This past weekend, fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, gaming, and a lot more converged at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for XCon World VI, the latest gathering of fans for all things geek.  The convention was a lot of fun -- albeit with the same problem that it faced last year.
Held mostly in one big hall, XCon World VI managed to squeeze just about everything together -- and that was reflected in the numerous costumes worn by the attendees.  Some characters were very popular -- I saw numerous Wonder Women, Harley Quinns, and the Doctor(s) from Doctor Who -- but there were also zombies and creatures a-plenty, video game characters like Lara Croft and the folks from Minecraft, Jedi and Starfleet Officers, medieval ladies and steampunk men, and even the first costumes from Breaking Bad that I've seen at a convention!  There was also a TARDIS (stationary) and a Dalek (which rolled around the convention.)

XCon World VI also provided plenty of activities for folks.  Little kids could get their faces painted, play in a bouncy castle, or receive balloon animals.  Old-school gamers could play the quarter-fueled arcade games, while a bus held XBox and PS3 games for those who subscribe to the new school.  (I saw a lot of Injustice: Gods Among Us played.)  A local Gaming Guild ran demos, including near-continuous sessions of the Pathfinder rpg.  Outside the building was a replica of the vehicle from Ghostbusters, while inside folks could get photographed with the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, shown below.

Vendors were spread throughout the convention, selling everything from toys to classic movie posters to t-shirts and varied medieval weaponry and costumes.  There were also numerous celebrities, from voice actors-animators Bob Camp and C. Martin Croker to scream queen Cindy Crotts to Deep Roy.  Several folks from The Walking Dead were there; I got to meet Travis Love!

The main stage of the convention had a variety of events, from costume contests and battle demonstrations to the Geek Dating Game and pro wrestling (shown below), which is even sillier live than on television.  Outside the building, a panel "room" was set up with folding chairs and fabric walls for discussions, lectures, and Q&As with the XCon World guests and professionals.

Much as I enjoy XCon World, there were a few problems.  The biggest one was with the panels: With only one location, there could only be one panel at a time, which led to less variety and a lot of time spent wandering around the convention area.  (The lack of real walls also made noise pollution a problem, especially from the traffic.)  A few events got moved or cancelled (alas, no Twister with the XCon Girls), and the sound from the main stage was sometimes hard to hear over the gathered crowd.  And I was slated for a lecture, but the organizers never quite found a place for me to deliver it.

I've been to XCon World twice now, and the convention seems to be growing each year.  My fervent hope is that they can get more space and rooms, so they can provide more panels to give more variety to attendees.  That said, the convention was a blast -- and I'll be there for XCon World VII!

Written and photographed by James Lynch

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