DragonCon is weird.
Like, really weird.
It’s little kid stuff, but there aren’t many kids around.
It’s comics and toys and costumes and dance parties and miles of exposed skin.
It’s attorneys dressed as stormtroopers and pharmacists dressed as Master Chiefs and elementary school teachers dressed in steampunk.
It’s professional costumers and novice sewers.
It’s experienced sculptors and amateur propmakers.
It’s app builders and song makers and daydreamers and instigators.
It’s every kid who didn’t fit in in high school.
It’s every adult who doesn’t fit in now.
2014 was my 5th year at DragonCon. Despite overbearing crowds, overwhelming heat, and guaranteed con crud, I keep going back.
My friend Ara went to DragonCon for the first time at 19. At 33, she still carves out space every year to attend. “I found family here,” she told me.
In past years, I’ve spent time adding to my Checked InDieselpunk friends for a private photo shoot.
This year I was more participant than observer, and only took a handful of photos. I mostly wanted to make pictures of my 7-year-old nephew. This was his first con, and I think his brain nearly exploded with all the awesome. (That’s him below with the “flamethrower.”)
If you still don’t get it (it’s okay), take a few seconds to watch this video my friend Elizabeth made on the last day of Con.
We were weaving through the Marriott when we saw this adorable little girl in a wheelchair vying for a photo with Captain America, who had just handed her his shield to hold for the picture. Then Deadpool crouched down next to her. And Bane. And – is that Hagrid in the back?
And the crowd around her grew and grew until some 15-odd cosplayers surrounded her, and she was laughing and crying all at the same time. And at the most perfect moment of all, Elizabeth zoomed in with her last-gen iPhone and recorded one of my favorite scenes of the entire weekend:
I think even the most buttoned-up, by-the-book, unimaginative, non-nerd among us can appreciate this kid’s experience.
And I think we can all agree: this is why we keep going back.
This is DragonCon.
Special thanks to Elizabeth Moore for the entirely-too-perfect iPhone footage. You are amazing!