Monday, August 20, 2018

Dragon Con 2018: The Costume Post

By Dave

It takes many different elements to create the magic of Dragon Con – fan Tracks, celebrity guests, apple pie – but in my opinion few are as important as the costuming community.
To me, Dragon Con’s biggest virtue is that it gives me the ability to immerse myself in an environment that is accepting, nurturing, and fantastical. Where, for five(ish) days we can all be whoever we were mean to be – our best selves. Whether you’re a wizard, a wrestler, a soldier from the future, or a mad scientist, you get to be you. And more importantly, you’re surrounded by fellow wizards, warriors, and Wonder Women.

Being able to look around the massive Dragon Con staging area of the Hilton, the Marriot, the Hyatt, the Westin, the Sheraton, and AmericasMart and see fantastical characters of every shape and size is an unequaled experience. Without those cosplayers Dragon Con would still be fun, but it would lose a massive portion of its magic.

Here’s the post where I display my incredibly shallow knowledge of what’s actually going on in pop culture by attempting to pick the biggest costuming trends this year. I’ll also throw in some personal favorites that I’m hopeful for, just to try and distract you guys from the fact that I think people are still playing Bomberman 64.

If you’ve got your own thoughts on the matter, you can comment below or, even better, join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and get in on the conversation! Let us know what you think!


If you want to know how out of touch I am, I almost spelled that wrong. Or right, I suppose. If you know Fortnite, you know what I mean.

This is the one cosplay area I can comfortably predict because Phantom, Jr. is obsessed with this game and apparently so is everyone else under the age of 25. This is the rare instance where I will not only know these costumes on sight, but I will also be able to identify the dances they are doing.

OH YES, MY PHANTOMANIACS. You see, one of the components of Fortnite that the kids absolutely love is the dancing, which is a way of taunting. There are tons of dances in the game and my son knows them all. Which means I do, too. Or at least well enough to recognize them. I expect to see basically nonstop Fortnite dancing at Dragon Con.

If you don’t know, Fortnite draws from pretty much every corner of pop culture for inspiration. It’s a very silly online multiplayer game where the characters can be anything from a dude in a shark suit to a robotic female assassin. There’s an amazing variety of weaponry and costumes, which makes it a very appealing environment in which to play.
I have tried it, but I suck.

Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling

I predicted this last year and didn’t see any. I know of one individual that’s working on a Zoya costume as we speak, but I certainly hope that after the spectacular second season of GLOW it is now cemented in as a pop culture go-to. I fully expect to see many more Gorgeous Ladies this year.

The Incredibles

Regardless of my feelings about The Incredibles 2, it was a huge pop culture event with a wide spectrum of fans. Family-inclusive costumes are somewhat rare, so I fully expect to see plenty of groups of Pixar superheroes, especially Elastigirl.

I think it’s great, because it’s a wonderful universe with a great selection of interesting characters.

Ready Player One

By default seventy percent of the costumes at Dragon Con can be tied to this movie. I do specifically expect to see the avatars from the Oasis walking around, though. Maybe someone will be dressed as The Shining.

I DON’T KNOW HOW. Those cosplayers are clever, man.

Plenty of Avengers

This is so obvious that I sort of felt bad including it, but I can’t imagine a bigger year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The costuming for these movies is so dynamic and visually appealing that I know a number of the best cosplayers around thrive on trying to recreate practical, con-friendly versions.

Additionally, it wouldn’t surprise me to see “dusting” variations inspired by the end of Infinity War.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to go one further and say we’re likely to see “dusting” versions of characters from across the whole spectrum of pop culture.


This is a sort of catch-all for Stephen Universe and all of the other modern cartoons that I can’t keep track of. Costumes from that show are a pretty easy call because I’ve been seeing them at cons for years, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say we might even see Adora and Catra from the new Netflix She-Ra cartoon that looks very similar to Cartoon Network’s hit show.

Here’s another possible longshot – I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised to see DuckTales represented. That show seems to have caught fire with fandom and even I have to admit that the excellent voice cast and storytelling has overcome the limitations of the animation style. Heck, even the animation seems to be a little better than the first few episodes suggested.

Other Video Games & Anime

I’m not going to recognize any of these. Unless it’s Mario or Battle Angel. Which, by the way, I do expect to see this year. Years ago cosplayer Riki Lecotey was Alita and I don’t know that I’ve seen one since. Let’s bring her back – there’s a movie coming out!


I should’ve made this call last year after the success of the show’s first season, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me. That’s okay, though, because I don’t remember seeing any costumes that seemed to be from the show.

This year I fully expect to see a lot of Western wear, which is great because it’s an underrepresented look at Dragon Con. As a matter of fact, I’d love to have a cowboy costume. I wonder if I could put a decent Brisco County, Jr. together in a week and a half…

Final Thoughts

Obviously this list doesn’t acknowledge the overwhelming number of constant cosplay fandoms – Stars Wars, Trek, and Crash, Game of Thrones, Middle Earth, Harry Potter, Manimal – and I’m sure I’m missing some new hotness that I’ll feel like an idiot for overlooking the minute Thursday gets here. But my point is that costumes are critical.

Take a minute and thank some cosplayers for making Dragon Con so magical.

Here’s my advice to you – wear a costume. Maybe you’re already doing that. If so, good for you. But if you don’t think of yourself as a costume person, do it anyway. Find something you’re comfortable with. Go buy a mask or a cape or maybe even just find a character you like whose garb isn’t terribly outlandish. But dress up in a way that is different from your normal routine. Even if you just wear a suit and a funny hat – get away from yourself for a night and have fun. You’ll be surprised at how freeing it can be just to put on a different pair of pants. Or none at all. But save that for after-hours.

You can follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for Dragon Con news!  

If you’re here checking out Dragon Con stuff and haven’t visited Needless Things before, thanks for coming by. There’s a new episode of the Needless Things Podcast every week. And definitely come back in October for our 31 Days of Halloween! It lasts all month long and everything on the site is thoroughly Halloweeny!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 226 – Dragon Con 2018: My Stepmother Is A Classics Track!

Dragon Con 2018 coverage continues on Needless Things!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Around Dragon Con - The Center for Puppetry Arts

By Jerry Chandler

Tucked away on the corner of 18th Street and Spring Street in Atlanta, Georgia is the Center for Puppetry Arts. If you’ve been to Atlanta but never visited the Center for Puppetry Arts, this or next year’s trip down for Dragon Con would be very good times to consider rectifying this particular oversight. Now, unlike the Georgia Aquarium, this isn’t a sight you can see with just a short walk down the street from the Dragon Con host hotels. It’s anywhere from a 45 minute to 1 hour walk depending on who is doing the walking. You can drive to it in about 15 minutes, but what levels of insanity would you have to be suffering under to cause you to consider driving in downtown Atlanta? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews August 2018: “What If… Halloween is Coming?”

By Dave

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for.

It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in October.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Movie Review - The Meg

by Beth

Before I get into Dragon Con mode I wanted to take a minute to review the summer blockbuster I had been dying to see. The Meg isn't being well received or reviewed, but if you're like me you don't let critics or naysayers stop you from seeing something. Let this be one of those instances if you're on the fence. If you liked Deep Blue Sea, you'll probably like The Meg. I love Deep Blue Sea, and thought The Meg was a great example of what can happen when a silly idea gets a good budget.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 225 – Kirk Thatcher Interview

On today’s episode of the Needless Things Podcast Dave talks to writer, producer, director, and production designer Kirk Thatcher!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Around Dragon Con – The Georgia Aquarium

By Jerry Chandler

Located in downtown Atlanta across from Centennial Olympic Park- just a few blocks diagonal from the Dragon Con host hotels -is the Georgia Aquarium. Officially opened to the public in 2005, it was the largest aquarium in the world until the 2012 opening of the Marine Life Park in Singapore. Beating it out for sheer size was no small feat. The Georgia Aquarium is home to several thousand species of salt water and fresh water life from around the world, and it contains over 10 million gallons of water to keep those critters alive and swimming in. Just a little over 6 million gallons of that water are used for the aquarium’s primary exhibit, allowing it to be one of only two institutions in the world to house whale sharks. You’ll see swimming alongside the whale sharks some of the largest manta rays you’re likely to ever see, as well as more fish and more varieties of fish than you can likely count in one single day’s trip to the Georgia Aquarium.

What’s sometimes still a surprise to me when at Dragon Con is talking to my fellow con goers and discovering how many of them have never been to the Georgia Aquarium. It’s even more surprising when they seem to not even know there is a Georgia Aquarium. Why? Well…

Monday, August 6, 2018

Troublemaker – Coming Soon!

By Dave

At some point in the past I announced on the now-defunct Needless Things PatronCast that my good friend Jason Wilson – an award-winning documentarian – would be following me around with a camera for a year or so.

He did. From October of 2016 up through last year’s Dragon Con, Wilson was there to capture many aspects of my life as Phantom Trouble maker and as Dave West, including my shocking unmasking at the live 1987 panel for the Classics Track.

We (mostly Wilson) are now in the process of putting everything together. Or maybe in the process of finishing up putting everything together. There are dozens of hours of footage and interviews and I’m sure it’s quite a beast to parse it down to the best stuff. Or to a singular narrative. Or whatever it is he’s doing with it. Aside from a couple of instances of, “You know, maybe I don’t want this to be that real”, I’m leaving it in Wilson’s capable hands because he has won an Emmy and I have, as of yet, not.

I’m honored that Wilson would consider me a subject worthy of examining and I’m extremely proud of what we got done and of what I’ve seen so far. This thing is very much who I am, in some cases warts and all. It sends one singular message that I am aware of and perhaps many that I’m not – like I said, that’s up to Wilson. And to the eventual audience.

I can’t say yet what our plans are for release, nor when that will happen. Both of us want this to be the best feature it can possibly be and nobody will see it before it is.

In the meantime, here’s the official trailer for Troublemaker. Please like, share, comment, post, and above all, enjoy.

I love you guys.

While you’re waiting for Troublemaker, check out my interview with Wilson on the Needless Things Podcast and his last film, Stopper: Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad.

You can follow Dave as Phantom Troublemaker on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the best pop culture news!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 224 – San Diego Comic Con 2018: The Toys

Needless Things wasn’t in San Diego for Comic Con, but the Irregulars followed from afar and have plenty to discuss!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Around Dragon Con – Preparation

By Jerry Chandler

Preparation, you ask? Is this another article about getting ready for Dragon Con that gets into all that advice about how it’s important to have snacks, hydrate, get rest, shower, use deodorant, etc. that gets written about and talked about every year? Well, outside of that sentence, no, not really. This year I’ll be writing several articles talking about what’s around Dragon Con, not in it. So, no, no talk about how it’s important to have snacks, hydrate, get rest, shower, use deodorant, etc. while at the con or even about getting in some exercise before heading down to Dragon Con so that the (now five day) weekend doesn’t kick your butt like Morten Andersen kicking the old pigskin. However, we will be covering some of the same concepts, plus a few others that, while perhaps too late to make them useful this year, may make future Dragon Con weekends a bit more fun.