50 great things I love about the San Diego Comic-Con!

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I love that San Diego Comic-Convention.

Sometimes, I don’t shut up about it. I plan accessively over it. I have dreams about it sometimes. This leads to my attending this show again for 2019, carrying on my annual tradition for this sold-out, world famous, perhaps the grandest pop-culture show in the world. I can’t freakin wait for its 50th show (and my 25th in attending) since it started as a humble local comics convention in 1970 (held twice in that year).

So, in leading to another grand show for us nerds, here are 50 things (in no order) I personally love about this fandom converging, sequential arts celebrating, history-making, crowd-drawing, amazing thing that I shall forever be a part of…

1.  Arrival and spending time on the Exhibit Floor! It’s huge (615,000 square feet) and takes at least a full open con day to completely explore and observe.

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2. The welcoming show attendants, volunteers, dealers,  presenters, booth staff and all involved, who love the show as much as the attendees…and help make it all worthwhile.

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3. Comic Books! The SDCC is still focused on comic books, graphic novels, manga, cartoons, etc.. There are lots of other distractions, but its CCI is still focused on the sequential arts. I welcome any debate on this in the comments below.

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4. The many happy returns of my favorite companies, usually consistent but slightly updated in appearance. Image Comics puts the biggest smile on face with their own little world run by creator-owned titles.

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5. Ridiculous displays outside usually put forth by big media companies promoting whatever, but I welcome each balloon, animatronic, recreation, light show, large prop, and whatever else awaits visitors and the curious open public.

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6. Watching an admired creative person at work, especially at the DC booth. Here. famed artist Liam Sharp draws Ares (of DCU lore). I answered his trivia question and won the finished result!

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7. Outrageous and totally awesome booth displays. Nickelodeon, Lego, Cartoon Network, DC usually excels with a different theme every year, in awesomely brilliant style!

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8. You may have the chance to chat with a living legend, who could just be hanging out at a booth or signing at a table. Back in 2017, I had a great talk with artist Mike Grell as he worked on a commission piece. We talked a lot about living in Seattle (where much of his acclaimed Green Arrow comics run took place).

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9. Discovering something new, with many indie press creators looking to personally pitch your next great read. Writer Erika Lewis (at the Heavy Metal booth) sold me on this graphic novel blending modern fantasy and otherworldly magic. Loved it!

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10. Meeting an admired creator, having that person sign something unexpected. In this case, it was Yoshitaka Amano (best known for the Final Fantasy games, Vampire Hunter D original artist), who I snatched his placard during his feature panel, and got him to sign it as he was initially confused, then amused.

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11. Every fandom is welcome, and those communities often welcome you back!

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12. Cosplayers, of all crafts and everywhere! No matter how crazy crowded this show gets, there’s always room for cosplay!

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13. Looking through piles of stuff that are kind of organized in the dealer area, all for a set price. Develop fun conversations with others picking through, sharing fun finds and cracking little jokes.

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14.  Enjoying a show panel where the complete cast is present and interacting, like this one for the TV series, Community.

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15. Seeing for yourself how a well-known creator known for controversy or the subject of heavy conversation deals with the public, perhaps giving the chance to share some thoughts and ideas on controversies and how that affects creativity (in this case, Frank Miller). The SDCC recognizes such contribution very well.

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16.  Getting a huge boost of inspiration from someone that already inspires you (Ray Bradbury (on the left, Ray Harryhausen off-screen to the right) to love what you do, do what you love.

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17.  Unusual crossovers, such as this annual TV Guide panel, where a mix of talent just get together and answer questions from the audience. Let’s see what happens!

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18. Finding out there are many around who like the things you do, but sometimes in their special way (Doctor Who).

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19. The souvenir guides attendees receive each year. Each one full of fan art, writings, insights, and the usual focus on the comics!

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20. Autograph hunting!! Plenty here to fill up, and some sketches if lucky. One fan here shares his collection of Batman related artists, writers, related talent.

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21. Lots of original comic book cover and pages. Each unique and usually expensive, but much fun to look at.

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22. The love of newspaper funnies cartoonists. Jim Davis (Garfield) gives some very deep insights into this famed cat and supporting cast.

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23. Familiar faces, coming back for many repeat years. This Obi-Wan cosplayer I noticed for many of my early years, often showing up to the late-night Masquerade party.  I may not know them, but many among them have an unforgettable coolness and style.

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24. Meeting someone at the con, and becoming a good friend (met Mark cosplaying Captain Kirk many years ago, here he is Ric Flair), then blend in for further randomness!

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25. Enjoying the show with a friend or group of (Helen, you’re awesome!), as we go to a panel or just walk around and meet a Klingon.

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26. Free Swag! If persistent enough, there’s plenty to take home!

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27. Many collectibles on display, especially at the toy companies. Many of them are previews for products yet to be released!

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28. No matter how busy the show gets, many will have a second to sign a badge. If you have nothing to sign for an unexpected meeting with a person of fame and inspiration, find a marker and hand them your badge!

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29.  Stan Lee for many years and still there in spirit… Nuff Said!

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30. You can be yourself, let loose and have fun, like Burt Ward, Adam West, Julie Newmar at this small and cozy press conference as they share some hilarious moments together and with the crowd.

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31. Getting the inside scoop on your favorite series, with more insight from the creators themselves (Saga panel, with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples)

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32. Buying some really awesome collectible exclusives, that are high quality and worth every minute of the long line and the high price paid…Cowabunga!

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33. The city of San Diego, really adds to the grandness of this Comic-Con. There’s a lot to see and do here, with some epic beaches and awesome nightlife. If visiting here, take extra time to enjoy the city outside the show.

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34. Very large building displays. Not sure how effective the advertising and wish it was more focused on comic books. Yet, still glorious!

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35.  The Comics Creator Connection (artist/writer speed pitching), portfolio reviews, pitch panels, workshops…many opportunities for new talent to show their stuff and become the potential top SDCC stars of tomorrow!

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36.  Artist Alley, an awesome mix of business professionals and indie folk, taking down commissions, selling original art, awesome prints, and so much more. There’s a lot of heart and soul in this area, and the SDCC has kept it going!

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37.  Small press section, another great area of home-grown, indie-power delights. Here, you can find as much personality in the creator as the creations themselves!

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38. Becoming a Blood Donor for the longtime annual show Blood Drive.

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39. Really weird, sometimes mashed-up collectibles, custom made by special artists sold the designer area of the convention center. Lots here for the weirdo in all of us.

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40.  Exclusives are nice, but the dealer stands have a magnificent variety of lost, very rare treasures..sometimes at a real steal of a deal.

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41.  There’s usually one unexpected panel end up going to every year, totally different and of nowhere. Bloom County’s Berkely Breathed’s hilarious panel comes to mind (2014), …showing brilliant misdirection that he may or may not be Bill Watterson.

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42.  Great finds you did not know existed. You just have to look!

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43.  Back issue bins are plenty, where all your super friends are waiting!

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44. Star Wars is everywhere, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

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45.  The annual Comic-Con Masquerade show, showcasing a mix of great and sometimes very surprising cosplay.

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46.  Finding an awesome outside event, very increased over the years. There’s plenty out there, with much not needing a badge to participate!

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37.  Venturing out into the night, checking out the side events and stumbling across some different things going on, like this live sketching event.

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48. Crashing of many parties after the con. The After Masquerade Party at the Convention Center is often fun and worthwhile.

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49. It’s never really goodbye when you hang with great friends at Comic-Con. You share memories that will last lifetimes and beyond. Here, is the flashiest back to circa 2000, with me, my dear friend Heather (who I shared many SDCC years with ever since), Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, and Sargeant Kabukiman NYPD.

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50. The show as it is, for keeping all that is wonderful about it real and forever a part of my life.  Thank you Comic-Con (and all my friends, who I have shared this show with over the years)!

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Not the end, as I have much more to add, I will save that perhaps for the 75th, maybe the 100th anniversary.

 

Amusements of the Crypticon 2019

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It’s been a month, but the local Crypticon still feels fresh and spooky to me.

The Seattle Crypticon 2019 happened in early May, as a large horror fandom convention of the Pacific Northwest. This Crypticon has remained annual for over 10 years. but feels local and small in comparison to those big celebrity-driven Comic Cons. There are two other Crypticons held in the U.S further out in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Kansas City, Missouri. All dedicated to those who love horror and supernatural themes in books, movies, TV, games, and whatever else entertains the soul with elevated suspense and tingles.

I enjoyed every minute. therefore I must share a bit more with my casual go to this year, with not much in mind other than sharing time with friends old and new, some shopping, and panel-hopping. Crypticon provided and gave a bit more.

Here are some pictures I took with notes attached:

From the moment you enter, you will find many attendants getting deep in the spirit of the show, with detailed makeup and costumes. Doing such makes the character inside reach out!

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Some of that work will have spectators doing a double-take.

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And of course, some familiar friends walked around like Chucky here!

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And not everything is horror, but a touch of horror and supernatural elements inspire others to focus on those interesting elements of fandoms. Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series exemplifies that.

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Not sure what story this creepy girl is a portrayal of, or perhaps there is no need. Great makeup, costuming and accessory is all one could need to really put a story through.

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No convention is worthwhile without an exhibit floor filled with creative souls selling their custom handmade work with a variety of writings, paintings, indie movies, figurines, pins, and so much more.

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Paintdead Artworks by Jacqueline Gallagher (www.paintdead.com, @jackiepaintdead on Instagram). I purchased an awesome Alien print from her.

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Love the magnificent crochet work from Sheri Jordan of SanjiCraft (@sanjicat on Instagram, Sanjicraft on Facebook).

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A big of fan of Sanjicraft’s work here…

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Owlex (@Owlex Never sleeps on Instagram, Facebook), crafter of resin cast half-masks inspired by samurai menpo. 

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I also attended some great panels, including this X-Files TV show panel with supporting cast William B Davis, Brian Thompson, Nicholas Lea, Mitch Pileggi. Lots of fun with some revealing set stories told!

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The Twin Peaks panel with Ray Wise and Sheyl Lee, a treat for fans with more fun behind the scenes stories and thoughts on this classic cult show.

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Also scoped out many short films among two feature viewings…a great mix indeed!

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Then on my way to the fun nighttime party on the 13th floor. No formal attire needed..just be yourself!

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That’s all for now, with a huge thank you to the show organizers, cosplayers, creatives, and others who made this show a worthwhile crash. I look forward with my plan to attend again in the future, for sure!

2019’s Con Season Begins at Wondercon

Last weekend, comic book fans and cosplayers took over Anaheim, California to celebrate Wondercon, now in its 32nd year.  The sold-out show brought an estimated 66,000 attendees, making it now half the size of San Diego Comic Con.  Con season has officially begun, and here are some of our favorite moments….

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Wondercon made a return to Anaheim this year. A giant Bumblebee guarded the entrance by Harbor.

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The vendor hall was bustling on Saturday, but fairly empty Friday. DC’s booth featured Shazam costumes and Batman cowls throughout the year.

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Greg Capullo greets fans at the DC booth.

Exploding Kittens was a popular booth this year, with a puppet-based interactive game where you could buy random objects for a dollar. I watched someone walk away with an eggplant.

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Wondercon always attracts fun cosplayers and pushes the envelope for creativity.

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Just your local robots out for an evening stroll after spa day at the hotel.

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Hey look, we found her!

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Venom gets a classy tux treatment in this handcrafted creation.

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We wrapped our day at the Unnecessary Debates panel, moderated by Grand Geek Gathering’s Tyler McPhail. Our favorite part was Olivia singing as Groot.

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Jenny Jaffe (writer, Big Hero Six TV series), Tyler McPhail (host of The Grand Geek Gathering), Genevieve Cosplay, Abed Gheith (writer, Rick and Morty), and Olivia Olson (Marceline from Adventure Time)

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Wondercon is always a favorite because it has that oldschool SDCC feel to us. There’s a good balance of comics, games, sci-fi, and cosplay, and many of our favorite guests and creators. The panels are creative and thoughtful, but also full of exciting announcements. We can’t wait to go back – Wondercon 2020 will be held Easter weekend, April 10-12 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Cosplay excellence at the 2019 Emerald City Comic Con

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No modern-day pop-culture convention feels complete without the efficient cosplay dedication from many of its attendees. The 2019 Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle carried on that, with excellence!

However, those familiar with these events can expect no surprises in trends here. There were the usual Marvel and DC fanfare, with more influence from the movies and TV shows. Star Wars is usual, but didn’t catch my eye as much. Gamer cosplay attire continues to impress, as games like Overwatch and Fortnite have elaborate, challenging costume designs, putting their expert crafters to heavy work to achieve authenticity. I think the game designers in creating these characters, look forward to making its cosplay crafter fans really work for that authentic look.

Meanwhile, the main event for ECCC 2019, showcased as the Western Championships of Cosplay, featured many talent cosplayers on stage. Throughout the show, there was a focus on three categories – Needlework, Armor, and FX. Here is a complete video of that grand display…

So overall, an awesome impression everywhere at ECCC. I took some pictures of many costumes done from casual to expert level from fans walking around on and around the convention floor…

MissBoof  as Thor, using luminescent UV-coated eye contacts and LED lights.

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Zamesta as Mercy from the Doctor Who “The Next Doctor” Christmas episode with a fairy friend.

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Ollei Cosplay as Sugarplum Sylvana from Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft

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Alternate dark multiverse “The Man Who Laughs” Batman from the DC Comics..

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Samurai Mario!

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Feel the power of Hulkamania!, BROTHER!!

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Hellboy!

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Not sure, but fits well with the St. Patricks Day spirit, which crossed over this weekend.

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Disney ladies!

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Brilliant design work here!

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Skeletor!

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Monterrey Jack and Gadget of the Rescue Rangers!

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Mera!

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Milly Craft as Princess Celesta from My Little Pony.

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Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, I think. Costume had a cool glitter effect, which I could not quite capture here.

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That’s all for this ECCC show, with added applause to all cosplayers who attended, and added that extra touch that in the overall enjoyable Con experience!

Final Fantasy Cosplay outside the 2018 Sakura-Con

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continued from the recent Outside 2018 Sakura-Con post.

This time, focusing attention on two huge Final Fantasy games franchise meetup for its fandom and cosplayers. All happening outside the recent 2018 Sakura-Con in the afternoon among the freshly bloomed cherry trees and other fandoms. I thoroughly enjoyed the Final Fantasy games since the early 90s, playing them and collected choice merch. Many characters and styles have held a special place in my heart, ever memorable to their place in grand, interactive stories. Seeing them brought to life in cosplay with the amazing fan representation fills me with much joy.

That being said, here is a collection of pics from the Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy all-games cosplay meetups…

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SDCC 2017 Recap, Part 5 – More Cosplay

The 2017 San Diego Comic Con held much action involving the interaction of fandoms.

A large part of fan participation includes the cosplay, shown in Part 2 of our SDCC Recaps. In that posting, we showed many pics but not all. The rest are below, check them out!

But, our restricted and could not capture more. Much was observed in this trip, including trends. Stronger in the fan costuming for this year were the representations of Wonder Woman (movie and comics), Doctor Strange, Thor, Spider-man, Deadpool, Harley Quinn…much on the superheroes gaining popular movie attention. Not so much, I think are the Star Wars variety. Doctor Who and Game of Thrones are still out there, along with the various anime and video games (Overwatch a growing presence). Next year, I hope to see some great Black Panthers, Thanos, and Star Wars: Last Jedi representations.

Overall, there was not as much cosplay as the more focused conventions of genres and particular fandoms I have attended such as Anime Expo, Blizzcon, Sakura Con, Emerald City Con. I think the frequency was down this year, compared to earlier years. I didn’t see as much. Reasons for this, I think included the increased amount of activity in events and purchases on the lists of attendees, and the further apart of walking and traveling to be done for attendees. The con feels busier, with less time for casual socialization and constant photo-snapping. I heard the Masquerade event was great, of which I sadly missed.

So, here are the rest of the cosplayers in our views at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Click on each pic for more detail and character info…

 

That’s all for now. I have one more Recap to share soon, concluding this year’s coverage. For that, will contain personal insight and opinions of the show and happenings within, with thoughts on the SDCC’s future. Look forward!

SDCC 2017 Recap, Part 2 – Cosplay at the Con

 

Cosplay remains a constant element of dedicated fandom, here at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con.

When attending the show, the people dressing up as a favorite character present the best dedication a fan can offer in appearance. Many put heavy work and thought into the craft of their outfits. Some brilliant people have variations on familiar icons. such as gender swaps, time period variations, mash-ups, or just some creative weirdness. I felt cheered in seeing more of these daring approaches.

Below are some hand-picked cosplay pics, shot during this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Click on each pic for identification info and slideshow mode.

 

Awesome Cosplay Groups from the 2017 Sakura Con

The 2017 Sakura-Con in Seattle has come and gone, over a month ago. The event was fantastic, with tens of thousands of fans in attendance.

We posted about the grand gathering, about the event, and the cosplay.

But there was more yet shown from SW, with the large group gatherings of the cosplay. Sakura-Con did well with their scheduling and app in coordinating and spreading the good word for the fan gatherings. Many gathered in short times, for lasting moments in pictures and memories. I checked out a few choice gatherings in my spare times, of which I share in the pics below.

So, here are gatherings of cosplay clusters for Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, DC Comics, Final Fantasy, Sailor MoonStar Wars, Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, and some Nintendo Power.

 

The Amazing Cosplay of the 2017 Sakura-Con

The cosplay at many anime conventions often represents the best in fandom participation, especially when such comes to craftsmanship and detail. The 2017 Sakura-Con Northwest Anime Festival in Seattle showed a tremendous frequency in the costumed participants and gave the event a special vibrancy for this year.

I present this follow-up to my recent Sakura-Con report, to the amazing cosplay present among the attendees. Below, are those in small groups and individual shots, who kindly posed for the camera (thanks to all featured below). Click on each picture for costume reference. For those I could not identify  but marked with “?,” I would love some help in the comments.

 

 

Group shots are coming soon. Check back with SW soon for more Sakura-Con and cosplay action!

All pictures taken by me (Orion Tippens), please ask permission and give source credit to strangerworlds.com before sharing elsewhere. For cosplayers featured and pictured here, please feel free to use the pics on your site and social media connections (but sourcing would be kind).

Cosplay of the 2017 Emerald City Comic Con

No modern comic convention is complete without the participations of its attendees, especially with the cosplay.

This sub-culture of costuming at the 2017 Emerald City Comic Con brought more life to the present fandom. Comics, games, movies, television, all well represented through a mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. Though, nothing this time felt too popular in frequency. Less were the Harley Quinns, Deadpools, Links, Batmans, Marvel movie fanfare (though a slight increase in Doctor Stranges. I noticed more mashups, crossplays, obscurities, and shoutouts to the indie scene of current pop-culture media.

Below are some pictures, displayed below (click on each pic for costume identification)…

That’s all for this year at the ECCC. I look forward to next year!

– Orion T

(photo credits – taken March 2017 by Orion T for strangerworlds.com..please ask permission and credit the site if sharing elsewhere)