Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Archon Con Report

Written By: Tracy - Oct• 10•16

The last weekend of September/first weekend of October I went to Archon in St. Louis.  This was the first time I attended Archon in about 15 years.  It usually falls on my birthday weekend, so I have to make the choice of either going to Archon, or letting my family spoil me.  The struggle is real, ya’ll. 

One audience member drew quick sketches of each of us and had us sign it. I’m the necklace and bracelet in the corner.

So the Friday of the convention, I loaded the car and drove the 6 hours to Collinsville (actually across the river from St. Louis, but meh, details.) and I made it in time to moderate my first panel: world building. Where I found out that the convention center’s wifi wasn’t great, so I couldn’t access my notes in Evernote. Wah wah. 

But everyone on the panel (Lettie Prell, Angie Fox, Jimmy D. Gillentine and Kristin Bailey) all had good things to say. We had a good audience with lots of questions so all I really had to do was make sure that everyone got a turn to speak, and that we stayed on topic. 

I had an author reading at 4:00, with actual audience (Including Tony Stark)!  I had advertised that I would read the coffee/zombie/cargo cult story, but couldn’t access it due to the wifi issues.  Instead I read two of my newer short stories, Dear Dr. Wintergreen (don’t get kidnapped by pirates), and When Wizards Come Knocking (pretend you’re not home). And since we were in St. Louis, I told them the story of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics and marathon from I am Not Making This Up. Thanks to my roomie, Julia Mandala for loaning me her iPhone so I could access the article for reference. 

At 7:00 I sat on The Ethics Of Super Powers, where the moderator, my roomie Tex Thompson dubbed my book mini-cards as choking hazards. Other panelists included R.J. Carter and Brock J. Hanke. 

Then I ran for the other side of the convention center so that I wouldn’t be late to moderate the Original Marvel TV panel – and broke up the previous panel that hadn’t yet wrapped up by charging up the asile announcing that I’m sorry that I’m late.  (Huge apologies to the 501’st legion for that).

Highlights of the panel included seeing Brad Denton, as well as seeing Don Price’s Shield agent Patton Oswald and hearing Jack Snyder talk about his experiences writing for one of the shark week b movies. 

And then I ran out of that panel to zip over to the Yard Dog Press 20th anniversary Roadshow, where I thoroughly made a spectacle of myself, as usual. 

I saw her and started to sing “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.”

Archon is a huge costuming convention. So there were tons of hall costumes, in addition to the Saturday masquerade competition. I was not wearing a costume, but when Julia and I meandered through the lobby of the host hotel, we bumped into a 10 foot cardboard Optimus Prime grooving to dance music from the concert, a human-sized ewok (Wicket), Furiosa and the Five Wives, among others.  

At one point Lettie Prell and I bumped into the Mad Hatter, who wanted to know where our costumes were.  When we told him that we didn’t have any, he gave us each a playing card t-shirt.  I was the four of clubs. 

Despite staying up late and not having a panel until noon Saturday, my Mom habits kicked in and I was awake by 7:30. After breakfast, I was even able to move around without feeling like a zombie. 

I arrived at my noon panel just as Van Allen Plexio from the previous panel was leaving.  His book Lucian looks interesting, so it’s probably going onto my Amazon wish list. 

My noon panel was “Our Favorite Series,” which I took to mean TV, but some of the other panelists took to mean books.  One even said that they never watch tv. There was a huge age range in the audience as well. So since I was moderating, I decided to make it a round the room discussion and take reccomendations from the audience as well. (The other panelists were David Phelps, Cheryl Medley and Deborah Millitello.)

Things I recommended included Fraction’s run on Hawkeye, The Discworld series, and Sherry Priest’s Clockwork Century books.  Others reccomended a Manga called The Leftover Princess, the blog Word Wenches, and a book called Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. 

At 2:00 I sat in on the All Things Sherlock Holmes panel with Van Allen Plexico again, Marella Sands and Deborah Millitello again.  There the topic ranged from favorite portrayal of Sherlock (my current favorite is Sir. Ian McKellan) to which adaptation did the better Sherlock Scan.

Then I had to rush back across the convention center to moderate a panel on the new Star Wars movies coming out with Jimmy D. Gillentine and Paul Hahn. The audience for this one was packed, and I spent nearly as much time admiring the costumes in the audience as I did moderating.  There was a very convincing Captain Jack Sparrow, a dwarf standing on boxes, and a guy with a great red coat. 

We talked about what we liked about The Force Awakens, that Kylo Ren’s actual name is Darth Emo, how Mark Hamill is our favorite internet troll, how Grand Admiral Thrawn was brought into Rebels, and rumors about Rogue One and Episode VIII. 

After that, Julia and I got dinner and got back in time for the Masquerade. It started strong with a well done Spartain Batman, and a few hall costumes I’d seen that day like Jack Sparrow (Captain Jack Sparrow!). There was a well done Troll bridge and a creepy Krampus as well as a couple of cute high concept costume and skits like Pokémon Kung Fu and captain Barbieosa (pink pirate Barbie).

Hall costumes can be just as much fun as the masquerade. This is master chef. Hopefully not Swedish.

My favorite by far was “Bigfoot goes to Mardi Gras,” which was a hulking Sasquatch covered head to toe in Mardi Gras beads. 

If you want to see them all, you can see photos on the Archon Masquerade Facebook page. Sorry to say we didn’t stick around to find out who won, and I haven’t seen it announced.  Perhaps they’ll put that information up on the Facebook page soon. 


Sunday I had one panel, on Horses and magical horse-like beings in fiction. Marella Sanda moderated, and Walt Boyes and Rachel Neumeier sat in on the discussion. This one was one of my favorites, since I grew up around horses.  My favorite point to not was that the Ancient Scythian horse archers were supposed to be the inspiration for the centaur. 

After the panel wrapped, I headed home so that I could tuck the kids in. 


Things I missed (but wished I’d seen):

How to Tell a Good Indie Publisher From a Bad 

Podcasting 101


The verdict: A++, would Archon again.  Zo and the programming staff put together a great show, and the rest of the convention was lots of fun. 


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