Posts Tagged ‘star wars fan groups’



“Which Side Are You On?” — This Winter’s Pensacola and Lexington Cons

John "Dak" Morton | April 8, 2014

John Dak Morton with the 501st

One of the last conversations I have at the March 2014 Lexington Comic & Toy Convention is with a miner from Eastern Kentucky. He comes to my table with his teenage daughter, a pretty cosplayer all decked out in pink, heels a tad too high for her rail-thin legs. A rugged, handsome man, he says proudly he’s a fracker who has coal-mined all his life — except during the years when he had an unhappy experience out West working in oil and gas. “It was crazy out there,” he says. He’s glad to be back in Kentucky, in coal.

“Which Side Are You On?” is a protest song from the late 1930s famously covered by Pete Seeger. The legendary folksinger/activist left us this winter at the age of 94. As one who began his entertainment career in the early Sixties as a Greenwich Village-inspired folkie, I regard Seeger, along with Woody Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, as one of my pre-Bob Dylan Yodas. The song is about a 1931 miners’ strike in Harlan, Kentucky. It was in fact written by a coal miner’s daughter, Florence Reece, who was also the wife of one of the strike organizers. The Eastern Kentucky Coalfield also spawned another folkie, Jean Ritchie — and well-known country music artists like coal miner-daughter Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, The Judds, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoaka, and Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley’s dad.

So, which side are you on? Well, Dak’s a Rebel. Those of you familiar with his backstory know he was raised in captivity in the Kalist VI labor colony. As a teenager, he worked in a mine as a laser drill operator blasting away one of the ores that is a constituent of transparisteel.

Recently I have been asking fans at conventions that very question. In February, Peter Mayhew, Daniel Logan, and I were in Pensacola, Florida, at Pensacon. The first day, we three were on a Star Wars panel before a packed house of fans, and I put it to them. The show of hands indicated: 30 percent Imperials, 30 percent Rebels and 30 percent Underground, consistent with what I have found in my previous surveys.

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Rise of the Mandalorian Mercs, Part 3: SDCC and Mando Weddings

Tom Hutchens | March 24, 2014

Mandalorian Mercs

By the end of 2007, Mandalorian Mercs had started to really take off as a group. Our scattered membership had taken part in many events, and we had gotten our first European Clan. By the time 2008 rolled around, we had five very active clans and just over 50 official members. We had our first real test in damage-control in late 2007 with the death of our website and forum, but we came through that, and by 2008 had a brand new platform running strong for the group. In fact, it’s the same website and forum we continue to use today.

One of my most memorable moments of 2008 was participating in the “Mandalorian Wedding” at San Diego Comic-Con. Two of our members (who had been married in May) had wanted to do a Mandalorian-themed Star Wars wedding. After speaking with them, we all decided that San Diego Comic-Con would be the perfect place to have the “Mando” wedding. It was Mandalorian Mercs’ first year as a fan-group at SDCC, and making sure we presented ourselves and the organization well to the fans was a top priority. I booked a ticket, packed up my newly finished Mark 2 armor, and flew from North Carolina to California to help with our presentation, and the wedding.

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History of the 501st Legion: DragonCon, Part 2

Albin Johnson | January 9, 2014

The 501st Legion at DragonCon

The first-ever meeting of the 501st was not the epic moment one would think from such a large and tightly-knit organization it is today. Like a lot of success stories, the first tenuous steps were lurching, staggering, anxious ones. DragonCon seemed the perfect place to bring together the first pioneers of organized Star Wars costuming. But lumped in with the wildly diverse energy of the con was… well, wildly diverse energy!

The Florida group that showed up was large and in charge. It was happy to troop with the rest of us, but it was more for the sake of a themed costume group than anything else. And for anyone who’s been to DragonCon enough times, costume themes are short-lived bursts of excitement. They wandered the halls, taking in the sights and having fun with it. And no one could blame them. After years of being at Dragoncon, I now know it’s one big party. But at the time I was new to all of that. I was serious about making a real go of a club. I was on a mission. But the excitement I heard on the internet was a far cry from what folks wanted to do when together, it seemed. Rather than lead the pack, I ended up following the group carrying my little sign and wondering if I’d been fooling myself.

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Heeding the Call: Rise of the Mandalorian Mercs, Part 2 – Uniting the Clans

| December 4, 2013
Mandalorian Mercs from across the US/Canada at DragonCon 2007

Mandalorian Mercs from across the US/Canada at DragonCon 2007.

Welcome to the second installment of “Heeding the Call,” in which I recount the history of the Mandalorian Mercs fan group. (And a big thanks to everyone who commented and wrote in about part one.) Let’s resume our flashback to 2007, shall we?

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Heeding the Call: Rise of the Mandalorian Mercs

Tom Hutchens | October 2, 2013

The Mandalorian Mercs

Very few Mandalorian fans ever start out without being an aficionado of the first Mandalorian: Boba Fett. That’s where this story begins, with the “WOOSH” of a 7-year-old boy who’s lifting his Boba Fett figure out of a haphazardly made Sarlacc pit in 1985. Long before novels would bring him back in the Expanded Universe, Boba was very much alive for me.

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