The Collectress’ Thoughts on WonderCon, cosplay, and being in the same room as Sean Bean

I’m not a morning person, and after a hefty dose of Benadryl, I’m the Walking Dead.  Apparently all it takes is a WonderCon badge to make me a morning person.  Now, as the Collectiva Diva has detailed, we did a group cosplay as the Lady Avengers. Diva was a Lady Captain America, and I, well, I poured myself into a PVC bodysuit and thigh holsters. Two guesses as to who I was.

But more on cosplay later.

We arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center before 9 a.m. and after a weapons check (Tasha don’t mess around), we were in line for the arena for the Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox presentations. We didn’t know exactly what we were waiting to see, but we were pretty damn excited about it. That’s a lie. I knew Richard Armitage was going to be in the building, and I was sure as f**k excited about that.

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Mr. Armitage was there to promote his new film “Into the Storm,” a natural disaster fic set in small town America and costarring Sarah Wayne  Callies (“Laurie” from TWD). He obligingly answered a few questions about his role as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit, however, and the arena went crazy for it. He’s a polite and professional convention attendee, and that’s one thing I can cross off my bucket list: see an actor from LotR or The Hobbit. 

But wait.

The very next panel was for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, starring Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and ANDY SERKIS. Okay, breathe, I told myself. So what if you’ve seen two actors from Middle-earth in the span of 30 minutes? That’s just one more thing to cross off of the bucket list.

And then Andy Serkis DID THE THING.

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You all know which thing I mean.

The final question for the panel was directed at Andy Serkis. A young man oh so snarkily asked Mr. Serkis to call him a “filthy hobbit” and Mr. Serkis obliged. “A filthy hobbit, that’s what you want?” he said to the young man. The man fist pumped his victory and walked away from the mic, and then Serkis called after him in the Smeagol voice, “Filthy hobbitses!” My life was made in that moment. I heard Andy Serkis do the Gollum voice in person. My Tolkienite soul is appeased.

But wait.

There’s more.

Our group of Lady Avengers (plus a Spidergirl and Venom who joined us around lunch time) traipsed and cosplayed our way through the convention center, we struggled in choosing which panel to see next. Do we hit up the exhibition floor? Do we pop into the OUAT panel? Do we stand in all of our avenging glory and just encourage photographs to be taken of us?

In a pique of curiosity, I pulled out the convention schedule, and started glancing through the panels currently happening. What did my Legolas eyes see? SEAN BEAN.  To digress, I have been in love with Sean Bean since 1993 when I was “Sharpe’s Rifles.” And? He’s Boromir, completing a trifecta of Lotr/Hobbit actors seen in a 3 hour period. The details are a bit fuzzy to me now, five days later, but I’m fairly certain I squealed, exclaimed things in Elvish, and drug our poor Lady Loki up the escalator to the panel.

Our Avengers group now included the Hulk and Katniss Everdeen (an honorary Hawkeye), so by the time we walked into the panel, we took up an entire row. Being perched on the end, I was free to fan myself and bounce up and down with joy every time Sean Bean spoke. It was 1400 hours, and my fangirling was in full swing. I’m practically certain more of the audience watched me than the panel, because every thirty seconds, someone from our group would blatantly wave their arms at me. “Are you okay???” they’d mouth with excessive exaggeration. “IT’S SEAN BEAN,” I’d mouth back, “I’M BETTER THAN F**KING OKAY.”

While most of the panel was spent swooning, I did pick up enough from the discussion and exclusive material shown to realize that I really want to watch this show, and not just because Sean Bean is starring in it (and he probably won’t die…much). If the Black Widow cosplay didn’t give it away, I like spies. So show about spies = something I want to see. Check out the trailer for “Legends” below.

After the panel ended, the Diva and I did our damnedest to get me within aggressively hugging politely asking for an autograph distance. Sean Bean did sign some autographs (even though he wasn’t supposed to) and when I got within 10 feet I realized I had nothing for him to sign but my chest. Oops. Unfortunately, security ushered him off, so that dream is still on the bucket list. For now.

I did get within 10 feet of him, however, so I count that as a win.

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As the day wound down, we found that we enjoyed walking around the exhibition area just as much as the panels. This is where the Collectiva Diva felt up her second Winchester, Gil McKinney (it was consensual I promise…), and where some of the most amazing cosplay was to be found.

What was my favorite thing about WonderCon? The cosplay.

For several years I toyed with the idea of attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising to become a costume designer. Although I ultimately lack the artistic skill to draw my ideas for others to create, I do love me a cosplay, and I have never had more fun than putting together an outfit that I KNOW no one else will have. WonderCon has been the biggest con I’ve done so far, and I was more than a little nervous. Jacksqueen, who played our Lady Loki, and I have been plotting and strategizing for months because we knew we needed to up our game. Cons like these are where the professionals come out, cosplayers like YaYa Hahn.  Doing a group cosplay like the Avengers is a calculated move, because if one outfit doesn’t stand up to the rest, it ruins the effect.

I’m happy to say that we had no such problems. 🙂

Let’s talk about the fan culture and cosplay. For some, cosplay is not just a hobby; it’s a way of life, like for this Wolverine cosplayer, Lonstermash. Who I totally took a picture with and did not swoon over. Much.  Anyway, many cosplayers spent months (sometimes years) and hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on crafting their outfits. The best of the best will show up in outfits that are hand-crafted masterpieces: armor, weapons, outfits–most are made by hand. So when you show up at a con in an outfit you’ve spent the past two months agonizing over **cough**me**cough**, it’s nice to get some appreciation.

But it will astound you just how much appreciation you’ll get.  It took us a half an hour to even get from registration to the arena, because people continuously stopped us to take our picture! Our Lady Loki was simply a smash, to put it simply.

Over the past year, I’ve heard/read/seen horrible things said about fangirls. Some feel that is acceptable to invalidate female fans simply because of their sex. It was addressed at Comic Con last year, and I’m sure it’s happened at every major con since. Can you blame a girl for being nervous that she’ll get ridiculed for cosplaying a comic book character that many men sexually idealize? Or worse: that men will feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to sexually objectify me.

Now, I realize that by cosplaying the Black Widow, I am portraying a sexy woman. Her outfit is tight, and flashy, and god I can’t even describe how self-conscious I was when I first stepped out. I’m a jeans and tshirt kind of gal, and seriously? Push up bras suck. Yet, throughout the entire day, I didn’t once feel uncomfortable. Every single person who came up to take our picture was respectful, polite, and understood inherently that it is not okay to touch without permission. People complimented me with words and phrases like “accurate portrayal” or “bad ass costume” or “you’re an excellent Black Widow. Can you high kick me?”This is a far cry from yesterday when, while at the local mall, a man approached me and asked to have sex with me. Not even a hello. And my outfit? Well, I work at a Christian school, so I’m one step shy of a nun most days.

There is a Code of Cosplaying, and the highest on that list is respect. Respect people’s hard work, respect their personal space, and for the love of Magneto, respect their costuming choices. The cosplayers at WonderCon welcomed us with open arms, newbies though we may be, and tucked us into their fold. I can’t wait for my next con, and I’m already plotting adjustments and improvements to my outfit.

You’ll probably be able to find me at Nerd HQ this summer, kicking ass and taking names in a red wig.

xxThe Collectress

For more of my ramblings, or to chat cosplay with me, follow me on Twitter.  @dearcollectress

 

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