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AwesomeCon 2022 Weekend Review

June 7, 2022 | Posted by Lee Sanders
AwesomeCon Image Credit: AwesomeCon
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AwesomeCon 2022 Weekend Review  

Awesome Con returned to the Nation’s Capital of Washington, D.C over the weekend at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, June 3-5. This year marks offically the 10th anniversary of Awesome Con, though the 2022 show is only the 9th installment of Awesomecon, as the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance for Awesome Con reached its peak in 2017 having over to date 70,000 attendees but this years’ and last years’ event were low due to the pandemic.

Once known just for comic books and comic culture, Awesome Con has expanded to include all things pop culture, video games, independent and major motion pictures, sci-fi, toys, video and royal-playing games.

Image Credit: AwesomeCon

It was a three day event filled with fun activities. It brought together people of all ages, races, and sizes. Whether into Sci-Fi, Horror, Romance, Comedy, Marvel, Disney, Awesome Con had something for everybody. This years’ event was more laid back and not too heavy on celebrities compared to previous years as main attractions saw Anthony Daniels, the actor behind the infamous C-3PO robot in the Star Wars films. Giancarlo Espisitio (Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian, The Boys), Simu Liu, Meng’er Zhang, and Florian Munteanu from Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Hayley Atwell from ‘What If?’ and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Other main attractions this year of course included cosplayers as many see pop culture events like this to express their Fandom for a particular franchise or celebrity. It’s also a great way for a cosplayer to establish and expand their business portfolios. Meanwhile, you have fans that spend many hours and months making or finding the perfect costume to show off at an event such as Awesome Con, and what a great place to get noticed.

Image Credit: Lee Sanders

Maybe you have a particular interest and you hear that there’s a panel covering that interest. This weekend saw many panels hosted by celebrities and non-celebrities. I myself hosted a panel talking about The Current State of Prowrestling and Pop Culture with my good friends in Julian Cannon of The Wrestling Court and The Knockturnal, and Anthony Missionary Thomas of Wrestling Soup (which you can watch below). Love all things Harry Potter or Star Trek? There was a panel for that. More diversity in comic books? Covered! The Impact of the LGBTQ+ in pop culture and media? When I say there is something for everyone I mean it people.

The heart of Awesome Con that I always look forward to the most as an artist myself is Artist Alley. Here you can find unique and one of a kind pieces of artwork, many originals direct from the artist. It is a place where you can discover vendors both new and old that have great items for sale. Artist Alley is a place where you will discover someone that you feel has not been discovered yet and you feel you need to tell the world about them. That is the position I found myself in when taking pictures of a series in X-Men statues as the team is fighting Sentinels. I had heard of these sculptures but never seen them up close and in person until this past weekend. I was amazed at the articulation and spent so much time filming, that the owner of the table introduced himself and we talked for a few minutes about his experience at Awesome Con as it was his first time and he was very excited. Open Vault Collectables is his company by the way as I suggest you look them up when you get a chance.

It is intimate and fun conversations like that and the one I had with artist Brian C. Roll who is a phenomenal artist, that makes covering Awesome Con worthwhile. My wife and I stumbled upon him while recording some final footage before heading out for the night. We were taken back by his artwork collection. One of the pieces he had which I bought was a great black, white, and blue illustration of Bruce Lee. I also helped myself to an original art piece he did of Black Lightning star Cress Williams as we went back and fourth about him for a few minutes. Artist Alley truly is a place where you can find some rare gems and good kind-hearted people. Whether toys, sculptures, posters, books, jewlery, food, Artist Alley is a must go-to destination I always reccomend for folks to check out to support independent artists. One of few complaints I heard in prior years from artists at Awesome Con was how they felt too many celebrities were coming. As result sales for these artists were slim to none as most patrons spent their money on celebrity merchandise, meet and greets, etc. To see the scaling back done with the last couple events including this one, shows me that staff are listening to the feedback and adjusting as best as they can to find that right balance.

Checking in to get your credentials or buying passes was much smoother this year compared to others. For starters they had everything more centralized. By doing so it was easier and quicker to get your badges and take off. To the point there was no backup of long lines and long wait times. Autographs signings and photo ops ran smoothly and efficiently.

Image Credit: Lee Sanders

Of course with all that walking you are going to build up an appetite. Awesome Con had so many great places to eat. Some eaterys well known and others you never heard of before until now. For me it was a welcomed change of pace to try their Ben’s Chili Bowl spot that was inside. Ben’s Chili Bowl has been a national treasure here in D.C for over 64 years as they have three locations across D.C and Virginia. I can not recall a Ben’s Chili Bowl being at previous Awesome Cons as this was a welcomed change of pace and a great way of giving folks a taste of D.C. I reccomend the chili dog and french fries. While I am at it I also reccomend going to the original location of Ben’s Chili Bowl up around U Street N.W in Washington, D.C. You will thank me later.

All things considered, Awesome Con 2022 was a great experience and success. If you did not get to go folks I hope you consider going next year as it will be happening June 16th to 18th in 2023. I highly reccomend it for those who never been to a convention and want to start with something small to get their feet wet. To those who maybe have not gone in a while, do consider returning. If you find yourself traveling next year and will be in the area, do check it out. Here is to Awesome Con 2023! Me and A Pimp Named Slickback hope to see you there!

Image Credit: Lee Sanders

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Overall an enjoyable weekend I had as it was fun hanging out with friends and family. Point deduction however for there being no wrestling celebrity presence this year as this marks I believe the second or third Awesome Con event in a row without representation. Hopefully that changes pretty soon. Also point deduction for miscommunication on pass entry prices. They shouldn’t cost more for two days than as opposed to three days as a three day pass was cheaper this year. Spoke with a few disgruntled customers who weren’t fans of that and didn’t understand the logic. Lastly, even though it is not in their due, some vendors I spoke to didn’t like the fact that there wasn’t free coffee at the start of their days at the weekend event. Some vendors were used to getting such accommodations at other con events. To play devils advocate however this is not within their due but basic coffee aka low budget coffee is inexpensive to obtain. Check out Awesome Con folks, you’ll be happy you did!

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AwesomeCon, Lee Sanders