Get your geek on at Awesome Con, D.C.’s first comic convention

April 18, 2013

Forget the meek. It's the geeks who shall inherit the Earth.

Maybe they already have. Organizers of Awesome Con D.C. expect more than 5,000 fans of comic books, animated movies, fantasy fiction and other forms of pop culture to descend on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this weekend for what's being billed as the District's first comic convention. And why not dream big? The San Diego Comic Con, which originally drew only 100 attendees, now routinely draws more than 100,000 fans, as well as some of the biggest names in entertainment. The fringe dwellers are now the mainstream.

Check out our preview of the festivities, which run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You'll find comic book artists and writers, small-press publishers, panel discussions, costume contests, comedy, video gaming, live music, sci-fi speed dating and more.

Awesome Con D.C.: Washington's very own comic convention

If you've never been to a comic con, here are a few survival tips:


(Dongyun Lee/For The Washington Post)

Bring a camera. You’ll undoubtedly want to get shots of the costumed attendees, a.k.a. "cosplayers," and maybe even a celebrity guest or two. (Actor Nicholas Brendon of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" will be in attendance.) Note that many stars charge to have their photos taken or to give an autograph. Some may record a voicemail greeting for you, if you ask nicely. (Share your own photos with Post readers by tagging them with #wapocomiccon.)

Bring your wallet. Event coordinator Ben Penrod describes the typical comic con as “a cross between a trade show and a flea market.” Exhibitors will have comic books, graphic novels, toys, original artwork and other collectibles (like limited-edition comics) to sell. And of course, it costs to get in. Single-day tickets are available at the door for $15, and a two-day pass goes for $25. A limited number of V.I.P. passes are available for $75, which includes admission both days, priority panel seating and other goodies. Admission is free for children age 10 and younger.

Bring a blank sketchbook (or two). If you like to draw, there will be a life drawing session on Saturday at 2.p.m. featuring costumed models Eyrie Twilight and Maki Rolle. Even if you can't draw a lick, the con is a great way to start your collection of original art. Many people bring sketchbooks in order to commission — and collect — original drawings from their favorite artists, often sticking to a single theme per book (say, animals or superheroes).

Don’t bring weapons. If you’re going to come in costume and your costume includes a weapon, keep in mind that this is security-conscious Washington. Carrying a functional weapon — or anything that could be confused with one — is prohibited. Read the convention’s weapons policy before you go.

Don’t be shy. The comic-con community is welcoming of both die-hards and newbies. “Look, the majority of these people are geeks,” says "Futurama's" LaMarr, a self-described comic-book nerd. "They have felt the shunning, and have no interest in making someone else feel that.”

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.
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Ryan Little · April 18, 2013