These are a couple of my favorite edits of my Mr. Freeze costume!
When Madeline and I hit Hazard Con earlier this year, a booth was there promoting Great Lakes Geek Fest. It’s a new convention this year which definitely catches my interest, but being in Geneva, Ohio, I knew it was going to be a bit of a haul getting out there. As the event approached, I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to go or not – I was debating up until Saturday morning in fact. It just so happens that my family had other plans and would be gone for the day, so I decided I might as well give this new show a shot.
I’m never a big fan of a show using the word “geek” in the title, but I try not to let that prejudice me too much. What was really turning me off though, was the fact that the schedule of events took so long to get posted. I saw several announcements that there’d be panels and games and a costume contest, but the show never posted a schedule until 15 hours before the show began. I kind of need more notice than that to decide whether I want to go to a show – especially if I have any of the kids with me. For this reason, I was reluctant to go and definitely wasn’t bringing Maddie or Lydia with me., since there was no way for me to know if there’d be enough activity to keep their short attention spans occupied ( a good call by the way, I don’t think there was).
The layout was a turn off as well. The action was separated across two buildings – Great Lakes Geek Fest had secured a community center as well as the gym of the local Rec Center. The end result makes the convention look smaller than it is. Neither of these venues could have accommodated all of the vendors the show had secured, but at the same time, there weren’t enough tables to completely fill up I both venues the end result was both buildings ended up looking a little empty, with not quite enough vendors or attendees. To further complicate the situation, these two buildings weren’t exactly close to each other. There’s about a block and a half walk you’re the middle of the town to get from one to the other, including crossing the Main Street in Geneva. This is particularly challenging if you’re wearing a costume, and God help you if you have any sort of anxiety.
The convention tried to spin the layout in a positive way, “it’s a short walk, and there’s plenty of places to stuff your face between the two buildings!” It’s actually a good angle, and if they could secure the cooperation of local businesses, perhaps set up a table or two outside and make it into an actual Festival, this might actually turn it into something unique (it’d be a difficult task, and a big ambition). Indeed, some of my more curious encounters happened during my trips up and down the street. At one point a woman on the back seat of the motorcycle her Man was riding paused at the stop light to take photos. Later on, one of the other attendees rushed up to me for a photo. We had stopped in front of the large front window of a local restaurant and while he tried in vain to bring up his photo app, a little girl inside the restaurant noticed me in the Mr. Freeze suit. Her eyes grew wide and I waved. She smiled and waved back, to the amusement of her mother. This could be fun if the walk could somehow be incorporated into the con experience. however, if this isn’t possible, then I’d rather see them fill up a single venue and get everybody under the same roof.
Great Lakes Geek Fest impressed me with an impressive variety of vendors. There were volunteer groups and jewelry makers, action figures and artists, candy and comic books. Outside there were giant replicas of a TIE fighter, Dalek, and X-Wing dot-dot-dot but a shame that I couldn’t locate them in the confusing layout until the show was nearly over. There weren’t as many comic book vendors as I would have liked to have seen, though the ones who were there were recognizable and reliable (Shout out to my local comic shop Comics are Go! for setting up out there!). I’m still regretting passing on that Battle Armor Skeletor I saw in the Adam’s Action Figures booth, and had to grab some unicorn poop for the kids from the candy booth. No real deals in the comic boxes, the best you would do was a dollar a book on some indie titles.
After driving an hour and twenty minuets to get to the con, as I was suiting up I realized something terrible. I had chosen to bring Mr. Freeze out, it was Batman Day after all, but as I reached in my car to start assembling the freeze gun I was astonished to see that I’d forgotten the main body. The lightsaber that powers it was there, so was the front barrel- a clear cylinder made from a soda bottle. But the main body was still back at home, sitting on my pool table, 77 miles away. I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to settle for just the soda-bottle-on-a-stick as my freeze gun (Ironically, I’d recently rescued an intrestingly shaped vodka bottle from the street to use as just this kind of hand held smaller freeze gun. I should have just gone with that). I was a little embarrassed (luckily you can’t see in in the dome helmet with all the condensation!) but people actually really seemed to dig it and were amused at the kitsch of it.
I managed to catch several of the panels, listening to the tail end of the Kirby panel and sitting through about half of the Batman at 80 panel. This was fun, because the moderator was pointing out some interesting facts about Mr. Freeze, in deference to me being in the room! I had no idea that Mr. Freeze had first appeared in a Blackhawk comic! it’s these kinds of obscure facts that you’re only going to get at a con. These were well thought out and good stuff. Earlier in the day there had been some games as well – things like comic price is right and jeopardy, which looked like fun (but too early for me to get out to).
In addition to good programming, Great Lake also drew a very friendly crowd. It didn’t hurt that I had a couple of friends there, but I was also able to chat forever with the local Deadpool as we compared notes about the way our respective unicorns work…no, really. He gave me some ideas for an internal mechanism involving pringles cans and epoxy. I got to pose for fight pictures with an excellent Wonder Woman and was impressed to see a curious genderbent Joker – actually, not so much a Joker as a “Partyman” from the 1989 Prince song that accompanied the Batman film. Her face lit up when I recognized the look and she told me I was the only on who had know what it was! Today she was going as Party Ma’am, and I was delighted that my knowing the character had made her day.
The costume contest was held outside which actually helped me see better in those dark wielder goggles I wear. I chatted with Zatanna before drifting towards the DC group to hang out (I only knew one person but that didn’t matter. We were still all bonded by out costume choices). I always say that this is my favorite part of any costume contest, just hanging out and getting to know the other people there. I ended up chatting with the person in front of me all the way up until he had to dash on stage for judging! We cheered on the kids and teenagers competing as the sun began to get low and the entire DC group spontaneously decided we need a group photo. It was a good day.
Despite having some issues, Great Lakes Geek Fest ended up being a nice time. There was a steady stream of attendees, never empty, but never full either. I’m hoping that the bumps in the road were just first year growing pains. It’s a good local con in an area that could use exactly this type of show. The long drive may keep me from coming back immediately, but I definitely want to sit and watch this one grow, get better and eventually take over the world.
I wanted to try something with my fellow Gotham villians in a Dark Knight style….
The Harper shows are a constant. They never change all that much, so I figured I knew what was in store for me Sunday. But I always forget – summer cons mean wardrobe malfunctions.
I had thrown up a poll to see what costume people wanted to see, and my old Mr Freeze won in a landslide. At 96%, it wasn’t even close. It had been over two years since I had Freeze out, and as I pulled it out, the wear showed. I had a lot of patching to do, including re-attaching one of the oxygen tanks to the back (and figuring a new way of doing so that didn’t just involve boat loads of glue). Also, my Freeze gun was missing. By “Missing” I mean, buried somewhere in the attic, but nt where I can find it to lay my hands on it. I looked around, trying to figure out what to do, and then decided to build a new on up around my Kyberlight lightsaber. It ended up being massive – but that’s not a bad thing. A bigger gun is far more reminiscent of the film Freeze. I packed the armor in the car and left the windows down during the early service at church. I was hoping the summer sun wouldn’t melt anything.
I started to suit up in the parking lot. It seems like this used t be easier. it certainly was when I tested it at home. The velcro tabs on the sides didn’t seem to want to hold. there was plenty of room, but they just kept coming loose. Finally I got the chestplate on and was looking for the gauntlets.
On of the air tanks came off. The hot sun had caused the glue between the metal clip and air tank to separate. Grumbling, I reached for my repair kit and grabbed a razor. I cut a lip in the tank (made from a couple of two liter bottles) and slid half the long clip inside the painted bottle itself, then the other side into the slot on the back of my armor. I prayed it would be enough to naturally clamp together, and went back to the business of putting the chestplate back on. Seriously, one velcro fastens then the other pulls off…Finally, with the armor on and the first gauntlet over my wrist…
The other tank came off. Out came the razor again, repeating the same proceedure. Back into the chestplate. Gauntlets on. Gloves on. Bald cap in place. Belt was sagging with the midplate a bit, but I’d have to live with it.
The goggles chose that moment to break, and I found myself rejiggering the clutch on the side that adjusts the tension. It was another few minuets before they were workable, and I finally slid my dome into place. I picked up the freeze gun and the muzzle promptly slid off the lightsaber. The sun had melted the glue holding this into place as well. I slid it back on and decided to let it float. It would allow me to grip the second handle sideways giving it a more industrial look, but it also meant I’d have to make sure to always point it up. If I relaxed my grip downward, the front would side off again. Fine. Lets get into the show.
I have to admit, I dig this venue. The split level with the snack bar and some good dealers makes it a nice set up. The costume contest draws an interesting crowd as well. I think it pulls in more young people than other Harper shows do. Over the years I’ve really seen the costume talent here develop into something impressive, from the amazing Umbrella ninja to the Carnivale Wonder Woman, the competition here grows better every year.
My favorite outfit of the day however, had to be the demonic Ronald McDonald. The young lady in the suit was totally into it and created a cheerfully creepy visage. I love these kind of mash ups, and was totally rooting for her in the costume contest.
I was happy to see so many fifty cent bins and even managed to plow through the single quarter box at the show, scoring a stack of vertigo books I’d always meant to check out and finding the completing issue of two different mini-series I’d been collecting. The vendor knocked a dollar off the already deeply discounted books and even better, he offered to hold onto my bag until I was ready to leave so I wouldn’t have to lug it around in the bulky costume. God bless this dude.
I missed seeing a lot of the friends I regularly run into at this show, but still had a nice time at it. It’s not hard to make new aquantances in this environment. I’m always amused when I look out and see a bunch of heroes sitting at a table with the lunch they just bought at the snack bar, or playing a board game. It’s a surreal image. There were some artists I recognized from Woo-Con and Akron, as well as some great booths. I found one table full of Godzilla movies, along with a book on Japanese film. The LaGrange table was selling old theater signs and there was an amazing selection of He-Man toys in the back. That’s really what the Harper shows are about – interesting buys and good shopping.It’s a nice little con with good deals and interesting artists, and that’s why I keep coming back.
I built Bat-Mite as an accessory for characters like Mr. Freeze to carry at events where carrying a weapon might be frowned upon. He’s been a great deal of fun to play with, and he even dresses up himself sometimes!
Lake Effect is the first convention I ever took my children to and has been one of our favourites. In the past, this has been a free convention and that means the dealers brought all of their overflow and overstock – and you could frequently find great deals and liquidation stuff at this show. The move from there space at the theatre to the new space at the hotel has necessitated an admission charge, and I’m interested in seeing how that affects the dynamic of the show. I’m hoping the deals that I’ve come to expect from like the fact are still going to be there – it was time though, this convention had outgrown the cramped spaces of the theatre lobby a year or two ago.
I’ve done some upgrades to Mr freeze, and I’m breaking this suit out for Sunday – we’ve upgraded Maddys star Sapphire as well. She had outgrown that old leotard, so we’ve made some changes – it will also be the premiere of her new iron Sapphire armour! We are so excited. Will be rolling in after church, probably around 130 although the con begins much earlier – we’re going to miss about half of the hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy film that they are screening but should be around for shopping, costume contests, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Hope to see you there!
However, I’ve been running into the promoter at events all year and he’s been constantly inviting me to come check it out. Finally, my attitude had been one of wait and see. If I was available I might go. It turns out that the day of the con, I was free in the morning and mid afternoon, but would have to leave before the costume contest. I was still on the fence, thinking it might be best to relax during the day seeing as I was going to be working as a makeup artist for a zombie themed event with the Boy Scouts that night, but it seemed like tons of my friends were going and they finally convinced me to head out to the Berea Fairgrounds.
I think Cleveland Comic Con has it’s heart in the right place, but they think bigger than what their show actually is. The con takes up two small buildings at the fairgrounds (while the local haunted house takes up several more behind it) dividing the show between the artist’s alley/event room and the dealer’s room/cosplay stage. I was genuinely surprised at how small that dealers room was. If you’re coming out to shop, you’re going to be a bit dissapointed. I think Lake Effect has a similar number of vendors, possibly a few more in a far more enclosed space. I certainly was able to find better deals at Lake effect anyhow. No quarter bins, not even true fifty cent bins- one table advertising half off the dollar bins (and I missed them the first three times I went around).
But if you’re not here for shopping, then what else is there? The promoter here is a regular at Cinema Wasteland and obviously knows the importance of programming. There’s at least two if not three things going on at all times. There’s some good panels here too, see for yourself;
The problem is that this is all happening in one building (all but the cosplay). It’s an open space that they have separated with dividers and curtains. This does nothing to hinder sound. While I was attending Knightmage’s panel I couldn’t hear half of the time because of the muddled sounds coming from the other event areas in the building. This is a serious problem for a con that want’s to showcase it’s programming.
The kids costume contest was well run and fun, though I was surprised that there weren’t more children there. Cleveland Comic Con is a BIG cosplay event, boasting far more than the average cosplayer attendance (I notice Frankenberry put in a last minuet appearance with his dragon rider). Considering the wider spaces there (even in the smaller buildings) it’s a good place for it. Walking around in my Mr. Freeze costume, I never once felt crowded or like I was about to bump into someone.
With all the adults surrounding us in costume it seemed a little strange to me that there weren’t more kids. On the other hand, we saw more than a few running around and I noticed Baconpool running to take photos with every little Deadpool he saw, declaring “I can’t afford any more child support!”
In the end, I found this to be a fairly average con. It’s not the nightmare it’s been reported to be in the past, but still experiencing some growing pains and bumps in the road. At three years, the logistical problems should have been ironed out by now and I think a show this size would still be better served in a hotel rather than the fairgrounds. Wait to grow a bit guys.
Not sure if I’ll be back next year or not. I’m trying to reduce my number of convention appearances and this one might not make the cut – then again, if I do some crazy big costume, this just might be the ideal venue to premier it. We’ll see.
You just know this isn’t going to end well. I love the gender bent Cap and Winter soldier. Cap especially really knows how to work that costume – this was a great idea. A marvelous Wonder Woman costume and one of our cosplay judges.The shield in particular fascinated me. I’ve never played with worbola myself, but I like the muted colors and really need to do a black wash like this on some of my armors. Supernatural fans, take note. THIS is how you gender bend a Winchester. You know Supergirl is vulnerable to magic right? The goggles start to get a little sore sometimes. I think it may actually look better with them pushed up like this… Someone had to explain this was a creature from Five Nights at Freddy’s. I think I saw one at Tricon too, but didn’t realize what it was. I’m honestly wondering if this is the same Q that I used to see at Star Trek cons back in the 90’s…. Really is one of my favorite Doctors. maybe I should have taken the helmet off for this picture? I was really stoked to see this Gambit. For some reason, this character can really work with a gender bend. I love the take on the top, the patterns in the blue and the quilted look of the pink. The shiny Americian Dream costume really stood out no matter where this group went. The look on Robin’s face just SCREAMS “I am in SO much trouble.”. Condensation. Cool day, but I kept getting a little warm…. Chill….
I must be crazy, trying to pack two conventions into one weekend, but when Dirk Manning brought this one to my attention I really was intrigued. They were bringing in Scott Spiegal, the writer of Evil Dead 2, as well as promoting some interesting stuff like a Kiss cover band. It would also be a great opportunity to unveil my new Mr. Freeze costume….so I packed up my stuff, and off i went to Toledo.
I’m not sure what I expected. I’m sure I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. Scott is a brilliant little ball of energy, outgoing and friendly. He loves Horror hosts, and Ohio is definately the right place for that. We reminisced about our favorites and I introduced him to the Kreepy Kastle before unrolling my evil Dead two poster. He loved looking at all the names, and added his own, along with the inscription “Don’t make an Ash out of me!” running into one of the other autographs.
His panel was incredible, hearing about working with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell in high school, having to sit out Evil Dead, and coming back for two. I love this guy, one of my favorite celebrity meet and greets.
Only a few media guests at this one, and that was well done. They did bring in a couple of Walking dead alumni, the two walkers Michonne had with her when she originally appeared on the show. Unbelievably, they were charging $30 per autograph, and $20 for a photo. I don’t know where they thought they were, but this was not the kind of con for those kind of prices, and quite frankly they arn’t worth that kind of coin. The Walking Dead cast is out of control, and I hope they walked out of there with empty pockets. I also hope that in the future, Fantasticon will bring in lower priced media guests. With the announcement of Jonathan Frakes next year, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
They brought in some great comic talent as well, most exciting to me was William Messner-Lobes. Definitely a great catch, who I remember especially for his run on the Flash. He wasn’t alone though, and I found myself also at Arvell Jones table as well, with a stack of All-Star Squadron in hand for him to sign!
I changed into my costume a little later (walking a city block to in it to get from my parking space to the convention center…still closer than at Indiana….) and headed in. There were some great costumes there, I walked in and saw a pitch perfect Wiplash – I was certian he was going to win the costume contest.
The contest was so much fun with so many amazing outfits, the winner ultimately being Lady Pyramed head taking first and the scariest Scarecrow I’ve ever seen taking second. I was excited to get third place.
I ended the evening catching the War Machine performance. War Machine is a Kiss cover band and a great deal of fun.
After a few technical difficulties, they launched int some recognizable hits and a nice selection of B-sides. The guy playing Ace was a beast on guitar and did a dead on impression of his accent and laugh.
All in all, a good first year, and I’m tempted to hit them up again next year. It was an interesting strategy, scheduling the adult costume contest and the Spiegal panel on Sunday. It certainly drew a nice respectable crowd, and made Sunday a really fund day at the time most cons are winding down (Sunday at Wasteland is dead depressing, people packing and checking out, catching those last few movies they may have missed earlier in the week). I dig this, and had great fun partying just as hard Sunday as I had on Friday and Saturday at Wasteland. I’m definitely interested in seeing how this grows next year.