Salt Lake Comic Con 2015

Hello friends!

I’ve been off on hiatus for a while, but I promised to come back if anything interesting happened, so here I am.

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This last weekend was the 3rd annual Salt Lake Comic Con held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. My husband and I took the weekend to go live it up with 120,000 other creative and devoted fans of fiction. One of the unique parts of any comic convention is that the participants are encouraged to dress the part of a favorite character, and boy did people dress up. By far the most popular characters to copy this year were the Joker and his plaything Harley Quinn, with Doctor Who coming in a close second with different iterations of the various doctors, especially Matt Smith in that deplorable fez.

Where's Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

This was an opportunity not to be missed. Hubby and I pooled our creative talent and created the power duo of Ming the Merciless and his fabulous General Kala, using the imagery from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. 12063892_1130999466927661_4069948762659839179_n

We were stopped by adoring fans everywhere in the con and counted 115 different people asking for our picture. It’s easy to see why people love to come, the inner narcissist in me was having a hay day. My inner introvert, on the other hand, cowered in the corner and waited for it all to be over.

We entered the Cosplay Competition and made it to the semi finals, which meant we got to walk the stage in front of hundreds of people and strut our stuff. There’s a video out there somewhere… We didn’t win, but we had fun.

Another reason to attend the conference is to see celebrities. We attended panels with Marina Sirtis (counselor Troy on Star Trek), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee on Lord of the Rings), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley on Harry Potter), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald on Doctor Who), and Anthony Daniels (C3P0 on Star Wars). We signed up for photo ops with the Phelps twins and Anthony Daniels who was delightfully friendly.

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There were also hoards of local authors in attendance, including many of my friends, which made wandering the vendor hall that much more fun.

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Meet Cosplayer Rachel Funk

I had so much fun with last friday’s cosplayer feature with Robert Smith that I’m going to do it again, this time with Robert’s partner-in-costume Rachel Funk.
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Growing up, Rachel watched all the classic sci-fi including Star Wars, Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galactica. She loves reading anything, but has a special place in her heart for books with sci-fi elements, fantasy, and magic. Before she met Robert she only knew the basic comic book characters, thanks to him she knows them all much better.
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Winning the Special Judges Award for Craftsmanship, and crazy happy about it!

Rachel’s first comic con experience was attending the 2012 Las Vegas Comic Expo. She had no idea how many people dressed up for those type of events and went wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt. In fact, at the time she hadn’t even heard of cosplay. Looking back, she wishes she had known because she has some mad skills when it comes to creating awesome stuff.
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Since then Rachel has attended many events. Her most memorable cosplay experience is when she got to go up on stage in front of a huge crowd at the 2012 Denver Comic Con to receive the Special Judges Award for Craftsmanship for her Lady Mechanika costume.
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Partners-in-fun Rachel and Robert

Rachel recently finished creating a robe for Robert’s Teifling costume and is now working on a formal skirt for Lady Mechanika and bracers and a pop-up gun for Harly Quinn. With luck and a lot of work they should be ready for this September’s Salt Lake Comic Con. She also has sketches for a rockin’ steampunk Queen of Hearts and a steampunk Mad Hatter for Robert. She is also working on ideas for a wheelchair compatible steampunk Cheshire Cat. She hopes to have those ready by next year’s Salt Lake Comic Con.
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When asked, Rachel shared that her secret dream cosplay would be a kick-ass Halle Berry style Catwoman.
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Rachel’s biggest fangirl moment is when she got a photo-op with none other than Captain Mal, also known as Nathan Fillion. When he put his hand on her shoulder she totally freaked out.  She was like: OMG OMG he is touching me OMG OMG breathe!
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Quick, strike a pose! Check out how awesome this costume is!

For those who attend the cons, here is a special note to you from Rachel:

I wish more people would take the time to look at the costumes people put together. I am an attention whore. I love getting my picture taken and talking to people about my costume and who my character is. My problem is, my character is obscure, she is not from DC or Marvel. She does not have a big movie. Hardly anyone knows who she is…they just think I am a random steampunk girl. I don’t have a big or flashy prop. Bob has both of those things going for him (well-known character, with an interesting twist and a flashy, catch your eye prop) so everyone wants to get a pic of him or with him. No one wants pix with me :/
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I’d like to thank Rachel for coming and being a part of my blog today. I had a lot of fun learning more about her and I hope you did too!
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Attention fellow cosplayers, fantasy artists, and writers! If you want to be featured here like Rachel and Robert, and my guests in the past, drop me a line, I’d love to have you!

Meet Cosplayer Robert Smith

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Robert as Steampunk Green Lantern with his friend, Rachel, dressed as Lady Mechanika

Today, Robert Smith from Utah is joining us and sharing some of his cosplay pictures. Robert and I have known each other a little more than a year now and have enjoyed swapping stories about our various experiences, his in the comic con and cosplay world and mine with working with fiction writers who create the various fandoms.

Robert is a 45-year-old book collector who is proud to say that he most definitely does not live in his parent’s basement. He’s a toolmaker/moldmaker by trade, which comes in handy when it comes to creating his costumes. He’s also part of a super cool secret society.

A life long lover of dressing up for Halloween, Robert’s introduction into the world of cosplay happened in 2000 when he took first place in a costume contest. The winning outfit? An old lady.

Since then, the costumes have become more unique and Robert has attended countless events and conventions and has entered in many contests. His most memorable experience happened at the Denver Comic Con when he took the stage in front of 1600 people all cheering him on in his second place win in the novice category.

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Robert and Christine at Fantasy Con. Check out the detail on the gloves and lantern!

Currently, Robert is working on a Teifling costume from the Dungeon’s and Dragon’s universe. Teiflings are humans with a demon somewhere in their ancestry and have made bargains with devils to increase their powers, very nasty fellows indeed.

All cosplayers have their favorite character. If Robert had the chance to meet a character in real life he would choose Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – but then again, who wouldn’t!

In addition to having a ton of fun with cosplay, Robert is also an avid comic book collector and has been collecting for 30 years.

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Robert at Salt Lake Fan X showing off his custom-made green lantern.

A huge thanks for Robert for coming to join me here at the blog today, I hope that he had as much fun as I did!

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Are you a cosplayer? Would you like a mini feature here at my blog? Send me a line in the comments!

What is Cosplay?

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Brilliant cosplay of Princess Mononoke based on the Miyasaki film of the same name.

photo credit: Anna Fischer via photopin cc

Cosplay, or costume play, has been around for ages.  As long as there have been iconic characters who inspire, there have been people who want to dress up like them. As children we used to dress up and pretend to be princesses, cowboys, and fairies to name a few. Every year for Halloween we celebrate our alter egos and indulge in a bit of self indulgent dress up. It’s fun, harmless, and a chance to pretend we are someone or something different than our ordinary selves.

Cosplay gives players both old and young a chance to enter this alternate persona and escape the pressures of the real world for a while.  I imagine it is not unlike the escapism of reading a really good book that pulls the reader into the pages and doesn’t let them go until it’s over, or that awesome movie that is so appealing in its story and artistic imagery that you can’t help but sit riveted to the chair.

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Xena, the warrior princess, with one of her macho friends.

photo credit: fabiogis50 via photopin cc

The holy grail for cosplayers is Comic Con.  Not only are cosplayers allowed they are encouraged to come in their most elaborate costumes for a chance at prizes and photo ops.  When Comic Con comes to town it is not uncommon to see the casts from popular sci fi and manga riding public transit and wandering around downtown.

These costumes can be as simple as one or two items worn casually over normal dress or as complicated as full body suits of hand crafted armor.  Those devoted to their cosplay spend hundreds of hours creating costuming and props. Some will spend a small fortune in creating the perfect look.  It is a passion.  If you have a friend who is into cosplay expect to see lots of pictures and hear some pretty cool stories.

I love the idea of cosplay. Having the chance to be part of a different world and spend time with fascinating people is very appealing. That’s the reason I write fantasy, it gives me the chance to be a part of a different world and meet fascinating people, both real and imagined.