Newsarama Note: This column expresses the opinion of the writer, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Newsarama or anyone but the writer.
Living in Atlanta, there has always been one thing I look forward to more than anything to help me get my geek on: DragonCon. Each year it’s become more and more populated and the costumes and guests have gotten more extravagant. This year, like the past 8 years, I attended D*C for a weekend of fun, comic talk, friends and good times. There’s never a dull moment and with D*C stationed at hotels, you never know who you might run into. It’s not like any other convention that I’ve been to that just shuts down at a set time. It’s non-stop.
Yet, a recent blurb in Entertainment Weekly‘s “Bullseye” section had me slightly irked. Yes, I understand that the “Bullseye” is used to make fun of a lot of things going on in pop culture. Had they just made fun of the convention itself, I probably wouldn’t have minded it as much, yet the quote they used was “DragonCon: the convention for those who aren’t cool enough to get into Comic-Con.” That is where I have my problem. They actually went a little below the belt and insulted the attendees. That is completely different.
Yes, I know that Entertainment Weekly is just a magazine with an opinion and apparently snark is fashionable now, but c’mon. Had this person even been to D*C? Or is it a generalization? The main reason I doubt this writer had not attended D*C is because they would have found out two things: A) There are thousands of people who make it to both D*C and San Diego Comic-Con and B) even more choose D*C over SDCC because of D*C being more of a party in actuality than a convention.
The main reason I go to any convention is for the comic people. I never got into BSG or StarGate or hell, anything Joss Whedon put out (save for his Astonishing X-Men run, which is fabulous), so my main desire is to see my favorite creators in comics. If the occasional “big name” celebrity is on the guest list, my curiosity will pique for sure, but I never make it a priority. That’s just not my bag. This year Dragon*Con had a few bigger names from both sides than we usually get, namely Stan Lee and the Superman of this generation, Brandon Routh. Lee, a living legend, and Routh, hot off his role in the “Scott Pilgrim” movie are surely big names to warrant huge masses and lines seeking an autograph or a handshake. I had the pleasure to meet Lee briefly while he was in Artists’ Alley Saturday afternoon. Routh? I never got a chance because, like I said, I never seek out celebrities or the “Walk of Fame” as it’s called. That’s in addition to names like Neal Adams, Paul Dini, Mark Bagley, or from the Hollywood side, Morena Baccarin from V and Firefly, and Eureka’s Erica Cerra and Colin Ferguson. These are the same folks that EW covers in a fervor at SDCC when they attend that mammoth convention each year. That makes it difficult to figure out just who Entertainment Weekly is trying to insult here.
I think Entertainment Weekly is missing the mark on how to compare D*C and SDCC. Considering the attendees at one cooler than the other is just juvenile. As I stated in an e-mail directly to EW, I choose to attend D*C over SDCC for a number of reasons, as do several professionals and fellow con-goers. We love the laid-back style and less of the hustle and bustle of SDCC. I’m not trying to prove or show that D*C is better in any way, just different and should be acknowledged as such. And in these businesses and fandoms of ours, differences are supposed to be celebrated.
It doesn’t do any good to belittle a convention or its attendees when it doesn’t, on surface, have the Hollywood ties that SDCC does. To call Dragon*Con inadequate is a great fallacy on EW’s part. It is a huge convention with great guests, good times and I recommend you get to attend at least once in your life. It’s truly something you won’t forget and we who attend are beyond “cool”.