MomoCon 2016 - Post Convention Wrap-up
I will admit to being biased. I am a HUGE fan of MomoCon. Granted, I only really attend conventions in Atlanta, so there isn’t a whole lot of competition. In fact, the only other conventions I’ve gone to are Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA), a young, anime convention and DragonCon, the cosplay party convention.
MomoCon is an animation, gaming convention. It’s not as anime focused as AWA although it shares some characteristics. There is a heavy focus on gaming – there is a huge game room with independent, newly developed games, Japanese and old school arcade games, console gaming and tournaments, board, card, and pen and paper gaming, LARPing, and good googamooga there’s a lot of gaming.
I will say that the dealer’s room wasn’t as good as previous years, but I’m 100% positive that it’s from MomoCon’s new competition MegaCon in Orlando, Florida. MegaCon decided to expand its convention and moved it to Memorial Day weekend. I have mixed feelings about it. I’ve never been to MegaCon but for the first time ever I’m considering attending out of state conventions. I have a lot of love for MomoCon so I can’t imagine attending another convention instead. *shrug* Oh well.
So back to MomoCon. I sat on three panels at the event: Combating Harassment Online and IRL, Diverse Comics for New Readers, and Cosplay in Non-Canon Bodies. I like to think of it as the social justice triumvirate. Friday and Saturday I had a 10 am start time, and I cannot lie, it was difficult, especially as I feel like I need to be in costume for panels. That said, I'm glad to be able to participate as a panelist and here's how they went.
Combating Harassment Online and in Real Life (IRL) was moderated by the Costuming Track Director, Parson Petchor. I was on this panel with AllieCat Cosplay, a very sweet Columbus based cosplayer with a huge online following. As there were only 6-8 attendees (it was a 10am panel) we were really informal and just talked about how to manage some harassment situations both at the convention and online. We addressed specific concerns and talked about some preventive measures that people can take to protect themselves as well as some actions to take should you experience harassment. I’ll give the MomoCon organizers props for deciding to be proactive and responsive to any potential issues. They had an AFK room staffed with licensed and trained therapists to help people coping with mental health issues. I’m not sure whether it was utilized but taking the initiative to have it was amazing.
Diverse Comics for New Readers was moderated by Comics Scholar Daniel Amrhein. I sat on this panel with Artist Carolyn Horne and Kennesaw State Instructor Damien Williams. I have to admit, I was most insecure about this panel. I am not a hard core comic book reader, although I do love webcomics. We went through a huge list of comics that I’ve listed here. I have already started reading The Last Halloween, because webcomics give me life, and I’m adding The Wicked and the Divine to my pull list with the quickness because it sounds awesome. This was easily the most informative panel I've ever been a part of and I'm grateful for it.
Cosplay in Non-Canon Bodies is a panel I personally developed, so, of course it's my favorite. It was a panel discussing the issues around doing cosplay when you physically don’t match the characters. Some of it discussed the historical backdrop of how comic characters were developed, what canon is, and how it can and shouldn’t influence cosplayers. I could talk about this topic all day. For the record, I'm not an authority. I just love dressing up and find myself stymied by the roadblocks people face while engaging in this hobby. If you missed it and would like to attend, I’m hosting a variation of this panel at the inaugural State of Black Science Fiction Conference (SOBSFCon) on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 4pm at the Southwest Arts Center.
Other than participating on panels, I attended a few, too. The OnyxCon TURN UP panel was a great panel with intriguing questions about diversity in popular culture. My buddy, Tanya Woods was on that panel along with Artist Dan Flores, film maker Lamont Gant, and the moderator and OnyxCon creator Joseph R Wheeler III. The panel was really good and I kinda talked too much because damnit, I was engaged in the conversation.
The last panel I attended was Turning Cosplay into a Career, hosted by Aleathia Burns and Blikku. This panel was about being creative in how you perceive the cosplay work you do…as much of it is already a profession. Aleathia has successfully adapted her sewing skills to doing costume design and production in the Atlanta theater community. It was good information for people looking for career options.
In between the panels, I hung out with friends. It’s funny that all the people I hang out with live in Atlanta and I still go to cons to hang out with them. Friends make the conventions awesome. I also got to see some really cool cosplay and play some games. You can see the pics in the carousel at the end of the post.
Also, have I mentioned how devoted to diversity and safety MomoCon seemed? It was awesome looking around and seeing all the different people, all shades, all sizes, many nationalities…I’ve never been to such a wide variety of people. It was a joy to see and experience. The age skewed a little younger but that’s just kind of the life of conventions now. I may be getting too old for this shit.
So, that’s my MomoCon experience. Busy, fun, exhausting, especially as I had a sinus infection that I struggled with the whole time. I will say this, being sick makes you hate being in costume. I took mine off almost immediately after my panels. I don't even think I got any pictures in them. *shrug* Despite that, it was one of my best convention experiences ever and I’m sure that’s in no small part due to my actually having a voice in the programming.
Yeah, I said it.