Fandoms. Fandoms everywhere.
To the unassuming eye, Dragon Con weekend in Atlanta is a time of existential ponderance. Who the hell are these people? Why is there an unshaven male walking around in a mankini? Are we all just mankinis? Who are we?
Drawing in over 60,000 people, Dragon Con is one of the largest geek-centered conventions in the South East. Whether you’re a fan of sci-fi, literature, gaming, or just dressing up in anything other than jeans and a t-shirt, chances are there’s a warm and welcoming place for you at Dragon Con.
Of course, with so many passionate people invading an area of a few square miles, you’d wouldn’t be alone in thinking that there aren’t any serious turf wars taking place. I’m not talking about any West Side Story, finger-snapping, switch blade-weilding fights, either. I’m talking full-scale, passionate nerd wars. Cyber vs. Steam, Trek vs. Wars — intellectual geek debates of biblical proportions. Will we finally decide who really shot first? Will Bo choose Lauren or Tamsin? Why the hell did The Guild only get six fucking seasons? Okay, there’s no arguments about that… it’s just a really sore spot for me.
It’s a common known fact that when geeks congregate en masse, there’s a tendency for a nuclear meltdown of disagreements. I’ve always said that the day geeks unanimously agree upon something is the day Mehrunes Dagon pushes forth from the Oblivion plane to destroy us all.
These infamous debates takes place every day, every hour, festering in geek rage on every plane of existence. It’s everywhere, I tell you — there’s no escaping it. Especially on the internet. Oh God, the internet. If there’s one place to find a passionate individual ready to unleash a horde of geek vomit, it’s the internet. Hell, dig through my Facebook profile and forum history and you’ll more than likely find me arguing passionately, debating the merits of superhero television shows and OTPs (if you don’t dig Ollicity, we probably can’t be friends).
But once in a blue moon, something so transcendent comes along to unite the entirety of geek culture. It’s an event so astronomical—so goddamn geeky—that you have no choice but to fall madly in love with everyone in attendance.
Imagine this: you walk into a grand building through a revolving door you’re pretty sure was made for the sole purpose of sucking its occupants toes into the deepest depths of hell, and suddenly you’re transported to a geek utopia. To your left, there’s a group of Vault Hunters debating the finer points of Clap-Trap’s unrivaled dance skills. To your right, Green Arrow an Black Canary are posing with Deadpool as he makes an attempt to grab a boob… Ollie’s boob. In the distance you watch a human dressed as a giant scoop of pasta get stopped every five feet for a photo.
Further in, you encounter a countless number of Kirks, and for a second you actually believe that maybe he is the better captain. Wolverine sits in a corner, panting from heat exhaustion as a Dovakiin and Daenerys share dragon-raising tips. “No,” demands the Dovahkiin, “you can’t just point and send them to time out. You have to actually shout at them and steal their soul.” There’s a man here in a mankini, and although no one knows exactly why he’s here, everyone accepts it without regard.
Famous people are fangirling over each other while individuals fangirl over the fangirling. It’s a vicious cycle of excitement and disbelief. Individuals outside are preaching hate, condemning every living soul in attendance to hell as groups of cosplayers and fans drown out there condemnation with chants and cheers. Everywhere you look, fandoms are mingling with each other, swooning over cosplay craftsmanship and yelling about that one charter who died in season 3 and left the entire planet completely devastated.
This is Dragon Con. Four days of geek bliss. Four days of passionate discussion, cross-fandom adoration, and an endless clearing of 20gb memory cards.
There’s a sense of camaraderie in the air that’s not often found in everyday life, leaving a strange yet wonderful feeling in your gut. It’s… happiness? Friendship? Sun poisoning? Whatever you choose to feel, chances are you checked your bullshit at the door and opened up a fresh can of geek acceptance you’ve been hoarding since Firefly was unjustly ripped from you life.
Dragon Con is the one time of year that thousands upon thousands of geeks flood the already too busy streets of Atlanta and metaphorically hug it out with one another. It’s a mentality that’s so unique to cons of this magnitude; a mentality that’s adopted because you finally get to encounter all the other folks from every corner of the geek universe. It’s one of the few times a year we can all throw aside our irrelevant bullshit and appreciate one another for the things we love.
So thank you, Dragon Con. Thank you fans, volunteers, actors, writers, musicians, and everyone in between. You make cons what they are. You fill them with love, energy, and acceptance.
We are all living amalgamations of our passions, and it’s a beautiful thing when you see it come to fruition.