In light of how great Awesome Con fared, the bar was raised for this year's convention. Awesome Con was held at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC May 29 - 31, 2015. Notwithstanind the long treks between the different exhibits and events, including the photo and autograph ops sessions, you may walk away from the convention feeling elated to have been a part of such an entertaining event.
Size and Scope
The size and scope of Awesome Con rival that of others that I recently attended, namely the Tidewater Comic Con. This year Awesome Con took over not only the main convention center building but the building across from L Street as well. If you have not been to the Washington Convention Center lately, as a side treat you could admire the artistic displays including modern hanging sculptures such as a cluster of hanging bicycles as well as tables arranged in a large circlular design.
As probably expected, there appeared to be a bigger turnout of both shoppers, cosplayers and others on Saturday, the second day of the convention. There were signs posted to request a photograph before taking pictures of cosplayers. The cosplayers, in my opinion were happy to have pictures taken, sometimes posing and doing double duty if someone else approached wanting a picture also. In fact, even though I did not purposely seek out photographs for myself, I was happy when I was asked for a picture -- which I gladly obliged.
Regarding the mix of cosplayers versus shoppers -- I noticed the majority of attendees seemed to be focused on shopping or even browsing rather than cosplays. A visual survey of the attendees -- which was many -- showed quite a few were not dressed up as cosplayers. However, the ones who took the time to cosplay as their favorite comic book, video game or other characters, did, in my opinion, an amazing job. Some were decked out in lots of clothing while cosplaying while others wore no more than a lion's cloth and briefs with body artfully decorated with yellow paint and black lined designs. Some cosplayers depicted characters in block buster franchises such as Star Trek, Stars Wars, Dr. Who and others.
Make-up of Awesome Con
There was tables and booths set up gearing toward the comic book industry including comic books, graphic novels, with some sold at relative low prices. On Friday night, I made a mental note to return to the comic book table that had impressive large discounts on comic books and other items. However, when I returned to the booth the next day, it was no where to be found. Lesson learned is when at large conventions with schedules and exhibits sometimes changing constantly, it is best to purchase an item right then and there, unless you are absolutely sure the booth will be there on another day.
In addition to special guests including authors, there were also comic book graphics artists displaying their wares as well. While at Awesome Con on Friday and Saturday, I interviewed a few graphics artists including Josh Anderson and Sean Von Gorman. I did not attend Sunday's event; however, I'm sure those who did had lots of fun.
Photo and Autograph Ops
Even though there were both autograph as well as photo ops, I will focus on how photo ops were handled at Awesome Con. There were lots of big names at the photo ops sessions where for a fee you could get your picture taken with a well-known celebrity such as William Shatner, George Takei and others as listed on the Awesome Con website and in the program book. Because of the popularity of some celebrities, long lines were to be expected. Based on my experience of leaving a line and returning just a few minutes later to find out my chosen celebrity had already leflt, here is my suggestion. To ensure everyone there gets the photo ops they want and paid for -- there should be an announcement on the loudspeaker of when the last person or close to when the last person is in line to take photo ops. That way, there would be less of a chance for a photo op to be missed. It was a nice touch to have someone using a bullhorn to welcome attendees to Awesome Con; however, I think announcing when a photo op is getting ready to end would be beneficial to the attendees as well.
The above being said, the swapping of my celebrity choice for a photo op to Star Trek's George Takei from William Shatner was handled smoothly, where I also received a digital picture as well due to the price differences of the photo ops.
What would Awesome Con be like without video games? Glady, I did not have to find out because there were video gaming at Awesome Con 2015. On the first floor of the main convention area, large rooms were set aside dedicated to not only console gaming but other types of gaming as well. I visited the 24 hour console video gaming room sessions which displayed two large video game screens, one showing a dancing video game, and the other showing a fighting video game. On the tables were a myriad of video gaming consoles including of course the Play Station 4 and the Xbox One along with the video games. This darkened room provided a respite from the hustle and bustle of the exhibit halls which were packed with people on Saturday. Everyone was cordial and shared the use of the video gaming consoles. An added plus was there was adequate seating in the video gaming spaces, which seemed to be sparse in some other areas in the large, main convention area.
If Awesome Con sounds like one you would like to attend, it is never too early to plan ahead. The next Awesome Con is scheduled for June 3-5, 2016 at the same location, Washington Convention Center. Improvements were made from the previous Awesome Con which included a smoother process for the photo ops sessions and expanding to use another building for the convention. If these improvements and raising the bar continues, the next convention will provide even more enjoyable experiences. I for one, can't wait to see what other awesome experiences are in store when Awesome Con returns.