Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CONjure 2016 - And John's First-Ever Costume Win!

Remember about a year and a half ago when John and I presented Mark Sheppard with his own custom Crowley POP! vinyl? That happened at CONjure, a local con that drew in such small crowds, I felt like the vendors outnumbered the attendees. It was bad, y'all. So bad, they even stopped charging admission by the second day, hoping to get more bodies in the vendor hall.

I was astounded, then, when CONjure returned last weekend for a second show. And even though it was beautifully run - gorgeous hotel, solid celebrity guests, plenty of panels, etc - once again, almost no one showed up. It always breaks my heart to see a dead con (lookin' at you, ShockPop), but I think CONjure's steep $25 daily admission could have had a lot to do with it. (And, once again, they dropped admission and let everyone in for free on Sunday! This is setting a bad precedent, guys...)

I planned to skip CONjure this year, but when a friend offered us an extra badge, John and I decided to head over for the last few hours on Saturday. I even convinced John to go as Dreamfinder last minute:

It's so much more fun for John in costume, and even though we were warned there was no one there, it felt like CONjure had better crowds this year. (Although "crowds" may be too generous of a word.)

I won't bore you guys with more heart-warming stories of complete strangers going gaga for DF and Figment, but suffice to say, seeing happy people just never gets old.

Here's a mashup I've never seen: Star Wars in Oz!

Check out the little BB-8 in her basket!  Hee!

As much steampunk as I've seen, I'll admit I can sometimes get a little jaded. But this steampunk family? AMAZEBALLS:

They had several light-up elements, like the lady's monocle and inside the gent's snake head cane. They went on to win "Best Group" in the costume contest, and deservedly so!

With so few cosplayers there, John decided to enter the costume contest. It was surprisingly fun for him last time, even without winning anything, so why not, right? So we headed over to the pre-judging room, which took about an hour:

Near the end a guy in a red jacket snuck in and started filming the judges' Q&A with the contestants. I immediately recognized him: Sandeep Parikh, aka Zaboo from The Guild!

 So of course I started snapping pics with my phone:

For this interview he sat in the Xenomorph's lap:


This is the #1 advantage to small cons, you guys: you just don't get this kind of interaction with celebs anywhere else. (Later Sandeep hosted a Party Bus from the con, where he and 30 guests went drinking at geek bars all night! And I know at least two of them were Epbot readers, so... how was it, guys?)

The contest itself was emceed by Dana Snyder, aka the voice of Master Shake on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Dana is HUGE Dizgeek, and zeroed in on John from stage right away.

Of course now I sound biased, but Dana seriously made this the most entertaining costume contest I've ever seen. He really played with the contestants: backing away in fear, cracking jokes, and keeping it quick and silly. (The first contestant was a little girl Ariel, so he sang the "Aa-aaa-aaaaa, a-aa-aaaa!" bit from Ariel's transformation... and then proceeded to sing the same thing for every. single. contestant. Including Deadpool and the Alien. LOVE.)

Dana did try to sing the Imagination song for John... and failed. Which was excellent.

Even though there weren't many contestants, neither of us figured John would win anything. Don't get me wrong; our Figgie is beautiful, but beside him John is really just wearing a custom suit. That's hard to stand up against foam armor and intricate dresses and whatnot.


He won! 

Not Best In Show, of course (that went to the armored couple beside him), but Best Individual!

(From left to right on stage there is Best Junior,  Best Technical (with the wings), Best Group, Best In Show, & Best Individual.)

Here's Dana Snyder with him afterward: 

And then Sandeep interviewing him on camera:

I'd finally fought my way through the crowd to get these pics, and John pointed me out... and then Sandeep was interviewing us both, and making dirty jokes that I went along with, but had John blushing and laughing non-stop. It was hilariously adorable. (Though I'm kind of hoping none of that ends up online anywhere...)

Afterward Sandeep asked to take a selfie with Figment, but the hand-off ended up looking like John was working out some anger issues, so I had to share:

 "No, Dreamfinder! NOOOOO!!"


John was super nervous through it all, but he was positively glowing the whole way home. I'm so proud of him, and so happy to see him getting love from fellow geeks! So thanks for letting me brag on my hubby, guys. More Dragon Con cosplay is coming up next!


  1. CONGRATULATIONS, JOHN!!!!!! :-D And OMG ZABOO!!!! Sorry, but I hope like heck that interview DOES end up online because I'd pay good money to see it. ;-)

  2. Congratulations John!!! I love your costume and I think your award was well deserved! :)

  3. YAY! Congrats John. And the outfit is so much more than just a custom suit, it is a perfect replica of a character, the suit, the hat, the beard, the grin, and the amazing figment. I may be biased since Figment is my favorite Disney creation. I still have the picture of the two of them from last year Dragoncon as my phone screen image :-)

  4. Hooray for John!!!! "Just" a custom contraire!! A perfect, perfectly accurate recreation of a beloved character! Well deserved.

  5. AWESOME!! Congrats John (thoj)!!
    Love the pics, Jen.
    Maureen S

  6. Wooooooot! Congrats, John! You deserve it! You're the awesomest Dreamfinder ever. And, I hope sooooo hard that the interview does turn up online. Sorry, Jen.

    The costumes on the steampunk family are excellent! Dorothy and Scarecrow Stormtrooper are also very cool (and hilarious).

    I LOVE the last pic. Hahaha!! Reminds me of Homer and Bart: "Why, you little...!" When my son was 8, he and my husband were joking around and reenacting that in a parking lot right as someone I knew walked over to talk to me. She didn't get the reference and didn't know they were playing. Soooo embarrassing!

    Looking forward to the last of the Dragon Con pics!


  7. Please. You can brag on John any day. Any. We love John! Congratulations, again!

    -Just Andrea

  8. And also, I am now going looking for that interview. It sounds fun!

    -Just Andrea

  9. So, so cool!!! Despite the small crowds, it looks like it was super-fun and totally worth the visit. :-D

  10. Well that's SUPER awesome for John!!! That steampunk family entered the contest at SYFY Bartow 2016 (Bartow FL) and won best group there too! They ARE awesome. I took some pics while I was there. ( A very handsome family.

    My sister won a category for her steampunk costume too - as Mrs. H.G. Wells (!

  11. Congratulations, John! And kudos to you for entering the contest to begin with. That takes a lot of guts!

  12. Congratulations to John! So happy his (and your) work and talent was recognized.

  13. Congrats, John! His costume is spot on so I'm glad he was recognized. :)

    I'm also pleased to see the guy with wings - this is Dart from the Legend of Dragoon, a much-beloved Playstation One game! I never see cosplay of them! WHOA!

  14. I love everything about this!!!! Congrats John!!

  15. I could tell John was glowing from the win, his eyes were smiling!


  16. That is so awesome! So cool to have a great experience like that: the contest, the celebrity encounter, etc. If you do find that interview online somewhere, PLEASE share it with us! :D

    And many congratulations, John, on your win! It's certainly well-deserved.

  17. woohoo!! I'm so jazzed for you two!

  18. I'm going to my first Con in April (I'm an old fogey and crowds make me extremely nervous and nauseated). It's the SC Comic Con in Greenville, SC and this is only its second year. $20 for a weekend pass and Jewel Staite is going to be there. I couldn't pass up a chance to meet Kaylee! I'm hoping I get as lucky as you've been at CONjure and it's not too crazy. I don't have a costume, though I kinda wish I did. I may pull out the Osgood gear as that's relatively simple. I'm kinda babbling in your comments, sorry. I'm nervous about going but I always see your photos and know how much it freaks you out too, so I'm going to be brave and go.

    Congratulations to John for the win! He looks so great! :D

  19. Yay John -- and Figgie too! :) It's about time you guys got some prizes for your awesome costumes. I admire all the people who do Cons; especially those who make costumes. I just don't have that sort of creativity, nor am I thrilled to deal with crowds in enclosed spaces. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you guys, Jen!

  20. Well, hot damn and hallelujah! Congrats to John on the win!


  21. I don't know what dirty jokes were told...but the ad that showed up along side this piece is totally for k-y jelly.

  22. You guys need to come to my con . you always make everything look like so much fun.

  23. The faces of the people around John in this costume are always amazing to see. He brings so much joy when he's in it. You should definitely ALWAYS share pictures of it.


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