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Richard Jackson writes...

Convergence 2016

I've seen other con journals in the past, so I thought I could take the time to write my own. This summarizes my experience at Convergence 2016 and meeting Greg Weisman, Christopher Jones and Khary Payton.

June 30th

I caught a 6am flight from Oklahoma, changed planes in St. Louis and arrived in Minneapolis around 1pm. I unfortunately missed the "Why Gargoyles is Still Relevant" panel, but my plane ticket and hotel had been reserved months beforehand, so that's life…

My friend picked me up from the airport and we had lunch and checked into the hotel. I made my way to the con and got my bearings. I attended one panel and then attended the opening ceremony. It was so funny. The emcee was Paul Cornell, a novelist/comic book writer/screenwriter. The mascots of the ceremony were Connie the Convergence Robot and Connie Mark II, her evil younger sister. You had to be there, but there was something enduring and hilarious about the way Connie Mark II kept calling Paul by his last name, "Corrnnneelllll." The guests of honor were also introduced, Greg Weisman and Christopher Jones being among them. Khary Payton hadn't arrived yet, but they played a pre-recorded message of him.

After the ceremony, there was the Fancy Bastard Pie Competition. It was my chance to finally meet Greg. Greg arrived and stood behind a table and sampled the pies. He was very thorough and made his decision. The prize was that he would give someone an exclusive spoiler. Wish I had contributed a pie…. I waited around and I finally got to meet Greg, which was awesome. I also got some pie as well.

July 1st

For Greg to come to Convergence, there was a crowdfunder on Genorosity and those who contributed were rewarded with prizes. In my case, I contributed enough to have breakfast with Greg and Christopher Jones. The breakfast was nice. I got to chat with two men I admire and they were gracious enough to sign my stuff and take a picture with me. Towards the end of breakfast Greg had to take a call and Paul Cornell walked up and asked if he could join us for breakfast. Chris told him regretfully that we had just asked for the checks. Oh drat, if Paul had come just a little earlier, I could have had a bonus breakfast mate.

I went to the Mall of America with my Minnesota friend (I'm such a tourist!) and returned in the early afternoon to attend several panels. A panel on teenage superheroes with Greg, Chris and Khary was the highlight. After the panel, I was able to get Khary to confirm that he was on General Hospital as Dr. Terrell Jackson. He seemed to be flattered I knew that. Several other panels later, I returned to the hotel.

July 2nd

Saturday was a long day. I arrived at the Double Tree Hotel area around 8:30am and didn't go home till about 1am that night. The day pretty much consisted of attending panels and being a Greg-head.

I attended "Building Worlds for Fiction" panel with Greg as one of the panelists. Then I attended "Why We Need Representation in Superheroes" with Greg, Chris and Khary as panelists. Then the Radio Play, "The Cosmos" with Greg, Chris and Khary as actors along with 20 other fans who had auditioned. The play was the thing. It totally pandered to Greg's fans and was so funny. A rich, rewarding experience.

Later I attended a panel "Superficially Strong Female Characters" with Greg as one of the panelists. Then I attended a one on one with Christopher Jones and Greg Weisman, with Greg interviewing Chris about his career. Something I noticed that Greg and Chris have in common is that they were good at anticipating things when they wanted to break into the comics business. After seeing a Marvel talent search, Greg prepared a packet for DC, knowing that they would have a similar talent search and was one of the first ones to apply. In Chris' case, he knew that when The Batman and Young Justice premiered, there would undoubtedly be a tie-in comic and threw his hat into the ring early on.

Late, at 11:30, I attended the "Animation Blue" panel, with Greg, Chris and Khary as panelists. It was based on the Gargoyles Blue Mug which I have read about where the panelists and audience get into the sex lives of cartoon characters. It was interesting.

July 3rd

I got up and attended a "Young Justice" panel with Greg, Chris and Khary as the panelists. Then I went to a signing that Greg, Chris and Khary were having. I left the con with many signed art prints of Chris Jones. I bought a Young Justice script and Spirits of Ash and Foam from Greg. I also got a signed picture of Aqualad from Khary. Then I decided it was time to get back to my hotel and get to the airport. It was sad that I had to miss Greg's Rain of the Ghosts panel, a one on one panel in which Greg would have been interviewed about his career, and the closing ceremonies.

This was my first real vacation in over two years and it was a blast. Convergence was such a nice event, emphasizing the stereotype of "Minnesota nice." Most of the people at the con seemed to be local fans. Many were surprised that I had come all the way from Oklahoma. It was as if I had journeyed halfway around the world for them. Although I mainly attended because of Greg, Chris, and Khary, I got the chance to encounter many other talented and intelligent individuals, such as Paul Cornell, Ytasha Womack, Max Gladstone, Mark Oshiro, "Duck" Washington and many more. I definitely want to come back to Convergence and make it a yearly vacation if possible.

Greg responds...

I'm glad you have fun. CONvergence is pretty much my favorite convention. I always have a blast there. Love the people. Do a lot of panels. It's great!

It was also great meeting you! Hope to see you again sometime soon.

Response recorded on November 18, 2016