There's was a question of if DC could support a convention that celebrates pop culture in all its forms of comic books, film, TV and video game paraphernalia. Awesome Con answered strong and swept into DC to make quite an impact. In its second year, the District's fledgling comic-con enjoyed 250% more attendees, with Sunday estimates from the ticket counter showing at least 18,000 people attending the three-day event, with some estimates saying closer to 30,000.
The impressive growth can be linked to the famous artists, authors, actors, voice actors that populated the convention; including Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Jewel Staite (Firefly), and various cast members from AMC’s The Walking Dead. About 90 celebrities in total attended, giving fans a chance to interact with autograph signings, photo opportunities and Q-and-A panels. Healthy lines met convention goers on second floor of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center attendees rushing to meet Lord of the Rings and Goonies star Sean Astin and Doctor Who actress Billie Piper.
Awesome Con grew from the minds of Ben Penrod and Steve Anderson and they did something unique in using a Kickstarter campaign to make the early investment to help the show grow. Last year's event was a success but feedback wanted things to be bigger and better with requests for more space, more celebrities and more exhibitors. Enter Kickstarter. The goal of the crowdfunding campaign was $50,000 but by the time the campaign ended, they raised just over $56,000 from nearly 500 backers who received rewards such as special-edition comic books or vendor booths.
Attendee Randy Ruger, who dressed as Batman's nemesis Bane, stopped by and gave his impression of Awesome Con:
Have you been to an conferences like Awesome Con (comic book, pop culture, video games, etc) before? What were your thoughts on it?
I've been to a bunch of cons before. Sakuracon (Anime Festival in Seattle), The Emerald City Comic Con (also in Seattle), and a horror con up in Pa. I loved them, even the small ones. Usually I get more into the other fans than I do the guests. The only thing I usually dislike are the prices. $50 to get a picture with a celeb who hasn't worked in years? Come on!
What stood out as the best thing you saw/experienced?
The best coolest guest was probably Adam Baldwin who played Jayne in Firefly. Just a cool dude who really got into it.
Besides your Bane, who had the best outfit?
The best costume in my opinion was either Hit Girl or Duke Nukem.
Regarding your Bane, how long did it take for you to put it together?
I threw Bane together in about a week, using mostly stuff I already had. was my first time going in a costume, which was a cool experience. Also, I'm a big fan of Ren faires, theres a pretty good one in Maryland.
Check out more of Randy's pictures in the slideshow!