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D*C 2012: The Panels

Posted on September 20, 2012 AT 08:46pm

Dragon*Con 2012 was my second time attending this event; the first being last year (2011). Along with 2011 being my first time at Dragon*Con, it was also my first convention ever. Dragon*Con, as a whole, causes great amounts of excitement in its attendees. For most, the biggest excitement comes from seeing actors and actresses from your favorite shows together on stage during a panel. There are a number of folks, like myself, who are just perfectly happy being in the room to hear those people speak. I could be at the very back of the Atrium Ballroom at the Marriott, but I’ll have no problem, as long as I can hear what is being said.

Each panel is sponsored by a track that is dedicated to the panel’s genre or fandom. The Whedonverse Track conducts panels about anything and everything that has to do with Joss Whedon, while the British Science Fiction Media Track covers anything to do with science fiction that originates in the United Kingdom. There is more to Dragon*Con than just media centered on TV or movies, though. Tracks can focus on anime/manga, podcasting, literature, and a ton of other subjects.  Two new tracks were introduced this year; the Puppetry track (from the Muppets and beyond) and the Video Games track, which is sponsored by Michael Capps of Epic Games.

I attended a number of panels during this past Labor Day weekend. Of course, there were still many that I wanted to attend and couldn’t because they were occurring at the same time as other panels. I made a point to go to at least one panel for each of the fandoms that I consider myself to be heavily into. At this point, those fandoms include Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Firefly, Torchwood, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, and comics (the Aspen Comics and Jim Starlin panels).

Another great asset of Dragon*Con are the fan panels. Get a whole bunch of people together in the same room geeking out about the same show, movie, comic, what-have-you and there is bound to be fun. I decided to make this year more fulfilling and volunteered to be a panelist on two fan panels for the American Science Fiction and Fantasy Track.

My first panel was on Friday night and was centered on the recently ended science fiction show, Eureka. The name of the panel was aptly “Eureka – No More Buttons for Fargo”. There weren’t many attendees to this panel which made getting a discussion going tougher than I thought, but made my first time as a panelist a bit easier (not as many people to witness a possible epic fail). I enjoyed myself, but we had one panelist who seemed to take over and didn’t let the rest of us get in a word edgewise. I left this panel a bit unfulfilled because four of us were trying to compete with that one person and really couldn’t get our own ideas out there.

My second panel was much better, however. On Saturday evening, I attended my second panel as a panelist and as there wasn’t a main programming track for Game of Thrones (due to their current filming schedule), our fan panel was packed to the point of people sitting on the floor and standing up against the wall. We had a great group of panelists and we had some intriguing discussions. Topics flowed easily from one into the next, and the hour allotted just flew by. Based on my experience overall, I definitely want to participate in a fan panel again.

All in all, Dragon*Con had a good selection of panels. I just wish that I had enough time to attend all that I wanted to experience. One thing that I’d like to see is the addition of a GLBT panel. I brought this up when I talked to Jane Espenson, Brad Bell, and Sean Hemeon who bring the webseries, Husbands, to life. This year at Dragon*Con, Team Husbands was there, as was Sean Maher and John Barrowman along with his partner, Scott Gill. I’m very sure there were other GLBT guests in attendance that would also be interested. In any case, to me, the above listing, alone, would have been a dream panel. I don’t believe this was neglected on the part of Dragon*Con, but maybe something that no one has brought to the table. In any case, there’s always next year.

Amanda "Mandie" Marron is a US Navy Veteran, Gamer, Reader, Poet, Xbox Community Ambassador, Battlestar Galactica Aficionado, Wine Connoisseur, and all around geek. Follow me on Twitter: @Caprickah

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