The Geekiary’s convention list seems to grow and expand every year, and 2015 was no different. We had a great mix of conventions to recap in our 2014 Convention Round-Up, and this year we had at least four staff members – Angel, Bekah, Jamie, and myself – who attended three or more conventions!
You can check out all of our convention coverage on our calendar page, but if you’re looking for a summary of the best of the best, look no further than this 2015 Convention Round-Up!
Which conventions did you attend this year, and which one was your favorite?
Angel: I attended San Diego Comic-Con, Comic Con Honolulu, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con, and Anime Matsuri. San Diego Comic Con, despite being the one furthest from where I live, is my “home convention.” It’s the one I look forward to every year and every other con gets compared to it in practically every way. For four days I push myself to my limit and have a blast. I live and breathe for San Diego Comic-Con.
Bekah: When I went to Con Nooga earlier this year it was my first convention ever. After that I also attended South Carolina Comic Con, Electric City ComicCon (EC3), Ice and Fire Con, and Dragon Con. Obviously it was my first time at all these cons, and Dragon Con was my absolute favorite – but I loved all the opportunities I received.
Tara: I dragged Bekah with me to most of the conventions I attended, so our list looks about the same (though I do have a couple additions of my own). I went to Con Nooga, South Carolina Comic Con, Ice & Fire Con, ColossalCon, San Diego Comic-Con, Electric City ComicCon, and Dragon Con. To be honest it’s really difficult for me to say that any one of them was a solid favorite. Con Nooga is always a fun experience, and I have high hopes for the future of South Carolina Comic Con and Electric City Comic Con because they’re local for me. And of course Ice & Fire Con was a blast as always, but as I’m one of the organizers it really is a different animal. I definitely had a lot more fun at SDCC and Dragon Con this year than I did last year, too, so I’d say that the scales are tipped *just* slightly in Dragon Con’s favor, for me.
Jamie: I attended Days of the Wolf (in New Jersey), BookCon, and New York Comic Con. Each one had amazing moments, but my favorite by far was New York Comic Con, because there was just so much going on and so many great things happened. NYCC is a staple of my year and always one of the highlights. I’m really pleased that it’s getting more attention and attracting bigger guests.
Did you attend any panels or round tables, and if so, were any of them particularly memorable?
Angel: The Hannibal press conference at San Diego Comic-Con was an intense experience from start to finish. I reached out early on to be part of any potential roundtable at the convention and, to my surprise, got approved! Less than two days later it was announced that Hannibal had been canceled, then the following day I got an email that the round tables had been cancelled as well. But then, due to high demand, they decided to throw together a press conference and Saturday became my official “Hannibal Day”.
I camped out overnight for Ballroom 20 to be as close to the stage as possible even though the panel wasn’t until later on in the evening. I spent all day sitting in that room waiting for Hannibal to take the stage. After the panel I made a mad dash across the convention center to be part of the press conference, then made yet another dash afterwards to the NBC party over a mile from the convention center. Through all of this I had a backpack filled with gear and a flower crown proudly displayed on my head.
While the Ballroom 20 crowd had many flower crowns, I was the only one at both the press conference and press party in one, which is a memory I will never forget. I was proud to represent Fannibals that night and the whole experience will go down as one of the best con moments in my entire life.
Tara: I was part of several panels (including taking over a Walking Dead panel at Con Nooga when the guests didn’t arrive in time – not their fault at all and it was awesome that my friends and I got to do this), and being a panelist is always fun. But the ultimate panel experience for me this year was the Spotlight on Allie Brosh at SDCC. It was funny, it was moving, it was…well, it was perfect. And it will probably be a long time before anything else tops it. (If that ever happens at all.)
Bekah: I also sat in on the Con Nooga Walking Dead panel that Tara mentioned. It was supposed to have been run by some of the actors from the show but a traffic accident held them up. So Tara, a friend of ours, and myself took over the panel, and we did a pretty amazing job, if I do say so myself.
Dragon Con had me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I completely planned most of my con experience around The 100 panels. The first one was canceled due to scheduling conflicts, but I camped out by the ballroom for the one on Sunday (although not for very long). I got in, of course, and got a decent seat, and holy cow was it incredible! The boys (Lincoln, Murphy, and Monty) were on their top games. Later I saw the internet blow up with photos and videos from that very same panel.
Jamie: I have so many memorable moments from conventions this year, it’s hard to narrow them down! The Shannara Chronicles roundtables at NYCC were probably the highlight of my life, though. Terry Brooks is one of my favorite authors, and I got to sit across from him and ask him questions about one of my all-time favorite books. It is very hard to top that… Although I did enjoy The Magicians roundtables at NYCC as well, primarily because Arjun Gupta was amazing (and really into my shirt!).
As for panels, the Netflix Marvel panel was pretty spectacular. Almost the entire casts of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones were on stage at the same time, and they gave us quite the surprise by showing us the pilot for Jessica Jones more than a month before it premiered. The Women in Marvel panel is always a treat — so many great announcements for upcoming titles! Plus there were a lot of panels for upcoming shows that I hadn’t heard much about, but definitely decided to check out (including The Expanse, which is currently airing on Syfy!).
Were there any interesting celebrity encounters for you at conventions this year? (Professional or otherwise)
Tara: It’s rare that a celebrity encounter isn’t interesting at all, and I met several of them this year, including Katie Cassidy and Dean O’Gorman, who were both delightful. I also got to interview Kristian Nairn after his Rave of Thrones show in Atlanta (though I suppose that’s not a convention), and then a group of friends and I took a picture with him at Dragon Con…when we were all dressed as characters from Kuroko no Basket (a basketball anime). So that was awesome. I also randomly ran into Wilmer Valderrama in a bar during San Diego Comic-Con. But probably my biggest fangirl moment was meeting Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe and all-around awesome person.
Angel: I got to meet Mira Furlan, who plays my favorite character on Babylon 5, at Comic Con Honolulu. Not only did I get to meet her, but I got to interview her and felt like, above all other interviews that I’ve held, that I really got a peek at who she is as a person. When big names come out to our little hunk of rock floating in the Pacific, I like to ask them what some would consider a throwaway question about their visit to Hawaii. Her answer sort of blew me away. She went on to explain that in the decade since she last visited the island to film Lost, the environmental impact has had a visible effect on the Hawaii she got to know so many years ago.
I hope Mira Furlan returns next year, because she was truly an amazing person to converse with.
Bekah: At ConNooga, I got the opportunity to dance with Savana Wehunt from The Walking Dead and talk with Santiago Cirilo and Wallace Krebs (also from The Walking Dead). At Dragon Con, I shyly approached Finn Jones (Ser Loras on Game of Thrones) and he asked if I wanted a selfie. I told him I didn’t have the money for it (which was true) and so, when his handler’s back was turned, he snatched my camera from my hands and we took a stealthy selfie. I also passed Stephen Amell in the hallway (not exactly meeting him, but he said hi!), and Dean O’Gorman was very polite at the bar.
I think the highlight of my celebrity encounters was meeting the boys of The 100. Unfortunately Ricky’s (Lincoln) line was too long but I had a lovely chat with Richard Harmon, who was so sweet and loving and even let me record a video for my friend who didn’t get to attend Dragon Con. He was so gracious and friendly and he loved the birthday gift I got for him. Christopher Larkin and I compared phones (he still uses a flip phone!) Both of them were very kind and approachable and I was very starstruck.
Jamie: If you guys haven’t seen my interview with Breckin Meyer, you need to check it out. He spends at least two minutes berating me for not being able to make the Robot Chicken panel, and it was definitely one of the funniest moments of the year for me. I almost wet myself laughing, and he had the entire press line cracking up.
I mentioned it earlier, but getting to talk to Terry Brooks was amazing. I got a long-sought answer about whether or not I was completely clueless while reading the books (spoiler alert: the answer is no!).
At Days of the Wolf, I was such a goober, but I gave Tyler Hoechlin a Funko Pop! of Grey Wind from Game of Thrones. I went to Howler Con last year and gave him a Ghost Pop!, and I was so excited when I was finally able to track down a Grey Wind so I could give it to him. So Ghost wouldn’t be lonely, you know.
Bekah: I think my favorite cosplays out of all the ones I did was my Pam cosplay, Maleficent, Alayne Stone, and Cheedo the Fragile from Mad Max: Fury Road. I did many others but I loved those the most. I think that my favorite cosplay was an Octavia from The 100 that a friend of mine did. I also saw a cheesy batman running with a bomb over his head. I also loved the Hello Kitty Avengers and all the incredible Mad Max cosplays.
Jamie: I don’t cosplay, but since it was the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, there were a lot of Marty McFlys at NYCC. It was so funny walking past the Delorean that had been set up, and everyone in the line is dressed like Marty McFly. My favorite cosplay, though, was when I spotted Harry Potter and Umbridge from A Very Potter Sequel. I think they were the only cosplayers I took a picture of during the whole convention!
Tara: This is actually a much more difficult question to answer than I thought it would be. For my own costumes, the ones that were the most fun were my Hufflepuff student cosplay that I wore at Con Nooga (it was a comfy party costume and I have no regrets) and my Dee Reynolds as Princess Waitress from the “Nightman Cometh” episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But the latter was super uncomfortable too which brings it down a few notches.
All that said, my favorite was (sadly?) a costume that wasn’t even 100% finished and that I only got to wear for about four and a half hours – The Dag from Mad Max: Fury Road. Even without it being totally finished, I felt pretty good about how it turned out, and to be honest I felt SEXY in it. And I’m not one to feel sexy, like, ever. Plus I just love the character, and I got to cosplay with Bekah as Cheedo the Fragile. I can’t wait to break it out again!
I saw a lot of other amazing cosplays as well, but my favorites are probably the Quartz/Universe family that I ran into at Dragon Con, as well as all of the awesome Jem and the Holograms outfits in one of the cosplay groups I was part of – particularly my friend Carly’s amazing Pizzazz.
Did you make any interesting purchases or discover any great new vendors at 2015 conventions?
Angel: I found a rather shady doujinshi dealer at Anime Matsuri that had the most wonderful collection of imports from Japan. I say he was shady because his company didn’t have a website, business cards, or anything to prove they do anything other than travel from con to con selling their wares. On the other hand, he seemed to have encyclopedic knowledge of thousands of doujinshi titles and I hope he’s at the anime convention in the spring. The man was a hero and a saint. A saint of wonderful wonderful doujinshi.
Tara: I think the funniest thing purchased at a convention this year was a game called Jetpack Unicorn, if only because it was an impulse buy at Con Nooga by a friend of mine and a group of us tried to play it later that night but had been drinking too much and made a mess of things. The game came home with me but the directions were lost and so I *still* haven’t played it, which just makes the whole thing even more amusing, at least to me.
Really though, I wasn’t all that impressed with the dealer rooms at most of the conventions I attended this year. I did get some Kuroko items at ColossalCon, which is a plus because they’re a bit of a pain to find otherwise (you can get them online but they’re more expensive and shipping is often questionable). I suppose the best overall purchase was the best because it was more of an experience – I was with a friend who spent enough money at the Cyanide & Happiness booth at SDCC for them to draw us a special picture. We asked for one of an ermine, had to explain to them that it was a type of [white] weasel, and they were so intrigued that they had a “Weas-off”. The end result was perfectly hilarious, as was the entire experience.
Bekah: The only thing I really bought was my Pote Lop miniature rabbit plush at Con Nooga. I didn’t get a chance to go to the vendor room at Dragon Con. At EC3 there was a girl who had made adorable plush pocket Steven Universe characters. I’m sure next year will be awesome, so I better start saving now!
Jamie: I buy mostly art when I go to conventions, unless the exclusives are really cool (and affordable). My favorite artist is Alice X. Zhang. Her art is absolutely beautiful, and her table is always crowded. I would probably buy everything she made if I could afford it.
Again, be sure to check out our Convention Calendar page, where you can get details on our past experiences and see which Geekiary authors will be attending future conventions . Additionally, The Geekiary features my A Song of Cons and Cosplay column, which recaps her convention experiences throughout the year. See you all in 2016!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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