My First Visit to Awesome Con

After my husband and I moved to DC earlier this year, we remembered that during a May 2014 visit here we saw people walking around in costumes for a local Comic-Con. So we searched online to see what sort of nerdy convention we could go to here and found out that Awesome Con would be running from June 16-18, 2017. So we bought passes for Saturday, June 17 and turned yesterday into a little pre-San Diego Comic-Con geekout for ourselves!

I wore my Nerd HQ t-shirt and a cute robot superhero necklace that my brother gave me.

This year is Awesome Con’s fifth, and it’s also the first year that the con has sold out of its three-day badges. Good for them! The convention takes place downtown at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which I will always and forever think of as the Walter White Convention Center.  It was amazing to have a convention to go to so close to our house—it was just a twelve minute car ride from home!

When we arrived just after the con opened at 10am, the line to get in wrapped around a couple corners of the building. But it moved quickly and we were inside within 10 or 15 minutes. Not bad for a comic-con line! We headed up to Hall E to pick up our badges and then found our way down to the exhibit hall in the basement. There weren’t any panels either of us were dying to see, so we started by taking a spin around the autograph area, where we spotted Felicia Day, John Barrowman, Catherine Tate, Cooper Andrews (Ezekiel’s jolly guard on The Walking Dead), Wil Wheaton, and more signing autographs. So that was a fun way to kick off our day.

From there we headed to Artist Alley, where we soon came upon the SuperEmoFriends booth and fell in love with artist JSalvador’s work. We ended up buying four framed prints! Really fun stuff.

We only bought one of the pictured prints…can you guess which one?

We spent quite awhile wandering the exhibit hall floor and bought some more goodies—I’ll share our haul later in this post. Also, I was highly amused by these anti-Trump items at one booth:

The Resign Motherf**ker hat is my fave.

Ecto-1 was in the house…

…as was a replica of Dean’s Impala, “Baby,” from Supernatural—complete with a trunk full of hunting gear,  plus beer and pie!

You could pay $15 for a selfie with Baby, or $25 for a pic of yourself sitting inside!

A Wonder Woman costume and weapons from the new movie were on display:

I did a very poor job of taking pics of cosplayers, but this guy totally nailed his Yondu costume:

And then there was this group of Star Wars cosplayers:

Felicia Day had a panel at noon that I thought would be fun, but I headed up to the panel room after her Q&A had already started, and—shocker—it was full. So I went back down to the exhibit hall but then hit a bit of a wall. I had a headache and was too tired to walk around more. I really wanted an espresso from the Compass Coffee in the lobby, but the line was looooong. In fact, lines for all of the food vendors in the convention center were pretty epic. Fortunately I had packed a couple granola bars for us and we got some additional snacks out of a vending machine (which I could not manage to get anything out of on my own because I kept swiping my credit card with the strip facing the wrong way….derp derp).

One good thing about Awesome Con is that there are plenty of places where you can escape the crowds and rest on the floor. It wasn’t even too difficult to find a spot on a hallway floor next to an outlet so I could charge my phone. I considered going home to nap, but I knew that if I did that I wouldn’t come back. So I powered through the fatigue, and after resting on the floor for awhile we headed to room 152 to see the Super Art Fight panel. Which was super fun! Basically, artists are pitted against each other in a 25-minute battle in which they draw all over a large canvas while two commentators throw out witticisms about the ever-evolving artwork. The artists are given an initial topic, and every five minutes the Wheel of Death spins to give each artist a new topic (e.g., “BRIDGES!!!”, “LEGO Yourself,” “Weird Beard,” “Stop….Hammertime”). At the end of the bout, the artist for whom the audience cheers the loudest is deemed the winner. They actually did three bouts, which was a little long—the panel went for an hour and a half. But it was really entertaining and gave us a nice place to rest for awhile.

Bout 1: Periwinkle the Wizard vs. The Corrugator

After Super Art Fight, we went up to Hall E to see if we could get into the 5:30pm John Barrowman panel, but the line for that panel looked pretty insane. We had no sense of how easy it would be for us to get in, so we scrapped that idea and headed back down to the exhibit hall. We made another purchase to add to our haul and then decided to call it a day.

So, wanna see all the fun stuff we came home with? We actually bought quite a bit—more than we usually buy in one day at SDCC.

Super awesome stuff from Awesome Con!

Our complete haul list:

  • Two mugs, one sandblasted with the Supernatural tattoo design and one with Darth Vader (can you guess which one I picked out, haha). I forgot to get the vendor’s name, but they’re based in Wisconsin and had a large selection of mugs, shot glasses, and beer steins with designs spanning all of nerddom!
  • A framed Dean Winchester SuperEmoFriends print, plus 3 more for gifting (not pictured)
  • Funko Pops!: Dustin from Stranger Things, Dale Cooper and Bob (SCARYYY!!) from Twin Peaks, and Herry Monster from Sesame Street
  • Two Funko Mystery Minis from the Horror Classics Series 3: Elvira and the shark from Jaws
  • Wonder Woman underwear and socks

Here’s a better look at our very cool new mugs:

I feel so bad that I don’t know the vendor’s name!

And our Jaws Mystery Mini!

Dustin is going to be the perfect companion for my Chunk Pop! #DustinisthenewChunk

Dale Cooper really could use a slice of pie to go along with that damn good coffee, but a thumbs up is probably the next best thing.

We had almost finished picking out our Pops when I spotted Herry Monster all the way down on a bottom shelf, and I simply had to have him. One of my favorite childhood pics of myself is an early school portrait in which I am clutching a very well-worn stuffed Herry Monster. Apparently I refused to let him go to have my picture taken. That stuffed animal is long gone, and I am not ashamed to say that I teared up a little when I found my new Herry Monster at Awesome Con. Though I hardly remember him from Sesame Street, my stuffed animal clearly meant a lot to me and I’ve always been sad that we didn’t keep him. He now gets to sit on my desk and hang out with me every day.  🙂

Final thoughts on Awesome Con: it is aptly named! I was impressed with the turnout, and the variety and quality level of a lot of vendors was quite good. The exhibit hall is large enough to feel overwhelming, but not so much so that you can’t see it all in a day. And there were some great vendors who don’t go to SDCC (like SuperEmoFriends and the mug guys), so they were excellent finds! There’s another vendor I didn’t buy anything from but really liked—TeeTurtle—so I’ll probably buy a tee or two from their website, to wear to SDCC this year. I only attended one panel so I can’t speak to the difficulty of getting into the more popular ones like David Tennant or John Barrowman, but I imagine it’s a little less stressful than SDCC. I really enjoyed my day at Awesome Con and would totally go back next year. Next up: we leave for SDCC one month from today…AHHHHHHH!

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