One Man /// Riot #2: blerDCon Report and More


++ One Man /// Riot is a column by Daryll Benjamin ++

This week the man also known as “Uncanny Daryll B.” will not be in his customary riot-of-one mode, but instead he’s filing a field report on the first ever blerDCon that recently occurred, just ICYMI. DB was there in person. Peep the report . . .

19437318_1531162100291694_308346165870584012_nHi there, my fellow denizens and followers of The Comic Book Underground! Once again, my editor beckoned my presence and opinions about comics and geek culture. First thing’s first though. Let me share my experiences at last week’s blerDCon in Virginia/Washington D.C. I found out about this from a creator at last year’s New York Comic Con and actually made a last-minute decision to hop on an early bus Saturday morning down to the event just to get a lay of the land.

One of the best decisions I have ever made to be totally honest with you all. I have been burnt out by various acts and dealings by both fans and companies this past year, to the point where I have finalized my decisions on cutting back my collecting habits. To focus my energies and money on the things I feel deliver to me personally and emotionally. On that note, a new convention aimed at fans, cosplayers, talent and issues for folks of color was right up my alley.

BlerDCon is the first nerd convention organized for people of color.
Sikh Captain America by Andre Chung for The Undefeated.

Held in a Hilton Hotel at Arlington, Virginia, blerDCon was three floors of fun, excess and just about every measure of fan/geek was represented. There were classic arcade video games in the lobby with the newer console/PC games a floor above. Cosplayers of all types were walking around with more than a couple going through 2 or 3 different outfits/characters in a single day! Three highlights for me on this score was meeting the Sikh Captain America, Vishavjit Singh, who has made positive waves for inclusion over the last couple of years. Heck as I met Mr. Singh, I also met in the midst of this, H.D. Parrish, the main organizing man/force behind BlerdCon. He related that he did not think the con would be this successful so soon and used this as proof:  over the 3 days of the convention, BlerdCon would be holding 110+ panels! Damn! Following that, I met Ronald Seaman, whose Iron Merman cosplay I have seen on Twitter before, but to take in live is just a “WOW” moment. Outside of the known stars, he was definitely the one EVERYONE rushed to take pictures of/with.

As far as panels are concerned, I started off with CosPlay/Public Activism panel with cosplayers from the D.C./Virginia area relating their stories, tips and tales for talents and newbies alike. I followed that with attending the end of the Black Tribbles’ Star Trek panel. Tribble Nation is a force and it was definitely one of the most attended panels of the Saturday. Later on, I got the chance to catch the Rick and Morty panel with its composer Ryan Elder. Got to soak in a lot of knowledge & funny stories about setting up mood & music for animation. HSad time to fit in one more panel, and I lucked out by listening to one of my personal favorites, DJ/Composer K-Murdock, give a class on the history of video games and hip-hop and how both have intertwined, for better or for worse in popular culture. I did say I was geeking out right?

Vendors and artists including N Steven Harris of Watson and Holmes & Solarman, Roye Okupe of YouNeek Studios, makers of E.X.O. & #FCBD hit Malika Warrior Queen, and newcomer to the scene, Dedren Snead of Sorghum & Spear, were gracious with their time as I geeked on through their areas (as usual). I met a couple of new vendors and artists like Dan Perlstein of Snack King Comics and Nuri McAdams of Burning Spear Comix and his gals of Mighty Bike Nation.  Again, I fit in a lot here for just one day and to tell you the truth if not for hanging with AfroNerd friends/listeners Cassius and Bison, I would have been drained.

Good times with The Burning Spear crew.

All this and I had to duck out at 6pm-ish to do my podcast and catch my bus back to NYC. However, as I did the AfroNerd podcast, I was loving the various blerds, nerds & geeks of all colors, genders, shapes and sizes wearing their fandom proudly. It has been a week-plus since this and I am STILL basking in the glow. I cannot express how much I have loved being a blerd in this new year. BlackComicFest in January. WinC/BSAM in March, and now blerDCon in July. I’m just grateful that we have all of these for the next generation of geekdom to come!

Quick Hits

Now playing exclusively on Netflix.

– If you have not caught the anime adaptation of Castlevania by Warren Ellis and MadHouse Studios on Netflix yet . . . do so NOW! Four 30ish-minute episodes that are grindhouse greatness. Faithful to the classic game but gory horror enough for fans of anime like Trinity Blood and Demon City. Total recommendation folks!

Killjoys has returned to SYFY and not lost a step in my eyes. And now joining Dark Matter and Wynonna Earp, we have a science fiction night of kick booty females. In the same vein, Blood Drive on Wednesdays is filling the Z-Nation dark horror comedy hole in my life.

– I want to love Salvation. I really do but a) it on CBS, and b) I’ve seen what they did with Jericho, Under The Dome, Zoo & Extant. So . . . *sigh* my hopes aren’t too high . . .

That’s it for me this week. Folks, Thanks for reading and as always, stay safe!

Until Next Time . . .

Daryll Benjamin
Daryll Benjamin

Blerd. Irritant. Blogger. Podcaster at Daryll was a quiet, insecure person for years, then an incident blew Daryll’s mind to the point where he couldn’t keep it inside anymore. Now that the rage is released, EVERYONE will receive his words.

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