Superman and the C.I.A.-Awesome Con 2018 Recap
This article may seem early, but it really is not. Awesome Con indeed took place over Easter weekend.
The same weekend that Christ supposedly died and rose.
The same weekend of April Fool's Day.
The same event where one of the exhibitors was the C.I.A.. No, that does not stand for Cosplayers International Alliance. The actual Central Intelligence Agency, complete with the official banner, the .gov website container, and the request by the individuals at the table not to photograph their faces. (We will ignore the fact that the exhibit floor is flooded with cameras for the purposes of not only press, but also con attendees taking photos of cosplayers, and other amazing material, but yes, it is reasonable to think you can avoid your face appearing in a photo at such an event.) They were there to, according to what they told me, "demystify their work."
(Except -aren't you spies? Isn't the entire point of your work to be mysterious?)
They told another friend in attendance that they were recruiting. I won't say what I think they were there for. I'm probably already on a list for writing that previous paragraph.
This year Awesome Con celebrated the 80th anniversary of Superman with many panels and featured guests. Tom Welling (Smallville), in one of his first comic convention appearances, discussed the history and impact of Superman with fellow Smallville star Michael Rosenbaum, Scott Snyder (Superman Unchained), Greg Capullo (Dark Nights: Metal) and Dan Jurgens (Action comics). John Boyega (Star Wars, Pacific Rim) and Joonas Suotamo (Star Wars) were additional highlights along with a Star Wars the Last Jedi exhibit. CW DC stars Cress Williams and Stephen Amell were also present for panels and autographs.
- I don't know if they received additional feedback with regard to this, but I mentioned last year how incredibly packed the exhibit floor was, even while there was plenty of extra space that could have been used better. This year the exhibit floor was set up in a way that was more easily navigated. They used additional space I had not seen them use in the past. That said, I strongly suspect that numbers may have been down. A few cosplayers I photographed and spoke to mentioned having to scramble with their outfits because this year's convention happened pretty soon after the last one. Add to that the fact that many individuals may have passed this year due to the holiday weekend, and the crowds felt lighter than years past.
- There was a diverse cross section of programming. Three of the panels I went to were focused on the challenge of visible inclusion versus substantive inclusion with regard to underrepresented groups in media. There were also panels on the science behind Black Panther as well as a return of the #TotallyAwesomeAsians panel discussing the lack of Asian representation in media and what it means to be Asian in America.
- Awesome Con continues to be a family friendly event. Many of the exhibit floor sections were aimed at children. NASA and the NSF made another appearance with events that were hands on, educational, and in line with the theme of the convention. Creating sections throughout the days and evenings for children allows for adult convention goers to participate fully in the convention while introducing younger generations to the convention life.
- Star Wars the Last Jedi had an exhibit of props from the film. While it was cool to see the outfits that Rey, Luke, and Kylo wore, the exhibit fell a little flat for me. I will be honest-I found myself comparing it to the Stan Lee exhibit from last year, which included props, drawings, lithographs, and other material. This exhibit had six pieces. Given how popular the film was I am curious as to why they didn't arrange for more pieces for the exhibit. The fact that there was a set up for a line for the few pieces we got seemed a bit...well, off.
Overall Awesome Con was and continues to be an enjoyable experience. The atmosphere is always light-hearted, friendly, and fun. Awesome Con returns next year April 26-28..