So... my first Dragon*Con:
Frankly, it offers me many of the same problems Comic-Con does. It's crowded, and although my fans are here they have a hard time finding me. Also, I have a hard time finding other cool folks with whom I'd like to spend time.
It has these problems because it's a spectacle, an ever-evolving blending of unintentional and deliberate performance art. Everything else is subsumed. My own wanderings, oft-fruitless, in search of friends I knew were here, were just one more pointillistic spatter of paint in the overall mural.
That's okay. As far as I can tell, the trip paid for itself. The Missing Volume ended up with two bundles and maybe a dozen loose Schlock books by the end of the show, which means Glennis will be able to write me a nice check, and keep a tidy sum for her troubles. Commerce -- I am complicit in its commission.
The web comics panel went pretty well, though the format was not my favorite. A panel called "Webcomics" is an injustice -- there are zillions of things we could have talked about, but with that broad a topic we weren't able to drill down on anything. Also, there were eight panelists. Too many! I don't regret hijacking moderation of the panel (quietly, before it began) in order to ensure an expedited pace. I wish it hadn't been necessary, though, because I worry that some folks might think I'm a little surly. [Note to programming staff: Webcomics topics worth an entire 1-hour session include Making Money At It, Fan Interaction Pros & Cons, The Creative Process, Long Form Sequential Art on the Web, and maybe a technical seminar on hosting options. There are probably more, though.]
This morning's "Mormonism in Sci-Fi" panel was another catch-all blunder. It went pretty well, but we needed a firm topic. "Mormonism in Sci-Fi" is too broad, especially if you're going to allow audience members to make two minute rambling speeches before they get around to asking a question. Why, no, I did NOT moderate that panel. Why do you ask? Still, all the panelists made pretty good points, and the questions that the audience members did finally get around to asking were good ones. And we answered them! Though I might have taken the liberty of clarifying a few questions to make them more interesting. And briefer. Hey, I'm willing to lead by example.
All told, I'm glad I came but I probably won't be back until 2014. The World Science Fiction Convention is more my speed, and in 2012 and 2013 the WorldCon dates overlap Dragon*Con.