Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tampa's Fanboy Expo 2015: The Best Cosplay

Last weekend John and I took the 2-hour trek up to Tampa for Fanboy Expo. You might remember this - as I do - as the little con that hosted James Hance last year. Despite it being quite small, I had a blast then and was really looking forward to it again this year.

Fanboy moved to a different hotel this time, though, and I think that, above all else, is why it went so wrong.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, a positive sign:


I'm glad to see even the smaller cons taking a stand against potential harassment. In fact, this was the very first thing you saw at Fanboy, before even making it to ticket sales.

Then I spotted Belle in the midst of a good book:

 Think she's made it to chapter 3? 

As we queued up for tickets, John and I got our first glimpse at the biggest problem with Fanboy:

No, not crowds; the layout. This narrow hallway was extremely long, and was the only way in or out of the con. That wouldn't be a problem, except the staff was also using the hall for the hours-long  autograph line (that's all the people against the right wall) PLUS vendor tables squeezed in on the left there. You almost literally couldn't move at times, much less shop at the poor vendors.

The autograph line was so lengthy because Fanboy had snagged both the original Batman, Adam West, AND the original Robin, Burt Ward, as guests. I guess these two rarely appear together, so fans really came out of the woodwork... and Fanboy wasn't expecting the crowds? I guess? That's the only explanation I can come up with.

To give you an idea of the madness, our friend Chris came to Fanboy ONLY to get West's & Ward's autographs, plus a picture with the duo. Just those things took him the entire day.

More insanity: here's the line - on an actual stairwell - for people who were pulled from the autograph line because they didn't have cash. To pay with credit, you had to first wait in this line, then go to the next one.

This stairwell was the only way to get to the panel rooms upstairs. So you could definitely say "traffic flow" was an issue. 0.o

There wasn't much to see or do at Fanboy besides stand in line (every time we found a quiet corner to stand in, someone would ask, "What's this line for?" EVERY TIME. It became a running joke!), so John and I left after just a few hours. The only panel I wanted to see had some Disney voice actors, but the con scheduled it quite early - just an hour after open - so I missed it. (Boops.)

The vendor room was fairly lackluster with only a handful of artists, and several told us nothing was selling. The crowds were apparently spending all their money on the exorbitantly priced Batman & Robin autographs, which were $60 - $100 each. (With much more for photos.)

The costume contest was held upstairs in a tiny cave of a room, so dark that photos were impossible - and no stage, so you couldn't see them anyway.

Topping it all off, I think Fanboy was over-priced, charging $25 for a single day's admission. That's almost MegaCon money, for a convention one quarter of the size!

Ahhh, but I've griped enough, right? Let's get to the cosplay!

I love this pose, ha! Ariel and the Discovery of the Dinglehopper. :D


This Hellgirl had some fantastic contouring going on with her body paint:

Plus I love the contrast of her red with R2's blue.

Note the epic side-eye photo bomb, which I didn't have the heart to crop out. Hee.

I'm seeing a lot more colored contacts on cosplayers, and I can see why; really helps the eyes "pop."

The inflatable dino made me grin:

I should mention I had some camera problems at Fanboy, and nearly scrapped this whole batch in frustration. Almost all of my shots had varying degrees of blur to them, no matter what I did. Since then John's discovered there's a known focusing issue with the Canon 7D, and he just downloaded a software fix for it. I'm hoping that means my next batch is better!

... which is all a lengthy excuse for why this Moxxi is so blurry.

Just pretend you're not wearing your glasses. Or that you need some.
(This is Minxy Cosplay, btw, if you want to follow her on FB!)

The blurriest of all, but I loved the little Claptrap hanging off her jacket tails:

An adorable Star Trek family:

I think this is an Asgardian Belle?

It's like Thor's hammer, but with a rose inside! Clever, right? And I like all the roses on her gold armor.

These Harley, Ivy, and Catwoman bathing beauties are SO FUN:

Look at Harley's little ring float!

And I think Catwoman has a beach ball in a bag... which kind of looks like a giant bomb?
Seriously. LOVE.

Another creative take on a classic: Warrior Chieftain Mandalorian:

That huge feather headdress was a sight to behold, and lots of great detailing here.

Korra and Asami from Legend of Korra:

(Korra [aka Queen Nyota Cosplay]'s FB page here.)

Such a great show. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can stream the first season there for free.

And here's one I've never seen at a con before: Elphaba from Wicked!

Wicked is John's & my favorite musical. Here's a reference from the actual stage show:

Ooh, lookie, it's my favorite local droid again!

It's been a while since I've seen this guy out. I've dubbed it the Captain EO, and I lurrrve it.

And finally, my favorite costume duo of the day, worn by my friends (& Epbot fans!) Jason & Allison:

Steampunk Mary Poppins & Bert!

I'm sure most of you have seen the movie, but just in case:

What really amazes me are the details these two put in. And they made EVERYTHING. Allison even made her own corset, steel boning and all! She has red LEDs in her umbrella, and little vials of sugar on her bracers:

Plus a big silver spoon on her belt. Hee! Her other bracer has a compass (for tracking the winds, of course):

Not to be outdone, Jason's arm bracers had art supplies in them:

Paints, brushes, and the leather pouches have oil pastels and chalks inside.

Feather and flower detail on Allison's goggles, and the most squee-worthy detail:
Tiny spoon charms on her skirt ribbons!

I'm kicking myself for not dragging these two outside for a proper photo shoot, since these shots are terribly dark and grainy. Hopefully you guys get the general idea, though:

And that was Fanboy Expo! 

Sadly I don't think we'll be returning next year, unless maybe they slash prices and/or change venues again. It would also help if they booked more celebs, though obviously Batman & Robin drew in huge crowds for them. For you locals, I'd definitely choose Tampa Bay Comic-Con instead. It's held the same month (this weekend, in fact), costs just $5 more, and is easily four times the size.

Speaking of which, we're at Tampa Bay Comic-Con at this very moment, so stay tuned for those photos later. Hope to see some of you there!


  1. Man, that Elphaba outfit looks heavy and hot, especially for Florida in the summer!

  2. There is an Elphie cosplayer at Leaky every year! I thought that was her at first but I know she is at Geeky in Orlando. I couldn't go this year so went to my local con, Boston Comicon. I was so beyond disappointed. There were barely any interesting panels and all the vendors were ONLY about comics. I guess I'm spoiled with Leaky/Geeky encompassing more than that. I bought one art print and that was it. Such a bummer. We saw some cool cosplay but that lighting and crowds made it impossible to take any pictures. I also felt like I was in the way EVERY SINGLE SECOND. I'll just live through all your shots instead :-)

  3. **LOVE** the female Tusken Raider with her itty bitty bantha!

  4. Love the Elphaba costume! That was my Halloween costume one year - I never thought about cosplaying it though!

  5. I work a lot of conventions, and the traffic flow issue is a big problem whenever the venues are changed. It's one thing to walk through a space before it's crowded to people, and in that time it does seem like it would be big enough to handle it, but it never is. It's just a lesson that they need to learn from and hopefully plan for better. $25 for a Friday is a pretty standard price for conventions. The only time I've seen it lower was about 10 years ago when most things just cost $30 for an entire weekend, and I doubt Adam West and Burt Ward's appearance fees were cheap. I don't know how long Fanboy has been going, but if it's a new con it could be trying to grow to fast before it has the space to handle the amount of people.

    1. We have a size-comparable con here, albeit with out Adam and Burt, and it's $5 a day. $5! I can't imagine spending $25 on a small con. I'd be beyond irritated.

    2. Yeah, I agree $25 is fairly standard, but only for BIG cons in conventions centers. Those held in hotels are usually more in the $10-$15 range. (Per day, of course.)

    3. I'm curious as to how many people were in attendance. My home convention hosts around 2000 fans, with primarily literary guests. It's $70 for the weekend at the door (single day tickets are $35/$45/$25). Our local convention (no media guests at all) hosts around 1000 fans and is $60 at the door (weekend)

  6. Isn't Catwoman holding a giant ball of yarn? That's what I thought it was supposed to be. Anyway, great pics as usual! And my eyes must be really bad, because your "blurry" photos looked just fine to me.

  7. The Harley of the Harley-Ivy-Catwoman trio is my friend Amber, who cosplayed as Dot from the Animaniacs at Supercon (among many other awesome award-winning cosplays)!
    Check out City Siren FX for more of their work! Yay!

  8. Bummer about FanBoy. Sounds like the venue layout was the big problem.

    Hubby and I recently watched the Showtime special on Adam West getting (FINALLY!) his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I'm wondering if that timing also bumped the popularity of B&R autograph lines. There were several scenes of Adam and Burt at different events. (I have to admit -- I'd probably stand in line for those autographs.)

    1. I was at Boston Comic Con 2015 last weekend. The layout was good but their management of cosplayer movement was awful. The quite literally blocked aisle after aisle for photo ops. I wish cons would start enforcing "photo op areas" so people would stop doing aisle-wide dramatic poses in the middle of the flow of traffic.

  9. I look at your photos of all these amazing costumes people spend what must be hundreds of hours and dollars on, and all I can think is why don't these cons have photo studios set up?! Just a small meeting room with a white back drop on one side and a black drop on the other. They could put a professional photographer in there so that these fans could get a great picture of that time they went all out with their friends, family, etc and take it home and frame it. Maybe the studios could be available for people with their own cameras early in the morning as well. I am not a crafty person, and seeing these magical outfits is well, magical! to me. Thanks for sharing all your pictures.

    1. Many cons actually do have a setup just like that, manned by the convention's official photographer. Usually only the costume contest entrants get their photos taken there, but sometimes it's open to anyone in costume. If you check a convention's official page, you'll often see these more professional shots.

      I'm also seeing more photographers actually rent a vendor's booth and set up there - lighting & backdrop and all - so they can pull cosplayers in and take their photo that way. I've never investigated, but I think those ones are actually selling the pics - otherwise, I don't see how they could afford the pricey vendor's fee.

    2. Oh good! I'm relieved to hear it. :)

    3. Necronomicon has a group of pro photographers that volunteer their time. They'll take pictures of anyone who wants to try. You dont have to buy anything but if you do all the money goes to Kids And Canines.

    4. I would gladly pay money to get a professional shot done. So often I work for months on a costume, go to the con, and when I get home, I realize I have no decent shots of myself actually in the costume! I love the idea of a photographer setting up in a vendor's booth.

  10. Aww, we were at Tampa comic-con today! IBM sorry we didn't see you bit I FERVENTLY hope you saw, and got a picture of, the handsome fellow in the slave Leia/ TaunTaun costume. It was my first con, I was gobsmacked, and missed my chance.

  11. I was at Tampa Bay Comic Con yesterday and had just the most fun ever! It was my first comic con and I kept jumping and squealing at all the clever and cool cosplay to be seen -- my daughter kept trying to shush me, but when I, in my Tardis getup, saw a girl cosplaying the 11th Doctor and she dashed over to me, arms wide, hollering "SEXY!" and I hollered back "THIEF!" before we hugged, well, I think my daughter realized it was a lost cause. What fun! I can't wait to read your write-up of it, and I can't thank you enough for your posts on previous comic cons, which were what first made me interested in visiting one myself someday.

  12. I'm surprised you didn't mention Catwoman's "cat-eye" sunglasses, which I looooove.

  13. Those bathing beauties are my favorite!
    Sucks that it was so crowded, but if you can stand that sort of thing looks like it would be fun anyway. Just remember to bring cash to all conventions! haha
    --Piper P from Washington State

  14. Such great cosplayers! I would have left even sooner than you, that is so frustrating (and should have been so easy for them to expect looking at the venue!).

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