Overwhelming and Underwhelming

Just as the title implies I was not very impressed with Comic Con…  I was overwhelmed by the crowd (making my claustrophobia act up) and underwhelmed with the set up and the running of the con, besides the con itself.  The day didn’t start out very well either.  The train was about 40 minutes late, which really sucks.  I had to take the 7am train in because on sunday’s the train only comes very 2 hours, which means I either get in really early (like 8:30-9) or really late (like 10:30-11).  Since the first panel I wanted to go to was at 10:45 I opted for the early train.  I wouldn’t have really had a problem with it being so late except that it was COLD like 50 out, on the outdoor platform, with no sun (it was very cloudy) and lots of wind.  I ended up pacing the platform to keep warm.  Once I got into the city (after an uneventful train/PATH ride) I hung out at a Starbucks and got something warm to eat as well as a warm place to sit.. x.x

Getting into the con itself was pretty easy actually, since I bought my ticket beforehand I got in the really short fast-moving line, instead of the really long, around the building line for the non pre-reg.  Things then started to get a little crazy…  If you’ve been the JJC then you know it’s full of fairly small hallways (small at least for a con of this magnitude).  It’s separated into blocks (A-E)  All the NYAF things were in block E1, which was basically Anime artists alley and  a few panel rooms, and that was all fine and dandy, I rather liked that it was all together. What annoyed me though is that in the dealers room (Blocks 3B and 3A) all the anime stuff was at the very back wall of 3A, so essentially if I had say 45-1 hour between panels I couldn’t really get to the things I wanted to look at.  I had about enough time to get to the dealers before I had to turn around and head right back to the other side of the con because there were way too many people there.  I ended up missing most of the things I wanted to see because I couldn’t get out of the dealers room >.<  In the end I only got to 2 panels.

The first panel I went to was the Never Ending Closet, which turned out to be a Lolita fashion show, which wasn’t what I was expecting but was fine anyway.  They had a few pieces from I Do Declare which is one of my favorite labels.  The woman who designs the collections is from NY and runs many lolita panels at various cons and I really like her stuff!  Though I once again sat behind the press I did manage to get a few shots in.

The fashion show was alright, I was just mostly annoyed that it started a bit late.

After that I got some lunch (a crappy slice of pizza for $3.50…) while I tried to figure out where the dealers rooms was.  The map I had been given at the con didn’t tell me anything really… I had to ask 3 different con staff because the first 2 didn’t know! (WTF?!) Once I finally got to the dealers room I was greeted by mobs of people…  Here’s a pic of the last isle in the room:

And it wasn’t much better 2 isles up (and it took me about 30-45min of steady walking with the occasional quick glance at a booth to get to this next spot.

I basically spent the rest of the day in the dealers room because it was a big struggle to get out.  There were several cool booths, but not too many cosplayers (not that I blame them, who’d want to be decked out in this crowd?!) 

The only booth I was very happy to run into was the Riese Booth.  I talked to the guys there and learned that it’s a show that SciFi is looking to pick up, it’s Steampunk set and looks very cool, you should check out the site to watch episodes!  It has many SciFi Sweethearts (as I like to call them)  like Gata from Battlestar!  I got a full set of character buttons as they were free and a few character cards as well.  I’m pretty excited for this one.  They finally put up the first episode on the Riese website (I’ve been waiting for it for like 2 weeks…).  I can’t wait to see where they take this, having 10 minute snippets might just kill me.. x.x

So the cosplay was pretty underwhelming, at least what I saw.  But what I did like was that there were several kids in costume, and I mean kids like six and under! Check it out 🙂

AND BEST COSPLAY OF THE DAY:

That’s right, Old Spice Guy! He was so in character that he posed the entire way down the escalator.  That’s what I call dedication 😛

Once I was finally escaped the dealers room I took a quick peak into the American comic style Artists Alley.  Honestly though it was a bit lost on me as I’m not really a fan of the style, I prefer the softer look of Shojo and American comics just never really struck a chord with me.  I did happen to see a great booth though! There was a Lego brick artist and here is some of his work.

At the end of the day I went to a steampunk panel run by a guy named Danny from Atlanta.  I found his presentation very informative and learned a lot about making armour.  He often uses medical braces, which is very clever!  He was also extremely entertaining with stories and anecdotes 🙂  I had a great time at his panel and would go to another one in a heart beat! He had a lady assisting him and she walked around showing us a few of his pieces.

I almost didn’t stay for this panel as by 3pm I’d really had enough of the con and the crowds and the size of the event, but I’m really glad I stayed as I learned quite a bit at this panel.  He said it was alright to email him with questions, which I thought was really cool.  He also commissions pieces on his website Outland Armour.  He travels around doing panels at many cons, which is admirable on a student budget.

At the end of the day I was glad to go home, my bag was heavy, but sadly so was my wallet.. :/ I probably won’t go to another Comic Con, but at least I know I won’t really be missing much.. not in NY anyway.

Games Day

The big day finally arrived and I was pretty excited ^.^  We loaded up the van at about 6-6:30am for the three-hour drive from NJ to Baltimore.  Aaron drove us there as I was pretty tired, plus I was in partial costume!   had on the socks, pants and shirt as I needed to do the make up at home.  Aaron helped me paint my face white and add details using grey clown make up, once we were happy I got smacked in the face with a ton of baby powder to set the creme make up.  I was quite surprised that it lasted the whole day and didn’t look dry or cracked, but I suppose when you buy quality it does make a difference.  We stopped at 2 rest stops along the way.  The first one was too crowded, the line for the ladies was about 20 people long!  The second one had a much shorter line, and a cinnabon.  I carefully ate a few mini bons as we pulled out of the stop.  Of course I got quite a few stares and looks as here I was with my hair in funky braids (as to fit under the cap) white/grey face make up and a tatty bandaged outfit.  I must have looked like a circus performer…

As we got nearer to Baltimore I began to put on other parts of my costume.  I started with the shoes, criss-crossing the ribbons up my legs, then discretely stitching them to the pants in order to stop them from falling throughout the day.  I then sewed my leg snake on to keep it up as well.  I know I might make this sound easy, but honestly it took me about 30-45 minutes to get these 3 items on as I was in a moving car…  Once we got there we parked in a garage not too far from the venue and Aaron helped me into the rest of my costume.  I put on my corset first (as it’s crazy to wear it on a 3 hour car ride…) and got the shirt and pants in place. I actually had the shirt attached to the pants with hidden buttons.  Once in place the next item was my belt, which Aaron put on me so there was less room for breakage.  The skirt was permanently attached to 1/2 the belt, the other half was buttoned into place via buttons on the skirt and holes in a band of elastic on the inside of the belt itself, it was fiddly, but looked really good and held up nicely.  Bar was up neck, which was the only really easy part.  Then the cape was placed on my back via buttons on the shirt and elastic around my wrists (the cape also kep the bra straps from falling down).  The neck corset was next followed by the shoulder armour. The head armour was then negotiated into place, mostly by Aaron because he was afraid I would ruin the shoulder armour.  Gloves were next, right first, then left as my fingers were exposed on the right glove.  Then went the arm snakes, which Aaron sewed on.  And lastly the detail scarabs were pulled off their box and glued on my body strategically to make them look like they were swarming on me.  The staff same out of the van last and off we went to the con!  It took about 30 minutes to get everything on me, but this was the most sturdy cosplay I feel I have done to date.  Nothing felt like it was going to fall apart.  The only thing that did was the neck corset.. but that’s ok, it was the only last-minute piece we made.

The looks I got on the way  were pretty good, people didn’t know what make of me.  I made a few kids cry or hide behind parents, which was pretty funny 😛  I suppose I looked pretty intimidating though.  Lots of people wanted to take my picture or take one with me, which of course I was more than happy to, after all, that’s what you make the costume for! Once we were there, we got in the slow line for our badges (of course) but this gave me time to check out some of my competition.  As I figured, there weren’t too many people entering.  I saw a chaos marauder, he was a total last-minute guy, you could tell, much of his was cardboard. Once we got our passes I noticed we also got a ticket, like the kind you would get at a carnival.  WE weren’t sure what they were for right away and just stuck them in our badges.  I hung mine around my staff as there was no way to get it on my neck lol.  There were quite a few activities we wanted to do, and first up was scenery painting, so we got in line for a while.  It was only supposed to take 5 minutes, but we’d been waiting on line for almost 10, so we decided to leave the line, lucky for us the staff were nice and said Aaron could come back and he would be let in with the next group. So we went to explore, that’s when we figured out what the tickets were for.  In the back corner they had 4 booths set up like carnival tents, and it was call ‘The Carnival of Chaos’.  Each booth had its own game, Disks of Tzeentch which was a frisbee game where you had to get the frisbee through a hole; Kups of Khorn which has a bunch of cups covering a table and you had to get a ping-pong ball into one; There was one for Nurgle too, but I can’t remember the name but the game was one where you had to knock over stacked cups with a tennis ball; the last one was the Dice of Slanesh, which was where I headed cause it was the only game that didn’t require depth perception (of which I had little with the face mask on).  When I go to the head of the line I wanted to roll as many dice as possible, that required 3 tickets… I only had two! (oh no!)  but luckily there was a nice lady on staff who was all ‘Look at here, is that not the most awesome costume ever? Let her roll!’ and she handed the guy at the booth a third ticket for me. I’m still not quite sure how the guy behind it added up the dice, but that’s cool, I won some awesome (and expensive) stuff!  On that first roll we got a Shadow Sword which is worth US$100!  Aaron was pretty damn excited as it had basically paid for our tickets and the gas it took to get there, after all I had no idea what it was worth I just said ‘Thank You!’ and accepted it with a big smile. Another big plus is that Aaron has an extensive Imperial Guard army so it would fit right in. 

After we won that we went back to the scenery painting where we got let right in.  While Aaron was painting, I was looking at what else gave us tickets cause I just love winning things.  I noticed you get them for playing Space Hulk, of which they had a MASSIVE game going.  I hopped in joyfully since it was really the only game there that I knew how to play and stayed for about 1/2 an hour before I wanted to move on.  We got our 2 tickets , which made 3 as we got one for scenery painting and went back to the dice game.  We won a big prize again (they had small medium and big prizes, more tickets means bigger prize) this time it was the 25th Anniversary Rulebook.  It was a little beat up on the outside, but the book was just fine.  When it was released it was US$175, though they are now onto a new rulebook so it’s almost worthless.. though we did win a set of the silver dice they were giving away since Aaron got a silver ticket in his set. They will go nice together on a shelf once they are reunited in NZ.

After the winning we went to check out the Fantasy Flight booth as Aaron was pretty keen to get his hands on Death Angel, but it was sold out already!!! We were a bit dismayed, but that was when I saw this lady:

I know the pic is blurry, but the lighting in the convention was pretty bad, she looked good though, her staff was brilliant.  After a bit more wandering around the club tables and getting my picture taken with an Ork we decided to have a bit of rest.  I was getting tired and Aaron was lugging that shadow sword and huge leather-bound rule book around…

During our rest we had a small snack and fixed my neck piece, I also got to take my head-gear off for a moment, which was nice for my eye 🙂  Aaron wanted to do the speed demon painting contest, and I was all for that cause it got us more tickets 😀 But we had to wait until after the cosplay contest cause they overlapped, so we ended up looking around at the GW shop, or rather Aaron did 😛  I just chatted with a few people, one staff member asked me if I wanted to work for GW and tried to get me to fill out an application, I politely declined.  As we were leaving the store a lady gave me one of her tickets just for dressing up 😀 How cool is that?

Then it was time for the judging…  Which I think was totally bias! >.<  Here I am with the guy who won first place.

There was another guy in power armour too, he was a Chaos Marine, but didn’t look as good as this Ultramarine.  But I’m actually really pissed off as I think they both should have been disqualified and here’s why: neither of them could get up on the stage.  That hurt all the other competitors because no one could SEE any of the others.  I even read a few blogs about people who were interested but couldn’t see anything so gave up trying, and since this was a popularity contest the rest of us needed more crowd to even get to compete.  Now I’m not that bitter about the Ultramarine, but makes me really angry is the little kid that won second place.  We was about 6 or 7 and all he had was a football shoulder piece spray painted blue with some detail on each shoulder… I’m sorry but that’s not even a cosplay, it was half assed and he didn’t deserve the win, but since he was 6 and an ultramarine he won.. x.x 

Third place went to a Sister of Battle, and her costume was pretty good, but her back pack was a plush.. O.o and it looked a little strange, but she got points for having a Nerf gun, which she shot over the crowd as she walked by.  I’m sure that’s why she got third. (Which really should have been second IMO…)  And here are some blurry pics of the event since I couldn’t find any better ones on the net.

Yeah so anyway.. I was a bit disappointed as it was run more like a joke then a real comp, but kind of glad I didn’t win as I didn’t want the prize which looked to be like big boxes of really old metal mini’s.  My husband was already dying under the weight of the book and the Shadowsword.  So Aaron went to speed paint and I sat down and painted a random tomb kings mini and had a nice chat with the guys at my table and answered quite a few questions about my costume 🙂  Some people were pretty disappointed that I didn’t win and thought I should have and I took my picture with one of the staff guys who was running the table who said he’d wanted to get his pic with me all day but had to stay at the painting table and was quite happy when I finally came by 😛  My painting didn’t last long, maybe about 20 minutes as I just don’t have the patience for it, nor the skill.  Though I did pretty well holding the mini between my thumb and clawed index finger, sometimes it’s good to have double jointed fingers.

Unfortunately painting only lasted about 20 minutes and Aaron would be painting for about an hour so I went to look at the golden demon stuff upstairs.  The line took forever and I only got to look at about 1/4 of the things on display before I realized I’d been up there an hour and had to go find Aaron.  It was about 3:15pm by then and we only had about 45 minutes to finish up, so we decided to buy Aaron a shirt and spend the rest of our tickets.  We waited in line for the only booth that really had any prizes we wanted and it took about 30-45 min to get up there as everyone else had the same idea of using their tickets up.  In the end we won two GW mugs and a GW hat for Aaron.  All in all a good day really 🙂 We hit the road and had some Five Guys for dinner as we hadn’t really had any lunch.  I’m rather glad we won’;t really be going back to Baltimore for a while, 2 trips in 3 weeks was enough for both of us.. @.@

Check it out!  I also go into the Baltimore Sun’s Weekend Review, I had the first picture! 😀