SDCC 2016 Photo Gallery

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Cosplay was everywhere this year at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, and a good deal of it a loving if not terribly sad tribute to those we’ve lost recently. David Bowie as the Goblin King, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and, of course, Leonard Nimoy in arguably his most iconic role as Spock, to name just a few, were proudly displayed like living tributes to pop-culture gods.

DC Comics dominated this year, particularly everyone’s favorite psycho couple of Joker and Harley, in reference to Suicide Squad, which comes out in theaters very soon. But, there was also plenty of cheerful genderbent cosplay, anime tributes, steampunk recreations and original costumes, all of them ready to strike a pose for your camera. The International Cosplay Corps, those tireless do-gooders who run around all of Comic-Con doing free cosplay repair on the go, were finally honored for their good works by multiple online outlets, the Costume Designers Guild and the Union Tribune newspaper as well.

Here are just a small gathering of the many cosplay enthusiasts your roving reporter Alicia Glass managed to corral at San Diego Comic-Con 2016!

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CosLosseum 2016: Enter the Cosplay Arena

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror) 

Welcome to San Diego’s very first CosLosseum event, where we honor every last cosplayer, from the obscure obsessions of the anime folk to the well-known lightsaber and sonic screwdriver crowds, and everything in between!

So, the first official event of the day was “The Video Games,” put on by the good peoples of MB Stage. A parody of The Hunger Games, in which all the tributes are characters from some of your favorite video games, all battling it out live for the coveted title of Player One! The audience is said to alter the outcome of the battle, by live and Twitter voting, which changes the game storyline throughout the performance.

Tyrant Queen Zelda commanded the Games to begin and put Mario (yes that Mario) and Jigglypuff in charge, and it turns out a Renegade version of Commander Shepard is the video game designer. Then we got treated to the likes of Scorpion (Mortal Kombat), MasterChief (HALO), Princess Peach (Super Mario Bros.), Paragon Commander Shepard (Mass Effect), Donkey Kong, Pikachu (Pokemon), Link (Zelda), Lady Yuna (Final Fantasy), Samu Aran (Metroid), and even Lara Croft running around trying to kill each other!

This was a live action performance, full of props and audience participation and carefully scripted fight scenes that were truly a joy to watch. All the players tried, within their various character modes, to up the audience participation, and threw their hearts mightily into those roles. You can just tell, the performers at MB Stage Productions really do care about their stagecraft. Every character got at least a few minutes of personal stage time and some fight scenes, most of which were screamingly funny and completely character-appropriate.

The front entrance hall to the ballroom where the con was held was lined with vendors and there was a whole other section of ballroom for yet more vendors. One wall had celebrity tables, where you could walk right up and talk with the likes of Rashaad Santiago and Anthony Reyes, or Sandi Sellner, Moses Moseley and others. The merchant booths themselves were great little corners of all manner of fandom – Wired Redhead Jewelry sold fantasy wire pointy-eared jewelry; the Elder Gods and their alcohol on t-shirts made an appearance with Wyngd Lyon Creations; Leelo Jewelry had flasks and coasters and earrings, oh my; a mad scientist sold geek-favorite pocket watches at insane prices. There were all sorts of Steampunk accessories available at several booths, original art prints and kawaii things and even comic books, and all that barely scratches the surface. No matter how fandom-specific a booth and its merchandise might have been, I saw plenty of money changing hands and smiles all around. Because nothing says ultimate fandom like a flask emblazoned with, ‘THE DARK SIDE MADE ME DO IT”!

Also in the front hall was an entire table set up for emergency cosplay repairs, put on by the brilliant folks at International Cosplay Corps, as they now do at many cons. There were actual freaking sewing machines set up on that table, along with helpful mobile Sergeants who carried cosplay repair kits upon their persons like the best support troops to us wacky cosplayers ever. Far from running repairs with nothing but duct tape and a prayer, these ICC Sergeants and their troopers are a walking blessing at any con that has cosplayers.

The Research for Lupus Fundraiser event was quite small but heartfelt. Dan Posey, leader of this intrepid new con in his Punisher pride costume and chains, gamely took the mic and introduced Hollaine Hopkins of the Lupus Foundation, and former Power Ranger Sandi Sellner, also a Lupus sufferer. The ladies spoke of how Lupus is becoming far too common these days, newer treatment options becoming available with research, and the ever-present need for more research to find a cure. Audience members were encouraged to speak out of their own issues with Lupus, and then the auction, benefitting Lupus research, was held. And Dan Posey proudly announced that, despite it being a small con and on the first day, they had taken in, from ticket sales alone, just slightly over $1,000 to forward towards Lupus Research for a Cure. If you want to donate to research for a cure for Lupus, go here.

A bit more wandering, money-spending and picture-taking later, it’s time for the inevitable Cosplay Costume Contest! With only a dozen or so actual entrants and six categories of prizes to win, the contest was an interesting little do-si-do of coordination. Cosplay entries included characters from The Evil Within, League of Legends, The Strain tv show, Ragnarok Online 2, Final Fantasy, and the anime Black Butler. Winners were as follows –

Group Cosplay – Black Butler trio (Sebastian, Ciel Phantomhive, Undertaker)

Best Makeup – Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

Best Craftsmanship – The Evil Within

Best Performance – Master Vampire (The Strain)

Best in Show – Ragnarok Online 2

Con Favorite – Tenjo (Final Fantasy)

And that was the end of my very first CosLosseum experience. Yes, the venue was small and without the crushing crowds of the likes of Comic-Con – given some of the costumes people were sporting, trying to do SDCC in them seems like a good way to inadvertently commit homicide. The atmosphere was open and loving and genuinely heartfelt, and I bet you my favorite TARDIS dress that not only will CosLosseum be back next year, it will be bigger, more together, and always full of that adorkable Cosplay insanity fandom!

XXX

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Cos-Losseum 2016: The Art of Cosplay and Fandom

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Oh praise the costuming gods, herald the arrival of Prince PVC and Dame Duct Tape, pay worshipful homage to your favorite fandom in the best way possible – by dressing up as them!

Who doesn’t love Cosplay? As Geekdom takes over our entire universe in all its tatty, unselfconscious glory, we as adults get to live our dreams that many of us enjoyed as small children – dressing up as our favorite heroes, villains, and whatever other characters we loved under the moon! Cos-Losseum 2016 brings the best and brightest together for a weekend of Cosplaying your little heart out!

How can you get in on this Cosplay extravaganza? Well first, you buy tickets here. Cos-Losseum is on Saturday and Sunday, January 23 and 24, 2016, at the Crowne Plaza San Diego, located here. Navigating the hotel and surrounding area can get tricky and so can finding nearby parking, so it’s suggested you arrive early or scope the place out before the weekend.

Saturday events are as follows: The Video Game, where the audience decides the winner; Cinematic Storytelling in Star Wars Art with special guest Scott Harben; the Passion of Cosplay panel; the official Research for Lupus Fundraiser event; of course the official Cosplay Contest hosted by Loki Hates You and ThorTV; then comes breakdown and setup of the after-party, for adults only, with live performances by Lolita Dark and DJ Galactic Ray.

Sundays events include a Diversity in Pop Culture panel with guests Chris Riley and J.V. Green; Creature Creations with Face-Off guests Rashaad Santiago and Anthony Reyes; the I Have Such a Headache!!! panel with Power Ranger guests Barbara Goodson, Kerrigan Mahan, and Sandi Sellner; Galactic Steampunk with guests Star Wars Steampunk Universe; and finally The World Needs More Hashtags hosted by That Hashtag Show.

Bring your fundage because we all know Cosplaying can get expensive and yes there will be a whole bunch of vendors at Cos-Losseum. Dreadfully Punk will be doing a Live Podcast the whole time, and there will be a live performance from the awesome band The Flux Capacitors! The International Cosplay Corps will be offering free mobile Cosplay repair, as they often do at various conventions, which is forever awesome of them.

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Prizes and funding come from the likes of Villanous Lair Comics and Gaming of San Diego, The Cosplay Initiative LLC, the anime powerhouse channel Funimation, Geeks of the Galaxy podcast, and Dreadfully Punk Dreadwaves. Special guests include the likes of Sandi Sellner, Rashaad Santiago, Russ Adams, Logan Long, Anthony Reyes, Michael Copon, Richard Harmon, Moses Moseley, Stephen J. Semones, Ellie Collins, and more!

Seriously, whether you’re a weekend warrior, “I only do this for fun” kind of cosplayer, or someone who shells out wads of time and money to make a realistic and lifelike lightsaber to go with your Darth Maul tribute, everyone should come to this Con. Of course, cosplay is encouraged but not required, and always adhere to the posted rules of cosplay, referring to such things as replica weapons, peace ties and wingspans. We here at the Super Villain Network hope to see you, in happy cosplay or not, at Cos-Losseum 2016!

XXX

Cosplay Cavern: Do You Even Cosplay?

by Agent Aly Runke (a.k.a. Deelja)

Cosplay has come a long way in the past twenty or so years, from basements to primetime television. With the increase in interest comes the increase of options, tools, etc. for the would-be-cosplayer. However, with that popularity come factions and an almost caste system. Most people have heard of the Cosplay is Not Consent movement and how a sexy cosplay isn’t necessarily a slutty cosplay, the body-shaming issues, the gender issues, the race issues, etc. Right now, in our increasingly politically-correct world, those take the forefront. However, there are other levels of elitist thinking that have nothing to do with who you are or whom you are cosplaying, but much more to do with who made the cosplay.

For the new cosplayer on the block, there are several options: go to Joann’s, pick up some fabric, pick a up a sewing needle, a pattern, and a whole lot of guts and get crackin’; scour Facebook, Deviantart, and Etsy for someone with already-polished costuming skills to craft your costume for you; or use Amazon, eBay, or alliExpress and order a factory-made costume. Now, none of these options is really that much cheaper than the others, nor is the time between conception of cosplay and wearing it really all that far apart, either. So at this point, it’s up to you. Whichever floats your boat, so to speak. With good research, any of these options can produce a great cosplay.

There are, however, people who do not consider it cosplay unless it is handmade from wig to bootstrap. There are enough people who believe this, that the idea of handmade costumes being better than store-bought has woven itself pretty tightly into cosplay society. It can be argued this all started with cosplay contests or masquerades where, naturally, the judging is on the craftsmanship, but this also inadvertently puts those who make their own cosplay, and make them well, on a pedestal above the rest. It could be that the element of competitive spirit is what has taken this all a bit too far. People seem to forget every cosplayer is a geek in a costume.

The most fascinating aspect of this elitist mindset is how it manifests within different fandoms. With anime cosplayers, it is a deep-rooted prejudice. While these costumes are readily available online to be purchased, it is common to be looked down upon if someone can tell that your  Attack on Titan jacket was made in a factory with a bit cheaper fabric than the Levi cosplayer who used real leather. There are other stereotypes that this bought-online-cosplayer is subjected to, as well: that of the status of weaboo, and not a true fan of the series. As if there is such a thing as true fans, or that any one of us anime fans hasn’t fit the weaboo trope at one point, but alas, that is an article for another day.

In the comic world, the lines tend to blur a bit more than it does for anime cosplayers. Because of the mainstream popularity of superheroes, a lot of the pre-made costumes available are quality costumes. It’s harder to tell the makers from the buyers, at a glance. And as movies come out and we see our heroes in layman’s clothes it gets even more difficult. With comic cosplayers there’s a lot more grey area.

Finally, one of the more accepting groups (at least, in this regard) is the Disney cosplayers. Here, the most important thing is accuracy. You must be Ariel, Jasmine, Tiana, or Mother Gothel. Whether this is accomplished through your own sewing machine or something other means almost seems to slip past the fans. You will get bashed quicker for the wrong length skirt than whether or not you sewed it, in Disney fandom. In fact, the biggest elitist group in Disney is reserved for wigs. Wig styling is huge for a Disney cosplayer, and here is where the judgment will lie.

At the end of the day, you cannot worry about what anyone thinks. If you want to make your costume then make it, if you want someone else to make it, great! If you buy it on amazon, go rock it! Cosplay is bringing characters we love to life – not tearing each other down. The media does that enough for us. Personally, I do both. I’ve ordered full costumes, made them by hand, or combined ready-made and hand-made pieces in the same cosplay, and no matter what, when I’m wearing a cosplay and someone calls out “Naruto!” or “Tink!” with a smile, that’s why I am there.

SLCC 2015: Photo Gallery – General

Photos from Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 by Sheralyn Pratt and Laura Davis. This gallery contains photos of some amazing cosplay we spotted, along with photos of the con experience in general. Enjoy!

Additional SLCC 2015 Photo Galleries:

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