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Dragon Con drops an asterisk — gets more stars than ever!

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Was it really just the * all along?

      photo from GeeksAreSexy.net

The ladies of Captain America

For a number of years there’s been a simmering in fandom concerning Dragon*Con.

Not that the fan-run convention wasn’t a blast, a hoot and a damn great time all rolled into one. Rather, it was about connections with an allegedly unsavory character.

One of the founders of the convention, matter of fact.

Now this is someone who has been accused of some things that make most folks just go “Eeewwww.” (myself included).    If you’re that interested, you can look it up yourself. I am not writing today to titillate or pass my own judgements on the person or the case itself. I have also been going to Dragon Con since 1996.

That said — the Board of Dragon*Con worked for years to separate themselves and the business from him. These are not the kind of courtroom dramas that makes for CHA-CHUNNNK! (insert Law & Order sound cue here).

Instead, this is the delicate negotiations of a group who had made a pact and put their best intentions on paper over a quarter-century ago, and by doing so, tying themselves together in a King Solomon-level problem.

A few months ago, there started to be grumblings from an author, and then other scheduled guests about how they were going to boycott the convention and urged others to do so. There was even a Facebook group built around boycotting it.

This caused many folks who may have heard rumors around the person in question, and who had gone to the convention for years or even decades to start rethinking that as well as being insufferable jerks online to those who felt differently than they did, sadly. It also caused a spate of that most righteous of angers — the 5-minute Facebook Rant. Yes, oh yes…there were places where some felt free to comment all about the topic with the full scope of the facts in front of them.

Oh wait — they did not have all the facts. They were not personally aware of  all the niggling details and how much money goes into separating a business from one of its founders (who certainly did not seem to have any non-financial reason to be bought out years ago) and keep it the same.

Instead, the Board of Dragon Con (no asterisk now) had to do whatever they could (and I am certainly not privy to what that was) to separate themselves from this person, and in the fallout, had to create an entirely new company; the new Dragon Con.

Now, it wasn’t the boycott of one author, or even some artists who were booked for the convention and backed out, or even the FB group with 176 “likes” for it that caused this.

Dragon Con has around 50,000+ (!) people who come each year to meet, mingle, show off costumes, meet actors/writers/filmmakers, have parties and hook-ups and save all year to come back and do it again (at $130 a pop) across the five host-hotels.

You're crossing the streams, Ray...!

You’re crossing the streams, Ray…!

No. Dragon Con was finally able to separate themselves from this person because they had tried to do so for years, and whatever deal that they struck probably cost them as individuals (for at least the short-term) and the convention all around but they must have felt that it was worth it.

It was worth it to be able to tell people who ask once and for all that they’ve made their own peace with this situation, one that has dragged out over a decade and been one of those little open secrets that no one ever wants to be a part of.

No one wants to have thousands (tens of thousands) think that they are dragging their feet when the wheels of this type of thing are a Sisyphean task in the first place.

But it is done. And you know what? Here’s a quote from the boycott’s FB page:

“Besides forcing the ouster of _______, the Dragon Con boycott has also revealed a very nasty side of fandom/geek culture. One it will have to come to terms with if it wants to continue to grow in a healthy direction.”

There have been many recent articles and posts about Con Culture or Fandom in general about all sorts of things such as Costumes Do Not Equal Consent and harassment of female con-goers and cosplayers and slut-shaming in general both at cons and in regular life.

John Barrowman (and now husband) Scott Gill 2012 - No room for Marvel in their lives

John Barrowman (and husband) Scott Gill 2012
No room for Marvel in their pants!

I think if all the folks who still have some leftover internet-rage (and I am not discounting very real feelings and activism for things you are for, or against) — can turn it onto the people who do these sorts of things, we’ll go a long way towards making fandoms of all kinds, Whovians, Browncoats, Master Chiefs, et all a lot more fun for everyone.

Dragon Con (sans asterisk) runs August 30- Sept 1 in Atlanta and has already been booking both some regulars like Edward James Olmos (and who’s going to look *that* guy in the face and tell him he’s wrong for going?) and bringing in some new folks like Lucy Lawless (Battlestar Galactica),  Amy Acker (Cabin In The Woods)Noel Clarke (Doctor Who and Star Trek: Into Darkness) and even Lord Mormont of the Night’s Watch himself, (and Angus McLeod from Highlander) James Cosmo.

I am not sure if getting these new folks has anything to do with dropping the * from their name (and all that implies), I just know that I am super excited about another Dragon Con coming soon to my town and can’t wait to be with the 50,000+ others who feel that way too.

Even Zodd kneels before George Perez

Even Zodd kneels before George Perez

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