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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cosplay at Stan Lee’s Comikaze

Most of these folks are new to me,
but they're clearly having a good time.

It sometimes seems as though I do little more with this blog than flaunt my appalling ignorance.  If only I’d shut up, people might think me wise!  But keeping this blog focuses my mind upon that which I wish to remember, allows me to investigate what I wish to learn more about, and forces me to confirm that which I think I know (but often really don’t).  In so doing, it helps me stay in touch with the rest of humanity, instead of allowing me to remain in a comfortable bubble of isolation.

"Keep your distance, buddy!"

I normally attend conventions with a strong literary component.  I like to discuss books first, and then movies and TV.  I don’t participate in gaming tournaments, and I don’t make or wear costumes.  (It’s been ages since I wore my Doctor Who scarf).  Most of the time, once the main body of panels ends for the evening, I’m leaving the convention for home or my hotel, to rest and recharge for the next day’s discussions.  This doesn’t mean I don’t see merit in everything else that goes on at conventions, such as the filking (music), or the costume contests, only that, as an aspiring writer, I remain focused upon my chief interest.

Panelists discuss the "life" of Cosplay.
(The one in green is clearly being patient with me).

In attending Stan Lee’s Comikaze, I deliberately set out to widen my horizons.  I had no idea what I would find or learn.  I only knew it sounded like fun, and would be something different.  Comic books were important to me in the 1980s, so I went through my collection, and came with a list of issues to fill the gaps in the series that I thought would be most fun to read through again.

Red Skull (from the Captain America movie)
wonders if he should have opted for
his usual black leather uniform.

I think the biggest surprise was how many people attended in costume.  At small literary conventions, few people walk the halls in costumes, but at Comikaze the sheer number of costumes astounded me.  Some looked highly professional, revealing an impressive attention to detail on the part of their makers.  Some characters were instantly recognizable from movies, while others seemed a variation on a theme.  Their wearers hadn’t designed and worn their costumes to win prizes in a costume contest.  They simply wore them to have fun.

"Don't look the ringwraith in the eye, kid!"

Most of the costumed participants enjoyed posing for photographs.  And many acted the part of their character, walking the exhibit hall and other areas of the convention floor as if they really were the characters they portrayed.  This, I’ve since learned, is called Cosplay, a form of performance art, in which half the fun of attending the event is becoming the character they created or wished to emulate.  It was something new to me.  People not just discussing the art they love, but becoming it.

Universes Collide: A Stormtrooper questions
Dark Helmet from "Spaceballs,"
a movie that lampoons "Star Wars."

I never cease to be amazed by the myriad ways that people embrace the Fiction they love, and incorporate it into their lives.  Cosplay, you rock!

Dragon Dave

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