While the thought of being in a crowded room in your underwear is some people’s nightmare, for a few hundred Dragon Con partygoers, it’s an annual tradition.
The annual Dragon Con Superhero Underwear Party was Thursday night at the Marriott, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a party where the revelers deck out in their skimpiest superhero duds to kick off the con.
Tony Ray, one of the organizers of the event, says it started organically a few years ago. Basically, a group of people wanted to hang out in their underwear, plus plenty of people had superhero-themed underclothes in their suitcases. Now it’s a full-on tradition for more than 400 con-goers. Ray says after the first one, people started asking him on Facebook if there’d be another the following year, and he didn’t want to let them down. As it’s grown, the organizers have planned themes, group costumes, and more to keep things interesting.
Though it may be intimidating to some, Ray says it’s all done in a comfortable, body-positive spirit. “Everyone feels good,” he says. He likens the experience to summer camp, where you see your friends from all over the world for one intense weekend, and everyone is really happy to be there.
Ray is a long-time cosplayer, with an extensive history of playing any characters he wants, regardless of perceptions on body type, gender, etc. You may have seen him last year: a 6-foot-tall, buff, African American man in a pink Power Ranger suit. He says he realizes other people may have different ideas for cosplay, but his philosophy is simple: “I’m going to have fun,” he said.
And, this philosophy, he says, is infectious to those he meets. “I’m like the Tim Gunn of the pre-party,” he said. When his fellow partygoers have doubts, he’s reassuring. “You can do this,” he says. “We can do this.”
Costumes at the party run the gamut from regular superhero-themed briefs and bras to the extreme with LEDs, custom-molded body-con sculpture, and everything in between. Of course, lounging in your lingerie was not required, but most people attending had their goods on display. “The party is about an eight on a one-to-ten scale of sexiness,” Ray said.
One partygoer, Brittonius Lyleinus, says he agrees with the accepting spirit and friendly atmosphere. He met Ray at the close of the con two years ago and had a year to prepare for his first Superhero Underwear party last year. Thanks to Ray, he had the confidence to pull it off. Last year, Lyleinus attended as an underwear-clad Green Lantern, and this year, as Captain America.
For cosplay traditionalists, this might not be the event for you, but for the party fans, it’s a chance to show off, relax, and get to know each other in a casual, comfortable, and laid-back atmosphere. And, let’s face it, the outfits look like a great way to combat the Atlanta heat—plus they’ve got to be a breeze to pack.