Saturday, April 26, 2014

Recap: Awesome Con DC 2014

I still have to fully recover because I spent all last weekend BEING AWESOME at Awesome Con! The event took place April 18-20 at the DC Convention Center. I knew from the start that the second year of this convention would be huge: there was a Kickstarter, plus major advertisements on Metro signage, commercials airing during The Walking Dead and other TV shows, and promos before movies in local theaters. Yes, DC was being taken over by Awesomeness.

The weekend started early for me because I was traveling in with Joe Carabeo and his film crew from Astray Productions. They spent the whole weekend shooting footage for the Awesome Con documentary, which Joe is producing. I arrived while things were still being set-up at 8AM on Friday. The show would not start until 3PM, so I had some time to burn and stuffed some attendee bags with promos for the upcoming blood drive I set in-motion with the American Red Cross called "Cartoonists Draw Blood" and my comic strip, Curls. I could see even with no one there yet that the convention would be huge: just the badge registration area was the space of the con last year. The large Awesome Con archway was also a nice visual touch to welcome everyone into the exhibit hall. Friday was a good preview day for special Kickstarter backers and 3-Day pass holders.

Another cool thing that happened on Friday in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool was an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest gathering of people dressed as comic book characters in one place. Unfortunately, the record was not broken and I was unable to make it out there to see it, but I hope Awesome Con's growth this year will help the drive to break this record in the future.

I got asked to do art for a special badge for certain Awesome Con Kickstarter backers called "Superhero Assist" and for my concept, I illustrated a hip elderly woman knitting a cape.

Saturday was obviously the biggest day at the convention. There were a lot of people! I had two panels that day: The Other Side of the Table: Lessons from Creators (featuring local comic artists and writers) and The Carolyn and Joe Show (in which we recorded a podcast with three cast members from AMC's The Walking Dead). I should mention that the audio from both of these panels will be available in the next few weeks at

One of the biggest personal moments for me on Saturday was seeing Richard Thompson as an attendee  there on wheels! Thanks to Nick Galifianakis for bringing him to the convention and to all the Team Cul de Sac members who got to see him again. It was quite a surprise and I actually told Richard to eat his vegetables!

Being with the film crew means you are the first to arrive and the last to leave and by the time we left on Saturday night, I was already exhausted. There was an Andrew WK concert associated with Awesome Con at The Black Cat that night, which I originally wanted to check out, but we needed to get a power nap (also known as sleep) so we could be ready for the final day. Thing is, I saw Andrew WK over 10 years ago with a full band, so I don't feel horrible because I have seen a show of his before. But again, there are only so many hours in a day and I felt exhausted to the level of a 4-Day New York Comic Con.

Sunday was Easter, so of course I was expecting a lighter crowd. It was a much more relaxing day where attendees could spend time at the table and we did the best that day. I participated in the Women in Comics panel, organized by Teresa Roberts Logan and featuring Michael Cavna, Juana Medina, and myself. The audience really engaged a lot of opinions which lead to this being a much bigger issue on a global scale. Joe moderated the Kevin Sorbo panel and we have audio which will be posted on The Carolyn and Joe Show.

Magic Bullet, the comics newspaper anthology I edit was seen on Fox 5 News! Thanks to Rafer Roberts for the image spotting. We were able to give out several copies for free to Awesome Con attendees.

The show is huge and next year will be even more awesome. The security team did a good job. I felt like this was the most secure convention I've been to. Thanks to Ben, Rachel, Paul, Debbie, the film crew, and volunteers for making last weekend so amazing and successful. Everyone learned a lot while this show is growing by leaps and bounds. I look forward next year: May 29-31, 2015.

More photos can be found on the Curls Studio Facebook Page -- and give us a "Like" while you're at it!

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