I’ve been a comic book reader for 21 years. I’ve attended a few local NJ cons, as well as the New York and Chicago ones when I was younger. I’ve always entertained thoughts of attending the Shangri-La of cons – the San Diego Comic Convention – but I never went so far as to purchase the tickets. Let’s just say I was overjoyed (and danced a little jig) when I was asked to work at the Workman Publishing booth this year.
Our booth was located in the Lucasfilm Pavillion with other companies who make books, shirts, skateboards, and key chains featuring the Star Wars world.
It was the perfect place for us since were debuting our new line of Star Wars Workbooks. We brought a few hundred copies along to give away (we were also looking to sell a few).
I shared one image of the freebies on Instagram and Twitter, and the stack started dwindling. It was hard to turn away requests to take more than one, particularly when those requests came from adorable kids.
We kept busy in the booth with people browsing our wares and some author signings, including Chris Alexander, author of Star War Origami , who signed books and taught folks how to make origami light sabers.
My colleague Moira and I were on our feet for 10+ hours every day, so in between promoting our books and ringing up customers, we had to find ways to keep energized and focused. I tried some yoga, which was only partially successful. Here’s the “before” photo:
I’m kind of glad there is no “after” photo. Ouch.
I also set out to take photos with various cosplayers over the course of the week. For the uninitiated, cosplay is short for costume play, i.e., getting dressed up in an awesome outfit. Since it was a comic convention, I knew I’d see tons of superheroes. I wanted pictures with my favorites.
Zatanna (looking like she just leaped out of the DC Comics Fandex):
Supergirl and Power Girl (who you will learn is actually Supergirl from a parallel earth, if you read the Fandex):
Now, I know you’re thinking: I’m just getting photographs with pretty ladies in costumes. Well, you’re partially right. Here I am with a good friend dressed as Harley Quinn:
But that’s not the only reason I wanted to take pictures. These people are awesome. The time and effort they put into their costumes is remarkable, as is their enthusiasm once they’re at the show. And that enthusiasm is contagious.
Not every cosplayer sets out to complety recreate their fictional counterpart. Some of the fun is finding ways to reinterpret the characters. Here, we have a Batwoman who is actually dressed as a bat-woman, ready for the ballgame, along with a vintage Rosie-the-Riveter—style Wonder Woman. The lady in black and blue is doing something that’s referred to as Rule 63, which is when you dress as a character of the opposite gender. In this case, she’s a female Nightwing.
Cosplay isn’t limited to comic books either. TV stars like Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama could be found…
…along with amazing yet obscure characters, like Kuato from the 1990 film Total Recall:
Or, going back to that Rule 63 concept, a Freddy Krueger who is slightly less scary than the classic Freddy:
Some cosplayers went as themed couples. There were plenty of Batman & Robin duos, but by my favorite was this pair of hard-to-find characters, Waldo and Carmen Sandiego:
Moira got into the fun as well, tracking down a Darth Vader who was surprisingly huggable:
And a few moments of each day, I managed to get away from our booth to do some shopping of my own. I tried to limit my spending, but I couldn’t resist some Con exclusives, like this variant cover edition to the Monster Motors comic by Brian Lynch and Nick Roche, or these limited edition Blu-rays from Fox which came with lithographs. (The shirt and Blu-rays from Scream Factory was an unplanned impulse purchase, but I couldn’t resist. I love those guys.)
For five days, I was in a truly odd and wonderful world where I got to talk to hundreds of people, sign some autographs, and catch up with old friends.
Fingers crossed, I’ll be back next year. And this time, I’ll be ready.