What we saw at Dragon Con 2018: Deadpool, a Marriott memorial, and lots of soccer fans

If you missed this year's convention, here's a highlight reel

Dragon Con 2018
Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool cosplayers pose at Dragon Con 2018.

Photograph by Matt Walljasper

Another Dragon Con is in the books and downtown is slowly returning to normal after 80,000 fans descended to show off their best costumes and celebrate all things geek. In the four days we spent the convention (walking nearly 40 miles, according to our phones), here are some of the things we noticed.

Costumes by the numbers:
54 Deadpools, a perennial favorite made even more popular this year thanks to the release of Deadpool 2.

67 Harry Potter characters, most of which were spotted on Sunday in advance of the annual Yule Ball dance.

40 Black Panther characters

24 characters specifically from Avengers: Infinity War including Thanos, blonde Black Widow, and bearded Captain America.

5 Ben Swolos, a.k.a. a shirtless Kylo Ren from a scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that launched a thousand memes

34 Rick and Morty characters

7 characters from Netflix’s GLOW

34 Handmaids from The Handmaid’s Tale

14 Inflatable T-Rexes, which were just as lively on the dance floor as they were last year

3 people dressed as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, including a Deadpool version

44 Game of Thrones characters, still extremely popular despite the lack of new episodes this year

38 Westworld characters, which were much more popular this year thanks to season two airing in the spring

43 Babies

5 people dressed as Willrow Hood, a.k.a. the “Ice Cream Man” from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, a background character who held a prop that suspiciously looked like an ice cream maker

1 Donald Glover from the “This is America” video

Photos: Check out the full gallery of our favorite costumes here.

We also noticed:
• We spotted at least 10 people wearing parody T-shirts or costumes related to the Space Force, a proposed branch of the military that President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to create back in June. Dragon Con is rarely short on political parodies, and this year was no exception: We also spotted a Darth Vader in a suit wearing a red “Make the Empire great again” hat, and a man holding a “Thanos 2020” sign.

Dragon Con 2018
“Thanos did nothing wrong.”

Photograph by Matt Walljasper

• On the political note, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams also stopped by Dragon Con on Saturday, meeting cosplayers and celebs such as voice actress Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Arrow).

• Speaking of Mike Colter, he mentioned during a Monday morning panel that he attended Freaknik while in college.

• The cult of the colorful, geometric Marriott Marquis carpet, which was removed from the hotel in 2016, is still alive and well. We spotted it incorporated into costumes from Deadpool to Wonder Woman to Sailor Moon, witnessed someone selling pieces of it, and even noticed a memorial to it set up Saturday evening on the lobby level of the hotel, where a thin strip of the old carpet is still visible near a staircase.

Dragon Con 2018
The memorial for the Marriott Marquis carpet.

Photograph by Myrydd Wells

• We noticed an uptick in convention security this year in the form of increased badge checks at the hotel entrances and exits, along with more personnel equipped with orange zip ties posted around the hotels, making sure fake weapons were properly peace-bonded.

Attendance held steady this year at 80,000, same as last year, and while Saturday crowds still jam-packed the skybridges and hotel floors, Friday and Sunday felt more subdued than usual. (Not that we’re complaining—it’s always nice to not be squished like a sardine while navigating the con.)

Kudos to the friends of “Jeff,” a Dragon Con fan who skipped this year’s convention to stay home with his wife and newborn. His friends set up a life-size cardboard cutout of him dressed in his favorite cosplay—Burt Macklin from Parks and Recreation—and invited con-goers to sign the back of the display while Jeff watched and waved on Face-Time.

Dragon Con 2018
#CardboardJeff has some really great friends.

Photograph by Myrydd Wells

• Atlanta United might have lost their Sunday evening game against D.C. United, but ATL UTD fans were out in full-force at Dragon Con, leading a “We Ready” chant around the marquis floor of the Marriott and cheering while watching the game at the Hyatt bar.

Dragon Con 2018

Photograph by Matt Walljasper

• One of the coolest people we met out on the convention floor was a woman from the University of Georgia’s entomology program, who brought bugs from department’s Insect Zoo outreach program. She wandered the convention floor with a sign that said “ask me about my bugs,” allowing passersby to hold and pet the insects. This leaf bug we held was incredibly docile.

(Costume statistics are approximated and don’t include the parade.)