Atlanta (CNN) - Angie Dowling attended her first Dragon*Con with her father when she was 5 years old. Now, more than 20 years later, she’s the parent squeezing her children through the crowds to secure a prime viewing spot for the parade of science-fiction and fantasy characters.
“Getting to experience the parade with them is even more incredible because they’re looking at it through fresh eyes with that youthful excitement,” said the 29-year-old English teacher from Marietta, Georgia. “They absolutely love it. They give themselves over completely to the experience.”
From Chewbacca and the Hunger Games to quarians and steampunk dogs, there was something for nearly every fandom on Saturday at Atlanta’s annual Dragon*Con parade, one of the most kid-friendly events of the year’s biggest fan convention in the southeastern United States. About 14,000 spectators attended last year’s parade, and organizers expect that number to grow this year.
Regarded among many as a more fan-oriented alternative to San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con has grown since its inception in 1987, taking over more of downtown Atlanta each year as organizers add panels to accommodate growing interest in all things fan-related. While Dragon*Con’s panels and parties attract fans of television, film, video game and comic-inspired subcultures from all over the country, the parade is open to the public free of charge, drawing families from all around metro Atlanta who wouldn’t necessarily identify as nerds or pony up for weekend passes that run as high as $140. FULL POST
This year is going to be a huge one for nerds. Let's take a look at what 2012 has in store:
January 5-8: The 10th annual music and gaming festival, MAGFest, takes place in National Harbor, Maryland.
January 10-13: CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas is the first event this year to get an early look at upcoming video games, and much more in the world of technology. Will the upcoming "Diablo III" be there?
January 12: The first issue of the "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" comic book will hit store shelves.
January 16: "Alcatraz," J.J. Abrams' latest series, starring Jorge Garcia and Sam Neill, premieres.
January 19: The cult favorite animated series "Archer" returns.
January 26-29: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons gamers descend upon Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the D&D Experience.
January 27: So long, Nerd Herd. The final episode of "Chuck" airs.
Ralph Bakshi shocked audiences in 1972 with the animated feature film "Fritz the Cat." The movie, with its adult themes, received an X rating at the time.
"What’s extraordinary is what they’re saying on 'The Simpsons,' on television, is almost more than I did on 'Fritz the Cat,' which I got yelled at and beat up about," Bakshi told CNN earlier this month. "And 'South Park!' What is going on here? I got shot for less than this."
Not only did "Fritz" and many of his subsequent films move animation well beyond kids' fare, but Bakshi's irreverent 1987 take on "Mighty Mouse" for CBS Saturday morning TV, influenced what came just a few years later on television, if only by the fact that it employed the creators of "Ren & Stimpy" and "Batman: The Animated Series".
Bakshi has also had his feet planted firmly in nerd culture for decades. He recently made an appearance at the popular Atlanta, Georgia sci-fi/fantasy convention Dragon*Con to screen his 1977 cult classic film "Wizards," and to take part in a panel discussion of his pre-Peter Jackson version of "Lord of the Rings." FULL POST