Denver Comic Con 2018 Review

Once again, my husband and I attended Denver Comic Con this year, which says a lot, as we were pretty unsure about possibly returning after last year’s convention. We got our tickets early, and upon the announcement of Frank Miller attending, I pre-ordered his autograph as DCC stated that was the only way to receive it. That last part is important later on, but we’ll get there.

We had no issues getting into the Hilton Garden Inn again, which has easily become my favorite hotel for the convention. They’re always friendly, efficient, and their little restaurant has good food (and is cheaper than eating at the con). So, once we got to our room, I quickly changed into my new Poison Ivy and headed to the con.

Once to the con, they had two entrances this year for regular pass holders, an extra one for ADA and Speed Pass holders, and another for Exhibitors and Vendors. I was very happy to see we increased the entrances so people wouldn’t be walking around in the heat as much as last year. They had a much bigger security check area, but the Argus Security did the pathetic bag checks again, where stuff easily got snuck in. They also did the wand detectors, but while some would do a thorough check, others would not. Props that weren’t supposed to make it in did, as did clothing choices that Denver Comic Con had not permitted. Argus chose not to police it, though, so DCC stayed hands-off as well.

To redeem your tickets this year, you could either download an app (which seemed to work quite well), show your card, or show your ID. We got in very quickly, and had a harder time finding a lanyard to display our badges, lol! We made our way around, mainly figuring out the layout for this year, then headed up to the Exhibition Halls to check out Celebrity Summit and the Merchandise and Artists area’s layout.

Celebrity Summit was away from everything again, but they were strict about the No Photography rule, until the last day. Then no one seemed to care what was going on, including control of the lines. Every guest area was labeled and the lines and photo ops were set up decent again, so at least there wasn’t too many issues throughout the weekend.

The Merchandise and Artists area was laid out immensely better than last year. It was a lot easier to navigate and locate specific vendors you were looking for. The Food Court was also easy to find, as was the Kids’ area, however, the latter caused a lot of traffic jams because of the line system put out in the middle of the aisle. Saturday made it impossible for Volunteers to control.

After getting some of the autographs we wanted, my husband and I started meeting up with friends and grabbing photos. The Cosplay Summit was in the same location as last year, so once again, the lighting wasn’t all that great. But since more of the convention center was opened up, we’d just go find a better area to take photos. I signed up for the Cosplay Catwalk upon a visit down to this area, as a friend just recently took over the Cosplay portion of the con and honestly, I wanted her to have what she needed to be successful. So, strutting around on stage was added unexpectedly to the agenda for Saturday, lol! Some other things occurred that were neat on Friday, but I’m not allowed to discuss it until the video debuts. ;D

After all of that, we returned to the hotel and got changed out, wandered a little bit more around the con, met our group for the annual Bayou Bob’s dinner, and my girls and crashed out. The boys went out about the town, but turned in early when they realized most people weren’t partying Friday night, lol!

Saturday we got up, saw my friends off, and had breakfast before getting into costume. My husband wore his Captain Mal again, while I debuted Hela. We met up with a friend, got into the con easily, and meandered about. We did photos off and on, realized the Exhibition Hall was super crowded, so we traveled about halfway through before giving up and letting all of us go back and eat food in the hotel room. We also needed the air conditioning to all cool off for a bit, plus give me a break from my boots. After our break, we returned and continued just exploring until I had to go line up for the Cosplay Catwalk.

My husband and friends went off to eat while I hung out with people in line and chilled. We were going on after the actual contestants for the Cosplay Contest did their thing and entertain the audience while they waited for judging. Most of the people in line hadn’t done walk-ons before, but the staff for the cosplay contest were really good about explaining everything and getting us all lined up to go on stage. It was actually a lot of fun to just go on and ham it up for a minute, then chill in the audience and cheer everyone else on. The judges took a bit of time judging, but the MCs for the contest were entertaining. After they did the awards (which had a nice variety and I was actually quite impressed), the contest ended and all of us left. I went back to the hotel, changed, and chilled with friends for the rest of the evening. The boys checked out the Hard Rock After-Party and I’m hoping to do it next year! 😀

Sunday was the usual getting everything ready for checking out of the hotel. I got into Elektra, and we headed to valet and stored everything in our car, then went to the con. We got there decently early, as I had been given the Frank Miller signing times and told to bring the proof of payment to get it redeemed for his autograph. I arrived to a huge line and discovered that it didn’t matter if you paid or not, everyone was in the same line. I was livid, but waited, and got cut off right before redemption. So, since we now had to stay longer than planned, we made the best of it. We got a few more autographs that we hadn’t been able to get and finished checking out the Dealer’s area and bought some items there as well. We also grabbed food, and just chilled in the Food Court, before grabbing some quick pictures and heading back to the line.

At least the line was moving this time, but no Volunteers were marking where the end was. People cut others in line, were taking photos of Miller without permission, and basically the rules for the weekend just went out the window. After my autograph, we went and got our vehicle and headed home.

So, overall? I enjoyed the con a LOT more than last year. I felt things flowed together better and I know they made a lot of staff changes, which showed. The convention staff itself did awesome. Argus on the other hand still needs to get its act together. I snuck in stuff. Other people snuck in stuff. It all comes down to everyone is needing to be on their A game if we’re keeping these rules and security checkpoints… Otherwise, what’s the point of it all?

We’ll be back next year and I’m definitely looking forward to what Denver Comic Con 2019 brings! 😀

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Upcoming Posts

Sorry for the lack of posts currently, and honestly, overall this year. It’s been hard getting actual interviews coming in, so I’ve been trying to focus on tutorials, reviews, and overall news for the cosplay community that I figured would be useful. ❤

Currently, I’m gearing up for Denver Comic Con. With that, I’ll be doing a review on the convention as I do every year and I’ll also be doing another Herostime.com costume review! I’ll have some tutorials coming up either after or in between some of those and I’m contemplating doing some make-up brand reviews for costume wear, but I’m not sure how many people would be interested in that… AKA, if you are, say so in the comments!

Hopefully I’ll be bringing some more goodies for everyone to enjoy and learn from. ❤ See you after Denver Comic Con this weekend! 😀

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Yaya Han Fabric Review: Part 2!

This year for Denver Comic Con, they announced Frank Miller as a guest, and I immediately decided to make a new Elektra (he’s the creator of her character). The plan was to use already owned black spandex that I have, but after a giant issue with my patterning, I realized I needed to purchase new black spandex. As such, I said I might as well do another Yaya Han fabric review and purchased the 4-Way Stretch Matte Black Spandex.

I got a few yards and set to work. The major noticeable thing with this fabric is it doesn’t have a right side and wrong side, as it looks the same way on both. It is very much 4-way stretch, which worked perfectly for all the pieces to my Elektra costume variant I made. The fabric sewed very well, going smoothly through my machine and due to the stretch, I didn’t have to use a ton of elastic on pieces I probably would have had to using my other spandex choices.

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My new Elektra using Yaya Han fabric! Pardon the shot in the kitchen, but this was my test wear!

The fabric also wears well, since it’s matte and stretchy, and it wipes off dirt and such with ease, as I learned when I missed a spot dusting around my machine and found it with the fabric. Needless to say, I highly recommend this for any costume needing stretch to it! Can’t wait to see what I create next with it! 😀

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Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy Make-up Tutorial

This tutorial was created by Shonagh Scott and allows you to recreate a Gamora look! It is a bit of a tougher make-up tutorial to follow, but the finished look is stunning!

Hope it helps! 😀

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Cosplay Planner by WindoftheStars Review

So, this review has been a long time in the making, and I sincerely apologize! But, I legitimately was using the product to plan the work on my newest Elektra cosplay I’m debuting at Denver Comic Con! ❤

WindoftheStars asked around for people to test her new printable Cosplay Planner, and I jumped at the chance to help her out. I quickly downloaded my copy and printed it out to start testing everything included.

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Daily Planner pages come in 3 variations

So, to start things off, there is a quick little introduction to the product and her ideas behind it. Then the planner goes into three different versions of daily planner pages to use, as shown above. I tried out each one to discover what I liked and worked best for me!

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One of the Daily Planner pages in use

I did okay with this form for the daily planner, as I could write and cross off items as I worked. I used the little shopping list and enjoyed the notation to Stay Hydrated! I didn’t use the Goals area, however, because I had a hard time staying as on track as I wanted to this day.

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Another page for the Daily Planner

This was probably my favorite set-up because of the check boxes. It’s another way for me to physically see my progress and stay more on track!

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Final variation of the Daily Planner

So, while I like the check boxes, I hated the timing of items on this part. I never keep track of my time on projects, so for me, it was just a waste of space.

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Included Shopping List pages!

The Shopping List pages were a nice touch, and I think we all need a way to better organize our lists when we use them!

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Costume Overview page

I actually really enjoyed the Costume Overview page, as I could track all the costume pieces I have to make, wig information, contact lenses information, and make-up information. Clearly on this project I didn’t need it all, but for big pieces, having an overview page would be awesome to keep track and add on anything you might have missed as you go along!

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Weekly Planner variations

The planner goes into three different versions of weekly planner pages to use as well, as shown above. I tried out each one to discover what I liked and worked best for me much like I did with the daily ones!

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One of the weekly planner pages

This weekly planner page worked well, but wasn’t my absolute favorite to use. The shopping list and open days worked well, but it seemed somewhat redundant with the to do list and priorities as well.

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Another variation of the Weekly Planner

This was my favorite variation of the Weekly Planner, cause, you know, check boxes! I also liked the set up for the shopping list so I could keep track of the total spent for the week!

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Final form of the Weekly Planner

While I don’t mind making lists, I can safely say this was my least favorite set-up for the Weekly Planner. I guess I needed more structure to keep me in check for getting items done.

The Planner also links to a Google Document that allows you to calculate your budget for the costume via formulas that WindoftheStars created. It’s actually super helpful and I recommend using it, especially for big projects!

Overall, I feel the Planner is a good concept. The budgeting aspects are amazing and something I cannot recommend enough, and I do like the variations included for everything. The major thing I suggest changing may be the color tones, as they are slightly difficult to see once printed, but not enough to be a huge deal.

For those interested, you can visit WindoftheStars’ site and purchase your own copy of the Cosplay Planner for $5!

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Interview with Ojii-chan

It’s time for another interview, this time with Ojii-chan! He’s a long-time cosplayer from Washington, who enjoys figuring out how to best crossplay female characters!

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Ojii-chan out of costume

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
It originally used to be Laughing_man in the old days as I was big on Ghost in the Shell, and it was ironic because I’m a quiet person and don’t laugh out loud that much. Later on I picked a better one that suited me: Ojii-Chan, which actually means “Grandfather.” I picked that even though I’m not a grandfather, but just to let everyone know I’m not trying to hide my age (like I did in the early con days), because I usually have 15-20 years on the average convention-goer nowadays. I still watch anime and collect figures and stuff even though I’m nearing the 50 mark (*shudder*), plus I’m lucky enough to still have a youthful look. My motto is: elder in time but young at heart.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
Aside from being Han Solo for the Star Wars special edition in theaters in 1997, I didn’t officially start cosplaying until 2000 when I went to my first Convention: Sakura Con. I think I read up on conventions or something and saw that people dressed up when they went to these conventions, so I thought why not? So I cobbled together a decent Son Gohan costume and a not so decent Android 17. That first convention experience was an eye-opener, a lot of fun, so I kept on going. In 2018 that would equal about 19 years of cosplaying.

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Well actually I don’t know if this question applies to me since I don’t have a lot of costume making skills, like sewing—the big one. Plus a lot my past costumes have been online purchases or they were made for me. I can tell you I’ve done handsewing, fabric cutouts and gluing, painting props and weapons and constructing a car out of cardboard for my son—Initial D. Among those I do like painting the props (like a guitar)and weapons and I also enjoyed doing a homemade screen print for a shirt and shorts for a costume-that was for an Ataru Moroboshi track outfit. It was a lot of work but when I saw the finished product I was pleased. Also I love to style simple wigs for costumes—such as most recently styling a wig for Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell Arise. The results were also pleasing.

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I don’t have any costume MAKING plans in the future as like I previously mentioned will usually just purchase them. I want to do a Sakura cosplay/crossplay from the Street Fighter Zero game, so that will need a wig so I look forward to styling the wig for that. I’ve been pondering whether or not to do a Mai Shiranui costume from King of Fighters. The question isn’t to make it or not, but rather how to pull it off properly. She bears a lot of skin so it would require maybe skin colored tights or spankies if I wanted to go that route or just wear some hot pants to be more discreet. All his goes over the hip and butt padding too. And how do we do the breasts if she’s not wearing a bra obviously? And the long wig? It’s a fun challenge to figure out how to cosplay a female character convincingly!

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Ojii-chan as Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z/Super, photo by Darkain

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
OOOOOh the details, especially in those wonderful game costumes, too many to mention but say for example Final Fantasy. I don’t really play those games, but I’ve seen footage and art of the characters and many, many cosplays of them throughout the years. There are so many little designs, patterns and pictures on the costumes it’s amazing. Also something like Tsubasa Chronicle or .hack// franchise—so many things people paint, layer on, or glue on it’s great! I also like how some cosplayers have a lot of props they carry around for their particular character. My wife cosplayed Kagome from Inu-Yasha a few years ago, and she actually brought a bicycle to walk around with, a yellow back pack full of actual snacks and a first aid kit, school textbooks and to top it off a Shikon jewel shard in a little bottle on a necklace string. It’s all the stuff Kagome has with her on the series. Or even a little detail like a Magneto cosplayer I saw at ECCC who put a magnet inside his gloves so he can pick up metal things—that’s a cool detail. Who does well in them? Well anybody can pull it off really whether you’re a veteran cosplay maker or a novice concentrating on their very first “awesome” costume. Although I’ll say more often than not, ladies fare better in those type of detailed costumes.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
A lot has changed. From the beginning you have all these fans making their own costumes and they get better and better every year. Others buy them like I do and have fun with it throughout the years. But now you got “professionals” that are official convention guests and ask for money for their picture. And you also have these pinup cosplay girls online asking for money to finance their cosplay hobbies or get their digital pinup photos. I liked it better in the old days when it wasn’t about money, it was putting your heart into your costume whether you made it or bought it and less about money. I mean if it’s your career then I get that. Also you have people on the internet picking at your costume or your body type, age etc. which is not what cosplay is about. It’s not as innocent as it used to be.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I’d like to bring back that innocence, take away the pros and erase all the online judging and begging for money, but that would be so difficult. But I think a lot of the smaller corporate sponsor-free conventions out there still strive for those innocent times. I think that’s the main thing: some of these anime or comic conventions started out so small and now are so huge that everything revolves around making profits and getting big numbers. They’re so based in industry now, they’ve forgotten about fans, what they want and the foundation where these cons came from. Anime Expo, Sakura Con, San Diego Comic Con, New York CC and Emerald City Comic Con are all like that. I do enjoy going to Emerald City Comic Con but many fans don’t like how it’s so big and industry based. These conventions all said in the beginning: created by fans for fans, but a lot of that is lost now on us fans. Let’s bring those cosplay contests back to the forefront like they used to be, and not be second fiddle to some musical guest that we never heard of, with the corporate sponsors sitting in the front rows. I think the power needs to go back into the hands of the fans and away from the money mongers. Maybe then the cosplayers only worry would be: what should I cosplay next?

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Ojii-chan as Chun Li from Street Fighter

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
The sky is the limit. Whatever you want to be you should do it. If you want to start simple that’s fine. If you want to wear something more elaborate, go for it, and make it happen. If you can sew it all yourself, that’s awesome. If you need help, there’s nothing wrong with that. You can buy a costume if you like to. It will be different for everyone. Some will to start simple then maybe challenge themselves and later do some crazy stuff, and I’ve seen a number of “crazy” costumes and props in all the years I’ve been attending. There shouldn’t be any hindrance in making your dreams come true. That includes age too: little kids to senior citizens, make/get your costume and have fun with it, enjoy, be happy.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Well you can see I worry about those bigger conventions, so I’ve got real fond memories of smaller cons such as Anime Oasis in Boise, Idaho. I went there from 2003-2012 and they were so much fun in such a little con, even when they did grow a bit. And I met so many wonderful people I’m still with friends to this day. I also like Anglicon, a british media convention that was around for many years then suddenly folded, then came back in 2014 when Doctor Who popularity peaked in the US. Again so small but you can meet a lot nice people, plus easier access to meet and see the guests who can walk freely in the convention area and not get mobbed. I’ve met Colin Baker, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy there! Geek Girl Con is unique as highlights the girls and ladies of fandom, which is great. There’s just as many lady artists, gamers and such out there as guys, if not more. I love going there. As for bigger cons I did like Fanime Con when I went there from 2005-2007. I had a great time shooting cosplay photos, seeing events and guests, and the weather was great and San Jose is a nice city. Finally I like attending Emerald City Comic Con, as huge as it is now. There’s so much to see and do there, and usually they have cool guests. Of course all of these conventions have some great costumes and cosplayers.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
Well like I mentioned I usually buy mine, but I’m proud of building the AE86 Initial D for my son. First time I ever did that. But I’m mostly proud of my wife who has made most of my Ranma Saotome tops: a sleeveless red tunic, a light blue sleeveless and a wonderfully looking green long sleeved one. She made them all by herself and she’s making more! She loves that series. We got to know each other from the beginning from our mutual interest in Ranma ½. She also styled the Ranma wigs too.

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Ojii-chan as Ranma from Ranma 1/2

Thanks for the interview, Ojii-chan! You can check out his Facebook pages here and here, and his CosPix page here!

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Man Posing as Cosplay Photographer Assistant Gets Called Out

Earlier this month, Martin Wong exposed a man who was pretending to be his photography assistant… But, honestly, instead of giving you the run-down in text, I figured it’d be better to just share this video by FanService Renji. He not only breaks it down for you, but illustrates exactly how I felt about the situation.

While I’m glad the situation was handled so well, let’s hope it is a good lesson for any others out there that attempt to do the same thing. Not a good idea!

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