Convention Report: A-Kon 26

Happy Friday! I was hoping to share my costume notes for Margaret today, but I’m still waiting on some photos and it’s been ages since I wrote up a proper convention report.

Velvet Room derp-age.
Velvet Room derp-age.

A-Kon 26 was my best A-Kon yet. This convention will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the first convention I ever attended, and 2015 was my best experience yet! This year marks my 3rd year of cosplay as well.

I got into the con on Thursday with the sole intention of picking up my badge. In previous years, I’ve waited 2-3 hours or more, even with pre-registering. A-Kon is finally listening to people, though, and upgraded to an electronic system. I was able to pick up my badge in about 20 minutes!

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New badges for this year.

I know a lot of people complained about them using paper badges this year, but I’m so willing to go for paper badges if it means waiting a fraction of the time I have in the past. In the future, it’d be great if they separated pre-reg from on-site. It wasn’t a big deal on Thursday, but several of my friends were stuck in line for 2 hours on Saturday because of that set-up.

Since I was able to get through line so quickly, I spent the rest of Thursday doing my normal con shopping in the Artists’ Alley. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of my loot (bad blogger), but I did pick up several pieces from thealicechan on Tumblr. Her work is absolutely beautiful!

Photo by ACCosplay.
Photo by ACCosplay.

Friday was all about photoshoots! I booked a shoot with ACCosplay at 10am on Friday morning. Big mistake! We stayed up pretty late on Thursday, so I got a late start and totally forgot my gloves. My hoopskirt also lost the lowest hoop on the walk from the Doubletree to the Anatole. Still, Sherwin was a total trooper and got some absolutely stunning shots of my dress. I highly recommend working with him, especially if you’ve got some pretty gowns!

After my Belle shoot, I wandered over to the Hallway Costume Contest. I’d never participated in one before, so I figured why not? While I didn’t win any awards, I was very pleased with how the contest was organized. I was in and out in 20 minutes, but really got quality time to chat with the judges (I think most of them were from Titanesque Cosplay) about costume construction. This is something I think most cosplay contests lack. I consider myself more of a craftsman than a performer, so I really value any chance I get to focus on that aspect of competitions. I’ll definitely participate again in the future!

Photo from John Welke on FB.
Photo from John Welke on FB.

In the afternoon, I changed into Captain Marvel for a shoot with Kristi Grunden Photography. I really enjoyed working with her! She was excellent at communication and captured some gorgeous images. She’s in the process of editing a few more shots, but here’s a teaser.

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography.

I was also happy to run into several Carol fans at the con, including an awesome guy in a Carol Corps t-shirt! Sadly, I didn’t get a photo on my phone, but if you’re reading this: represent!

Between shots with Aperture Ashley, so don't mind the derpy faces. Zwookiez got this photo!
Between shots with Aperture Ashley, so don’t mind the derpy faces. Zwookiez got this photo!

On Saturday, I joined some friends for a Velvet Room group from the Persona series. Even though this was a down-to-the-wire finish, it turned out quite well! We definitely got more recognition than I expected, and it was a blast to run around with my “siblings” for the better part of the day.

Double Margaret! Photo by Payton Renee Photography.
Double Margaret! Photo by Payton Renee Photography.

I also made it out to the Shin Megami Tensei meet-up in the afternoon. Definitely loads of fun, even though a quilted dress is not ideal for 90+ degree weather. Thank goodness for Kat Von D setting spray, otherwise my face would have been a puddle of foundation goo!

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Selfie time with Callula Cosplay and Showva!

Aside from silly photos, I really enjoyed the opportunity to kick back and chill with friends. Staying at the hotel definitely improved my overall experience at this con, since I could run back and forth to my room at all hours and not worry about leaving things at home. I’m definitely going to try to book a room in the host hotel next year. Or the Doubletree, since they had great service and a very nice complimentary breakfast spread. I had a fantastic time this year, and I’m really excited to get ready for A-fest in September! More photos are available on my Facebook Page.

Have you stayed at the host hotel for a con before? How was your experience?

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Life According to Instagram: May 2015 (+ Con Announcement)

FotorCreated1. The lovely Taffeta Darling asked me to help out as a cosplay guest at Keith’s Comics for Free Comic Book Day. It was a really fun experience, and I even got my first sampling of contest judging! I had a great time at Keith’s and would love to visit again next year.

2. I finally put the final touches on all the Gotham costumes this month, including my friend’s Spoiler.

3. The beau and I decided recently to shake up our date nights. We have a habit of staying in, ordering takeout, and watching Netflix for our dates, so this month we decided to hit a local gourmet BBQ restaurant. The ribs were delicious! I forgot to be an obnoxious foodie IG-er, so this was my look for our date.

4. The middle of the month was kind of rough for me between work being INSANE and trying to finish up commissions. My BF was super sweet and surprised me with a whole set of plush direwolf pups!

5. Since graduating, I haven’t read as much for fun as I used to. I recently started bringing books to work to read during my breaks, and my BF and I read a chapter of a book a night together. It’s kind of our own mini-book club. So far I’ve made it through 4 books in the last 2 months. It’s nowhere near as fast as I used to read, but it’s a start!

6. My mom graduated with her Bachelor’s degree! I’m so proud of her. She put off her own education when she had us, but going back to school has been a dream of hers for years. She’s taking the summer and fall semester off and then going back for her Master’s in the spring 2016 semester!

7. Thor is still adorable, just in case you were wondering.

8. I finally got around to cutting materials for clutches! I’m hoping to get these knocked out the week after A-Kon and my storefront set up shortly after that. I’ll let y’all know as soon as they’re up!

9. I wrapped up May with a trip out to Dallas Comic Con Fan Expo! I didn’t stay long on Saturday with my overheating incident, but Friday was pretty fun. I got to visit Ksenia Solo of Lost Girl, wandered around the dealer’s room quite a bit, and chatted with Riddle’s Messy Wardrobe. She was such a sweetheart and even showed me how she made her Elizabeth book so I could replicate it for Margaret.

tumblr_np9p6l0fei1sxq29yo1_500Today kicks off A-Kon for me! Well, I got in on Thursday, but today is when all the good stuff starts. I’m wandering around today as Belle in the morning and Captain Marvel in the afternoon/early evening. On Saturday, I’m wearing Margaret the first part of the day, and when that gets too hot to deal with I’ll switch to Bombshell Wondie. If you guys are there please feel free to say hi!

Are you on Instagram? Let’s be friends!

My Top 13 Con Essentials

Happy Friday! My summer con season kicks off in short two weeks, so today I thought I’d talk about my top 13 con essentials.

So without further ado, here’s my list of con essentials:

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Even superheroes have to sends texts! Photo by Gone Catawampus.

1. Fully charged cell phone (and your charger!): My phone is basically my lifeline at cons. I use it to take photos of celebs and cool cosplays, contact friends and photographers for meet-ups, and keep up with my social media. At Fan Days, I made the mistake of bringing in a half-charged phone and leaving my charger at my house. I wasn’t able to contact ANYONE throughout the day and wound up coming home to hundreds of messages and notifications. Lesson learned!

Pro-tip: cosplaying with gloves? Sew in a bit of conductive thread into the thumb so that you don’t have to take your gloves off and on all day.

2.  Cash and ID: While vendors now offer credit card or even PayPal sales, some still don’t. Or worse, the wireless signal is stupid weak and you have to wander around trying to get a signal. No, thank you. Got other places to check out! Cash is also useful if you have to pay for parking. Many places will require an ID to pick-up your badge, so don’t leave it at home!

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More often than not, I carry my necessities (powder, lipstick, contact cards, phone, ID, cash, and a few other miscellaneous things) in a matching clutch made from scrap fabric. That way if I forget to take it off in photos, at least it doesn’t look out of place! Photo by Gone Catawampus.

3. A small first-aid kit: I like to prepare for worst-case scenarios, whether that’s a wig-induced headache, blistered heels, or cuts from random pokey props. Antiseptic wipes, band-aids, and ibuprofen are always in my go bag.

4. Touch-up make-up: I normally bring a large amount of make-up that I leave in my big bag, but I always hit the floor with my powder, lipstick, and lash glue if I’m wearing falsies. Hair spray is also handy for wig touch-ups!

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Muscle arm poses are great for superheroes! Ms. Marvel photo by Black Vest Photography.

5. A fantastic pose (or 3): It’s always handy to practice a couple of go-to poses for when you’re stopped for pictures. Having more than one pose ready keeps you from getting bored and only having the same look in all your pictures.

6. A water bottle: Stay hydrated! There’s nothing worse than being in a costume in the middle of the summer and getting sick from dehydration. I normally keep a water bottle on me at all times.

7. Snackage: Most cons don’t have the greatest food options, and if they do, wait times are atrocious. Plus, why spend your con money on food when you could spend it on dealer’s room goodies? I like to pack a couple of granola bars, fruit snacks, almonds, and raisins to get me through the day.

8. A con repair kit: No matter how well you prepare, sometimes shit just happens. I like to have a small sewing kit, a stain remover pen, and a small bottle of craft glue on me in case something happens. You may also want to include small bottles of paint in the colors of your costume and/or a hot glue gun. Many cons now have costume repair rooms, which is great if you need to do a bigger repair!

I get my contact cards through Moo! They're really fast and their cards are gorgeous.
I get my contact cards through Moo (referral link)! They’re really fast and their cards are gorgeous.

9. Contact cards: These are great for getting in touch with people after cons! I never remember everyone’s cosplay names, so it’s useful to go back and look people up using their cards. Contact cards are also super useful when you’re working with photographers.

10. Tic-tacs and deodorant: Let’s face it, we all get a little stinky at cons between sweating and all the crowding. Take a shower before you hit the floor and make sure you stay fresh throughout the day!

11. Make-up/baby wipes/hand sanitizer: Hygiene! No one wants to catch con crud, so make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if necessary. I also like to have make-up wipes on hand so that at the end of the day, I can wipe all my makeup off on the ride home.

I knew I wouldn't be able to make it more than about 10-12 hours in Belle, so I picked up this cute Beauty and the Beast skater dress from Hot Topic along with some other Disney merch!
I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it more than about 10-12 hours in Belle, so I picked up this cute Beauty and the Beast skater dress from Hot Topic along with some other Disney merch!

12. A change of clothes: Very useful for uncomfortable costumes! Or if you plan to go out to eat afterwards and want to protect your costume. At the very least, bring a hoodie so you don’t spill anything on your costume!

13. A great attitude: Smile! Have fun being a big ol’ geek with the rest of your geeky buddies for the weekend.

What are some of your con essentials?

Fandom Friday: My Convention Wishlist

IMG_0731Happy Friday! Con season officially kicks off for me next month with Fan Days, so I thought I’d join today’s Fandom Friday topic and share some of the conventions I’d love to attend. (Also, I promise more sewing posts starting next week!)

1. San Diego Comic Con: I feel like SDCC is nerd mecca. You’ve got to make the pilgrimage at least once. SDCC has been on my con wishlist since I was a teen, and well before I had even heard of cosplay. I visited San Diego many years ago when my brother graduated from boot camp, and loved the location and the weather. While I do prefer slightly smaller cons, I’d love to attend just once to get the experience and hear all the big news in person. And play I spy the celebrity.

2. New York Comic Con: Another con that I feel like most nerds need to visit just once. I’ve heard that it’s a smaller scale version of SDCC, though it seems like that’s not really the case anymore. Again, I’d love to see some of the big name guests and hear all the big news in an amazing locale.

3. Colassalcon: Comic con at a water park. SOLD! I saw so many incredible water themed costume photo shoots from Colassalcon. It looked like so much fun! Plus, there’s a zoo with baby tigers. Yes, please.

4. Anime Expo: Anime Expo is the biggest anime and manga convention in North America and the second longest running anime convention in the country. Anime is a big part of why I got into cosplay, so I’d love to make the trip out there for this amazing convention! There’s always so many amazing costumes. Plus, I’d love to visit Los Angeles!

5. PAX: I’ve never attended a primarily gaming convention before, and this seems like the con to attend! I was hoping to make it to PAX South next weekend, but getting a new puppy put a damper on that plan. The puppy is adorable, though, so it’s totally worth waiting for another one to roll around. Maybe in Seattle 🙂

Bonus!

Dragon Con: I went back in 2012, and it was AMAZING. So many incredible costumes and lots of fun programming. Plus, all the nerdy parties and gatherings! I’d love to go back, especially if I ever get out of the education field. Labor Day weekend is a difficult weekend for me to take a vacation since the fall semester starts that week. Still, I will make it back one day!

What conventions are on your wishlist?

A-Fest

Probably my favorite selfie from A-fest. Cosplay repair assembly line!
Probably my favorite selfie from A-fest. Cosplay repair assembly line!

A few weeks ago, I attended Anime Fest! Anime Fest is held at the Sheraton Dallas, where A-Kon used to be before changing locations two years ago. I only attended one A-Kon at the Sheraton, so it heading back was a bit of a surreal experience. Honestly, it’s kind of a shame that they moved locations, as I like the old location better.

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Ran into the lovely Dallas Fan Girl!

On Friday, I headed in mid-afternoon (as soon as I could scurry away from work) decked out as a casual Captain Marvel. A-Fest did a brilliant thing this year and offered pre-registered members the opportunity to mail out their badges in advance. I really hope A-Kon gets on board with this idea, because it only took me 10 minutes to pick up my lanyard on Friday. Not having to wait in line absolutely wonderful.

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Panelists left to right: My Geeky Geeky Ways, Samurai Pizza Kitten Cosplay, Mia, and Liz.

The only panel I actually made it to on Friday was the Confidence in Cosplay panel, hosted by my friends over at Superhero-esque. Lots of discussion on body image, how to handle haters, and more! You can check out a video of the panel below.

I kicked off Saturday with a photoshoot with Aperture Ashley! Ashley’s done several shoots at A-Kon before, so she had some great spots picked out for maximum magical girl shots. I can’t wait to show you the final photos!

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I love this hall shot of my Jupiter! Courtesy of Overbeck.

Saturday overall was pretty chill. I wandered around with my friends Mia and Liz, said hi to lots of people, got recorded by Cosplay with Me for his con tour video (I’ll post a link when it’s up!), dropped by a Sailor Moon photoshoot, and just generally hung out and had a good time. I really enjoyed this experience, even if I did miss a lot of the people I hoped to see. Hopefully if time works out, I’ll be back next year! Thank you to everyone who said hi 🙂 You can see more photos from the event on my Facebook page!

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Loved seeing so many Moonies gathered in one spot!

My con season is slowly but surely winding down. I only have two cons left this year: Dallas Fan Days in October and Anime North Texas in November. I may or may not have a new costume for both. We’ll see how time and funds are doing in a few weeks!

Selfie-con! I changed into my Ms. Marvel gown in the evening and hung out with Liz, Samurai Pizza Kitten, and Mia.
Selfie-con! I changed into my Ms. Marvel gown in the evening and hung out with Liz, Samurai Pizza Kitten, and Mia.

Are you still going strong with cons? Or are you winding down and getting ready for next year?

North Texas Comic Book Show

On Saturday, I attended the North Texas Comic Book Show! After all of my traveling and moving over the last month, I was antsy for an opportunity to dress up and hang out with fellow geeky people and this event fit the bill.

I went as Marvel Now Rogue. It was a ridiculously comfy costume. Thanks to Starman for the photo!
I went as Marvel Now Rogue. It was a ridiculously comfy costume. Thanks to Starman for the photo! And no, I’m not wearing a corset like I normally do. Because apparently I can’t follow my own spandex tips (see: lazy. Lacing oneself into a corset requires effort and I had none that day).

This was my first time attending one of these shows (they hold 3-4 a year) and I was surprised by how intimate it was. I actually had the time to sit and chat with people! At most of the bigger cons, I might see someone I know, say hi, snap a photo, and then rush off. Getting to really talk to people and hang out was by far my favorite part of this con. I got to hang out with several old friends and new.

Ran into the lovely ladies of Gone Catawampus! We've been chatting via blogs for a little while, and we finally got to hang out for a while on Saturday!
Ran into the lovely ladies of Gone Catawampus! We’ve been chatting via blogs for a little while, and we finally got to hang out for a while on Saturday!
GlitzyGeekGirl as Steampunk Leia.
GlitzyGeekGirl as Steampunk Leia. I won a Spiderman poster from her!

The show didn’t have much in the way of “celebrity” guests, but there were several local artists. I bought far too many prints (but really, can you ever have too many?) for my craft room. Now I just need frames to put them all up!

I have a soft spot for moogles, so this print was a must. I can't remember the name of the artist right now, but I'll link as soon as I can!
I have a soft spot for moogles, so this print was a must. I can’t remember the name of the artist right now, but I’ll link as soon as I can!

The panels were held by the pool, so I was really grateful that the weather was a cool 70 degrees, especially since I was wearing my new Rogue. I attended two of the panels: GlitzyGeekGirl’s panel on cosplay construction and Comics are for Everyone. I really enjoyed attending both of these, and since it was a smaller crowd, there was a a lot of audience interaction.

GlitzyGeekGirl's panel on cosplay construction. Thanks for all the tips, Anna!
GlitzyGeekGirl’s panel on cosplay construction. Thanks for all the tips, Anna!
Comics are for Everyone panel. Pretty sure my pull list tripled.
Comics are for Everyone panel. Pretty sure my pull list tripled 🙂

The cosplay contest was also very entertaining. This show really emphasizes the “play” part of cosplay, so they highly encouraged getting into character. One of my favorite performances was from Pokemon trainer Deadpool! Apparently I still know all the words from the theme song.

Gotta catch 'em all!
Gotta catch ’em all!

All in all, this was a fun show. I can’t say I’ll make it a regular event, but it was a great low-key filler between bigger shows. You can see the rest of my photos on my Facebook page. My next events are the Dallas Comic Con Fan Appreciation Day and A-fest. Hope to see some of you there!

A-Kon Wrap-Up

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Because it’s not a con without costume selfies. With Mia, Peony, and Samurai Pizza Kitten.

In early June, I attended A-Kon 25, which is one of the biggest anime conventions in Texas and held in Dallas. A-Kon will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the very first con I attended three years ago!

This was A-Kon’s second year in their new location, and staff has taken feedback and problems last year to heart. Last year, I attended only on Saturday. Even though I showed up for on-site registration at 7am, I still stood in line for close to six hours. Insane. This year, I pre-registered, but I only stood in line for two hours. It’s still a hassle, but it’s much better than the confuddled lines of last year. Next year, I’ll probably opt for the charity option, which had no wait at all.

Thursday

Lovely ladies! With GlitzyGeekGirl and Morgan as Belle.
Lovely ladies! With GlitzyGeekGirl and Morgan as Belle.

A-Kon ran from Thursday through Sunday this year, and Thursday’s main event was the Masquerade Ball. I made a ballgown inspired by Ms. Marvel (original design by Hanie Mohd). I was super excited when ACCosplay asked to do a photoshoot of my gown. He’s posted a teaser of our shoot, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to share the final results with you guys!

I met up with a few other cosplayers on Thursday, but I didn’t stay late, knowing how busy the weekend would be.

Friday

Gotta catch 'em all!
Gotta catch ’em all!

I hit up the con in the afternoon and evening on Friday. I dressed in my new Pokemon trainer cosplay so that I could wander around and be comfortable while scoping out the con. There were so many fun costumes, but my favorite part of the night was hitting up the Repo! The Genetic Opera shadowcast by Amber Does Dallas. Repo is one of my guilty pleasure movies, and this was my first time watching it live. Shadowcast performances are always fun, so I’ll definitely try to make the next one!

Ran into the lovely Yaya Han while I was wandering about!
Ran into the lovely Yaya Han while I was wandering about!

Saturday

Cos-ception. A woman spotted me at the con and sprinted to me, asking me to pose with this print. Now I have to buy this print when I move.
Cos-ception. A woman spotted me at the con and sprinted over, asking me to pose with this print. Now I have to buy this print.

Saturday was cosplay day! I had hoped to debut my Sailor Jupiter, but it didn’t come together in time. Instead, I wore my Bombshell Wonder Woman with a few improvements (I’ll post about those later this week) and looked at costumes. I made it over to the DC Photoshoot that afternoon and actually ran into a Bombshell Batgirl, which is my second favorite Bombshell design.

Da stick of truth!!!
Da stick of truth!!!

I sat Sunday out since I had a lot of family obligations that weekend. Overall, the con was much better than last year and I had a really good time! Next year will be an interesting challenge, since there’s only going to be a week between Dallas Comic Con and A-Kon 0_o. It’s definitely going to require some costume scheduling and planning!

Nanananananana... Batgirl!
Nanananananana… Batgirl!

You can see more photos on my Facebook page!

Dallas Comic Con Wrap-Up

Better late than never, right?

In May, I attended Dallas Comic Con. This was the first time the convention was actually held in Dallas, specifically the Dallas Convention Center. I was absolutely thrilled with this, since the new location is a short taxi cab from my apartment (it’s going to be such a bummer to move).

My costume line-up for DCC.
My costume line-up for DCC.

Friday

The con kicked off on Friday afternoon. I hosted and attended with Mia, and we mostly used the evening to scope out the new location and catch up with cosplay friends. I dressed as a “casual” version of Rogue so that I could wander around and play photographer.

Bathroom selfie. Just because.
Bathroom selfie. Just because.

I was immediately impressed by how space was utilized in the new Dealer’s Room. At the Irving location, traffic jams happened on a regular basis due to people snapping pics of cosplayers as well as popular booths. That said, a few locations were less than ideal. Specifically, where comic book artists were located, but more on that in a bit.

The Cosplay Hideout (hosted by the North Texas Cosplay group) was also a welcome addition that we utilized all weekend. It was stocked with lots of cosplay repair supplies, including tape, hot glue guns, bobby pins, and pretty much anything else a cosplayer needed! It was also a welcome place to hang out and relax for a few minutes.

Saturday

Saturday for me is always cosplay day! That’s when most cosplayers come out and bring the costumes they’ve spent months preparing. I wore my Ms. Marvel costume, which was surprisingly comfortable. I had hoped to make flame fists to represent Ms. Marvel’s Binary powers, but I didn’t get around to it in time. Turned out okay, since Aperture Ashely was able to photoshop that effect in for me!

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I always look forward to checking out the cosplay contest on Saturdays. I’m stage shy, so I don’t compete, but checking out the costumes is always fun. DFW costumers are a really talented bunch!

me and capt marvel
Still one of my fav photos from DCC. Captain Marvel is Cerberus Productions.
With Glitzy Geek Girl as Lady Thor and Mia Moore as Ramona. Love these ladies!
With Glitzy Geek Girl as Lady Thor and Mia Moore as Ramona. Love these ladies!

Sunday

I don’t often attend cons on Sunday (gotta save some energy for work on Monday :P), but DCC was still rocking! Some of their biggest panels were on Sunday, including the Firefly panel at noon. This was the main reason I attended DCC, and as a Browncoat, it made me super happy. Joss Whedon even sent a video to the con saying thank you to all the fans!

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All the love, Joss, even if you do have a habit of killing characters I love.

My parents also attended DCC with me on Sunday. It was their first con, and they had a blast. I made my mom a Supergirl costume as a late Mother’s Day gift, and she really enjoyed wearing it. Now my dad wants me to make him something. And my brother. And my grandfather. *sigh*

Me and my mom :)
Me and my mom 🙂

The only really disappointing thing for me was that I’d hoped to meet Dan Slott since I just finished reading his run of She-Hulk. Trying to find him was absurd. He was hidden off in a back corner of the Dealer’s Room and by the time I found him, his line was insanely long. I instead opted to go to a friend’s panel, but it was still a bummer. The space increase was great, but I’d like to see better organization and signage in the future.

I did find LeeAnna Vamp while looking for Dan Slott. She is so pretty and super nice!
I did find LeeAnna Vamp while looking for Dan Slott. She is so pretty and super nice!

All in all, this was a great con. The new location was a much needed improvement, and I look forward to seeing more Cosplay Hideouts at future cons! Also, I need to start hosting friends more often for cons. It’s absurdly fun.

You can see more pictures from DCC on my Facebook page! I’ll get around to posting about A-Kon within the next week or so.