This was our third year going to Comikaze Expo, and I have to say – it’s come a long way from the convention that made me want to weep because it took over an hour in the heat to get inside the convention center so I could wait in another line to get my badge.
If you live in the LA area, I actually recommend going to Comikaze. It’s affordable, there’s plenty of food at the Convention Center and around it (we went to a nearby parking lot where there were a bunch of great food trucks)- the floor is pretty well laid out with wide aisles so you don’t get a ton of bottlenecks, and there’s a nice variety out on the floor (despite “Comi” being in the title, it’s heavily a pop culture convention – a little bit for everyone, though Mile High Comics had a HUGE wall for their booth this year. It was pretty awesome). Their big panels are on the con floor, and it’s standing room only. Literally. You stand during the panels.
Also, they had HUGE Cosplay is not consent signs all around the floor and lobby. And they set up a ‘cospitality’ lounge for cosplayers to rest and touch up – I didn’t get to use it this year, but I saw a lot of people cycle through it.
I’ve gone in costume every year, in 2012 I went as Ramona from Scott Pilgrim. 2013, I went as Abaddon from Supernatural (it seemed fitting since the con shifted to Halloween weekend that year). This year, Black Widow.
It’s the most recognizable character I’ve ever cosplayed, and Natasha’s a character that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m not going to lie- when I posted about the sex tape here, I thought about her story arc in Winter Soldier. Knowing that everyone would know her secrets, but still blasting out all of SHIELD’s information because it was the only way to halt HYDRA. Even though it terrified her, she did it.
So we went, nice and early- and got a parking space under the Convention Center (that’s $20- the one in the adjacent lot is $15, I think). And it didn’t take very long before someone asked for my picture. TheBoy was surprised at how quickly I’d catch the people who wanted to stop me for photos- but it was pretty easy. I wasn’t listening for Whitney or Mom. I was listening for Black Widow or Natasha. And since I was people watching, all I had to do was notice if they were lifting their camera/phone in a ‘can I take your picture’ pose. (Plus, most people made a beeline for me if they wanted one. That was hard to miss)
And while I’d practiced a few poses at home before the con, some photographers were kind enough to give me some suggestions for the picture they wanted (I had a tendency to turn to the side, so you couldn’t see much of my costume- one guy pointed it out because he liked the details that I’d added). So that was pretty cool, and for me – cosplay’s a learning curve. Both in making the costumes and wearing them.
We had a lot of fun – we swung by House of Darkly‘s booth, who has cute jewelry and plushes (I own three of her necklace designs: a 8-Bit heart, a sword and a 1-up). We stopped at the booth for Nottingham Festival (which is NEXT WEEKEND, Angelenos. If you want a historical Ren Faire without the heat, go!) and saw my friend C, who I haven’t seen in person in ages – and that was unexpected and great. We bought some fun merchandise (Slytherin socks and a masquerade mask from Whimsic Alley, a set of fox ears from Ningen Headwear, some new decals for my car from the decal guy, a new wig from Holly-Vine Wigs) and in general, TheBoy and I just got to spend some time together.
I stopped a really good Captain America for a photo. “Cap,” I said. “Black Widow,” he said in return, with a smirk. And when I asked for a picture of him, he asked for a picture with him. Which led to a guy dressed as Nick Fury hopping in with us. It was pretty cool. (I regret that I didn’t get a picture with Nick Fury)
But that wasn’t the highlight of the con and people stopping me. No, that was the four year old girl who lit up and threw her arms around my hips to give me a tight hug. “Black Widow, I love you!” And years after working at Disneyland, having kids who only just started to realize that the costumed characters aren’t the real thing… it was amazing. Because to that little girl, I wasn’t just someone dressed like Black Widow (even though she was dressed like a pirate), I was the real deal. And it was amazing.
As we watched them walk away so that I could squeal and tweet about it, TheBoy looked over at me. And we decided that I’m definitely going to put more effort into my costume. I’m going to add the holsters and some airsoft pistols next, fix my gauntlets (they kept falling apart – it was a good start, but I can improve them).
I miss the costume already. Being Natasha for the day is a lot of fun (and it’s a surprisingly comfortable costume, too).
Lessons learned: ditch the point and shoot – my camera has terrible resolution and I would have gotten better pictures on my phone.
But we had a fantastic year, and Comikaze will definitely be on our list of cons for 2015.
(and yes, my fingers are double-jointed. No, I never broke them, that’s just the way they are.)