stores, and and and and. I could go on for a very long time just making a list of all the events, people, and things at Dragon Con because so much does happen there. Even after 2 weeks has passed since the con ended, I’ve been finding new things that I had not seen, such as the giant Sandcrawler that was in the parade. Not only that but there are so many people showing off their photos of the cosplay, me included, that it’s mind boggling on the amount of cosplay that happened.

I keep having people ask me, what was your favorite part of Dragon Con and I respond the same way every time. Hmm, well there was this, no wait I liked this, oh but this person had this costume, and the panel of so and so was so funny. Do I have a favorite? No. I have so many favorites, plural. There’s no way that I can pick just 1 moment from the con as a favorite, especially with having 6 days there doing so much and seeing so many people.

Since I can’t pick a single favorite, I will give a rundown of some of the different things that I really enjoyed while at Dragon Con 2018. Each category will have a few in there, except for the cosplay, because I can’t post just a few images of the amazing cosplays, I will be posting a whole article of some of the photos I took.

For now let me talk about the cool stuff that happened.

PANELS:

There were so many panels, as usual, and all that I went to and saw were a lot of fun. Going to the panels you never know what to expect from the guests or from the fans. Some guests might just sit there talking with no point to be made, some might give away all sorts of secrets, a fan might stump a guest, or even get invited onto the stage, you just ever know.

MIKE COLTER PANEL:

One of the panels that I attended was the Mike Colter aka Luke Cage from Netflix’s “Luke Cage”, series. His panel was very entertaining but didn’t focus only on the show. He talked about acting and how to get into it if you are trying. His advice, and I’m paraphrasing, is to stay positive, keep working, don’t give up, and be true to yourself. One of the stories he told us about was that when he first started out as an actor he had a regular job as a waiter. He would go to work while looking for acting jobs. Eventually he said that he had worked enough acting jobs where people started to recognize him and he was getting more steady acting jobs but he continued to work his waiter job. His reasons where smart and shows he’s a good man because they were he did it because he didn’t know if he would not get another acting job and because he had told them he was going to work that shift.

One of the funnier moments of the panel was when he said he knew Lucy Lui and then called her. He got out his phone, called and at first she didn’t answer. Then she called him back on video chat and she said hi, saw us, and then had to watch her kid. It was short but funny. The only slip up that Mike Colter had was calling Dragon Con, Comic Con. Which a lot of people in the audience quickly responded by yelling out, “DRAGON CON”. That was also pretty funny.

 

EVANGELINE LILLY PANEL:

This one I didn’t make it to in the ballroom but good thing about Dragon Con is that there is Dragon Con TV. If you miss a panel or can’t make it into the ballroom or whatever reason you had for missing it, you can watch on Dragon Con TV. That is what I had to do with this panel and I was a little bummed that that I didn’t get to go in person. First thing to know about her is she is just as beautiful live as she is on TV. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. How can I say she was just as beautiful live as she is on TV when I just said I had to watch the panel on TV? Well, easy, the walk of fame. I made a point to see her there and yes, she is gorgeous.

But back to the point, the panel. Not surprising is that there was a question about Lost’s series finale. The answer she gave was kind of an expected one, at least for me that is, because it fits the ending. What she basically said was, the show touched on a lot of serious topics that left the viewer thinking and questioning the show and themselves. Art is supposed to make you think and gives each person their own interpretation of what it is. This is not really giving any kind of answer to how the show ended or what she might have thought about it, but does say it can have many endings, or at least meanings.

If you didn’t know, Evangeline Lilly is also an author of a children’s book called, “Squickerwonkers”. She had a panel for this also and what made the panel fun was the moment that had Wasp hugging her parents. There was a couple dressed as Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyme and when they were going to ask their question the told Evangeline Lilly that her parents were very proud of her. She then ran down to the couple and hugged them.

SMALLVILLE PANELS:

Ok, I know I said that I don’t have a favorite but these two panels has to be one of the best ones that I saw. The guests where Tom Welling aka Clark Kent aka Superman, Micahel Rosenbaum aka Lex Luthor, Aaron Ashmore and Erica Cerra for one, and the on the second panel it was just Tom and Michael.  I can’t really go into detail about what all was said in the panels because they were all over the place. When I say all over the place, I really mean it. Michael Rosenbaum was running around the audience talking and talking to the audience. He would hug them, have little chats with them, and even chased down some that were leaving the panel.

The topics ranged from the usual of what they remember, some favorite episodes, moments, what was least favorite, and some funny things that happened on set. But really, all of that wasn’t the fun part of these panels, it was the interaction between Rosenbaum and Welling and Rosenbaum running around the audience. The two really do have a good working chemistry together where they seem to make each other laugh and make the audience laugh. Then the way Rosenbaum did things was even more funny. Him sitting there trying to pour a glass of water and it not working out so well. Then him going to sit on someone’s lap while trying to be a fan. The dude is funny, and this is the kind of attitude I love for panels.

 

PHOTO SHOOTS:

I’m not talking about the ones that you pay for with the guests, though those are fun and great to have also, but I’m talking about the photo shoots that happen with the cosplay. Usually held out in the patios of the Hilton throughout the whole con and are set up by groups and Dragon Con staff. These are opportunities to find the cosplay you like or love and either take photos of or be involved with yourself. Pretty much every type of cosplay is covered in these shoots, from the comics to the movies, games, books, and so many more that I couldn’t name them all.

I went to as many as I could, but my main ones were the Harley Quinn, Marvel, Spider-Man, and Deadpool shoots. Which I’ve posed some of the photos from everything here for you to look at.

http://shakefire.com/gallery/dragon-con-2018-photo-gallary#ad-image-0

If you don’t know what these photo shoots are and you’ve missed them while at Dragon Con, then you have missed out on something that’s a lot of fun. Basically, a time will be set up for a group, what group varies, but each group will have a theme. Once there, the group has it’s time to have photos take while on steps doing different poses and with the different variations of that group. It’s your moment to see all the specific cosplay that you would want to and get photos of them. It’s also cool because a lot of the cosplayers will hang out after the shoot so you can get personal photos of a certain one and have them pose for you.

It’s a lot of fun and I love going to them because I get to see all the different cosplays in action. The parade is a lot of fun to see a lot of the cosplayers but the problem with the parade when it comes to looking at the costumes is that they can’t stop to pose for you. They have to keep moving with the parade so if you see that Spider-Man that’s the one variant costume that you like that’s never been done before, like this year the guy who went as a great Superior Ock, then you won’t be able to have them stop to pose and take time with you. To get these photos, if the show up at the photo shoot (remember even the cosplayers are there for more than just to cosplay for photos), then you have a better chance at getting that personal one-on-one time with your favorite cosplayer.

WALK OF FAME:

The walk of fame is what it says, it’s a walk through the room of famous people. I went there to meet Tara Strong, a voice actress of astounding talent and also one of the voices of Harley Quinn and the voice of Raven from Teen Titans Go. Let me say she is amazing. To get to hear her do Harley Quinn in person was the second-best thing of this years con. The best thing, getting a hug from her. Which I think the joy I had radiating out of me from that hug led to me getting a hug from 3 other actors right after meeting her. It was a surreal moment and those other hugs was unexpected for me but I do think because I was so happy from the Tara Strong hug those other actors just felt the need to.

Anyway, everyone on the walk of fame was awesome.

Some of the fun experiences I had while visiting the walk of fame this year were with Tara Strong, Mike Colter, Benedict Wong, and Ricky Whittle. It all started on the last day of the con, not the fun but the odd experience for this year. A little backstory for you to understand how this day starts.

The last 2 years that Karen Gillian has appeared at Dragon Con I have attempted to get into her panel. The first year her line was so long that it wrapped around the Marriott 1 and a half times by the time I had got in line. I decided that I was not going to attempt to do it that day. Knowing that I would get a seat in the far back where I would be watching on a big screen I figured I might as well just go to the room and watch from there. At least doing it that way I could eat and drink while watching the panel. Then on the second year I got there sooner but still far enough in the back that I decided to not go because there was another panel I wanted to go to that it’s line would be long as well.

Now it’s the third year and this time her panel is on Monday, the last day of the con, and I get there early for the line. It looks like I will make it to the panel this time around. My place in the line is good where I look to be about 200 people back, maybe a little more given the handicapped seating, but still doing great. After about 15 minutes of standing and watching everyone in the Marriott lobby and taking photos of cosplayers walking by, I decide to look on social media.

When I’m at Dragon Con the only searching on social media I do is of Dragon Con. I want to see what other fans are seeing and doing as well as the guests. As I’m scrolling through the posts I noticed that Tara Strong posted saying come down for a free hug and autograph. If I were a cartoon there would have bee a smoke trail left behind me as well as a boom from me taking off.

I got to the floor and went right to her booth. There was no one in line amazingly enough and I was able to go right up to her. Being a little nervous, yes, I got nervous because she’s a very beautiful woman who is also a celebrity and I was about to ask her for a hug. I get up to her, say hello, she says hello back and smiles that awesome smile of hers, and then I just say it. I saw on your post you are giving free hugs; can I have a hug. She said of course, got up, and gave me a great hug.

I was giddy with joy. So much so that when she asked me if I was going to vote in the next election I didn’t understand her. It wasn’t her fault, ok so it was because she was the one that hugged me, but after that hug anyone could have asked me something and I would have been like, uh what? She asked again if I was going to vote. Of course, I am I say, and she says good, here’s your free autograph. She signs a little sticker and hands it to me. I tell her thank you, but I was there for the hug. Which I was, don’t get me wrong, the autograph was awesome, but yes, it was the hug I was there for.

I was so giddy from the hug that I think it was radiating from me. Why do I say that? Because when I went over to see Benedict Wong who was a few tables down from Tara Strong he came around the table to give me a hug. Ok I was surprised by this, but it was cool of him.

Leaving there I went around the room where I run into some friends at Ricky Whittle’s booth. They are all chatting with him and I’m chatting with my friends when I hear someone say he needs a hug. Before I realize what’s really going on Ricky Whittle is saying you look like you need a hug and is then hugging me. I was surprised by the hug but hey I went with it.

After getting that surprise hug I went to meet my group and we all decided to get a group photo with Mike Colter. Well, can you guess what happened then? Yep, I got another hug, this time it was a side hug from him. In the photo I look like I was trying to lay my head on his shoulder, but I really wasn’t, he was just pulling me in and I never know what to do in photos, so I did my usual, the uh what am I doing pose.

So, I don’t know if it was because they wanted to hug or if I was radiating hug me but I’m pretty sure it was because of getting the hug from Tara Strong. Which, I wish I had more money because I would have loved to have also gotten a photo with her as well as getting a voice recording with her but getting the hug and 2 autographs is awesome enough and better than nothing. Plus, the hug turned into more hugs.