by Jeff Cunningham
MegaCon began not long ago as a minor anime convention in Orlando, Florida. In recent years, however, it’s grown much larger with added panels and more prestigious guests to become the annual sci-fi and general fandom con in Florida.
Having recently returned to my dear home and old stomping grounds, I was looking forward to seeing how the con has changed in the years since I’d last seen it, and I was proud that it would be Take Back the Sky’s first con outing in the southeastern United States. Even better, the supremely awesome people at D&B Comics offered to partner with us at the event, without which our participation simply wouldn’t have been possible.
I can sum up the experience in one word: crowded. I know what you’re thinking, “Well, duh, Jeff, that’s cons for you.” You don’t understand: I’m a veteran of cons. I’ve been to Wizard World Philadelphia and several events at the Orange County Convention Center in particular, including the former FX Con (may it rest in peace). I have marched through both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios at their peak attendance seasons without so much as batting an eyelash. Ninety-minute queueing time for SOARIN’ or Peter Pan? Pass me a bottle of water and I’ll hold your place in line for you.
Point is, I have a high tolerance for crowds. When I say this was “crowded,” I mean that when I dared the 15 feet or so between our booth we shared with D&B Comics and the nearest trash can, I had to take serious care not to get swept away by the swift currents of the sea of humanity. If it weren’t for my height (which is a source of sheer, blood-draining terror every time I ride Space Mountain but worked to my advantage here) I’m sure I would have gotten lost at least once.
That aside, though, you can’t say that the event wasn’t “well-attended.” MegaCon is still first and foremost an anime convention, and I’ve never been an anime guy, so most of the costumes were things I didn’t recognize. Come to think of it, to my surprise, there may actually have been more people walking the floor in Firefly costumes than in Star Wars garb.
It was good to see some Browncoat turnout, even if a small one. (“This is why we lost, you know. Superior numbers.”) Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk and Summer Glau were among the distinguished celebrity guests, as well. I also had the good fortune of bumping into our good friends at Firefly Cargo Bay.
All told, even though the vast majority of people there were young anime fans who had no clue what Firefly was (“Is that an animated series?” No, but it would make a gorram good one!) and were even less informed about space (despite living in Florida), we still succeeded in garnering exactly 100 petition signatures and about half as many signed letters to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. We were also happy to present a steel print of Summer Glau and Emily Bett Rickards from Season 2 of Arrow to the winner of our first-ever prize drawing. Congratulations to Sam Macaluso of Spring Hill, Florida!
All told, it was a grand adventure, and gets us one step closer to making history. Huge, bigly huge thanks are owed to our good friends at D&B Comics (“Where they sell comics by the pound!!!”). We are so very grateful for their hospitality, and we hope to partner with them again in the future. If you’re lookin’ to by some comics, be sure to check them out, and tell ’em we sent you!
And even though the day wasn’t as successful as some of our other con appearances, it was still really shiny for me to kick off Take Back the Sky‘s 2015 convention season at home. I know it means a lot to Chris that Take Back the Sky has been a part of the Pittsburgh Comicon for the past few years, and after my experience at MegaCon I can say that I finally understand exactly where he’s coming from.
The truth is, we always feel blessed and truly honored whenever we’re given the opportunity to appear at cons and present the idea of a manned US spaceship named Serenity to Browncoats and space enthusiasts throughout the ‘verse, and though a victory is by no means assured, like Shepherd Book, we believe “how you get there is the worthier part.”
So thank you, D&B Comics. Thank you, MegaCon. Thank you, Browncoats of Central Florida. See you next year!