It both does and doesn't seem possible that this year was the fifth year of AwesomeCon. This year I noticed some really helpful changes. The programming schedule listed panelists in advance, such that I was able to tell, several weeks out that I probably needed a full weekend pass. There were signs posted throughout the convention center that had maps and arrows getting you to the main stage, to registration, and to the exhibit hall. And rooms had clearly marked schedules that got updated as changes occurred.
While the partnership with NASA and the Science Channel continued, and Nerd Nite returned, I hopped around a little more this year. The LGBTQ characters in Comics panel on Friday was awesome and wonderfully moderated. Comics in Color also was great, and discussed indie distribution channels and marketing in comics. A special celebrity guest popped up in the Mars panel.
Saturday I arrived to discover the line to get in to the convention center was doing a complex dance as those who arrived at the front walked up and around to get to the back of the line, and then circled back. I decided that meant I had time to go pick up some iced tea before I headed in. I will tell you, the entrance process was slightly different each time I walked in, and while the convention center staff and Awesomecon volunteers did a great job directing us each time, it just meant you had to accept a little chaos each time. But even that morning, which was the longest it took me to get in, it moved very quickly. I'm sure it helped that I wasn't aiming for most of the celebrity stuff.
The Library of Congress talked about the collection and archiving of comics. Writers talked about writing. A team from the government talked about wargaming, and it's application for problem solving in and out of war. Local historians and comics folks talked about the use of comics as a history tool, both for teaching about the history of DC, and beyond. Within this panel one audience member noted that he had seen in non-fiction comics the style seemed to be either black and white simplified colorization and was that intentional to signal non-fiction. The answer he got seemed to indicate that it was not intentional (the answer was essentially, the style has to match the story, which sure). It's possible this isn't intentional, or that it really signals more the difference in artists working non-fiction titles versus fiction right now. But it's certainly a question that I've kept thinking about.
I went to a panel on nerd rock, which involved singing and was about as much as my brain could happen at that point. And then Fandom as a Subversive act, which looked at fanfic and how it can address and even correct issues in source material.
I stopped by Sunday since I had to be downtown for book club and also realized I had not made it to the exhibit hall. So I did that before heading to a YA girls in Comics panel that in many ways ended up being a long string of recommendations for great series old and new.