I made one final check of the car before I headed out to pick up Ken. Scissors, Duck Tape, Half a tube of Velvet Crush color paint, extra velcro and elastic, Giant Lego Joker, a DC converter for the cigarette lighter in the car and a hot glue gun. Perhaps it’s just because it’s the height of summer, but something ALWAYS breaks when I head to Youngstown for AllAmeriCon.
For years I’ve been saying I wanted to keep an eye on this show to see what it grows into. I think this year it’s happened. They leveled up and it’s become the next incarnation it was desperately trying to achieve. Moving into the much larger Covelli Center in downtown Youngstown was a necessary move and it definitely had me wondering what the show would look like this year.
The truth is, things have not really changed that drastically, indeed, the layout is VERY familiar, almost as if someone had downloaded the con into photoshop, and then stretched out the size until it was bigger. It looks very much the same, but there’s more of everything and more room in those isles where we struggled shoulder-to-shoulder last year. I dig this because I really do feel like I’m still attending the same show I’ve come to enjoy over the last four years, rather than it feeling like a whole new con (which I genuinely feared) The strategy seems to be the same as well, bring in one or two amazing comic guests to focus on while maintaining a great selection of vendors and artists. There was a renewed focus on programming this year, with a couple of panels complementing the massive costume contest.
Did I mention the ginormous costume contest? All Americon has always brought out the best in cosplayers and if you compete here, you definitely want to bring your A game, but this year the scope expanded disproportionately to the con size. According to Miss Procrastination Cosplay, it went from 30 or so last year to a whopping 80 contestants this year. Seriously, they give Akron Comicon a run for thier money this year! The highlight was the amazing Cinderella who transformed from rags into the ballgown in a twirl. A well deserved best in show. There was a marvelous Bane with curious foam muscles under a zentai suit and purposed Hulk hands ending at a venom meter on his writs. Star was characters arrived, five nights at freddys, a beautiful Pokemon hunter and a surprising amount of furries, as well as a couple of Deadpools. I ran into Wolverine from last year (a bit more bloody this time around….influence of the Logan film I imagine) and his son who was Star-Lord (MAN I wish I had finished Yondu in time for this!) instead of Spidey this time around. One guy did a great Doc Ock with pool noodles and a backpack (FINALLY! Someone else doing Ock! I love it!). There was a stunning ice knight, as well as a beautiful Iron Man suit that was just about perfect in every way (except for the fact that he only arrived twenty minuets before the costume contest – so unless you attended that you probably didn’t see him)
I finally managed to get my Lego Joker done just in time for the show.Almost predictably, the elastic on the right leg snapped as I was getting it on. I duck tapped it into place as a temporary solution – we arrived later than expected and I didn’t want to wait for the hot glue gun to warm up before going in. I planned to take a break mid-day and fix it then. I’d tested the suit out in the tight corridors of my home, but I didn’t count on the wind…a section of velcro ripped, but the remaining ones kept my head on. Still a slightly gimpy leg and wobbly head didn’t deter me. By the way, speaking of Jokers…MAN there were a lot of Jokers here. I spotted at least five others, two of them women, all of them different. It’s weird, I’m very used to seeing tons of Harley Quinns, but not so very many Jokers. I was definitely in good company. Still, I was happy that mine was different from the other ones. Children would spot me from across the room and their eyes would light up. I don’t think I’ve ever had a costume that excited as many kids at this one.
Catching a Lego Batman was the best part of the day.
I made my way around the floor and while I missed Knightmage’s Cosplay 101 panel, I did slip into an elevator and snuck through the back way in the offices and managed to catch the Star Wars panel. There was a large trash can in the back that I was able to rest my arms on as I stood lurking in the back, chuckling at the stories of midnight showings and first times seeing the films. Occasionally someone would turn around and notice the giant Lego Joker hanging in the back and do a double take.
Panels. I was pleased to see a little more than last year, but I’d still like to see a couple more added in, especially as this show is trying to grow as a two day con. Two panels and a costume contest is still a little light on programming considering the size it’s swelled to
Nevertheless, I got my panel fix when I headed over to Bob Layton’s table. Layton is a well known Iron Man alumni, as well as being one of the head guys over at the classic Valiant. Bob will talk for hours if you let him, and I personally was inclined to let him!
“We may not have had the best art, but we had storytelling”.
I mentioned how much I loved the old Gold Key characters they used.
“That was something we did for the retailers,” he replied.”We needed something recognizable for them to latch on to, and Jim ad a relationship with those guys.”
It’s sad to hear him talk about the fall of Valiant, and the transfer to Acclaim after Triumph investors pulled out. He describes Acclaim as “The biggest group of scumbags out there. And I was a VP, so I was in those meetings with all these scummy people.” He described leaving about half of his severance on the table – 1.2 million, because six months was just too long to keep putting up with it. “I saw where the industry was going and I got out.” But still he has hope, and believes the future of the comic industry is in the European model.
“I walked into a comic shop in France and it was beautiful. All wood bookshelves, these hardback volumes – not like the single issues we do. They last forever, and you don’t have to put them in a plastic bag!”
One table down, Rags Morales is the exact opposite of Layton. While Layton exudes energy, Rags oozes a laid back attitude – with a relaxed and lazy charm that makes you instantly like him. I could only find one book from my shelves for him to sign (which turned out to be serendipitous as he was charging five dollars a autograph). He looked over the Nightwing cover and grinned.
“This cover made my dizzy,” he informed me, pointing to the background rather than the figures grappling in the image. “It’s supposed to be a fight in mid-air, but if you look closely….it’s upside-down.”
It was a good day. My shoulders hurt from being in Lego Joker for four hours, but I can’t complain. It was possibly the best year yet for All-AmeriCon. Can’t wait to see what they do next year!
I found a bald spot at the worst time, too far from home to fix properly. I parked and grabbed my Thing pants from the back seat, ripping a rock from the cuff. The legs usually bunch up at the bottom and I hoped it wouldn’t be noticeable as I applied latex and affixed the rock to the bald cap. Ben Grimm tightened his belt and got ready to head into Akron Canton Comic Con.
As far as Jeff Harper shows go, this one in interesting. It’s a smaller show, but I dig that they have a snack bar at the venue – it provides a little more community and something to do. I’m grateful to Heroic Adventures comic shop for stepping up and sponsoring a costume contest (I’m going to miss these guy’s shop BTW, they’re going strictly online and con vending) as well as some cool trailers and movies running on the TV screens around the hall. All of this makes it feel like just a bit more than the swap meet atmosphere that a lot of Harper shows have.
Air conditioning doesn’t hurt either.
My buddy Vito mentioned that it looked like a nicer show this year than last – I’m not sure. Harper shows never really change that much, but I’ll admit I had a better time myself this year because I knew way more people. Sure, I see Eric and Sean all the time at cons when they set up their booths, but It was really cool running into Alli and hanging out with Jason and Mike. I’m on their side of town and it’s good to have friends in mideast Ohio.
I dove into the quarter bins. I was glad to actually see some good deals here – 5-for-a-dollar, fifty cent bins, quarter bins, three-for-a-dollar….and not just long boxes stuffed with cast off Image books from the 90’s either. I found Blackhawks, House of Mystery (the Elviria one!), as well as fairly modern Spider-man and Superman. Good stuff. I ended up bringing home about seventy books as well as a couple for the kids (maddie LOVES Art Baltazar’s Tiny Titans).
The costumes weren’t everywhere the way they are at some shows, but I really enjoyed what I did see.
I’ve run into this giggling group of teenagers a couple times now. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Link won first place in the costume contest and absolutely deserved it. She totally brought the character to life.
This kid was doing an original character he called the executioner – a vigilante who collects prizes from his vanquished foes. He ran around the con picking fights with all the cosplayers!
That’s not leather. That’s actually foam! Seriously, the paint job on here was so good I couldn’t even tell.
This one is another original character – it’s off a minecraft skin though it has an anime look to me. What was really cool was seeing her place in the costume contest! This original character got third!
I’m going to have to do some edits on this – Batman, Wolverine and the Thing? Yes please!
Speaking of Wolverine, I was so loving all the X-Men.
Storm especially was just stunning.
It’s a short show and I was only there for about three hours, so I’m short on pictures, but don’t worry, we’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of Monster Bash….and there’s TONS of photos to come!
I mentioned yesterday that my Ock suit has grown so cumbersome that I required a handler. You may have seen Rhonny Reaper around the net at Dollar Bin Horror or haunting the depths of Cinema Wasteland, but Sunday was her very first time out to Lake Effect Comic Con – and I thought it would be interesting to get a fresh perspective one it. Here’s her review.
This year was my first year attending Lake Effect Comic Con and it was a blast. Matthew told me that in past years it had been held at a movie theater, but now the Holiday Inn in Mentor is its home. I’m kind of sad I missed it before because I think the theater sounds like a lovely spot for a con, but this was nice as well. It seemed smaller than I imagined. The show was not crowded, but we did get there late so I’m assuming the early birds had already dispersed.
I myself had a fantastic time! I went with Matthew acting as his “hands” so he could be Doc Ock. EVERYONE wanted pictures with Matt when we first got there, so it took us a minute to get into the show room. I’ve always loved horror but just recently started working on a horror comic selection, so this was the first time I knew what I was looking for…and I found it in abundance! So many wonderful golden age horror comics for $1 and $2 each! I also found a copy of My Friend Dahmer at the Comics Are Go table, thanks to Matt’s keen eyes. Eric over there gave me the sweetest deal on the book!
Towards the end, they held a costume contest for all the cosplayers, and everyone looked fantastic!!! From the little Wonder Woman to the Sailor Moon, everyone came out in style! I myself came as Lydia Deetz (from Beetlejuice), which I thought was more on the simple side of cosplay…which is why I was shocked the judges picked me for female adult! I’m still in shock…but happy as ever about the killer Deadpool mask I received as the prize (I’m more into horror comics than classic super heroes…but I mean who doesn’t LOVE some Deadpool?)! They also gave a special prize to the Yip Yip alien costume from Sesame Street (which really gave Matt a run for his money) because it was GLORIUOS! You just had to! All in all, this con was a blast and gave me my best haul ever! Can’t wait till the next one!!!
I dashed forward , camera at the ready when I saw the shaggy red “yep, yep” Muppet walking down the aisle. My Doc Ock suit hindered me a bit, but I met him just as we arrived at the corner of the room.
“I’d love to get a photo with you,” I exclaimed.
Through the black mesh of the mouth I saw him smile.
“You did. Remember back a few years ago? I was Doctor Hugo Strange!”
I think I may have just come full circle.
While I’ve been dressing up since long before I ever heard the word “cosplay” (I was an actual clown before I hit Jr. High. Star Trek conventions at 12. Haunted houses in high school. Theater through it all), you could probably trace the beginnings of my modern cosplay career to Lake Effect Comic Con around 2012. It was the first time I ever pulled out my Doc Ock costume (one of the first of my more complicated suits) – very different at the time too! It was the first time I entered a costume contest. It was very much my entry into the scene. It was cool to return to the show where it all started (albeit in a different location) and discover that the suit was still memorable, and to show how much it has grown.
It’s grown so much that I now require a handler to help me with doors and carrying things and stuff! I picked up my friend Rhonda, who agreed to be my hands for the day. She appeared dressed as Lydia from Beetlejuice (Because if I can’t bring my little Lydia, I might as well take a full grown one with me!) and we headed off to Mentor.
I was running late so I missed the cosplay panel I wanted to hit, but we still managed to get in before one. There was some concern about me making it through the dealers room, but we needn’t have worried. The aisles were more than big enough for me and the place wasn’t crowded. I’m curious if the show grew from last year. We arrived about halfway through so that may have accounted for the lighter attendance.
I have to admit, now in the second year at the hotel, the layout has really grown on me. It feels like Russian nesting dolls, with one dealers room leading to another, adding to that delightful feeling of exploration that I love at some of the more obscure bazaars in Cleveland. Lake effect is an excellent representation of the dealers and shops around the Cleveland area with every comic and toy imaginable littering the rows and corners. Around a corner I found more tables set up in a narrow hallway. I don’t know if this corner was set up last year or not…the theater Lake Effect used to set up at was selling movie posters next to a table set up for the R2 builders and Heroes United, both welcome additions to the show. The deals are still waning, but I was pleased to spot a single fifty cent bin to plunder, and managed to walk away with a stack of Civil War era Spidey as well as a nice chunk of Groot and Rocket Racoon solo series, but the real find of the day was Marvel’s Zombie Christmas Carol in the $5.00 Hardcover bin. I’ve never seen this before, but I couldn’t leave without it – especially at that price.
I saw Lake Effect dipping it’s toe into the celeb waters, bring in a zombie from the Walking Dead (I don’t know if I forgot, or just didn’t know- either way, I didn’t have my poster) as well as a starlet who had done a couple movies and been a playmate. It’s a direction I hope they veer away from. It didn’t really add much to the show other than the novelty of a few unfamiliar faces…and I get it. After eight years, you have to try and shake things up a bit.
The costume contest seemed a little smaller this year as well, but those that did arrive were still excellent. I was enchanted by the Terminator girl (all the robot parts, painted on – she looked like she stepped right off an 80’s VHS cover) and the little Starlord. More and more I see video game characters, and I feel so bad that I don’t recognize them! But there’s another trend I see popping up – it’s an interesting 2-d style, where your costume and features appear sketched in. It’s a really cool look and the more I see it, the more I’m enchanted by it. I dig the open area in the lobby where they hold this contest – it feels more intimate, more personal than the theater always did. I feel like I can better hobnob and chat with the other contestants…and that’s really the point of it all for me. I had to move around a bit to be able to see all of the people parading by and nothing made me happier than when the Yep Yep Muppet received a special prize.
I still really like Lake Effect. My only hope is that it doesn’t stagnate in this location – it grew every year at the theater untill the seams of the walls were bursting trying to contain the throngs of people. That seems to have leveled off since the move and that worries me. I dig this con and really hope it’ll be around for years to come.
As the blue skull face alien stepped up to the urinal, a blood soaked priest burst out of one of the stalls. The crimson stains on his white vestments matched the red pus oozing out of the recesses in the zombie-like aliens face.
“Is that Skelly over there?” The priest yelled out as he was joined by another man slowly been eaten by the zombie on his shoulder.
What’s funny is the part I find most disturbing about the scene, is that there are guys actually talking to each other in the bathroom – it’s kind of a violation of bro code, whereas everything else I’ve described here is perfectly normal for Cinema Wasteland. Strap in. You know it’s going to be a long post when I can’t get it out on Monday….
Sometimes Fridays are a slow night, where you ease yourself in with the short film block and panels, other times it’s just as busy as Saturday. This time around I came in, greeted friends and grabbed my autographs because it looked like it was going to be a busy day. They had already been busy, braving the snow that Cleveland had dumped on us overnight. As I sat at work Friday morning I watched as Wastelanders built a snowman in the hotel yard. My friend Bruce Wayne was in attendance this year and I had his room number, so as soon as I arrived, I started to post Superman pictures on the door to his weekend batcave. Then it was time to pop over to some of the guests – this time round we were doing a Night of the Living Dead Reunion, and Wasteland had brought in a number of the stars. It just so happens that my daughter is making her own zombie video at this very moment and I spent some time securing cameos for her movie. Stuff like this is one of the joys of small conventions; you have time to spend with the guests and get a greater connection.
I discovered I had some time to kill between panels and movies so I made my way over to the Mummy and the Monkeys show. They were screening King of the Zombies, a film I’m very fond of – Mantan Moreland was a genius and because this is in the public domain it’s a horror host staple. As the mummy, Janet Decay did her segment I gasped with delight. She covered one of our local zombie walks, and I found myself appearing in the video – a zombie clad in iron man out armor carrying around a skeletal Spiderman. This is actually the Second time I’ve appeared on the Mummy and the Monkey, and that’s not even counting my appearance on Janet’s previous show.
I slipped out of there in time to catch the first panel – Rick Cazoine is an animator whose work you seen even if you don’t realize it. He did the end credits for Night of the Living Dead, as well as the animation for Creepshow, and even some work on Evil Dead two. With that kind of a filmography under his belt, you can imagine this was a fascinating talk. Rick came prepared, complete with a slideshow covering his career – it was a really fun way of transcending the normal movie panel chitchat, and made it all the more engrossing.
After pasting more Superman on Bruce’s door, I snuck into to Gunga Jim’s screening. I really like Jim and his approach to her hosting, the commentary that he lays over tracks is always hilarious – unexpectedly so sometimes. He passed out graduation caps and introuced his presentation for the evening. Cinema Wasteland is basically a show that celebrates bad movies, but the Bigfoot movie that Gunga was screening this weekend was so terrible I couldn’t even manage to get past the half an hour mark. I struggled from the room in search of my team for that nights trivia challenge.
The Red Robsters were all huddled around a table in the bar as Nicole tried in vain to set up a Skype session with Angelique and her sainted fiancé – the two of them had to unexpectedly cancel their trip wasteland this year and we were all missing them back in Georgia. We got the video working, but the audio never came through which was just as well – the noise level in the bar was so high that she probably wouldn’t of been able to hear us anyhow. We communicated through Skype by holding up handwritten notes to each other, jokes and sketches and general wasteland like conversation. It was by far my favorite part of the night.
The trivia contest itself was a bust, taking too long, with the organization too confusing not to mention the questions being really stinking hard! I figured the questions would be similar to the ones we used to get during Ghastlee night at the movies, when we played 42nd Street Pete’s 42 questions. No such luck, these questions were truly obscure and crazy difficult stuff. I threw my graduation cap down in disgust
“It’s like this doesn’t work at all! Look this cap comes right off!” I exclamed as Nicole grabbed a knife and tried to take out the competition.
The game ran long and I missed the final movie of the night leaving me tired and about ready to be done for the day. I politely declined everybody’s invitation to head back to the hotel room and eat junk food while watching the Greasy Strangler in favor of running home and heading the hay, to be fresh for the next day.
After getting up, making the girls breakfast, and then presenting them and my wife with the surprises I had brought them from Wasteland I was back in the car and ready for day two.
Saturday is always the big day in Wasteland. There are movies galore, not to mention panels and events. With two Night of the Living Dead panels, split between the actress and the original investors, even the most diehard fan was going to learn something new about the seminal classic.
I managed to sneak out for lunch with friends and then shuffle into my make up between panels. I was trying out a They Live look…it’s a make-up I’ve never quite perfected – and Saturday was no exception. Everything is still a little bit too big, the chin hangs down to low, and the eyes are too bulky. They also didn’t want to stay in place. I had tried these out at home previously, but only for a short while – just to see if they would stay when I put them in and to discover whether or not is was possible to hold them in with my eyebrows and cheeks; much like a monocle. It was okay at first, but after 20 minutes they started popping up and did not want to stay in any longer. I ended up sealing them in with liquid latex (Spirit Gum didn’t hold either), which meant the bug eyes would render everything around me somewhat blurry for the next six hours.
Outside the convention hotel, I grabbed Rhonda and Criss and we sat and played her new board game “go to hell! “. Rhonda is the only person that I know who brings card games and board games to a convention, but really it’s a brilliant idea. It’s a great way to fill some of the dead spots between movies and panels, not to mention giving the smokers something to do while they feed their addiction in exile.
I slapped some more Superman stuff on Bruce’s door, only to discover that I wasn’t the only one doing this now! There were superman towels and stuff there that I hadn’t taped up there. I added a few more contributions and headed back down the hall, because it was time for Ghastlee Night at the Movies.
This is always my favorite part of the convention, with bizarre games and activities going on after the house band opens the ceremonies. I jumped up for the first game, and found myself standing on the stage with Rhonda and another young man who was attending wasteland for the very first time. We played a game where they revealed movie posters and characters on the screen, one small part at a time – the goal was to guess the character with as little of it showing as possible. Ghastlee came up to me to introduce me as one of the players and ask my name. “My name is Matt, “I replied. Ghastlee stepped back for a second, aghast.
“Oh my God, it really is Matt! “He turned to the audience. “Matt’s a friend, and I didn’t recognize him with all that stuff on his face! “. Yes, the game is off to a roaring start.
“And the picture is – Ghastlee’s wedding night video! ”
“Oh God, I hope not – if that’s the case EVERYONE loses! ”
“Hey, YOU wanna come up here and host this thing? I didn’t think so! ”
Of course, keep in mind that my vision is impaired – and we are playing a picture game. How I won this one by correctly identifying Tarman from Return of the Living Dead is absolutely beyond me. It may have had to do with me clapping my hands over Rhonda’s eyes when it was her turn to guess…. The festivities carried on with murder mysteries, appalling displays, and of course the S@#%heel of the year award. I tried with all my might to sway the vote for Ryan, but alas it was to no avail.
As things wound down, I ran to the bathroom to peel off my make up before the late nights screenings. It was clinging much harder to my face then I had expected and had dried into something somewhat different than the look I had intended. Like I said earlier, I really need to refine this particular lock.
Sundays are always a bit melancholy and I frequently skip them. It’s a day to say goodbye to everybody, and catch up on any films that you may have missed throughout the weekend. It’s also cheaper day so people like my friend Sean will pop in just to shop on those days. Still, everyone is moving just a bit slower than usual – my friend Jason refers to Sundays at Wasteland as “the unofficial Strongsville zombie walk”. The film selection this Sunday gave me a very VHS vibe. They really felt like the sort of movies that I’d pull off the shelf at Heights Video on the Friday evening to take home with a pizza and friends. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a slower film but has moments of magnificent gore, and the style that is very distinct. The same can’t be said for Nightmare City, which seems to break all rules of zombies by having them cognizant, fast, and using tools and weapons. Really not sure what I was watching here!
In between my two features, I managed to sneak back in for the tail end of the 16 mm screening of Night of the Living Dead – it was about half over, but still worth watching. Midafternoon on Sunday feels like a good time for this movie and I let myself be drawn in with the familiar faces – faces that I had just spoken to over the weekend.
I tried not to glance at the dealers room as I left. It always feel sad to see them packing everything up and to watch people checking out of the hotel, but it’s okay – because it will all be back in just six months. My friend Nicole says “You know why Wasteland is only three days? Any longer and God would notice and rain fire on us.”
See you in October.
I saw a bunch of these “moodboards” go up last week and really wanted to try a couple for myself. I started out with The Thing and Mr. Freeze – with citiscapes I photographed and altered myself as well as video game still and a bunch of different composites and filters.
I tried hard to give Freeze and Thing different looks. While they both have a blue tinge to them, I tried to make the Thing brighter, with sunny skies and a good infusion of orange, while I kept Freeze’s world gray and snowy, with a glowing blue and little other color.
I actually ended up creating four new composites for these. I’m particuarly pleased at how well Freeze just looks like he belongs in those gamescreencaps. This was fun. I think I just may do a couple more next week. Bat-Mite’s going to be mad if he doesn’t get one…
Been meaning to get to these but just haven’t had time – new edits of my favorite photos from Zip Con!
I’ve finally given into peer pressure and set up an official cosplay page! Feel free to like, share and harass convention promoters with it….
You can find me and the girls here!
You know, when you think of a store “Christmas party” you think”I’ll go in and take advantage of the sale, maybe there’ll be cookies or something.”
When I think of the Christmas party at the comic shop, I think “Oh my God…have I actually been here for three hours?”
The annual Christmas party is one of the two biggest events every year at Carol and John’s – it’s the winter counterbalance to the spring Free Comic Book Day party. There’s sales, give-aways, not to mention a food drive and an art show (Which I usually contribute to). This year I wanted to do something over-the-top for my outfit so insted of just an ugly Christmas sweater, I opted for an entire Elf costume over my Thing suit. It went nicely with the Joker and Santa that showed up for the evening….
It’s always a great time to visit with friends that I never seem to actually see outside of these events, mixed in with my local buddies from the Cleveland comic scene and Pop : the Comic Culture Club. It was also nice to connect with Ryan, a friend I had only previously interacted with on Facebook – from the Charity group Hero’s United that I’ve been doing events with. It’s probably my last trip out in costume until con season ramps up next year but we went out in style.
Cupcakes, choclates, cookies (supergirl cookies! Groot shaped cookes! WHY DIDN’T I GET PHOTOS????), custom brewed beer (I really just wanted the bottle!) and good friends. I mean, honestly, isn’t that what a Christmas party is supposed to be all about?
Akron’s costume contest though has always been a challenge. Because it’s so big, it’s hard to fit in a room, and this year Rubber City Cosplay had thier hands full trying to figure it out.
Over the past year in particular, it’s been a real pleasure watching Rubber City Cosplay develop as a contest facilitator. They’ve gotten more comfortable with the role and developed genuinely good strategies for keeping things going efficiently. However, Akron is the big show. With literally hundreds of contestants and a surprisingly small space, this is the most challenging contest they handle. There was confusion on where to go. The hall downstairs had been partitioned off into two smaller rooms. You began in the first room with a camera and a green screen, then made your way out the door onto the main stage… so before going out and getting announced, there was this other group with a camera, taking pictures before the contest – their original plan had been to interview each contestant as well, something they weren’t allowed to do as it would slow things down too much. I assumed that they were perhaps broadcasting the images over to the main screen, but now I’m not even sure they were really a contest component. All of this delayed the start and slowed the lineup down.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I was exhausted already and my boots were killing me – I was grateful for the chance to sit down while waiting. gave me a chance to help the guy in front of me get out of his gloves and get into his helmet- magnetic pieces and velcro and all sorts of wierd stuff! I appreciate that helm and costume all the more for having seen it up close as he got it on. My friend William was down the line keeping Chris Gulley’s Black Panther cape in place.
We were told we couldn’t stay in the room to watch the cosplay contest and this was a kind of a drag. It’s one of the important things to note. the sense of community in the costume contests is always one of my favorite parts of a con – talking to people about how they made their costumes, what they’ve done before – cosplay is an instant icebreaker for those of us who are introverts. In the good ones you really see everyone cheering for everyone else and that was really present here. In my never-so-humble opinion, partitioning that room was a bad idea. A large space is needed for this event if it’s going to be the huge component it always has been at Akron. I don’t think we had more room than this back at the Quaker Station hall.
It was great to see so many of these familiar faces though. That Nocturne I saw at Hall of Fame City was back, as well as the Freddy Kruger. Cinderella showed me the work she put into her glass slippers and it wasn’t untill after the con that I realized Secret Squirrel was the same guy who did Domo Batman last year! There was a little Rhino that was COMPLETELY on point and picking fights with everyone ( I was so happy that he placed in the kids contest!) and the absolute best Iron Man I’ve ever seen in a kids costume….in fact it was better than most adult Iron Men! My friend Jim pointed out to me a kid in a Cyrano Jones outfit, complete with Tribbles. Another in a Smaug costume. Fantasy dominated the contest this year and Man-At-Arms ran around trying to get pictures with every barbarian warrior he saw. The Z.E.R.O.S. were there in full effect with Ryan yelling “Man-At-Arms is my hero!” as I headed into the costume contest.My friend William really put it best.
“Got to experience the two extremes of cosplay attitudes today at the Akron ComiCon.
On the negative side, saw a contestant that I won’t single out getting in his car after the contest was over, whining and complaining that “this contest was crap” and “I have over a thousand hours invested in this”, yadda yadda yadda.”
Allow me to interject at this point, that my friend Marc witnessed the same thing by the same person a little later – “the same adult male throw a major tantrum because someone else won a small piece of etched glass instead of him. Obviously, he was the only one worthy and the judges were idiots and the contest was rigged and life isn’t fair and Hilary is evil (not trying to politicize. That was actually part of the tantrum).And this was in the convention center near my table, not in the parking lot, which means this same tantrum was thrown multiple times.”
But William continues :
“Then, there was the plus side. A little girl saw me and became ecstatic. She was a huge Captain America fan (she was too young to know who USAgent is, and Cap wore the uniform before Walker did, so she’s forgiven), and her face just lit up seeing me, and she needed a pic.
It didn’t matter to her that the guy dressed like her hero was nearly three hundred pounds and constantly wiping away the sweat pouring out of a mask with no ventilation. It didn’t matter that I haven’t dyed my belt to match the suspenders better, or that I’m not real happy with the paint job on the shield. It didn’t matter that my version is an amalgamation of different versions of the comic costume along with the MCU Cap costumes, and so isn’t a perfectionist version of either.
All that little girl cared about was her hero kneeling down to take a picture with her, and smiling at her.
The costume and shield may be fake, but that smile was as real as it gets.
I feel sorry for the guy who felt cheated out of a win in a contest of people dressed as imaginary characters, as if winning or losing have anything to do with what is important in cosplay.
I’d much rather be in the company of that little girl, who was just happy to see the character she loved.”
That’s it right there. You know something? I’ve never won or even placed in Akron costume contest. Not once. But that’s not why I do it…the community, the camaraderie and just the time to have fun…it’s worth it all. Just look at all of these people in the photos below and you’ll see it too.
I can’t wait for next year.