Five tips from a nervous newbie at LA Cosplay Con
I was anxious taking on this assignment. I had never been to a convention before, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive headlong into one centered around some of the most devoted folks in fandom. Nonetheless, here I was at LA Cosplay Con with a camera and a notebook. In street clothes.
My nerves couldn’t have been more misguided. From the moment we saw our first cosplayer, a super hunk in full Umbrella Corp. security garb, I relaxed. Cosplayers are just like other fans, they just happen to wear their fandoms on their sleeves. And sometimes, on their cars.
And such a posh location for a tiny convention – the Hyatt Regency in Century City – the mini-Manhattan of Los Angeles. Giant towers of steel and glass were the perfect backdrop for the Batmans, Spider-Men, and Ghostbusters to show off their amazing costumes.
And less mainstream fandoms were representing hard – though some were lost on me, I’ll stick to what I know. Fifteen minutes in and I was geeking out to Raphael and April O’Neil.
Yes, I’m the vanilla ice cream of fanboys – Ninja Turtles and the Joker all the way for this 80’s baby. But it’s fine – LA Cosplay Con, and the cosplay culture in general, want you to be you.
So what did I do once I let my guard down?
Freaked out when I saw Bowser coming down the escalator.
Nearly lost it when Harley Quinn, the Joker, and tiny Riddler got together for this pic. Adorable and awesome and scary at the same time.
Swooned over how much this dude crushed his Loki costume…
Had to catch my breath when I saw this Catwoman ROCKING IT OUT.
And after hours walking around the convention it was clear: I was sold on cosplay, the con culture, and the opportunities for fans to express their fandom and have fun.
Next year’s event should be even bigger – 2015 was only the second year of LA Cosplay Con, yet high profile sponsors, including YouTube and their top gaming channel personalities, clamored for advertiser spots. Event coordinator Chastity Irizarry said the YouTube panels were “the place to be” and sponsorship interest is soaring.
“For sure it’s grown since last year,” said Ashley Resurreccion, an artist and cosplay vendor who specializes in handmade “Twiichii” figures. She also created the artwork for the press badges and event flyers.
If you’re like me and you’re a con newbie, here are some tips for first timers attending next year’s Cosplay Con LA, or any cosplay or fandom-related convention:
You will see amazing fanmade creations and want to buy EVERYTHING. Most of the items were hand crafted with passion and skill – super cool vendors!
LEAVE INHIBITIONS AT HOME
You’re going to a cosplay convention, and the fandom communities are so friendly and welcoming. I promise you this: YOU WILL MAKE FRIENDS AND NOBODY IS GOING TO LAUGH AT YOU.
EMBRACE YOUR INNER FAN
Everyone is into something – from the obscure (did you notice Powdered Toast Man?) to the elaborate (check out this ab-tastic Wolverine).
Whether it’s a video game or a cereal spokesperson, the world of fantasy was meant to stay with us.
WEAR A COSTUME
Most of the press wore muggle clothes but I honestly wished I had dressed up as something. There are great websites to buy ultra-realistic costumes (if you have lots of cash) or you can do like Bianca Estrada, a first-time cosplayer from Santa Clarita, CA, and buy a simpler outfit and make “edits.”
Bianca edited, i.e. added her own touches and ideas, to a simple patterned fabric costume and made it into a kick-ass Harley Quinn outfit.
Don’t let your preconceived notions of cosplay and fandom cultures hold you back from doing something fun. Firing up the imagination and meeting new people are great ways to banish judgment and fear. Now all you need is a great cosplay…