Awesome Con 2021

Awesome Con returned to the Washington Convention Center this past weekend. After taking a Covid hiatus in 2020, it was great to be back with like-minded fans and enjoy a con. I saw some stellar cosplay, my favorite being this home-made Ghostrider. Click below for more cosplay pics, celebrities, and of course, happenings with Back to the Future guests Micheal J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd!

My second favorite costume was this lit up Soundwave. The craftsmanship and attention to detail was fantastic. I also like how the guy could have stopped 3 or 4 steps ago, and still had a great costume, but he kept going, making it better and better. I have a soft spot for the insane home-made costumes, and these two were my favorites.
And this Mario was also very impressive.
As were these Mario girls. I have more sweet cosplay photos in the gallery below (and all over our Instagram @MillionairePb) but now I wanted to talk about some pros and cons of the, uh, con.
New this year were these large scale photo backdrops. Not only was there a large banner, but there were some dimensional elements for added realism. There was a spaceship window with some futuristic seats, a forest with small trees, and this rooftop. These were set up by Awesome Con for getting fun cosplay photos, with their appropriate environments. The 501st set up a great looking Star Wars backdrop right near-by as well. This was fantastic for stopping by for a quick photo and getting a background better than convention aisles. On top of this photo op, there was also the Back to the Future DeLorean.
I thought it would be hilarious to get a photo of my Keymaster Luis Tulley from Ghostbusters behind the wheel of the DeLorean for the ultimate 80s movie crossover event. Maybe in a What If? type scenario.
Speaking of Back to the Future the biggest event at Awesome Con this year was the inclusion of special guests Micheal J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd (that’s Marty and Doc, ya butthead!) They were doing autographs, photo ops, and a panel. I made it to the panel. Photos and video weren’t permitted during the panel, so the best you get is this shot of all the Doc and Marty cosplayers up on stage. There were around 1100 people in attendance and they answered questions submitted by the audience via social media. It was fantastic being in the same room as these legends. It was great hearing them tell stories and share in an emotional happening. I will say however, it was tough. It’s tough getting a little dose of reality and seeing childhood heroes appear anything less than what you’re used to on the screen. Lloyd is 82 years old, Fox is battling Parkinson’s disease and the film came out more than 35 years ago. It was absolutely invaluable to share a time and live experience with them however.
And I had a great encounter with Adam Savage of Myth Busters (and Tested, and all the things he’s up to these days) I wanted to give him a gift and chat for a few minutes. He complimented me on the construction of my homemade Keymaster colander helmet, and we chatted about my moon gloves. (Be sure to follow @Moongloves for more space adventures) The item I gifted him was this shop flashlight from astronaut John Glenn’s house.
It’s true, I visited John Glenn’s estate sale in Potomac Maryland and picked up several cool personal items including this flashlight. This photo above is when I took the flashlight to the National Air and Space Museum and shined the light on Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule. Adam got a kick out of that.
I want to introduce you to R2-3X (sometimes pronounced R2-300) He is a 3D printed replica of a vintage Kenner R2-D2 figure, but at 300% the size. He’s roughly the size of a beer can. I printed this model so that I could get photos that aren’t typically possible with a 3.75″ scale action figure, like this one, while waiting for the Metro.
I love the R2 builders that come to Awesome Con each year. It’s always a thrill to see R2 in real life. This year they had a Death Star droid and a BB-8. I like that my R2-3X allows for pics like this. The 501st was also on hand so you could get great looking photos with Stormtroopers and other Star Wars characters.
I have several photos of Mandalorians holding R2-3X, but this one is special, his entire set of Mandalorian armor was 3D printed. Amazing! But be sure to see all the sights R2-3X experienced this weekend in the gallery below.
Let’s talk about the vendor situation. You may have heard a lot of grumbles about the lack of comic dealers at the comic con. In my experience, a comic convention is at least 20 odd dealers, each with dozens of long boxes. You go from table to table and you spend time flipping through each box, one issue at a time, searching for that last gem you need to complete a run in your collection. Actually, I specifically hunt vintage MAD magazines. I like that I can quickly give any vendor an ocular pat-down and see if they have any magazine-width boxes mixed in, to see if it’s worth stopping to check it out. My secret criteria for a truly amazing convention is to see (not necessarily purchase) but see at least two of these three properties. A) MAD Magazine, B) Garabge Pail Kids, C) Madballs. One of those thing, the place is OK. Two of those, now we’re talking, all three? Holy crap I’m in heaven.
Sadly this year, there were only 2 vendors with comic books, and only 2 vendors with any vintage toys. There were approximately 6-8 vendors that only sold Funko Pops, 5-6 vendors selling LEGO minifigs, and 6-8 vendors with sweet geek-themed T-shirts. Then a ton of anime, D&D, video game stuff, foam weapons, and other geek themed wares. I understand there was a pandemic, but I found almost nothing I wanted to buy. After doing two laps, TWO, I finally convinced myself to buy a t-shirt. My son got very excited when he found the guy with a great price on individual shiny Pokemon cards. But honestly, the coolest toy there, was the one I brought with me. I’m glad that the Geek world is growing and accepting more fandoms. When I come to a con, I’m looking for items that I can’t find in abundance online, like rare comics and vintage toys. This felt like everything they had for sale was available from a geek website. I wouldn’t have minded all the tables that DID show up, if there were a lot more of the tables that I’m used to and DIDN’T show up. I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I like that there was THIS Awesome Con instead of no con at all.
The organizers of Awesome Con did do a good job of making us feel safe, yet still provide something to come experience. They can’t control the state of the pandemic, or people’s attitudes. I think they did the best job they could, given the circumstances. Masks were required, the vendor tables were spaced out more with additional aisle space. All of the celebrity encounters had plexiglass walls so you could get your photo without having to wear mask at the time of the photo. If there needs to be a half-way step between no con and full on 100% back con, then hopefully this is it, and the (newly announced) 2022 Awesome Con in June will be back full speed and as awesome as ever.
I will say this. I had a press pass, so I did not pay to get in. I do feel that individuals that paid $60 for single day pass or $90 for full-weekend, would be disappointed. Perhaps if the number of vendors is less than normal, the ticket price could go down. In the past, the cost of kids under 10 was free, which encouraged families. Currently a 3-day pass for kids is $30.
I do plan to be back. I’m looking forward to Awesome Con 2022. I have faith the organizers will do their best to keep everyone safe and provide an awesome experience. See you at the con!
Make sure to check out my gallery of Cosplay and other fun scenes below, and make sure to follow on Instagram @MillionairePb for more pics and reporting.

2021 Awesome Con

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