First, we went to the 2012 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
Then, we talked about it.
Now the time has come for something bigger. Something more exciting. Something more… unnecessary. It’s time for…
A Cosplay Odyssey
Full disclosure: I do not cosplay. Even if I had the haberdashocity to actually assemble a costume that didn’t look like those old Halloween costumes that were plastic smocks and brittle masks, I’m lacking the personality type to get the fulfillment out of dressing up like Batman or the Scarlet Witch that the people who partake do. That said, cosplay is absolutely one of the best parts of any comic convention, and that’s because it’s all about love and celebration.
For some reason, we here at C!TB identify with that sentiment.
And so, armed with an unpaid staff member (the awesome Ryan Tomko), media passes and an editorial voice that can best be described as “problematic,” I walked the BMO Centre floors and started demanding things:
No joke: loudly telling Ryan, “I am your employer and you will take the photographs I tell you to so TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT THANK YOU” was literally the first instruction I gave Ryan as I goaded him into pointing his camera at another man’s airbrushed, spandex-clad ass.
James Leask: Professional!
The other instructions were:
(a) Sexy photos of dudes wearing inappropriate costumes, whenever possible;
(2) Nothing too male gaze-y;
($) If you feel uncomfortable and the potential photograph can’t be considered child pornography, take it.
(;) I guess you can take regular photos, too. I guess.
As you might know, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn used to be lady bros. What you might not know is that Androgynous Mr. Freeze liked to join along. I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman in the costume when I passed them, but I think we can all agree it’s incredible.
I’m not sure what’s better: the gender-flipped Kraven the Hunter complete with facial hair, the fact that I think she photobombed them, the Spider-Man cosplayers’ “Oh hey, let’s jam!” response, or the fact that like 10 spots behind these people in line was a dude dressed like Peter Parker, complete with a Spidey outfit peeking out from under his street clothes, just cold furious that nobody was asking to take pictures of him.
Spot the hilariously inappropriate part of this photo!
Correct! It’s the fact that there are two Captain Americas. Way to disrespect the canon, toddlers.
What’s better: the fact that a children’s cartoon has engendered such a passionate and active fan community, the fact that Fiona cosplayers outnumbered Finn ones by about 3-1, or the fact that there’s a guy in the background who somehow thinks the photo is about him?
As far as I know, this guy didn’t break character by speaking all weekend, and that is incredible.
Serious question: WHAT IS THIS FROM? Is it Mars Attacks? I don’t know and it is bugging me. Normally the only costumes I don’t understand are the anime ones, because nobody dresses like the characters from K-ON, the anime Josie and the Pussycats starring bored schoolgirls.
This is legitimately amazing. Do you remember ReBoot? You should, because this person does and it is unbelievably awesome. I don’t know if they had multiple masks like the real Hexadecimal.
Wait, what? That wasn’t a documentary?
For the record, that’s not what media passes at the Expo actually looked like, and after a quick moment of thought, I honestly couldn’t think of why they didn’t. Get on that, Marvel! I will literally pay for the ability to get a Daily Bugle press pass that is an actual press pass. This is money on the table. I don’t spend money wisely.
SHOCKER: A grown-ass man who likes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic thinks that two grown-ass women wearing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cosplay outfits that are also just really well-colour-coordinated street clothes are wonderful.
However, they are still only the SECOND BEST pair of My Little Pony cosplayers I saw all weekend. On the drive home to Edmonton, my sister and I stopped at a Wendy’s to buy healthy food and saw two young men in their early 20s wearing t-shirts with cutie marks painted on them, plastic wings and, in the case of the Rainbro Dash, rainbow-dyed hair. On one level, the costumes were not as well-coordinated as the ones above, but these dudes get extra points for pissing off and (sexually) confusing two really stereotypically macho dudes in tight MMA t-shirts behind them in line. Watching the mix of disgust, interest and absolute, angry confusion on those men’s faces was the perfect cap to my weekend.
Sorry, ladies! Next time try being less heteronormative.
First: those are some seriously badass costumes.
Second: Man, is that dude making eyes at Ryan or what? He-Man, too!
That’s right! This is Sexy Death of Superman cosplay. My hats are off to you two kids. You weird, wonderful, DTF kids.
Seriously though, there has to be fanfiction about this, right? MAKE IT HAPPEN, INTERNET!
Get it? Give it a second.
Yes, this is amazing. This girl is officially BALLER 4 LYFE. She should have business cards made out. Because she is RAD AS ALL HECK.
Oh yeah, there was a Star Wars reunion or something. Whatever, George Lucas. Whatever.
Yes, I was exactly as disappointed as you were to discover that wasn’t actually a giant clock/gauge hanging from Galactus’ neck, like an interstellar Flava Flav.
Get on it, nerds.
Wait for it…
BAM. Easily, hands-down, my favourite costume of the weekend. First: adventurous. Second: fuck heteronormativity. Third: he straight-up posed for these like a champion. Gender-flipped Riddler’s Daughter is serious business, you guys.
He was also super nice. Besides complimenting my Mass Effect hoodie – which seems a little silly because compared to a dude dressed in a way to confuse, terrify and excite everyone around him, a member of the press wearing an expensive hooded sweatshirt isn’t exactly impressive – he was also really interested in the Comics! The Blog ethos, namely: nerd culture needs to stop complaining so much and start celebrating. It turns out, he wrote a paper about it!
You guys, I would read the shit out of that paper.
So yeah, that’s the story of how I bullied my photographer into taking weird photographs and ended up bonding with the weirdest dude at the whole comic convention. I would absolutely do it again! I might not dress up, but I’ll enjoy the hell out of seeing people full of so much love that they do. I’ll also drink some questionable, non-FDA-approved energy drink.
Until next year, Calgary!
[NOTE: If you are in one of these photos and would like to request that we add a credit or remove the image, we'd be happy to oblige! Check out the rest of Ryan's photos over on Flickr.]