Archive for the ‘Convention Reports’ Category

Every late February, the Nerd Nation team makes our annual trek over the Great Smoky Mountains and down into the Tennessee Valley to invade one of our absolute favorite conventions… the one and only Con Nooga.

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Held annually at the Chattanooga Convention Center and Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel in Chattanooga, TN, this marked the tenth consecutive year of the three-day multi-fandom convention, and ninth consecutive year that Nerd Nation has been a part of it.

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Back in the day, there used to be such a thing as ‘convention season’– a specific block of time that the geek community set aside each year to attend as many of their favorite big-name shows as they could (with the exception of San Diego’s Comic Con, of course). Now convention season is a 12-month affair that offers hundreds of events across the United States- and the world- and doesn’t apologize for the over-abundance of actors from The Walking Dead and ridiculously over-priced autographs.

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A subsection of the convention circuit, there are still a small amount of horror-themed shows that have a permanent place with fans. Though numbers have dwindled in recent years- be it because of the economy or lack of interest- many of these shows have continued to make their mark on annual calendars, and these shows are no stranger to competition.

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When most people talk about Jekyll Island, there are a lot of things that come to mind. Beautiful, mostly empty beaches, protected wilderness covering the vast majority of the island, gorgeous historical landmarks, the famous Jekyll Island Club Hotel, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center,  and of course, a great place for a quiet, romantic getaway. However, what few people- and even fewer outside the realm of fandom – may think of is that every Decemeber, this breathtaking, remote island with a popultion of just under 1,000 plays host to a big, weekend-long multi-fandom convention. I am of course talking about Jekyll Comic Con, who just wrapped up its 2016 offering, and was kind enough to invite Nerd Nation down as guests!

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(image courtesy of Jekyll Comic Con)

Located at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, in the small part of the island that’s actually inhabited/developed (most of the island is a combination of undeveloped, proteceted nature preserve and a few scattered historical landmarks) Jekyll Comic Con 2016 featured tons of vendors, gaming, panels, Q&As, and celebrity guests – including Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen (of AMC’s ‘Comic Book Men’), Veronica Taylor (the voice of Ash Ketchum in pretty much every ‘Pokemon’ thing ever), William Tokarsky (of Adult Swim’s ‘Too Many Cooks’ and ‘Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell’), voice actor Quinton Flynn (of Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, Naruto, Romper Room, and several others), Michael Koske, Greg Crews, and Michelle Helmeczy (of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’), and more comic book artists and writers than I would even attempt to name out, just to name a few, as well as cosplayers, fan groups, the 1950s Batmobile, and all the usual sights of any good con worth its salt.
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Greeting Fellow Nerds! 
It’s slightly belated due to the holiday activities, but we did not forget about Big Fandom Greenville; which honestly was one of the best times at a con the Nation had this year.

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(image courtesy of Big Fandom Greenville)

Big Fandom Greenville was held in (you guessed it) Greenville, SC from November 17-19 2016.  Taking up the vacant spot in town left by a previous event that left on pretty bad terms after alienating almost the entire local fandom community (and no, this event shall not be named as the organizers of said event tend to get a little ragey whenever they’re mentioned), BFG, as it has commonly been referred to by locals, kicked off it’s very first year at the Hilton Greenville. The first time in well over a decade that this town has seen a proper three-day fandom convention – as in not an expo – that’s held at an actual hotel.

So how did this brand new convention measure up? Read on to see for yourselves!!

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Lace, leather, bonnets, and top hats are only a few of the fashion statements that can be found at RuffleCon hosted in Stamford, Connecticut.

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RuffleCon is the ONLY alternative fashion convention on the east coast and one of the few conventions within the United States. This year marked the convention’s third show. I was invited to model for a designer and good friend. For the sake of privacy (as requested by this person), let’s call her “Jane” in this review. As a fan of both alternative fashion and modeling, I could not pass up the opportunity.

My journey started Thursday afternoon. I began my drive at 2:30 pm. My origin is West Columbia, SC. When I accepted the offer to go to Stamford, CT, I had surmised that the drive would only be between 8 and 9 hours. Of course as these things go, I was quite wrong and the distance was actually closer to 11.5 hours away. No big deal, I’ve driven 11 hours to Missouri before. I’m an old pro at long-distance driving.

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In 1987, six gentlemen had an idea to pool their resources from their local sci-fi and gaming club to create a gathering place for geek culture to flourish. The convention would be named after one of these gentlemen’s computer, The Dragon, and thus Dragon Con was born. Fast forward 30 iterations later and Dragon Con is the largest geek convention and party of the east coast. With Dragon Con turning 30 the same year as I, my friends and I felt it was time for me to dive into a much larger convention to experience the scene on a scale much larger than I ever have.

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DragonCon 2016 Logo (fair use/dragoncon.org)

But how did Dragon Con 2016 actually measure up? Read on to see for yourselves!

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When you talk about big, prestigous conventions around the United States, you simply cannot have that conversation without mentioning HeroesCon. All the way back in 1982, Shelton Drum, owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find (better known locally as ‘Heroes Comics’) launched the very first HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina. More than three decades later, Nerd Nation Magazine was in attendance for their 2016 offering.

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HeroesCon 2016 kicked off exactly as it does every single year; a June weekend at the very large, and very luxurious Charlotte Convention Center in downtown Charlotte., with a virtual who’s who among comic book professionals. All the big comic book companies were represented, more big name comic book guests than I will even begin to try and list (seriously, just go their website and see for yourself), nearly every major comic book store in the southeast and beyond, all the regional fan groups, big name cosplayers, and of course any and every regional media outlet from television to radio to web. Everyone was in the house for this one.

But is sheer size and a big, stacked guest list ALL it takes to make a great convention? Read on to find out (and be warned, dear readers, absolutely ZERO punches are pulled in this one!)

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KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA: Florida Anime Experience has announced its 2016 dates and will take place April 22-24, 2016 at the Park Inn by Radisson Resort & Conference Center.

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(official logo – courtesy of Green Mustard Entertainment)

From their official press release:
Started in 2011, Florida Anime Experience is a three-day pop culture event celebrating anime, manga, cosplay, fashion, and video games. The event boasts unique celebrity and industry guests plus over two hundred hours of programming for fans of Japanese entertainment and Asian culture. This is the convention’s sixth year in Central Florida and events begin at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 22nd and run through Sunday, April 24th until 6:00 PM.

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