Friday, September 9, 2016

The Best Cosplay of Dragon Con 2016, Part 1!

Here we go, peeps, back into that magical fairyland where so many of the U.S.'s very best cosplayers and costumes come out to play.

 Since John and I had two new cosplays to debut ourselves, and spent a lot of hours either inside giant foam helmets or junk piles, I "only" took about 1600 photos last weekend. I also worked at being more selective this year, only chasing down my very favorites, and sacrificing quantity for - I hope! - better stories and quality. Fingers crossed that means I can actually get everything posted before next year this time. ;)

But enough talk. Let's get to the eye candy.

First up, here there be Dragon... Con Mermaids!

Yep, once again there was a Mermaid meet on Thursday afternoon, this time in the Sheraton pool.

I've featured my friends Alexie and Christie before in their tails (go here to see them better), but here they are again, swishing their stuff:

Now on to the dryer - and mercifully cooler - areas of the con:

The new Ghostbusters were heavily represented, which made me happy. I even spotted a fantastic Gilbert in her pleated skirt suit, clutching a copy of "Ghosts From Our Past" - but since I was holding a shrubbery at the time, I didn't get a pic. Anyone have one?

And then... there were these guys:


Not gonna lie; I love this. Way to flip those "sexy" costumes around, fellas! And once again I find myself jealous of a man's legs, because Ginger Beard, you are WERKIN IT.

We were wrangling Agnes when this happened right next to her:

 Terrible shot (sorry), but LOOK at that fabulous Scooby Doo diver! His helmet even glows!

Thursday night was the Bunny Hutch contest, so there were lots of fun mashup Bunnies around:

And a reeeallly obscure one for my fellow Borderlands fans:

 A Louise from Bob's Burgers/Mechromancer mashup!

And so the rest of you can appreciate this: in the game your characters are customizeable, so she is this character:
 With this head, and in Louise's colors:

That's Louise's Kuchi Kopi doll on the shirt, and - AND! - her lunchbox has a Borderlands themed menu on it:

This... this is ridiculously cool, you guys.

I will never forget the moment late one night when my friend Renee announced we needed to face a different direction in the crushing crowds, because "I can't stop staring at that gold naked dude's Speedo." (He was also in enormous platform boots, so technically that's not really naked, but we're going by the spirit of the definition here, not the letter.) It was just so... Dragon Con. You know?

Anyway, this Silver Surfer's Speedo isn't nearly as... [choosing words carefully]... unsettling, so here ya go:


Now a little Hocus Pocus:

And a beautifully subtle steampunk Alice and White Rabbit:

This Journey costume had the coolest flip-up face mask:

 Just perfectly done.

Here's a reference:

 I'm not sure if this monster cosplay ever even made it indoors, since I only saw him outside:

He told us this is his own version of a Soul Walker, which is reminiscent of the Landstriders from The Dark Crystal.  Super creepy, super cool - and can you imagine being hunched over on stilts like that for hours at a time?!

Thanks, Pinocchio.  

Dragon Con is the one con where cosplay is truly "costume PLAY." I took more video snippets than ever this year, because there were just so many interactive elements, from dancing robots to a game of real-life-Mario to this parade of elves singing through halls, presumably on their way into the West:
(Sound on!)

Things like this are why you always have to have your camera/phone ready at all times; you just never know WHAT is going to pass you by at any moment.

Then there's the hilarious, completely irreverent stuff:

 That's Michael Phelps (complete with cupping marks on his back) and Ryan Lochte.

This Belle and non-Beast were out almost every day, and rival the best Disney has in the parks:

 So perfect!

I also spotted a handful of MALE-ficents:

 Also perfect.

 Really diggin' this Bowser; it looks like he's been made with Pepakura, a form of papercraft:

And this 2-D 8-bit Samus (from Metroid) is genius. GENIUS I SAY: 

 Those are all separate pieces, so it's articulated and moves with the cosplayer - who just turns sideways for the photo. See? GENIUS.

Oh hey, and here's a real life Samus to compare!

 I'm going to gripe about the lighting conditions at Dragon Con here again, because most of the favored hang-out areas (ie the hotel lobbies) are so dimly lit it feels like you're in a giant basement. HOWEVER. That does make light-up costumes look suuuuper cool:

 And this Lady Thor by Melodywise Cosplay totally rocked it. Bad. ASS.
(Click any pic to embiggen.)

One more note on the low lighting (feel free to skip if you're not a photographer): it's such a challenge at DCon that John has now purchased - and subsequently returned - two different eye-wateringly expensive lenses, both of which promised amazing results in low light, JUST for Dragon Con. We did a lot of experimenting this year, and ultimately found my trusty (and reasonably priced) Sigma f2.8 17-50 lens with image stabilization is still the best for the job, provided I slow down and take my time. It seems every other serious photog at Dragon Con is using flash, so I feel a bit silly taking literal shots in the dark - but I gotta say, so far this year's batch has been my best yet. I just had to take a breath and devote an extra few seconds to holding stock still for each shot, and wow, what a difference.

OK, back to the pretties:

 Check out her lacy white tattoos! I didn't even see those 'til I zoomed in.

Defenz Mechanizm is always one of my favorites to shoot - though you can't see her face this time:

I'm in awe of the amount of detail she puts into her creations - you never know what she'll show up in next.

I'm going to wrap up this installment with a cosplay pair that reduced me to supersonic screeches with their complete and utter amazingness. These two are definite Top Ten from the entire con of 75,000+ people.

Am I over-selling this? 



Masquerade Fireys from Labyrinth, you guys!

(This year's posts are going to have a definite Labyrinth theme, btw. Buckle up.)

Those sculpted masks are so perfect I'm at a loss for words over here. Not to mention the fabric choices for their formal wear, and those feathery fur cuffs on her wrists and ankles, and the perfect pink corset! Ah!

Some references:

These two had just come from the Labyrinth Ball at Atlanta's Puppetry Center - you know, the one that sold out in two minutes? - so it was somewhat bittersweet chatting with them and hearing how amazing it was, and about all the incredible costumes there. Even more so because John and I actually WERE offered tickets at the eleventh (13th?) hour, but ultimately passed on them because it was so expensive, and we'd already made other plans. 

No one's allowed to be sad about this, though - no, you stop it! - because we still met Karen Prell and Brian Henson, and because a few days later we visited the Puppetry Center and realized: Agnes would never have fit through the doors. Ha! So it all worked out in the end.

 Back to these two: the masks are attached to gold handles, so they're just holding them in front of their faces.  The insides were lined with felt, and overall were so, so stunning in person. If there'd been room in the crowd I'd've been bowing down yelling, "I AM NOT WORTHY." As it was I just stood to one side grinning at them like a goofy creeper. :D

Let's end on that high note for now, while I dive back in to my next batch of photo editing. Stay tuned!


  1. I can't wait to see more Labyrinth related pics! I'm not in the US and don't have the finances to visit just to see the Puppetry Centre, so I have to vicariously visit through people's photographs and try not to get insanely jealous!

  2. The Mechromancer is a Louise from Bob's Burgers mash-up! Even has the bunny ears and the Kuchi Kopi on her shirt!

    1. That is what I was thinking! That is the best. :D

    2. Looks like she has a burger menu on her lunchbox too! :-)

    3. Ahhh, THAT'S why the shirt looked familiar! Thanks, guys; I just added a close-up of the menu lunchbox, and the Borderlands-themed puns made my whole night. Ha!

  3. I cracked up when I looked at the picture of the guy group of Ghostbusters. SO FUNNY.

    Hocus Pocus! and now I'm going home to watch the movie. Because duh.

    Those Fireys though! Perfection! They win all the points.

    -Piper P from Washington State

  4. I needed these today. Thank you. <3

  5. Male-ficent here. Super honored to have made the list, everyone's just so AWESOME.


    1. You are SMOLDERING! Fantastic work on those horns!


    2. I bought them at a cosplay garage sale, actually. I hadn't planned on this costume until then. Best $10 I've spent in a while.

    3. Congratulations on making the list! Deservedly so. Great job.

      -Just Andrea

    4. Thank you. Given the sheer excellence of all the cosplay at Dragon*Con, that's super high praise.

    5. khal drogo, is that you? :)

    6. Yes, actually. depending on what day you saw me.

  6. I agree, the Fireys are truly squee worthy! Yet another batch of fabulous pics. Can't wait to see the rest!

  7. EVERY time there's a new cosplay post, I just turn into a blob of squeeeeees!

    These photos are flurking amazing, as usual, and the costumes are just spectacular. I love the Ghostbusters in the hotpants costumes. Like you said, Jen, that truly was a fantastic idea for them to turn the lame trend of these mass-producers sexing up every damn costume for girls/women into just hilarious social commentary.

    Ginger Beard is certainly confident and probably more than a little constricted, heh. I don't really want to know what the front of his costume looked like. Okay, I do. I'm going to search for more photos of this group right now. Gotta see the moose knuckles because what else is so disgustingly cringy that you can't stop staring? ...Sadly, my search was unsuccessful. If anyone finds any pics that show the front of these Ghostbusters, please post a link for me.

    Jeez-Louise, every single one of these costumes is just absolutely perfect. Congrats to everyone who made it on here with your wonderful creations. You're all awesome. So much time and work and passion! Just beautiful and inspiring!

    Jen, are the "tattoos" on the purple elf embroidered onto that sheer, stretch fabric (that I don't know the correct name for)? Doesn't seem like that delicate of a design could actually be painted onto her skin, but I'm not sure. Regardless, it's a very cool, subtle detail, and if it is painted on, that just makes it all the more excellent.


    1. You can buy some pretty intricate temporary tattoos now. Maybe that's what she did?

    2. Ohhhh! Yes, maybe. I also just looked up white henna to see if that was a thing, and it is. Soooo...could be that, too, I guess. Her design is so very intricate though.


  8. I read the part about the lighting to my SO, he was wondering if a monopod would help steady the camera?

    1. I'm sure it would, but in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, a monopod would probably end up tripping and/or killing me. ;)

  9. Jen & John,

    Do you mind if I share the pictures of the Fireys? I am FB friends with Toby Philpot who was Firey #7 and I think he would get a kick out of seeing them. :)


    1. Share away! These folks deserve all the accolades!

  10. I cannot stop laughing at the sexy ghostbusters. They are so ridiculously on point, with bonus social commentary.

    All the cosplay is stellar. I can't get over the intricacy and imagination.

    -Just Andrea

  11. It's so stimulating being your hat!

  12. Ummm anyone else notice the symbols on Winifred's dress?? I see Pac Man and the Star Wars rebels symbol! I can't place the others.

  13. This weekend 30th Anniversery Labrynth is playing in a theater near you. Go see it. I'm going tomorrow for my birthday��

  14. I am constantly in awe of people who cosplay and the talent they share.

    Have you tried the software Lightroom, from Adobe? It's not cheap, but honestly it does wonders for lighting darkened photos.

  15. Ahh I'm so excited that you posted my GaigeLouise and got the references! Someday I'm going to make the Butt Scallion burger with Loader-bot fries :). Thanks for posting! -Bridget

  16. So many wonderful costumes! And that parade of singing elves.... I would have followed them around all over the place, lol

  17. Finally catching up on this one...I actually know one of the Elves. We went to college together, so another clip of them showed up on my Facebook. Thanks for sharing these photos it's great vicarious living for those of us who can't make it there!


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