What we saw at Dragon Con 2015

Mad Max, crowded tunnels, Power Wheels cars, and good deeds
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Dragon Con 2015
Photograph by Matt Walljasper

This year’s Dragon Con drew an estimated 70,000 worshipers of geek culture to downtown Atlanta, accompanied by a plethora of impressive costumes, celebrity guests, and of course, street-jamming crowds. So what were the hottest cosplay characters, coolest Easter eggs, and most-welcome surprises? A convention breakdown:

(All numbers are approximated, and costume statistics exclude the parade)

What we saw
59 characters from Mad Max: Fury Road. The dominant costume: Nux. Only a handful were actually Max.

63 characters from Game of Thrones, including a “naked” Cersei followed by a Shame Nun.

31 characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. Most popular: Star-Lord and Rocket.

17 Stormtroopers, either in the service of the Galactic Empire or the First Order.

Speaking of which, 9 characters from the forthcoming The Force Awakens.

23 costumes from Rick and Morty

11 dogs (including service animals)

18 giant mallets

10 (heavily modified) Power Wheels cars

40 babies

1 Big Hug Mug (Matthew McConaughey-style nihilism not included)

2 (terrifying) McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes

7 Squid hats

2 public shamings of motorists who attempted to run red lights before pedestrians crossed Peachtree Street.

Other popular trends: Batman’s Harley Quinn, dressed in her Suicide Squad getup; Inside Out emotions, the least popular of which was Fear; people riding dragons.

Photos: Check out our costume gallery from Dragon Con 2015.

What we did
40: Number of hours we spent at the convention over the course of 4 days, most of which were spent at the Marriott Marquis.

0: Number of minutes we spent at the Sheraton.

5: Number of events we attended

0: Number of events turned away from! Compared to previous years, we spent very little time spent waiting on line, too.

36: Number of miles walked during the convention.

Dragon Con 2015 Superlatives
Best use of low tech
: The volunteers who held up “10 minute warning” signs during large moderated panels.

Biggest time suck: Getting trapped in overcrowded tunnels. The con’s growth has led to extreme pedestrian gridlock, which was much worse than last year.

Longest time spent waiting for a Marriott Marquis elevator: 14 minutes, after which we gave up and took a down elevator to guarantee a spot for the ride up.

Biggest improvement: Moving the vendor hall to the super-spacious AmericasMart building 2.

Best gender-bending costumes: The cast of Mad Max: Fury Road, including Furiosa, Immortan Joe, Max, Nux, and the wives, in which the men were dressed as women and visa-versa.

Most effective way to clear Peachtree Street after the parade: A phalanx of Atlanta Police motorcycles taking up the entire width of the street succeeded in foiling jaywalkers where multiple ambulances and loudspeakers failed.

Biggest letdown: Despite being an accomplished DJ, Dragon Con attendee Kristain Nairn (Hodor, from Game of Thrones) did not play a set at any of the official parties.

Coolest collectible Easter egg: If you were somehow able to snag all three hotel keycards (for the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton, respectively) designed by artist Dave Cook, they make a pretty awesome set.

Best good deed: Dragon Con attendees are a generous bunch. In addition to the daily blood drive, the con also collects thousands of charity donations—this year, money raised went to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. In one panel alone, a pass-around bucket collected $600.

Best people-watching from the Marriott Skyline floor: The multiple spontaneous Lightsaber fights that broke out on the atrium level. Those high-end sabers look like giant glow sticks from 10 floors up.

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