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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Gardner

YHS Dragon-Chronicles Pt. 7- Go To At Least One Panel!

Hello again! I’m sorry, did I interrupt your obligatory twenty-four hour post-Dragon Con scroll

through Facebook? I know what you’re doing. You’re looking for photos of yourself in that one costume that you only had on for an hour but worked half the year on. I know this because I’m doing the same thing too right now, friend. Facebook and Instagram are fantastic vehicles for traveling back to last weekend and reliving the rush on a loop. It’s kind of a drug. If we’re going with that metaphore than I should add that the Dragon Con drug stays inside your bloodstream for a while. You’ll get flashes when you’re out trying to hack it in the normal world. For instance, I saw a police officer in uniform yesterday at the grocery store and caught myself checking their name tag and badge to see what movie they were from.

Dragon Con takes a while to cycle it’s way out of your system. I have no problem with this. In fact, the craving to go back and do it all again ties nicely into my seventh Tip. Over the past few weeks I’ve broken down six of my Top Ten Tips From Ten Years Of Dragon Con (I’ve also changed the title each time I reference it, I like to keep everyone guessing) But don’t worry, I’m here to deliver (unlike UberEats during Dragon Con weekend who is VERY BUSY and will make you wait SEVERAL HOURS to deliver).

Tip Number Seven is all about panels. My advice? Try to make at least one. Can I admit something to you? I was only able to attend one this year, the Jurassic Park panel (which my co-hosts Jake, and Craig were speaking on) and I’m still bummed that I wasn’t able to make it out to more. Before I get into all my regrets from Dragon Con 2018 (of which there are thankfully few), I feel like I need to give you all a little background on what exactly a convention panel is. I remember leafing through my first paper Dragon Con schedule back in 2010 and reading about The Venture Bros. panel, circling it in pen, tucking said schedule up under my arm and hauling ass to the panel. That was eight years ago, I was all business. I was also completely unaware of what to expect when I walked inside the palatial ballroom single file towards the first empty seat in what seemed like a row of thousands.

My memory of this event is vivid because I was wearing a Jessica Six costume from the

1970’s Sci-Fi classic Logan’s Run. I was hyper self-aware because the slinky little green dress my mom had sewn me although screen accurate and super adorbs, didn’t offer any warmth or coverage and that room was fah-reezing. It was also filled with several hundred people. I remember looking at the stage as the lights dropped and the famed duo of Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer emerged to the Venture Bros. theme, and quite literally having a panic attack. It was absolutely overwhelming and exhilarating at the exact same time to be in the presence of screaming fans who loved the same show I loved with as much if not more Jessica Six, Dragon Conenthusiasm. Sitting in the presence of the creators was something I’ll never forget. I’d spent the months leading up to this panel, playing the first two seasons of the show with commentary on in the bedroom I rented in East Atlanta, laughing at Doc and Jackson’s inside jokes like they were my friends. Are you guys getting my obsessive fangirl vibes here? Do you understand why panels for your favorite shows can be moments you’ll never forget and always treasure?

Allow me to briefly highlight some of my favorite panel moments:

2011 Venture Bros Panel: This time I wore my Sergeant Hatred cross-play (I kind of hate this word but it applies) and received a rose from Jackson Publick after fumbling through a well-thought-out-but-way-too-detailed-question during the Q&A portion (“If you could hand pick your own family unit from all of television who would you choose to be your Mom, Dad, and siblings?” For the record, Doc Hammer’s response to all was “Penny from Lost In Space.”)

2012 Battlestar Galactica panel on a Monday Y’all: Monday panels are an underrated secret. Nobody attends them and you can get close and ask tons of questions. Seriously I could see Jamie Bamber’s beautiful dark hangover circles forming under his eyes from going too hard the night before and I’LL NEVER FORGET IT, SO SAY WE ALL.

2014 James Gunn panel: I don’t even know where to start. Everything was so perfect about this one hour slot in time. I somehow managed to get to the front quarter of the line before it was cut off and dispersed outside of the hotel where it was held. GotG had just hit theaters and I had already seen it four times (and cried like a CHILD into my hoodie during each viewing.) Somehow I ended up in the second row for this thing and although my anxiety prevented me from actually formulating a question, I am forever grateful that I was able to stand in the presence of literal genius and absorb a little bit of James Gunn’s aura that day. Side note, I got a picture with Sean Gunn that year but I’ll get to that in the next post!

2013 Ernie Hudson panel/GB panels through time: I believe my first ever Ghostbusters panel was in 2012 and ss I recall I was in costume, I popped in and breezed out because there weren’t any seats left (here’s the part where I remind you to get there early if you’re making a panel). The following year Ernie Hudson was an honored guest speaker at the GB panel. I was wearing a Louise Belcher Edward Scissorhands mashup costume and I barely knew anyone in the community. I remember being very sweaty and stressed out, but also somehow very happy. I ended up making a ton of lasting friends that year and have managed to make it out to almost every Ghostbusters panel since. Love you, fam.

My final memory, before I leave you to go back to work (oh my god that’s depressing), is from the Jurassic Park panel that took place this past week at Dragon Con. After the panel wrapped my co-hosts, Craig and Jake, made their way down the stage and into the crowd. On their way to the door a mom with her young son stopped them both and asked for a photo. She explained that her kid loved both Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park and because of these reasons, he also loved Jake and Craig and needed a photo with both my dudes. Although they may have felt weird posing with this strange child, I think this moment was special AF. I wish I had a copy of this photo to post here. I love strange kids and I love that there are young people out there in 2018 who love the same movies I loved as I kid. This connection and shared sense of camaraderie wouldn’t exist without the magical confines of Dragon Con. It’s in your best interest to catch some of that magic. My advice? Hit up a couple panels, I guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Abigail Gardner – @splash_mommy

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