Just like the night before the con proper began, the night of the first day was marked by unbearably loud partying punctuated by screaming and broken glass, all generated by the incredibly inebriated con-goers and the gaggle of testosterone-driven college football fans who were present. From what I witnessed, all participants were of at least legal drinking age, but the behavior I beheld would have shamed a bunch of kids out drinking Purple Jesus punch at a suburban backyard booze-up while mom and dad were away for the weekend.
Following a second night of inconsideration-induced sleep deprivation, I roused myself with a refreshing shower and set my sights on attending the morning's MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 panel. I had about an hour and a half to kill beforehand, so I went down to the Hyatt Regency's breakfast buffet and was delighted to once again experience my single favorite thing about the American South: the deadly and delicious culinary fare. What awaited me at the buffet was an orgy of high-calorie, cholesterol-laden sumptuousness that included grits, thick-cut bacon, freshly sizzled sausages, omelets (made to order while you watched), hash browns, scrambled eggs, and the almighty biscuits smothered in sausage gravy. All of this could be had for $16.95, and it was all-you-can-eat, so I put together an obscenity of a humongous breakfast that kept me full, fueled and on the go for the next ten hours with no need to snack.
The incredible heart attack breakfast that fueled me for the day. I went back for another the following morning.
While enjoying my delicious festival of pork, eggs and artery-clogging gravy, I watched as the early-risers among the cosplaying guests made their way to the nearby (cheaper) coffee shop to grab a bite and some caffeine. Much to my fannish delight, I spotted a woman who had painted herself from head-to-toe as Marvel's Tigra, a character I had never before seen enacted in the flesh, let alone done so successfully.
The impressive cosplayed Tigra the Were-Woman.
After breakfast, I made my way down to one of the Hyatt's lecture halls and got on line for the MST3K panel. The line was already pretty long for how early it was, and it only got longer once I took my place on it. But before I took my place in line I perused the waiting fans and I'm very glad I did, because right near the front of the line was a woman in a dead-on Mr. B Natural getup.
While awaiting entry to the panel, my location allowed for what amounted to a crossroads where costumed attendees filed by in droves, and the prepared photo safari chronicler found himself in the midst of geekery gold. For example:
Static and Hawkgirl (after she was booted from the Justice League and took to the sweats in lieu of her masked uniform).
A wonderful mashup of several characters played by Johnny Depp. (Ed Wood is conspicuously absent, but an Angora sweater over all of this would have been a bit much.)
Speaking of Deadpool, I may hate the character but how could I not love this? The woman in the football player position with the severed head just cracks me up.
It's Squirrel Girl, perhaps Steve Ditko's wackiest creation (and that's saying something).
Alpha Flight's Vindicator and Snowbird. Exceptionally well done!
When we were finally admitted into the panel's auditorium, I was delighted to find that either end of the stage was adorned with actual props of Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot that were used on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. The close proximity of the actual puppets proved too much to resist for us fannish shutterbugs, so we got in close and snapped away.
...and Crow T. Robot, in the "flesh."
I supposed I should have expected it, but I have to admit to being surprised by the turnout for the panel. Within ten minutes of the hall being opened, the place was packed with hardcore Misties.
The panel was basically a history of the show as recounted by the cast, most of whom also pulled double duty as writers. The show is renowned for its side-splitting "riffing" at the expense of a legion of bad movies, and it was a trip to witness the gang's rapid-fire repartee happen live and off the cuff. All of the show's key players were in attendance, with the exception of head writer and second host, Mike Nelson, which did kind of bum me out because — here come the derisive comments — I'm the rare MST3K fan who prefers Mike to series creator and first host, Joel Hodgson (which is not to say that Joel isn't also hilarious in his own right).
One of the main reasons I wanted to attend this year's Dragon Con was to meet the MST3K crew, but most especially Kevin Murphy, the second puppeteer and voice of Tom Servo and also the actor who most profoundly defined the character for nine years. I waited for the panel to be over and stuck around like some Stagedoor Johnny, hoping to meet Murphy, and my patience was rewarded.
When I got to meet Kevin Murphy, I told him how much I loved Servo as a character and just how indelible his performance was. I also told him that he was my favorite of the cast and that he was the one celeb I wanted to meet most of all who were at this year's show. Murphy proved to be gracious and totally down to earth, clearly appreciative of his fans, and I consider it an honor to have met him.
As I left the auditorium, I saw encountered a considerable line for a STAR WARS panel that was about to commence, and on that line I saw my pal Hunter Taylor — whom I met at last year's show, along with Luke Boone, who was unfortunately absent this time around — and his friend Josh Whitehead as Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible.
It's fans and fellow geeks like these who give me hope for the youth of America, but unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to hang with them and share my benevolent corrupting influence.
After that I wandered the con, snapping pics of any and all cosplayers and celebs of note. Honestly, I think this year's efforts at costuming were more impressive than ever. Judge for yourself:
Ming the Merciless, whom I first saw last year. With a costume this good, one has every right to break it out two years in a row.
I wish this shot weren't out of focus, but you know someone's a dedicated Thor fan when they have themselves tattooed not only with Mjolnir, but also with its inscription.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT may be gone, but it hasn't been forgotten by this zaftig young lady.
An exceptional old school Catwoman (who the previous day enacted Donna Troy to equally excellent effect) and the dark version of Mary Marvel. Not a damn thing wrong with this.
From out of nowhere, a blast from the past: Rachelle, mutual friend of myself and Jewish Warrior Princess.
The awesome Sabrina Pandora, a friend I met last year through Amanda, seen here rocking her Zatanna. Sabrina's twelve shades of fun and I wish we lived closer to each other so we could hang out.
Fun with Catwoman while awaiting my turn at the George Perez Heroes Alliance benefit sketching.
My original George Perez sketch of the one and only Donna Troy, aka Wonder Girl.
Tallulah Black and Jonah Hex, with their scribe, Brooklyn's own Jimmy Palmiotti.
With Darwyn Cooke, who provided art for one of the current JONAH HEX run's most memorable issues. (When I was done reading it, I called up JImmy to yell at him for putting Tallulah Black through yet more horrific shit. Hasn't the poor woman been through enough?)
Super-talented Zatanna illustrator (and Frenchman on the loose) Stephane Roux.
The best of the con's many Captain Americas. Check out the attitude on this three-year-old! (He got out of his stroller to pose for the shot.)
The Golden Age Green Lantern (who was in from Australia) and the pre-Phoenix Jean Gray.
'70's cartoon icons Jayna and Zann, the Wonder Twins. (To those who know my friend Lexi: don't you want to see Lex in a Jayna outfit? I know I do...)
TO BE CONTINUED