I have braved “Hotlanta” for con season before. I’m no stranger to just how terrible it can get when the sun beats down on you and the humidity sticks your costume to your skin. I have seen body paint melt off of Homestuck trolls, seen thermoplastics warp, seen cosplayers in full body armor pass out… At some point, you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it? Is it worth it to get into costume in the Atlanta heat and go out to a convention?
Yes. Yes it is—especially if that convention is Momocon.
This year was my first year at Momocon. I don’t know why I never went before, especially since I’m usually active in the Atlanta convention schedule. This year, a record of 28,000 people attended on a weekend boasting 90-degree heat. The Georgia World Congress Center and the nearby Omni hotel hosted and made for a fantastic venue for the convention. Also, panels were livestreamed to an additional 330,000 viewers who could not attend the convention.
To keep up with all of the amazing things going on during the weekend, Momocon released an incredibly useful app. The app held the schedule, list of guests, links to the Twitch livestreams, maps, and would even alert guests a half hour before panels they bookmarked started. Among the impressively long list of guests were some very exciting names, including Man at Arms, The Yordles, Jim Cummings (voice of Winnie the Pooh), Paige O’Hara (voice of Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), and Irene Bedard (voice of Pocahontas from Disney’s Pocahontas).
Momocon is also the convention that never sleeps. The convention wound to life as early as 9 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday night saw panels going until 2:00 a.m. and the Saturday night rave went until 4:00 a.m.! Even with the convention bustling for four very full days, when it closed on Sunday, I left feeling like I could have lived the weekend over twice and still not have seen and done everything.
Not only was the schedule jammed so full that it was impossible to attend one panel without fear of missing out on another, but there was so much to do and see. The massive stage and dance floor used for the rave was actually smaller than the Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley. The two were combined in one room and, although it’s typical for there to be more dealers than artists, I wish that there had been more artists present. To be honest, I have seen larger Artist Alley’s at local conventions, but I think the aim of Momocon was quality over quantity.
Matching the Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley in size was the Gaming Hall, which was the largest gaming hall I have ever seen at a convention. There were rows upon rows of arcade games: vintage, foreign, modern, everything. Beyond that was laser tag. The tabletop section was huge, too, and there were sections for tournaments, PC games, and console games (with almost any console you could think of). Close to 10,000 people tuned in on Twitch to watch the Smash 4 Finals hosted in that gaming hall.
One event livestreamed on Twitch was the AMV contest with live voting, which I had never seen in a convention this size. Staff was extremely organized in passing out and collecting ballots for each category. Not only was there a panel for the contest and the awards, but there was late night AMV viewings as well. All of the AMVs were really fantastic and those editors who submitted did an amazing job this year. A playlist of the winning AMV’s may be found here.
Momocon hosts two separate cosplay contests, split into “Closet Costume” and “Craftsmanship Costume.” The “Closet Costume” contest features cosplayers whose costumes are not over 60% crafted from scratch, which includes salvaged, reclaimed, thrift shopped, or hodge-podged costumes. Alternatively, the “Craftsmanship Costume” contest is for cosplayers who built the majority of their costumes from nothing. There were also the Disney Sing-Along Competition Finals, where the first place prize was a ticket to Walt Disney World.
Overall, I went to Momocon with few expectations and it exceeded all of them. My convention-veteran friends were just as impressed as the awe-struck first timers. The convention had a little of everything: kid-friendly but with a thriving nightlife; gamer-friendly, anime-friendly, and comic-fan-friendly. Beyond all of this, cosplayers went above and beyond in amazing cosplay. For the full album of all the pictures I took, check here.
Review Submitted by Ginny Henry.