First, we decided early on to go ahead and call our Junk Lady Agnes, so I could call instructions to John (who wore her most) without breaking character in the crowd.
Here she is with Roxy the Rancor:
It was an ordeal just getting Agnes onto the con floor, since she's too tall for average elevators and of course can't handle many stairs because of balance issues. We had to bring her in through the back loading docks of the center both days. I won't bore you with details, but suffice to say this was incredibly stressful. o.0
pic by @Dwayne1977
(The Blue Worm on the back was a hit; I like having a fun surprise for folks who take the time to look all the way around!)
Agnes definitely commanded more attention than any of our previous cosplays, to the point on Friday afternoon where I actually started to panic - and I wasn't even the one in the costume. We just couldn't GET anywhere, period. Literally every 5-10 feet we'd be stopped. Add to that the fact that I kept getting lost (I swear that enormous vendor room looks the same from every angle) when *I* was supposed to be leading, and it was, again, rather stressful.
By contrast, when I wore Agnes for the last few hours of Friday it was quite fun and even relaxing, since I had a built-in bubble to hide in, and could rely on John to lead me around. John wore Agnes for all the really strenuous stuff, though, so I didn't have to field many obstacles.
Being Agnes' handler is a full-time job: I was continually scanning the floor for bumps (even the tiniest crack would pitch the cart forward, since it was so top heavy), clearing the crowd, answering questions, directing John for photos, watching out for pranksters (one older guy - like, gray-headed older - actually banged on her drum. >.<) and generally taking the lead. I originally thought I could take photos of other cosplayers while doing this, too. I was wrong. Heh.
You guys, it was so dang fun.
The interactions we had with everyone were priceless, and even as handler, I really enjoyed playing my part:
A rare break in the overwhelming crowds today, so I managed to take a little video. We decided to call our #LabyrinthJunkLady Agnes for now, so I was constantly chiding her to "behave," "look this way," "no biting," etc. 😜😁😂John & I both had a lot of fun slowly chasing people, but we tried VERY HARD not to scare any kids - which is why you can hear John apologizing at the end. (He didn't realize there was a little girl there.) Adults, on the other hand, were fair game. ;) #megacon2016 #LabyrinthCosplay
I'm fascinated by the different emotions you can evoke with cosplay. With Dreamfinder we get tears and squeals of joy, with Lady Vadore we get a little awe and admiration, and with Agnes we got... well, a huge mix, to be honest. The range literally went from folks wanting to kiss her (and a few did) to many backing away in fear. Most were somewhere in the middle. Kids found her fascinating, I think because Agnes is their height, and I loooove how many little ones broke into delighted smiles when she moved. (As I said on that video up there, we never chased kids; I don't want any childhood trauma on my conscience!) I like that everyone had a reaction, though. It's so fun to just interact.
Someone over on Reddit saw Agnes in person, and is now insisting that she was fully articulated with a moving mouth, eyes, etc. Of course, Agnes' face is a static sculpt, but the fact that our movements fooled someone so thoroughly is just plain awesome.
In fact, a few FAQs:
- The entire costumes is 87 inches high, and at its narrowest point, 36 inches wide.
- I've been saying the costume is 37 pounds, but it turns out we weighed it without Agnes' body attached. So in reality Junk Lady is probably more like 43 pounds. Ish.
- The costume is in 3 parts: the junk pile, the body, and a slim PVC wheeled cart. We keep it on the cart most of the time, but the top half CAN be worn with shoulder straps.
- The speakers and sound files worked great, but the speaker wasn't NEARLY loud enough. Next time we'll try to fix that.
- Yes, we can see pretty well in it. And the top is open with a fan, so it's not as hot as you think. (I was perfectly comfortable.)
- John is 5'11 and sees out the back of the chair. I'm 5' even and look under the chair, which is clearer.
- Agnes' only articulation is in the neck (her head can swivel side-to-side) and then her whole torso can swing outward a bit. Combining the two creates some pretty realistic movement, though. We also walked with a heavy shuffle, to get the junk pile to make that great clanking noise.
I think those are all the FAQs, but please let me know if I missed anything.
We saw literally nothing of the con all day Friday because of Agnes, so for Saturday we only brought her out for a few hours, right before the costume contest. We didn't really plan to enter, but friends and con staff threatened to carry us there themselves, so we finally worked our slow, stressful way to the theater. We almost didn't make it, and ended up dead last in this line:
We made some friends while waiting, though. (Wait'll you see the Groot who was next to us. AMAZEBALLS.)
The contest stage had steps, so at the last moment we removed the cart and had John wear Agnes on the shoulder straps. He had to navigate those steps with limited vision, no hands, and no assistance, so needless to say I was terrified. The room was also beyond capacity - they turned away a ton of folks at the door - with who-knows how many thousands of fans watching. NERVES. We had 'em.
My new friend Serena caught this bit on video:
Overall winner of the costume contest was John & Jen with Labyrinth junk lady! #megacon @MegaConvention @cakewrecks pic.twitter.com/wfCEs1UQA6— Serena (@SerenaLyn) May 29, 2016
And that last bit was him going BACK on stage, because:
WE WON BEST IN SHOW.
We honestly thought we weren't going to win anything, you guys - and we'd had such an amazing time, I can even say we were both OK with that. They'd already announced the Technical winner and the Best Movie winner and there were some INCREDIBLE costumes there with us, so I figured, hey, at least I don't have to get John back down that dark, cramped aisle to the stage again!
Then I heard the crowd do a drum roll, and the emcee called out, "JOHN YATES, WITH..." but the rest was a white noise blur, because I suddenly discovered I'm a happy crier, you guys. I did not know this. I can still hear the cheers - and I still tear up every dang time I remember. John laughs at me for it, but here's a secret: he totally cried, too.
My friend Chris insisted on a photo of us both with Agnes. We're sweaty, stressed-out messes, and you guys know how much I dislike having my photo taken, but that's just how proud I am of our grumpy goblin gal. :) (Btw, added bonus of this costume: it looks great even when no one's wearing it!)
Best In Show is announced last, so we stayed near the stage while the room emptied. And that's where this happened:
I could - and have! - watch this over, and over, and over...
Thank you to everyone who stopped to take a picture and/or chat with us at MegaCon - you gave me and John a weekend we'll never forget. Thanks also to our friends Tim, Dan, Chris, and Scott for helping us cart Agnes around - literally. And thanks to everyone online, both here and over on the RPF forum, for all the encouragement and praise and general this-is-our-tribe-ness. You guys rock.
Now I'm going to go sleep for another 10 hours, because 4-day cons are basically the triathlons of the geek world. Stay tuned for my actual MegaCon coverage, since I still managed to take ALL the good cosplay photos, promise, and can't wait to show you guys!