Can’t afford to bring the kids to Disney? Try bringing them to your local comic convention. Sure, you’re going to run into some real weirdos, and you’ll have to shield their eyes when you walk by some of the raunchier booths, but you’ll also meet some real weirdos in incredible costumes. And some of these costumes will be Disney costumes, is what I’m getting at.
(I say weirdos affectionately. I am also one.)
This convention was the East Coast Comic Con, which was advertising the visiting of Dawn Wells (Mary-Ann from Gilligan’s Island), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore from Ghostbusters), and all the remaining cast of Lost in Space (the people who were under thirty when it filmed).
Here’s a blurry photo I snapped real quick of everyone but Ernie Hudson. They’re in there, I swear. I think you can even see Dawn Wells there, to the left of the guy in the red shirt. I just didn’t want to pay for a photo or an autograph.
This comic convention was specifically comic-related with other geeky undertones (as opposed to a fantasy or sci-fi convention, which is more broad), so most of the booths were just rows and rows of new and old comic books. I, personally, have only ever read ElfQuest and a few random issues of The New Teen Titans, so I was mostly there for the other things.
Like the cosplayers.
Look at that Two-Face. Look at it.
Cosplayers do some incredible things with their time and money. It also helps, of course, when you look a great deal like the character already, which is why I can get away with cosplaying Ms. Frizzle with minimal effort.
On that note, I’m not completely convinced this guy wasn’t actually Tony Stark. All he had to do was show up with his suit and his neatly groomed beard and you could swear he was the real deal. He’s standing in front of the convention doors here because every time he tried to move forward, someone would stop him for a picture.
I have a great friend who’s a phenomenal cosplayer (hi Avery!), so you’d think I’d be used to it, but really these people continue to amaze me.
While I was taking a break in the lobby, I saw a woman and her little daughter approach this Merida. “Can she take a picture with you?” the woman asked. “You’re the only one she’s not scared of.”
This guy had the most ramshackle cardboard costume ever, but boy did he ever have the Wolverine swagger down.
I didn’t actually know who this was at first (because, again, not really a comic person) until someone in the background yelled “Mr. Freeze!”, but I had to take a picture regardless. That’s dedication. He had to get help to take the bubble off when he wanted to eat.
There’s cosplayers, and then there’s professional cosplayers like the fellow above. He spoke to me in that soft Obi-Wan voice the entire time after he let me take a picture, and then fished out a business card for me after- hence, he’s the only cosplayer I can name.
I also ran across the 501st Legion, the “bad guys doing good.” They’re a (apparently pretty large) volunteer charity group that I’d never heard of before, and it looks like they do some great things in great outfits.
They had a booth and they brought a trash compactor with them. You could take pictures in it.
I participated in the “droid hunt” they had going on, wherein they gave you a badge:
…And had you wear it around the convention. If the patrolling Imperials spotted you, you were “forced” to hand it over in exchange for a raffle ticket.
It took me about half an hour to be spotted by the Imperials, during which time I found a 3D printer merrily chugging along. It was printing another copy of the little pink Yoda you see up top. The future is here, and soon I’ll be able to get my own Earl Grey out of a replicator.
In the end, I was caught by this lot. I’m jealous of their hats.
I didn’t win the raffle, but that’s all right because there was a mother of approximately fifteen squirmy small things there who won twice, and I feel like she needed it more than I did.
The 501st Legion lined up for a picture too, which was nice. They’re good people. I feel like what really makes them work is that they’ve got just the one Darth Vader, but a whole lot of underlings running around. Really adds to the authenticity.
James couldn’t go with me, which was a pity because the Mandalorian bounty hunters allowed you to put a bounty on anyone’s head for a mere five dollars, at which point they were drag the target in and put them in an actual cage for “a minimum of five minutes, but no more than twenty.” Classy.
All in all, if you have a comic convention happening near you, I highly recommend you attend. Just don’t do it like I did, go and get pictures with celebrities and listen to panels and whatnot. There’s more to be found than cosplayers.
Just as I was leaving they were organizing the D.C. hero picture. All these guys would soon be on the steps. It was good I left when I did.