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Posts tagged “cosplay

ZipCon 2023

So I gotta say, the last time Maddie and I hit Zipcon, I was not impressed. I really like the Zipcon of old… a student run anime con, and a free one day event… that always worked for me. Then the management flipped, and there was more pressure to put in guests. More pressure to bring in names and with that comes expense. And that expense gets passed on to the attendees. Last year in particular, the show was just not worth the $10 admission. There were a bunch of problems, with lackluster panels… when those panels actually occurred. People blowing stuff off and just not showing up, Not enough help, not enough ratio of staff to visitors… it was just a mess. I really wasn’t interested in going back.

Of course, this was one of the last shows right before the government locked its citizens down, and Zipcon would not return for 2021 or 2022. When it came back on the schedule this year, Maddie in particular was really eager to go again. It’s not just that she wanted to do more conventions, she wanted to do more anime conventions, so off we went.

I will admit, it’s actually helped that we’ve had two years to watch a bunch of anime and get me caught up on modern series. I was in my Gran Torino costume, accompanying Maddie’s Eraser. The Gran Torino made a big enough splash that we hadn’t even made it into the show before the gentleman at the register desk looked at me in amazement. “Gran Torino! That’s a first for me!”

It might be fair to say that the two year break also did the panelists some good. Talks and skits and demonstrations that had been prepared two years ago had time to be refined and revisited before presenting them this year. We actually ended up hitting three different ones, all really good talks. I especially enjoyed seeing previews of upcoming stuff, as well as look back at some older anime that’s not necessary Studio Ghibli.

For whatever reason, the dealer’s room felt bigger too. I don’t think that it was physically, but I certainly felt like there was more to browse through, as we dug through booth after booth of brightly colored kawaii.

One of the stranger things that happened, we were walking down the promenade, And after stopping for some pictures, the photographer ran up to us and asked if we could come back with her and be in a group picture of My Hero Academia cosplayers. We happily followed her. It was a nice big group, not quite a dozen people. The thing is, the group kept growing. People would walk by and getting pulled in. We kept adding to this group, one my hero cosplayers after another… until it turned into this massive photo. I’ve looked on with envy over the years, friends joining these huge planned photo shoots. Batman family, Justice League, Mandalorians, that’s sort of thing. This was the biggest one I’ve ever gotten to be a part of and it was just amazing. It absolutely made Maddie’s convention.

For me, the highlights of this sort of thing is always seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a while. There are some people here that I haven’t seen since the lockdown.  Others may have popped up here and there, but a really nice day to catch everybody all at once. I got to apologize to my friend Allie for not recognizing her at a Hall of Fame City Comic-Con. That always bothered me, but then again, it’s a occupational hazard of cosplay. Also good to catch up with Chris, now 3 months newlywed.

Maddie and I rounded out of the day playing video games in the game room… Mario Kart projected on a giant screen which was absolutely amazing . We also had to catch up with The Confused Greenies Patchwork Players. This improv troop is one of Maddie’s favorite things about specialized. I’ve always enjoyed them, but they’ve always seem a little weird part of con programming, but always welcome and fun.

By the time 6 o’clock was rolling around, we were too tired to even look for the cosplay masquerade. It had been a long day, but a genuinely excellent way of kicking off convention season. Maddie’s done her own video review, which you’ll find down here, then jump past it for way too many pictures!


Geekfest 2022

Look, I’m as surprised as anyone. I was certain that geek fast was dead. I mean, the plague killed bigger and more powerful conventions than them… And they already missed a year here and there even without those complications. It’s a difficult event for the library to mount, a lot of variables a lot of planning. I really wouldn’t have blamed them for just deciding to sit this one out.

I’ve actually only heard that they were coming back about three weeks ago. Definitely not much more than two weeks before the event itself, and it was so close to Neo Comicon  that I wasn’t sure if we really had it in us to do two back to back shows. Still, it’s a show I like, being one of those more programming driven events. Maddie hadn’t been out to this thing since all the way back in 2016, and she found herself really looking forward to it, another chance to bring out her my hero academia costume and connect with other people. So, Saturday morning, we loaded up the car and headed out.

I was taking a chance bringing out my Borg costume for this one… Star Trek is passé these days, and Star Wars is real the real attention is at. Still, I was pleased to discover I wasn’t the only person and track garb there. This event draws a lot of boomers and Xers, with children that they’ve raised on Star Trek. I was surprised at how often I was recognized, not only by adults, but by teenagers! Around the corner at one point and one of the vendors piped up “now there is the scariest summer of my life!“. He was of course referring to the Star Trek next generation cliffhanger “the best of both worlds“. I nodded. “It’s funny, but of all the two-parter is they did after that, they never quite managed to get you to those same stakes.“ The vendor agreed. “During that third season,“ he told me. “They’ve gotten into the habit of always resolving everything within the last five minutes… But we got closer and closer to the end of this episode, 10 minutes, five minutes, three minutes, and I found myself wondering how tehy were going to wrap this up. I spent all summer nervous and wondering what was going to happen when the show came back.“. I remember that summer too. I mentioned to him that I was certain that Captain Picard wasn’t coming back to the show, that he’d be taken off with these bad guys, and that Patrick Stewart would basically go off and go back to Shakespeare while Commander Riker would take command of the enterprise for the remainder of the series pack. It was fun chatting with somebody about this and reminiscing about the days when Star Trek was genuinely good and had such cultural relevance.  As I wandered around, I made sure to menace the other people in Star Trek costumes, and was surprised to how many there were… In fact, I wasn’t even the only one carrying around a triple! There was a great looking doctor crusher with a triple in her jacket pocket. It seem to be behaving better than mine, considering I couldn’t get mine to sit on my shoulder the way it’s supposed to. I managed to get it attached just before pre-judging for the costume contest and about 20 minutes before I had to walk on stage for the main competition. That’s really my main goal, to have him ride out on my shoulder so that I can remove him and display him to the audience. I’ve gotta remember to use a better magnet the next time though.

That pre-judging was a problem. One of the main events that Maddie and I were looking forward to was a screening of Howls moving castle. The Akron Summit public library has a massive auditorium with a large screen… Just about movie size, so they get to see this on the big screen is a real treat. However, the movie was screening from Eleven to One, and pre-judging was at noon! It didn’t help that Maddie and I were a little late getting in as well, so we probably missed about 20% of the movie, but we did get to watch was every bit as good as we remember, and incredibly fun to watch on a proper screen with a good sound system.

Costumes were in abundance, despite the fact that the costume contests itself was a little lightly populated. Queen Anna Boleyn shuffled through the doors as I was making my way out for a swag dump, she waved a wand at me to vanish the evil machinery! She would occasionally come up to me throughout the convention with a screwdriver adjusting my mechanics. Another running joke was the way that R2 D2 seem to keep running into me. The R2-D2 builders club had a table downstairs with the 501st Legion, creating of nice Star Wars presence there. But occasionally the droid would roll his way upstairs and mingle with the rest of the people. It would see me and Emmett allowed high pitch scream, as I’d come over and scan it and examine it for the edification of the crowd. At times I almost felt like a little droid was following me!

I’ll say this, not only did Geekfest return, they veritably exploded. It’s bigger than I’ve ever seen it before, with them really pulling out all the stops. I remember the days when this show was basically maybe a half dozen tables up by the auditorium, mostly library personnel making buttons and playing games with the kids, one panel room and maybe some improv going on in the main auditorium. This time around they utilized all four floors. Star Wars characters on the ground floor along with a cosplay repair station… I can’t even tell you how amazing that was! When fingers started popping off my glove, I was grateful to be able to use their hot glue gun to put myself back together. Also video game rooms downstairs with retro video games and custom ones made by one of the guests. Another floor had board games… Some of them giant size. A couple tables in the middle were reserved for first timers playing dungeons and dragons. Another floor gave you a chance to explore strange history, along with a table of comics to give away. The vendors and artists were spread out as well. Instead of a handful of tables… A group of vendors that are slowly growing more and more numerous over the years, you could now find artists and vendors scattered throughout the library. There are tables around the length of the entrance, and then spread down below the atrium, and then even more nestled in between the bookshelves and rose and valleys of the library. It’s a fascinating set up, and the library actually went out of its way to draw attention to them by issuing kids a “passport“ where they can get stickers from each booth… Trying to collect them all, and thereby visit all of the guests. This is all in addition to the art show that was going on on the ground floor, one that you could vote  in for People’s choice award… And constant panels and games going on in the two conference rooms in the atrium. Indeed, the overlap was so great, that we always seem to be running from event to event, particularly towards the end when we were coming out for the costume contest lineup. Maddie was none too pleased to have to leave her panel to get in line. “They were going to give away BOOKS at the end!” She lamented.

Still, despite all the challenges, as we drove home, Maddie and I agreed this may just have been the best convention we went to this year. Being so program driven just makes for a far more entertaining experience, and is exactly the sort of thing that will keep Maddie (who’s convention attention span is usually about 2 to 3 hours) completely occupied for over five hours. It’s also a great place to make new friends, something that kiddo is discovering and taking full advantage of.

Here’s the thing, the festival bills itself as a mini comicon? I don’t think so. There’s things I’m much fuller convention experience than a lot of the ones that we pay much more money to get into. It’s also become one of our favorites, and will be back next year.


NEO Comicon 2022

It’s summertime, and con season is in full swing. The end of July is always reserved for NEO ComiCon… Also known as “the closest comic convention to my house”. We usually go to the early service at church on these weeks and then hit this show afterwards, they’ll open the doors at 10, and we’ll be able to get there before 11 that way… Literally 10 minutes down the street.

NEO ComiCon was of course one of those that had to close due to the plague, but they came back last year… Sort of. Well we’re happy to see the show back, last year and this year included no programming. No panels, no costume contest, no talks at all really. And the comic creators that were present, they’re all local guys. No that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the Cleveland area has a lots of great local artists, some true elder statesman from DC like Tony Wsabella and Mike W Barr… but I’m missing the days where NEO was bringing in people like Phil Hester from the Green Hornet, or Tom Mandrake, the artist from Ostrander Spectre run… people that I’ve never gotten to meet before, and who would do a panel or two to describe their time in the industry. I missed the fight demonstrations that the stunt people would do… I miss all of this kind of stuff, because that’s what really makes a comic con for me. Right now, NEO ComiCon feels a lot like a gigantic Harper show… A huge flea market… But what a flea market!

Spanning the course of two soccer fields, NEO ComiCon is still a massive marketplace, and one that welcomes in cosplayers and fanboys of all types. My McMandalorian is not a competition level suits, so it seemed a perfect event to bring out… Especially since it hasn’t gotten that much floor time since I created it last year. Maddie on the other hand was bringing out her my hero character Todoroki again… Basically we were a carbon copy of the pair that we were for Mahoning Comic Con a few weeks ago.

There’s a much bigger and diverse crowd here. Maddie ran into a ton more people from my hero academia, and a lot more recognized her costume as well. For my part, I was content to just be looking silly, and hanging out with friends. My buddy Josh had brought out his Mandopool costume… There’s actually a full Deadpool mask on underneath that helmet. We compared our Baby Yodas and just had fun freaking out the people around us.

Speaking of freaking out, I’m always pleased to see how much horror these things draw… A girl in a Chucky outfit, a Pennywise floating down the aisle, Jason stocking the corners… All of this stuff is fun. It also speaks to just how varied a crowd NEO ComiCon draws.

It’s not to say that the day went off without a hitch. The shuttle bus from the convention center to the parking lot went MIA for a good half hour… It was bizarre. They were some hot tempers in the crowd as well, be reading the Neo representative who is coming out to keep us updated. To his credit, Ed handled it very well, and definitely didn’t deserve the abuse he was getting.

There is also a very strange moment… I was chatting up a young woman and talking about foamsmithing, admiring her armor and shield, while she asked questions about my clown shoes. Then, a sketchy gentleman dressed in black came up to us to pitch Akron comicon…

“I know you’re coming!“ He said to me “I’m sure I’ve seen you there before!“

I was polite and didn’t question it. But it was a strange pitch… And afterwords, Lady Red asked me “what do you make that guy?“ Unseen behind my helmet, ice smiled sadly with a small sigh. “Huckster.“. And proceeded to explain to her why I don’t go to Akron comicon anymore (A combination of them moving it out of Akron and into a strange converted grocery store that they have an interest in… To the way they stiffed the old owner on the payment when he sold them the convention, to the way they named checked a customer that they were having an argument with and name the new rule after him on a live stream… It was all in poor taste, and Akron just isn’t the same show anymore.)

Still, all in all good day, a little exhausting, but great fun. I hit Comic’s Are Go’s dollar bins pretty hard, and found a custom Lego booth selling minifigs for $3 (as opposed to the $5 booth on the other side of the con) which I plundered. (I still regret not grabbing more marvel zombies). We played plinko at the TV station’s table and Maddie won a backpack and I got a great poster with HandI’s comic heroes on it. I even found tons of cheap horror movies (again – I regret not going back to that quarter bin after I broke that $20 bill) and Maddie found stickers and some Hunger Games trading cards that just fascinated her! We took tons of fun pictures -not quite as many setups as I’ve been seeing at other shows, but  I got to say, that 501’s wanted booth – good stuff there.

I spoke to Sean, the founder of the show, and he assures me the costume contest will be back next year, I’m hoping that the panels and more programming will be back with it. The show needs that… It’s the sort of thing that made it the best successor to Akron comicon I could possibly have asked for. 

Scroll down for the link to Maddie‘s review, and dozens of photos past that.






Fanboy Expo Columbus 2022

Ever have one of those shows where everything seems to be going wrong? We ended up having to adjust Maddie‘s costume for Fanboy Expo in the morning we were trying to leave, and quite frankly, I was still in last-minute con crunch as well trying to do upgrades for an idealized Star Lord. Paint was still drying on the new boot jets and gun as we pulled out of the driveway a full 40 minutes late. There was no way I was getting my photo op… I’d have to just hope for table selfies. That’s generally fine, I tend to look at photo ops and really a lot of that kind of stuff as just straight up price gouging, and the gouging is certainly still on at most conventions with celebrities. We got to the show, and immediately one of the pouches popped off my Star Lord belt. Over the course of the show Maddie managed to break both feet in her Appa costume, and I managed to lose a boot jet. Like I said, it feels like everything was working against us.

Sometimes that’s also the sign that there’s something really good in the store. Maddie had been looking forward to fanboy expo for a while, because of several actresses from Avatar the last Airbender attending. It was her intention to finally bring out her flying bison and ride it through a big convention. We got in, only to discover that most of Maddie’s targets were out to lunch. She did grab Cricket Leigh, who just squealed include over her costume and the bison she was riding, and while we waited, we made our way over to Erik Estrada.

Fanboy expo was doing a whole Chips reunion… Not my thing. Actually kind of a weird show to be doing a reunion for. Then again, the whole guest list here seems strange and haphazard. Cartoons, Battlestar Galactica, Friday the 13th, Chips, just a weird mishmash of things – more like what I’d expect to find at a strictly autograph show like Chiller. In any event, I was coming to see Estrada for a different reason. I came over and pulled out an 8 x 10 poster from the Cross and the Switchblade. It’s an old movie from 1970 about a minister who goes into the inner city to try and preach the gospel to the gangs. Pat Boone had signed this for me over a decade ago, and it’s been waiting for a strata all this time. I laid it on his table and his eyes just widened.

“Wow… Oh… Just, wow.“

He picked it up, shook his head as if he wasn’t sure it was real. He pointed to the various images on the collage and noticed the scrawl on the right

“You got Pat!” He breathed in appreciation. I nodded.

I sent him a letter, he signed it through the mail for me.“

“Pat was such a great guy, wow…

…You know, this was my first movie.“

He moved his hand over to the left of the poster which shows a painting of him as gang leader Nicky Cruz holding a knife to Pat Boone’s David Wilkerson.

“I just,“ he paused for a moment. “I just look at all these pictures and I remember the scenes it all just takes me back.“ He tapped on the knife photo.

“See when I was auditioning for this, there were four callbacks, and Pat Boone would be there for the fourth one. It was all improvisation. Thing is, I was up against this one guy who’s already been a leading man in the movie, he was looking at a TV series and I was just 18. This would be my first movie. I knew I had to do something to stand out… I knew I had to do something to distinguish myself. So I went down to 42nd St. and I got myself a switchblade. I tucked it in my back pocket, and nobody knew. So when it came to the day, we’ve got that scene and Pat is pounding on the door yelling ‘Nicky, I got something to tell you!’ And I come over there grumbling and swearing and mad and I open the door and Pat takes a step in and says ‘Nicky, I got something to tell you; Jesus loves you.’ and I grabbed him by The shirt,“ Estrada leaned over the table and reached out his hand as if to grab me. “And I whipped out the switchblade. Right between my face and his. And all the way from the back of the stage I could hear the Director from all the way in the back of the room yelling ‘NOOOOOO!’!”

He talked a bit more about the movie, and took photos with me.

“You know, there’s not many of these out there signed,” he mentioned.
“Sometimes people will bring me the book to sign or something like that, but in all the time I’ve been doing this this might be only the second poster I’ve ever seen.“ He shook my hand and asked me to wait for a second while he took the picture over to show his friends at the other Chips table. One of my fafavorite things when I meet actors is to try and bring something they might not have seen before. This was one of the best.

Across the large space, Maddie was getting stopped frequently for photos. Her Appa was a big hit and for a change, I was there just to be her handler. It’s one of the reasons why I chose Star Lord. It’s an easy enough costume that looks pretty good, and besides, one of the other goals for me that day was going to be Star Lord and Starbuck. I would end up getting my photo with Dirk Benedict a little later, but even more fun was finding a really good Starbuck cosplayer and doing a sort of mirror image with him. Both of us holding our helmet, both of us reaching out our guns.

Still, Maddie was the star of the show. We walked by Adessa‘s table. Adessa is the voice of Delores, one of the characters from Encanto. In fact, this is Maddie‘s favorite character. She was debating on whether not to go over and meet her… Also debating on whether or not she had enough cash with her. A really sad reality of modern conventions. But as we walked by, Odessa spotted Maddie and was so taken by the costume, that she ran out from behind her table to come over and meet her and talk with her. I stepped back and snapped a candid photo. Maddie was delighted.

Finally it was time for her to meet the other people from Avatar. Olivia Hack and Jennie Kwan had returned from lunch so we traveled over there. They saw us coming. Even while Maddie was over at Jenny’s table, you could see Olivia just eyeing the costume and pointing. They all wanted photos with her. All of a sudden I found myself standing back with several phones from actresses I didn’t know as they all scrunched together to take photos with Maddie on her flying bison. Maddie was out of her mind with delight.

I really enjoy when shows have photo areas set up. Environments and stuff. The 501st Legion was there, and had set up a really amazing environment that I dropped Star Lord into. The commission had also brought in the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and this was one of those moments where I felt like I really wanted to take the opportunity. Maddie found several other people dressed as characters from avatar… Even a few people in Appa onesies. It was great fun taking photos with all these people as well. We noticed the day with stretching on, and while Maddie usually doesn’t make it more than A few hours at a convention… Today she was still going strong and in that enormous costume. I pointed out that the costume contest was actually coming up in 45 minuets or so. Maddie had been on the fence as to whether not she really wanted to do it this time around. She likes doing costume contests, but it is a long process and the costume was starting to get hot and tiring. Still, since it was coming right up, we headed over.

As it came time for the judging, the judge brought out the judges choice award.

“There was this one costume that walked up to her table that I was just so taken with… particularly the nontraditional materials used to create it.“ As I sat in the audience, my job began to drop because I realize exactly who he was talking about. Backstage as the judge continued to describe strollers from the dumpster and old couch cushions and empty pop bottles… Each head slowly turned towards Maddie. I’m not sure if she or I were the more excited one when her name was announced. It was a good day.

This was fanboy expos first time in Columbus. It feels like an established con that’s looking for new markets, but I’m not sure how successful this was. On a Saturday, the convention hall should not be this empty. Attendance was really sparse and a number the vendors mentioned it to me. It didn’t help that there was an anime convention going on in Northeast Ohio, or a furry event going on nearby. Some of the vendors also suggested that the convention hadn’t advertised enough. I can’t speak to that… I noticed it on Facebook a few months prior, I think very possibly because of one of my friends mentioning it. Either way, I hope that they do come back. Maddie really wants to return, but with all the numbers like that you never know. We’ll keep an eye out for next year.

Maddie’s convention Vlog below, and then, photos!




Hazard Con 2022

Maddie and I were so excited to get back to Hazard Con. We only just discovered it before the plague, and that totally shut down our return visit. In our one trip out though, the show it made a big impression with good panels, interesting guests, a beautiful arcade, and a tiny but surprisingly diverse and effective dealers room. We liked Hazard Con. Maddie and I were already to go with our Promised Neverland costumes, breaking both of these out for the very first time. Maddie was dressed as Isabella, the mother figure from the series, and I had crafted a demon that only appears in the Mangas, Arch Duke Leuvis. 

As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed things seemed a bit empty. It was enough for us to almost wonder if it was the right day. I double checked the website and we were definitely in the right place at the right time. Our fears were abated when I saw a couple of other anime kids pull in, jump out of the cars and start to prep their costumes. I handed Maddie the admission money because I have Tentacles rather than hands in that costume, and in we went.

Then they stopped Maddie at the registration table and informed her she would be required wear a mask.

I’ve got a bone to pick here. Because I’ve been watching to see what the rules were. No where on Hazard Con’s website is there any mention of a mask requirement. Nor is there one anywhere on the hotels site. I double checked Pennsylvania’s website. As far as I could see, there was no mandate for masks in all enclosed spaces, though there’s some government offices were still requiring them themselves. I never found an announcement until well after the convention,  after searching for a Facebook account that I didn’t know existed, and digging through past posts. This isn’t really an argument or discussion about whether or not it’s necessary or helpful to mask somebody who has been fully vaccinated and has already had Covid (in that order btw). My beef is that we didn’t know going in and that it wasn’t made clear enough in enough ways. Being on the border, Hazard Con must surely know they’re getting attendees from out of state. Every anime convention I know of does. Ohio’s laws and rules aren’t always the same as PA and that gives them a responsibility to do better.

Then something happened. Maddie impressed me. She decided that she was going to try and have a good day anyhow. Her wig kept slipping, and giving her problems. So she decided to ditch it and just be an original character… (The photo with K-9 in fact, gives me serious Romana vibes.)… perhaps some kind of character that would justify the mask… In fact, we went back to the car, ditched the one that the con had given us in favor of a sleaker black one. We found the arcade and got her on the drum game and her spirits began to lift. We stumbled upon the Guilty Pleasure panel and blew her mind with some new finds. She snatched the volume of Assassination Classroom I had just purchased and started to flip through it, and by the time we hit the Japanese art panel she was having the time of her life again.

I discovered that the mask I was wearing needs some work. I need to create some extra space for my nose, because it was getting smashed down and by the time we were about 2/3 and I couldn’t stand it any longer. Now the fun thing is, Archduke Leuvis is really just a repurpose of my Shadow costume… It’s got extra belts and accessories, but the red neck gaiter was still in the pocket along with my ring. So I detached the mask from the hat, pulled up the red scarf and removed the belts, heading back into the convention.

“A mysterious stranger has entered the room!“ One of the anime girls said in a video game voice as she spied me. This was fun. But I was astonished when I headed over to the game room to find Maddie. No sooner had I entered the arcade then I saw the Riddler walking towards me with a quizzical look on his face.

“The Shadow?“

Because the lower half of my face was covered, he probably couldn’t see my jaw drop. I don’t know what was more surprising, getting recognized in this costume or getting recognized as the demon from the Promised Neverland.

I ducked out of the art panel a little bit early. Despite being fascinating (I got Maddie to catch me up later) It was also scheduled in the middle of signing hours for Barry Yandell. Barry is a personal guy, and happy to chat a bit. Of course, I don’t know most of what he’s done. I probably should watch Black Butler at some point, but I’ve definitely never gotten there. Still, he was participating in Sunday sales with a lot of the other vendors, so even autographs were marked down! I got a nice 5 x 8 with a bunch of his characters displayed signed for $10. Those of you who know me, no I’ve been complaining about autograph prices going crazy for the last two years. I love something like this.

Maddie grabbed a blind box and some pins, I found a few buttons I wanted myself as well, along with a nice glittery skull pen. But the real thing I was there for was Japanese candy and chips and all the curious kind of things you just can’t buy in the US. I love seeing these kind of vendors, and I loaded up. It almost makes me wish I’ve been in a Koro Sensei costume instead. We played more games, as including a claw game that was set up by one of the booths and went over some of the more fascinating wears. Vintage video games, anime music, dolls and keychains and plushies. We went through all the dig bins, and grabbed stuff out of the secondary dealers room… This year’s anime flea market. With the flea market you’ve got to be ready to buy immediately. Seriously, stuff flies out of there quick, and tables increasingly vanish as the day goes on. They’re scheduled all the way until 3:30 or so, but honestly, if you get there around 1:30 or 2, pretty much everything is gone. I was still able to score some cheap mangas, but am still kicking myself for missing that Supergirl trade that just slipped through my fingers while I was checking out another booth!

Hazard Con was not the day we expected. The price, even for just Sunday has increased by 25%. The content however, seems to have decreased. Fewer panels and no anime screenings which I find REALLY weird. One of the entire reasons you go to a con is for screenings – a good way to test out anime you’ve never seen before and share the experience with others. But we had a good day nevertheless. It’s another one of those where it’s just the right size that I wish it was closer to home, although to be fair, two hours is not a terribly arduous journey. We’ll keep our eye on them next year, and perhaps ask more questions going in. There’s still a distinct possibility that we’ll be back.





Wasteland this weekend!

If you need me this weekend, you’ll find me over at Cinema Wasteland. I know, it’s supposed to be the first weekend in April, but scheduling out a little weird this year.

I looked over the film schedule and guests attending, and it’s only one person coming in that I need an autograph from. Between that and the astronomical price of gasoline currently, I’m probably only going on Saturday. It will however, Be my chance to finally break out my blade costume. I doubt I’ll be in it all day, but I’ll definitely be creeping around as one of them puppet masters minions for a while.

Wasteland is still my favorite of all the horror conventions out there, and absolutely worth your time. Hope to see you there!

Wildwood Micro-Con

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Wildwood advertised. That last time, before the plague, I know that Heroes United was in fact doing the event… Judging by the time of year I bet the reason I couldn’t go was because of a conflict with Wasteland. Nevertheless, I was curious, it looks like an interesting venue and a nice little show. I filed it away in the back of my mind when it popped up on my feed just over a week before showtime.

As I was checking my Maps, I heard Amy‘s voice next to me ring out in a tone that mixed exasperation and surprise.

“It’s snowing again?“

I looked out the window and it was indeed coming down. Hard. It gave me enough pause to wonder whether or not I really wanted to brave the snow storm… But while I was on that side of town it be convenient for me to pick up some filament for the 3-D printer at Micro Center and swing by Geeks Gambit to look through the discount bins. I grabbed Star Lord (A low effort costume if there ever was one) and headed out – hoping as I plowed through the snow, that I wouldn’t be the only person to show up.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw that I was not alone. Another car had pulled in ahead of me, and two came in behind me. I saw some teenagers heading in, and a couple of families heading out. I even spotted the familiar shape of the actual mini parked caddy corner from the barrio tacos truck.

Wildwood doesn’t bury the lead, and straight up refers to themselves as a “micro con“. It’s an apt description. It’s what I would call a library style convention… Much like Geekfest, or the very tiny WEPLcon. Inside the first room for a couple of vendors and artists. This is not a shopping invention by any means. While it was interesting to browse the table full of magic and costumes, there’s no comics to be found anywhere here… Other than the free comic book Day leftovers they were handing out at the door. It has to the kitchen to get to the rest of the convention. There’s signs along the way letting you know that you’re still in the right place and there’s more down the hall. It’s a charming touch.

Eventually the passages open up into a couple of larger rooms where a variety of cosplay guests were settled. The 501st Legion across from the federation group… And then rubber city comics play along with heroes alliance set up in the next room. A paranormal group was there as well, with devices and exhibit set up. Seems to be like it would’ve been nicer to have them set up closer to the Ghostbusters – those guys were shuffled off into a side room that I didn’t even see on my first pass through.

A little further in, and you find a small game room. They’re making the most of it, with a couple of pinball games, a giant operation game, a giant Tetris and fascinating version of pong set up on a table top. The pinball interested me the most. They weren’t real pinball machines – no mechanics. Instead of a ball and flippers and springs and gears, it’s simulated by a large screen, laid horizontally into the cabinet. We still have a plunger and buttons, but everything else is loaded up and computer driven. It plays interestingly enough, and it’s fun to do. I’ve only read about these units, so it was particularly fun for me to see them for the first time.

Downstairs in the basement they had a table set up with markers and paper for creating your own comics. These pre-printed sheets had dialogue boxes, with thought balloons and comic frames already set up for you to do your own thing. I’ve seen this a couple of libraries and young creator shows. It’s a nice little extra station to have there, and the Wildwood was definitely trying to make full use of the house.

Upstairs on the second floor, they had food vendors… Candy and cookies and popcorn opposite movie room that was showing classic cartoons. I have expected to see Fleischer superman in there, how much to my surprise they’re running Dennis the Menace. Weird. Third floor was reserved for superhero training, an activity that would occur once every hour or half or so. You go up there and make a mask and go through some fun superhero moves.

Wildwood micro con is a nice little event, especially if you’re local. Mostly if you’re local actually. It’s not quite worth the 50 minutes that took me to get out there, though I suspect if they really wanted to, they could add some value with a few panels. This thing goes from 11 to 5 which seems like a really long day for such a small show. Giving each of these groups it’s got a table set up a chance to do a panel or presentation would eat up some of that time and give teens and adults something else to do. I’d love to hear the paranormal group and spend 40 minutes on some of their investigations, what they do and how they do it. It be cool to see heroes alliance talk about cosplaying for charity – I’ve seen night me to do that kind of panel before! The federation gonna have a talk about Star Wars new and old, and the 50 first could certainly do something along lines of timeline other Jedi or movie rankings or trivia or stuff like that.

I’m not sure that any of that’s going to happen though, Wildwood seems content to be what it is – a nice little kids activity that offer some value to the community. If you’re an East cider, especially with kids and are looking for a fun way to ease them into fandom and con life, this is exactly the sort of event you want to go to. I’d like to see more teenagers hanging out at this sort of thing as well, perhaps upping cosplay activities with a contest or schizo or something. I like it, just for the venue and the audacity, as library convention scale is a good one.


Mr Freeze and the Suicide Squad


Mr. Freeze wasn’t actually in the Squad, but he could be – Captain Cold did at least one mission and it’s the only way I could justify this really strange line-up!

Mr Freeze and the Gotham gang


I pulled out my Mr. Freeze outfit and did some minor repairs, then realized I couldn’t find my freeze gun. A whole new freeze gun became a part of these upgrades!


Over the last couple years, Maddie has been getting more into cons and cosplay, developing her own set of costumes and characters. It’s about time I started showcasing her more as part of Argo City Cosplay!

This one was a quickie, but a nice one- a Gelfling to accompany my Skeksis! (The Fizzgig was a must)








Iron Sapphire redux


Out of nowhere, Maddie asked me to redo her Iron Sapphire armor! I’ve always been leased with it, but we had to completely remake the midplate expand the legs because she’s grown so much since the last time she wore it!




Fall Zombie Walk 2021

Let me just say, Carol Baskin and the Tiger King were definitely the peak of our day.

I’ve been going to the zombie walk in Lakewood for ages now. Ryan got up and announced that it was the 14th one, seven years… But I’ve got photos that prove it’s been going on longer, just under a different name and management. Nevertheless, the thing I noticed this year, was a lot more children. October is always a little bit light, because the hunters already have gigs that they are committed to. We usually see more in April, but both Madeline and I commented to each other on just how many kids were running around, playing, bonking people in the head with plushy bats, and playing catch with the odd grenade. It’s a glorious time, and nice to catch up with friends like Ryan and Rhonda.

Madeline got to break out her Clementine for the third time this year, and she was thrilled. There weren’t a lot of survivors this year, so she was delighted to be one of the few humans participating in the walk. I decided to go half-hearted, and bust out my Starro mask on top of a Gotham city police detective outfit – I got the badge for my birthday! Nice subtle way to celebrate Batman day at the same time.

I do still enjoy these events, and I’m far more curious to see what April brings. Attendance has been dwindling over the years, but with a good 70 people are still in attendance this time around it’s still gives me hope. We love being able to serve the community this way, and all donations go to the greater Cleveland Food Bank. Will be back at the bar in April, and you should totally come out and join us!