A word of note before this article begins: I am a compatriot of ThatCostumeGirl, and if you go to her website, you will see me referred to there as ManWithPez. Some of the pictures you see here were taken by me, some were taken by her. Of the five costumes I took with me this year, she made all of them. This article is written in conjunction with her experiences, and predominantly relates to costumes, but offers a look in the round regarding the convention.
There aren’t many costumes to be found at Dragon*Con on Thursday night. Thursday night doesn’t really cover any official function of Dragon*Con other than registration and badge retrieval. This year, the registration line started early, but, in their wisdom, Dragon*Con opened the doors early as well. Earlier registration can mean only one thing: A chance to drink more beer. Alcohol can be very important to most of the costumers at Dragon*Con. Besides offering a shot of courage, it helps to suppress dignity, and plenty of dignity was suppressed here.
On a more serious note, I was wearing my Dr. Horrible groupie costume (consisting of a t-shirt bearing Neil Patrick Harris’s face and the much coveted Dr. Horrible goggles). My first costume sighting this year was Shaggy and Daphne from Scooby Doo. It beat the brakes off my first year at D*C, where my first sighting was a gang of Klingons on line at the Chik-Fil-A. Surrealism knows no bounds in Atlanta during Labor Day weekend. Back to business, Shaggy even had a box of Scooby Snax. It made me smile and point, much like most people in the line.
And then the lady Captain Hammer showed up.
Nothing against this young lady, but it was an encounter that would set the tone for all other meetings I would have with the Captain. More on that later.
This young woman put an “I Got Hammered by Captain Hammer” sticker right over NPH’s face! If I had known that I’d be in this line again later, I probably wouldn’t have been so tolerant of it. But, hey…a Thursday costume at D*C is a rarity, and I was just happy to see it.
After badge retrieval we ran into another Horrible fan (or Interns, or whatever the hell we’re calling ourselves this week) who claimed that if we found him on Friday, he would give us some Evil League of Evil ribbons for our badges. Also, one of our fellow linegoers shouted out “You just made my day!” at me at the top of his lungs (for some, apparently the registration line does not prevent alcohol consumption) when he saw my t-shirt and goggles. I also did get to hear a costumer’s favorite question: “How did you do that?” This time meaning the hard to obtain goggles and the paint job applied to them by ThatCostumeGirl. Often times, I find myself repeating the phrase “My girlfriend made it,” over and over again at this convention.
As for the second time I ended up in the same line, a friend of ours got into town a little later than everyone else, and the phrase “Leave no man behind” applies in the case of Dragon*Con. After dinner (mine consisted of libation, and little else) we took her through the line again. She and I sang from the Dr. Horrible songbook, or rather, another friend’s cell phone which held the entire score, to the applause of some and the ire of others. By that time, I was too far gone to care. To put it another way, I was very confident in my groupie costume at that point.
I did see a few more decent costumes that night. There was a young man dressed as a golden dragon, complete with wings. There were two Dr. Horribles, one of whom tried to steal my goggles. But, since ManWithPez don’t play dat, he went away disappointed. There was a first sighting of a huge Wookiee costume that we would see several times, mostly because it towers over everything else in the room. Speaking of Wookiees, my first celebrity sighting this year was Peter Mayhew, somehow negotiating an escalator with his two canes.
Con foot traffic can be tough on a 7 foot 2 inch former Chewbacca. There was an early Richard Hatch (from Battlestar Galactica…both incarnations) sighting. He was talking with fans and apparently enjoying himself as he always seems to be doing at these conventions. The Recliner of Rage guy Pierre Bernard was there, and ThatCostumeGirl, to her credit, recognized him immediately. Hey, I might be a media gadfly, but I had to apologize as I had no idea who he was. I guess I don’t watch enough Conan O’Brien. As I write this, I am saddened at the very prospect of not watching enough Conan. TCG was excited enough for the both of us, though.
The night ended with meeting old friends, making new ones and much carousing between the two in the best Dragon*Con traditions. It also ended with regurgitation, reminding me to pace myself for the rest of the convention. Too much confidence can be a bad thing. Friday, the first real day of the con loomed large ahead.