I went to Comic Con once, a long time ago, when I was a child. I went with my uncle Mike. He and my aunt Steph were the most outrageous and cool relatives I had. He is the lead singer of a punk band called Agent Orange and she used to have a platinum white mohawk. It was the 80s. They were always taking me and my brothers to do fun things when we were kids. One year, they took me to Comic Con. I remember buying some mangas (Japanese comics). Back then, I was into Sailor Moon, I mean REALLY into it, and at the Comic Con I got to read the Sailor Moon manga for the first time. I also discovered Fushigi Yuugi (The Mysterious Play) while I was browsing the convention center floor. Still one of my favorite anime series of all time.
Flash forward to 2014, and I had been wanting to attend Comic-Con for years, but it just hadn’t happened. There is usually a decent amount of planning involved. My friends Tom and Liza invited me to stay in their hotel with them and kept encouraging me to come. They go every year, and are well known in the Comic Con community, I met them a long time ago doing community musical theatre. Being that I’m a gamer, role player and somewhat of a computer nerd, of course I was down to go. Not to mention my love for manga, anime, Star Wars, Batman, and so on. Perhaps the angels heard my whispering hopeful thoughts. One cos-playing friend and fan of mine who is always posting up pictures of his costumes on Facebook had been asking me to attend cosplay events with him for a while. I was impressed by his generosity when he asked if he could buy me an entrance to Comic Con! He requested I dress as Wonder Woman, and seeing as I already had 2 wonder woman costumes, naturally I agreed. I also had had a Firiona Vie of Everquest outfit made a year prior by my friend and costume designer, Scarlet Snow.
I had never known anything so magical as EverQuest, the moment I first discovered it around age 12. The game took place in a mystical world on another planet. The game was Dungeons & Dragons based. If you didn’t know, Dungeons and Dragons is based off of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. So it’s an incredible, beautiful fantasy world that basically depicts an ancient mythical past of Earth. It was a massive online RPG, and back then, people would actually role play. It was a lot of fun, and to this day, I’ve never known another online RPG that was that good. Elves in the game were beautiful, slightly taller than humans, with fair skin, and almost always with white or blonde hair. They had more intelligence and wisdom than humans, but less physical strength. They were more spiritual, and they were said to be immortal unless brought to an untimely death. The guide said they made good clerics. So I made a character similar to the beautiful woman on the game cover.
These were nothing like the little old men elves from the Christmas folklore I had been taught as a child. No, these elves were magnificent. The magestic woman on the cover of the game was a famous High Elf Cleric known as Firiona Vie. Her fair skin and beautiful blonde hair, her amazing gold and blue outfit, and her profession as a healer in the game… these things fascinated and intrigued me. I longed to identify with her role as a Cleric; instead of fighting, usually the Cleric of the group would sit behind and meditate, recharging Mana (magical energy) in order to heal the group, except when undead were around, because Clerics were especially strong against them. Most players would find this part rather boring, but I loved it. Clerics were always much needed and in high demand, so I always felt I had a place when I played Everquest. It was the perfect escape from my awkward 12 year old self. Instead of awkward and with braces, I could imagine I was a gorgeous, fully developed elven goddess-healer. So I created my own character very similar to Firiona Vie and became quite obsessed with the game for a time. I even hung out with a gang of other characters every night at Chess Board, a place in the game that resembled a giant game of chess (BEFORE Harry Potter came out…). We’d stop at the local town and buy mead and get “drunk” in the game, which would do two things: increase your alcohol tolerance (not exactly sure why we needed that, but I always thought it was funny, being under aged and having never actually gotten drunk in real life), and it made the screen ever more blurry and hard to see. It would even jumble up your words when chatting and make you sound intoxicated. For me, it was the best escape I could find during my tween years.
The morning of July 24th arrived and I woke up at around 6am. After getting my things together, I left my Hollywood apartment, stopped for 2 bubble berry rockstars and rushed over to my costume designer’s house in Sun Valley. Her name is Scarlet Snow. Scarlet is quite tall and fair skinned, and always has her hair dyed some outrageous color. She is usually seen wearing brightly colored clothing, somewhere in between a goth and a raver. She’s a dear friend of mine. She had been making the finishing touches for my costume, some boot covers. We devised a plan, since I would be walking around all day, the Firiona Vie boot covers could go over my red wonder woman boots, and I could carry the rest of the costume in my ninja turtle’s backpack. Everything looked great, the only thing was my hair. Firiona Vie is a blonde, and my hair is auburn. The final polishing we needed to finish the look would be to have the hair stand upright, as in the photos here. I’m not the biggest fan of wigs, so we attempted to add blonde extensions. After nearly 2 hours of trying everything from bobby pins to an actual wire hanger, there was nothing we could seem to do to keep the hair upright. I decided to just let the hair sit in a low ponytail and get on my way. I headed out to the car.
I’m saving up for a new car right now (Corvette Stingray, fingers crossed!) so at the moment, I’m borrowing my mom’s 2004 Mitsubishi Eclipse. It’s actually a pretty sweet ride, except for one thing. One very important thing. No air conditioner. It was July 24th and I was driving to Comicon in San Diego for about 3 hours. Along the way I listened to the latest mix down of my forthcoming track, “Symetra”. That was the only thing keeping me sane in the heat. Upon arrival I felt like a wilted flower, but I put my costume on over my sticky body, paid $35 to park, and started my journey, about a mile’s walk to the actual convention. I was so happy to be there, my heart was racing!
I met up with my friend Mario and he got me my badge. We received collectable Comic Con 2014 bags; there were about 6 different ones as far as I could tell. I traded for the Hobbit bag, the one I wanted most. He was looking awesome as Conan the Barbarian. It was one of the most original and best costumes I saw all day! Plus I’m proud of him for getting into such great shape to play the character. We thought his Conan costume would compliment my Firiona Vie quite well, and it turns out we were correct. Since there are barbarians in the game of Everquest, it looked just right. For the next 2 1/2 hours we walked around the hallway in between the general public and the con itself, taking pictures. Everyone was so excited to see our costumes. We met people of all ages, all sorts of people, many of them sporting their video game, comic book or anime pride. I ran into quite a few pokemon fans, which made me happy because I am one, too! I took many marvelous pictures, but unfortunately my camera was later lost.
After several hours we went inside. I had been peeking in all day. I and by then I was truly starving. I hadn’t eaten a single thing yet that day. I don’t normally have energy drinks, but I knew that was the only way I could have gotten up that early! One bad side effect was the loss of appetite, not to mention there literally had not been time nor opportunity. So my request immediately after entering, as much as I wanted so badly to look at all of the displays, we went straight to the cafe. We were surrounded by a rainbow of incredible collectable items; new video games and giant posters of them; characters in costumes; mannequins; large, interactive displays where you could pose for pictures; and, of course, comics.
I was happy to receive the last available veggie burger. There was no where to sit. The security guards would not let you sit down on the floor, and there was not enough table seating. We made the best of it. Once we were nourished, we enjoyed displays of rare artistic batman costumes. One of them appeared to be hand painted, with blue water color, adorning the leather costume with artistic renderings of real live bats. Batman has always been my favorite of the American comic book heroes. I feel he’s the most believable of the bunch, really his story is quite dark, but not impossible. Plus, I have to admit I find the character sexy, especially when played by Christian Bale. I admit I’m also a fan of the 80s Michael Keaton batman as well… I mean, why not? After that, we took pictures at a MINECRAFT station, which was a lot of fun, I used to dabble with that game last year. I wanted to explore more, but time was running low at this point, and we still had a whole another costume to change into!
Mario had to return to his hotel to change, but I had my plan already set in motion. In just one quick trip to the ladies’ room, I re-emerged as Wonder Woman! I have had so many people request me to play this character, my costume designer Scarlet Snow even made me a Wonder Woman costume as a gift a couple of years ago. It’s very tight and made of latex and spandex; I wore it with a long red cape, partly for the character, and partly for the children present. Though I am only 5’6”, I’m pretty fit, so I did my best to pull off playing this Amazonian woman. My 2nd costume received an equal amount of attention, perhaps more, from lonely men. I tried to acquiesce by posing for them in photos. Every person who took a picture received one of my business cards as well. One woman later on interviewed me for an online blog, asking if I knew what “Cosplay is not consent” is. I told her no. She explained that it’s a movement of women standing up for themselves, that they don’t deserve to be hit on just because they’re in cosplay. I told her that I really don’t mind, as long as people are respectful.
After a while of waiting, I ran into my friends Tom and Liza. They were dressed as Captain and Mrs. America. They looked adorable and it matched my wonder woman, with all the red, white and blue. Later we also ran into little Tom, who was dressed as The Hulk, in an incredible hand-molded costume. By then, my feet were killing me and we were in the mood to change into something comfy.
After it was over I planned to leave, but Liza and friends invited me to dinner at The Old Spagetti Factory. It was delightful and delicious, I especially recommend their sangria. It was a lot of fun to laugh and share stories of our comicon adventures. Later that night we walked around the Red District, which was going off, and then waited almost an hour for a train to pass through downtown. Eventually we decided to walk around it, and we saw people camping out for many, many blocks, to be the first allowed in the next morning. When we asked them why, a couple waiting in line told us they wanted to get signatures from Nickelodeon voice actors who would be making appearances the next day. It intrigues me to see such die hard fans, but I love it, too. It’s great to get excited about something, isn’t it? Even something rather silly or insignificant to some can completely fulfill another person’s desires. I say, good for them. I considered camping out for Episode 1 of Star Wars. Looking back, I should have! I need to have that kind of experience someday.
After resting in the hotel that Tom and Liza kindly invited me to, I drove home the next day. An incredible time. Funny, my horoscope has said that day, July 24, would be one of my best of the year.I’d say that’s accurate! I felt so loved and welcomed by the people of Comic Con. I never felt any judgement or competition. It was refreshing. I also learned a lot. For one thing, if you’re going to do cosplay, it’s better to go all out. Take the time to get the hair right, the accessories, and if possible, get a custom costume made. The little kids I met were honestly the most heart warming part of the experience. One little girl seemed so happy when she saw me dressed as Wonder Woman. She must have been about 3. She gave me the biggest hug couldn’t stop smiling.
I highly recommend Comic con to anyone, though I would say definitely pre-plan as much as possible! Getting a hotel makes things so much easier, especially when you need to look nice in a costume. It also helps to carpool and avoid extremely high parking fees. Bring snacks, too, if you can. Aside from all that? Have a blast! Going to Comic Con invigorated me to push myself more as a cosplay DJ. I have always been into this sort of thing, and I’ve never really heard of a DJ who does both. I am really wanting to tap into this market. It’s my comfort zone. I hope I see you there next year!