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[Comic Convention Review] Awesome Con (2014)

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When: April 18-20, 2014

Where: The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C.

What Is It: Awesome Con is an celebration of popular culture.  At its heart, Awesome Con is a comic-con that embraces all aspects of geekdom and pop culture, with a wide assortment of comic books, collectibles, toys, games, original art, cosplay, and more.

Review: by Anthony and Lee

When we found out what Awesome Con was and who was going to be there, we had no choice but to go!

Listen to our Podcast Recap here:

Download Here

What We Liked:

The Panels

The panels were by far the highlight of this con.  We obviously were not capable of attending each one, but the ones we sat through were mind-blowing in their awesomeness.  Below you will find a few words about each of the panels we (Anthony and Lee) attended.  If you would like to hear more about each, please listen to our audio review.

Sean Astin Q&A:

Sean Astin entered the room with an energy and enthusiasm that he carried throughout the entire panel.  He seemed genuinely happy to be there, and it really came across well.  He was funny and sincere, and it was just a delight to be there.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Q&A with David Yost and Walter Jones:

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What can we say?  We remember watching the premiere episode of this show, tuning in each week to see the new episodes, and pretending to be these characters while playing with our friends.  Power Rangers was our childhood.  They could have just sat there and looked at us, and we would have been happy; happily, they didn’t.  They, Walter Jones moreso than David Yost, were very friendly and talkative, and, best of all, they gave us hope for a possible reunion (as long as it’s a unionized event).

Billie Piper Q&A:

Garid went to this one, and you can find a bit about it in our audio review.

An Afternoon with Pinky & the Brain with Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche:

Okay, so… If Power Rangers were our childhood, this was just everything.  Anthony didn’t go to this one, but Nena, Paul, and I were beyond thrilled to be there.  There are not enough wonderful things I could say about this experience.  I sat enthralled the entire time, jaw hanging and eyes bugging out of my head.  At one point, I was grinning so hard that tears were leaking out of my eyes.  Everything about it was just epic.  I love them!!!!

The Nerdpocalypse Podcast (Live Taping):

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Anthony checked in with the guys from The Nerdpocalypse Podcast at their panel where they did a live taping of their weekly podcast.

I listen to a bunch of podcasts and The Nerdpocalypse Podcast is one of my favorites.  They cover similar topics as us and much like our podcast, they have that feel of a group of friends sitting around talking about comics and other nerd stuff.  So being there in person for a taping of their show was perfect. They interacted with the audience as they covered some news articles relevant to Nerd Culture and it was hilarious.  I also got to meet and network with some other Nerd Culture podcasters based out of and around the DC Metro area, which was really cool.

Trekoff!:

Kendrick visited this panel, and he spoke about it a bit on the audio review as well.

Voice Actor Radio Show with Rob Paulsen Maurice LaMarche Phil LaMarr, Richard Horvitz, and Veronica Taylor

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We all went to this one, but I (Lee) was very disappointed that Jim Cummings was not able to make it to the con this year. I was still sulking a bit when this started because he was supposed to be a part of it.  By the end, it didn’t even matter.  Of course, I still wanted Jim Cummings, but I barely spared him any thought because I was far too busy laughing my head off.  Seriously, I laughed every time Phil LaMarr said something as Michael Jackson.  This was fantastic.

The Events

The events were fairly typical.

Exhibit Hall/Artist Alley:

These two were combined into one area that wasn’t overly large.  It had the regular stuff going on, vendors and artists sitting at booths and luring you into spending tons of your hard-earned money.  It wasn’t anything special, but it was nothing turn your nose up at either.

Table Top Board Game Room:

Okay, now this was something special.  Unlike other gaming rooms I’ve seen, this one was one in which I would have liked to spend some time.  Obviously, I was not alone in the sentiment because the room was full each time we stopped by.  What was unique about this game room was the fact that con-goers could borrow a board game to play, and the selection of games was pretty wide.  They had everything from Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity to Settlers of Catan and Dominion.  On top of all of that, there were board games to buy.  I loved it.  At a longer convention, I probably would have taken my breaks in there, relaxing and playing a board game with some random strangers.  Fun!

The Cosplay

The cosplay as a whole was definitely solid, but there were definitely several standouts.  We interviewed a few lucky individuals, and you can check those out below.

Hours of Operations

As I said repeatedly, Awesome Con was awesome because it was also “reasonable con.”  The hours were beyond family and life friendly.  Saturday, the main hours were from 10 am to 7 pm.  What’s so special about that?  Well, we could sleep in, eat breakfast, and still get to the con in time not to miss anything.  Also, we only had to scrounge for one meal because it let out in plenty of time for us to grab dinner at a decent time.

Accessibility

Another great thing about Awesome Con was that it was “accessible con.”  The Metro green line let out immediately outside of the convention center.  On the first day, we even got to walk through that building to get to the one where the con took place.  Unfortunately, that building was locked tight on Saturday, but it was only the briefest of walks to the con entrance.

What We Didn’t Like:

Not everything can be perfect of course, and Awesome Con had its flaws.

Video Game Room:

The video game room was tiny.  I mean tiny.  I have never seen one that small.  Also, there was a DJ… an actual DJ, not DJ Hero… and he, while we were in there, was playing radio twerk music loud enough to make it almost impossible to hear the music required to play the dancing game.  Seriously, why?

Convention Security/Lines:

It was only the second year of the con, so I’m sure those in charge are still figuring things out; however, security seemed to be abiding by the honor system.  We definitely walked past a few different individuals on separate occasions who were supposed to be checking badges but turned or even walked away before they checked ours.  Also, there really wasn’t any monitoring of the VIP sections.

Additionally, the lines to obtain tickets could and should have been handled differently.  As regular con-goers we typically purchase our tickets ahead of time in order to avoid the long lines; however, that made no difference at Awesome Con because both people who ordered beforehand and people who were buying right then were herded into the same lines.  It wasn’t until the very end of the line that people were separated to go to the various booths.  Not cool.  What was the point in ordering ahead of time?

Food Options:

Okay, this was the last one, but it was kind of big.  Let me preface this by saying that there was a wide variety of food options, more than Otakon or any of the other cons, certainly.  I saw a lovely booth set up where they were making cheesesteaks and funnel cakes, and I really wish we’d eaten there.  However, we chose to obtain food from the vendors in the back of the Exhibit Hall, the Asian food to be specific.  It was appalling.

Each plate was $11, and, apart from the vegetarian option which came with fried rice, came with a meat and white rice.  The sesame chicken, first of all, was cut up chicken strips that had been thrown into some sesame sauce, and they only gave us eight small pieces.  We each wanted fried rice, but, unfortunately, they were out of that… and the egg rolls.  It was disappointing to say the very least.

Next year, we will catch the metro to Gallery Place and go to Fuddruckers or Chipotle, or anywhere other than those vendors.

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