John dressed as Dreamfinder once before at Disney's Halloween party, but it's so dark there no one can really see your costume, plus they're a lot more timid about approaching other guests for photos. So while he got a lot of sweet compliments and reactions, John didn't seem too eager to try the costume again on a non-Disney crowd.
Then, after our great first day on Friday, John surprised me by declaring maybe he *would* dress up, after all. So we scrambled to get the costume out of the garage, and I did my best to wrestle his wig & beard back into shape.
And, I'm happy (but not surprised) to report that MegaCon treated John like a total rock star.
We didn't even make it into the building before people were calling his name and offering up high-fives. From the second we walked into the side doors to the very second we walked back out that night, John was in demand. And it was glorious to watch.
While most cosplay makes people smile, John's Dreamfinder made them remember a time when magic was real and a little purple dragon could steal your ball cap. In an instant they were 8 years old again, and I got to watch this joy - this startled, delighted joy - flood so many faces. Then they would shout, or give chase, or clutch their friend's arm and start scrambling for a camera. Some were even visibly moved to tears, asking for a hug or simply collapsing onto John's shoulder. Many told him, with utmost sincerity, just how much they missed him.
Can you imagine having the mere sight of you inspire that much happiness? 'Cuz at its essence, I think that's what cosplay is really all about: reminding people of something or someone that fills them with that kind of joy.
I spent most of the day just trying to get out of the way of John's fans - not an easy feat in Saturday's crowds! - but here's a small sample of the group he usually had around him. See the expression on the lady in pink? That's what I got to watch all day. :D
You can also see it on the guy just walking into frame here:
Of course it was only adults over 25 or so who recognized John, but that was a huge portion of the crowd - and some of my favorite moments were watching parents shove cameras into their kids' hands and demanding a photo with Dreamfinder. Ha! Then they'd excitedly try to explain who he was, while the kids just looked baffled - and slightly alarmed.
I also love that it was an even number of both men and women getting their photo with John - if anything, there were actually more men! "You're dressed as my childhood," one guy gushed, while others unabashedly told John how much they loved him, bowing down, saluting, and otherwise inundating him with compliments.
At this point John actually had a small line waiting to get a photo with him.
And that's another thing: these people telling John how much they loved and missed him? They were talking to Dreamfinder. Grown men and women, entering into a tacit agreement with both John and each other that this wasn't a guy in costume; this was Dreamfinder. For just a second, they were allowed to be that 8 year old kid again. Conventions give us that. Cosplay gives us that. It's almost a sacred thing, and getting to see it up close was an honor.
Of course, I was also running off taking as many cosplay pics as I could, so rest assured I have plenty more to show you ... in another post. Thanks for indulging me with this one; I want to remember this, and the fact that I get to share these memories with people who just might enjoy them as much as I do is the big ol' virtual cherry on top.
Oh! And before I'm flooded with it in the comments: yes, we have seen that a new steampunk Dreamfinder comic is coming out, and I for one am super excited.
Maybe we'll 'punk John out a bit in time for this year's Dragon Con. ;) (You'll note I *did* add my goggles to his top hat, and I put Figment in an aviator cap, goggles, and jacket. My theory was they were fresh off the flying machine. ;))