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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‘Face Off’ Alumni Loose White Walker on SLCC 2015

by Special Agent Laura Davis (a.k.a. Hex Quillion)

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a fellow fan of the insanely popular TV show, Face Off, say they wished they could be in the chair for one of those makeup sessions, I could easily retire. We all realize, as we watch the show, that what we’re seeing is edited, but you don’t really get a sense of how much is edited out until you sit and watch it happen live. At Salt Lake Comic Con, I had the opportunity to do just that, as season eight contestants Kelly Harris and Alan Carnes turned actor James Morris into a white walker from Game of Thrones.

It’s easy to imagine that the makeup somehow magically transforms the actor into character, and in a visual sense, that’s true, but overall, the actor has to contribute a great deal, starting well before the cameras are ever turned on. Morris arrived for the session a perfectly normal-looking and friendly fellow, handed his motorcycle helmet off, and spent a few minutes shaking hands and chatting with people. The moment his butt hit that chair, though, you could see the transformation begin.

“For me,” Morris explained afterward, “[learning to sit for makeup] was taking on the things I grew with in dance training and applying it to the developing of micro movements; comfort within a small space, with others touching me with brushes or fingers and not pulling from their concentration. I can imagine it would be incredibly difficult for someone not body-aware and comfortable in their skin.
 Also, I think it’s always a sense of will power, from a half-hour makeup to six hours, it still takes strength of body and mind.”

As Harris meticulously prepared the appliances she was going to use on Morris, Carnes narrated and answered questions for me and many of the passersby, while sculpting a freaky, fierce little rat without really looking at it. Meanwhile, Rayce Bird (winner of season two and season eight coach) and season eight finalist, Logan Long, were sculpting faces. I asked each of them what they were sculpting:

“A witch,” replied Bird. A pretty horrifying witch, with gi-normous warts!

“I’m not sure, yet,” said Long with a grin. “I’ll find out later.” It’s definitely some form of Batman, though he wasn’t able to finish the sculpt before they had to leave for their panel.

Bird appeared completely unfazed by the surrounding maelstrom; he seemed happily transported to his Zen zone. Even with me practically sticking my camera in his ear to shoot his sculpture (I think I might have stabbed me with a sculpting tool if I were him!), he was an island of calm.

Long didn’t get quite as much sculpting done, because about every 45 seconds, a fan would come by wanting to shake his hand or ask a question, or to call out, “You should have won, Logan!” 
He met them all with a friendly smile and patiently answered all their questions. Long’s wife, Sarah, was on hand helping out all day, her belly adorably round with the couple’s first child: a son.

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Now, here’s where the TV version starts to let us down, in terms of showing the magnitude of this process. You have your model, you have your appliances, you have your makeup all ready to go. You stick the appliances on and then start in with the cool makeup, right? Oh, so very wrong! This particular makeup was, I gather, relatively simple, with only two appliances to apply: a throat piece and full face. It took Harris a little more than an hour, after initially applying the appliances, to trim all of the openings and fit it all just so, stick down all the edges, and “spackle” them over, so the appliances and Morris’ skin would appear seamless under the makeup. That’s more than an hour of painstaking work before a single color was touched.

And during that hour, Morris sat still as stone, bare-chested while the Salt Palace’s massive air conditioning system blasted him, and for most of that time, he had to have his mouth half-open so Harris could get every detail right, and not glue his lips together. A particularly miserable, cold, thirsty part of the process, but, Morris said, it was “worth it to showcase beautiful artistry.”

It was also interesting to note that while, on the show, we often see people frantically zooming around, sometimes venting frustration or blowing off a little steam, Harris was completely focused, calm, cool, and collected throughout the entire process.

Another 45 minutes or so, and Morris is now light blue, with details starting to stand out as Harris patiently shades, blends, and shades some more. They decide it’s time for a little stretch break, and, as Morris rises from his chair, I can see that although the makeup is only half done, he has become the white walker. He turns to the camera with a truly terrifying look on his face and lets out a blood-curdling screech, then does the same for the nearby fans who were watching. Some of them actually took a step back, while others leaned in to snap pictures.

Morris later laughed and remarked that moments like that are “definitely an enjoyable part of the process. It’s a kind of storytelling through the metamorphosis, bringing the audience in when they may otherwise be put off by the busy work of the makeup.”

The next hour or so was filled with details so minute it’s hard for someone who’s not an FX artist to take in, but Harris spattered and sponged, and the results were spectacular. And then came the part I found most terrifying: the contact lenses. At this point, Morris’ face and neck are done, except for the area immediately surrounding his eyes, which have no makeup at all. And he has — without dislodging any appliances, without destroying the makeup, and without injuring himself — to put in a pair of contact lenses.

Cringing, I asked Harris whether it wouldn’t have been easier to put the lenses in first.

“If I got adhesive, or makeup, or something in his eye while he had the lenses in,” she explained, “it could cause permanent damage to his eyes. They have to go in afterward. Once they’re in, I can touch up and fill in around his eyes with cream makeup.”

After a few harrowing moments, the lenses were in, and it only took Harris a short time more to touch up and fill in the rest of the makeup. Three hours into the process, and, at least from the neck up, we have a white walker. Breathtaking.

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It was good timing, because, Long reminded them, they had just about an hour left to complete the job by painting his upper body, adding a few accessories, and getting him to their panel on the other side of the building. Carnes jumped in to lend Harris a hand with the body paint.

Remember I mentioned how cold Morris got while sitting in the chair? In order to have his body painted, he had to stand up, with his arms out to the sides. And that makeup is damp. I’m not sure, but I suspect that the (much louder and screechier) white walker screech he gave when they hit his chest with the makeup might have been more than just a theatrical nod to the fans.

Despite the discomfort, though, this is the point where that white walker really came to life. As Harris and Carnes whooshed around him, covering him in makeup at what seemed like light speed, after the laborious progress of the face and neck, Morris was clearly having fun playing to the growing crowd of onlookers. And they were eating it up. I was busy gaping at how easy Harris and Carnes made that body paint look, when it’s clearly anything but.

The last 20 minutes of the session reminded me a lot of what we see on the show: people bustling everywhere, all talking over each other; sculptures sprayed and covered; makeup and tools gathered; accessories delivered from McGrew Studios and Calliston Armory, and being added to Morris’ look as Harris and Carnes turned it up to 11 finishing his makeup. And then … it was done. There was about 15 seconds to appreciate the final effect before the team was racing off down the aisle to make it to their panel.

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The fans in the packed hall went insane for the team and the makeup. And then, in just a quarter of the amount of time it took to create this amazing spectacle, it was over.

Team members scrambled to gather their gear and catch flights, and Morris was returned to his human state in short order. I’ll bet a hot shower never felt so good.


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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SLCC 2015: Photo Gallery – TV, Movie, and Video Game Themed

Photos from Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 by Sheralyn Pratt and Laura Davis. This gallery contains photos of cosplay, displays, and everything else related to themes and characters from TV, movies, and video games. Enjoy!

Additional SLCC 2015 Photo Galleries:

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