With a heavy heart I must come to terms with the fact that San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and though it was a whirlwind of pop culture, branded booze, slave Leias, and a peculiar brand of B.O. I thought was reserved only for Marlon Brando‘s MOBA-room, I remained ever vigilant, a kryptonite-laced Raoul Duke in the pop culture orgy Las Vegas that is the comic-infused Gas Lamp District of San Diego, California. With a Hawaiian shirt swapped for a Big Boss uniform, and a stack of show exclusive variants playing the part of adrenochrome, I embarked upon a descent into the nerdiest parts of the human psyche, a festivus of the obscurest pop culture references, a dance macabre of people in Adventure Time hats.
Yes, a Spider Jerusalem analogy would have been much cleaner and more relevant, but damn it, don’t you want to hear about the best parts of San Diego Comic Con 2013?
Perhaps the most surreal part of any Comic-Con are the costumes, as cosplayers, people in Finn the Human hats and the last living fans of Street Sharkz turn the San Diego Convention Center into a masquerade ball of humanoid cartoons, six-color civilians, ambulatory anime antagonists, and automatons so astonishingly awesome that you just have to take a picture with them, what their clothing be in reference to be damned.
Naturally, the way Comic-Con works, you could spend the entire show looking for, say one particular steamcraft Boba Fett, or even just a stationary booth, like the Dark Horse stand selling the Game of Thrones mugs that you know would make a perfect souvenir for your parents, and not find it.
With that being said, I’m sprinkling this section, well every section of this article with the best of the best cosplayers that were willing to do dramatic poses with me, like this gender-swapped Lobo (Loba?).
That’s the beauty of Comic-Con. You could be a diehard fan of anything, like Biker Mice from Mars or Red Dwarf, and you’ll likely encounter an even bigger fan here. I mean, no, I didn’t actually see any Modos or Krytens, but there was an adorably horrible mother and daughter pair from Silent Hill.
From the obscure, like Gadget and Chip from Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, or an impeccable Ron Stoppable straight out of Kim Possible.
To the crazy detailed, such as this literal Batgirl and Foxy Lady who couldn’t walk three feet without prompting some sort of photography.
I apologize in advance if I miss a pop culture reference, as some of these suits were just too good not to pose with. Like this tall vaguely S&M individual who couldn’t help but stroke my head as lookers-on photographed my shame at the hands of this eldritch colossus.
Don’t get me wrong—my hair was really stroked. Part of me questions the gender of this behemoth, but another part of me would rather stay in the dark on this one. What distracted me however was this azure hellion with fully deployable wings!
To the absurdly detailed and obscure, like this perfect Bebop from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–complete with an oinkin’ voice box! Shell yeah.
Or this Combine soldier who goose-stepped right out of Half-Life 2, promptly violating my civil liberties the second a camera was brought out.
Or this Pam straight out of Archer.
When in doubt, a well-coordinated group costume can be incredibly clever like this Avenger Slave Leia Troop, complete with a Han Pool, or this roaming gang of Bioshock splicers, or “spoi’cers!”
For thinking outside the Bat-box though, I have to give it to this steam punk Batman Rogue Gallery, complete with a monocle Scarecrow and unironic hoop-brass skirt Poison Ivy.
For the individually creative costume, gonna have to give it to this Superman Red Son inspired Power Girl, whom I am awkwardly standing next to.
Now, obviously, you may have noticed a dapper, skull-faced looking individual, otherwise known as me, standing in the majority of these photos. If you thought I was dressed up as Call of Duty’s Ghost or The Punisher…well it wouldn’t be the first time. It’s a suit—from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, that I should have replaced years ago, but it’s become something of a habit for me as in the suit it’s almost as if you’re a D-List celebrity.
Though it takes at least an hour and a half to get the make-up on, and it requires annual trips to Sephora for make-up sponges and the like, going to the Con in costume and in civilian clothing are like night and a day so bright you’d swear you were a lens-flare in a J.J. Abrams film.
Take for example one of my favorite cosplayers of the show, this giant of a Hodor who only broke character in saying “Hodor” to ask if I wanted a piggy back ride. Ignoring my 170 pounds of Batman-trained muscle-mass and Iraq War-era parachute harness, I obliged him.
Mind you, I’m no professional like AZ Powergirl or The Thor Girl herself Toni Darling, who coincidentally didn’t mind rubbing elbows with muck-mucks like me. Expect an interview with the pros in the future, incidentally.
As always, there’s one popular costume adopted by the Zeitgeist each convention. Last year’s New York show featured a Slenderman partially hidden behind every Treebeard, and this year featured a bounty of Finn or Fionna, the human.
I would have to say, after much deliberation, that this (like literally right above this sentence right here) was the best Fionna, and what with my Finn, Fionna, Marcelline, and Marshal Lee overdose, every Ice King or Flame Princess cosplay instantly earned a place in my heart, especially if they had a Günther in tow.
Let’s take a second to talk about Deadpool. Oh god the Deadpool. If you chuck a shoe down the hallway at any Comic-Con you’ll hit at least two normal Deadpools, one kid pool, two Lady Deadpools, and Deadpool-as-X-profession not counting X-Force Deadpool. Oddly enough though, they aren’t overplayed. Like, it wouldn’t be Comic-Con without a Deadpool, and if you managed to sneak a six-pack in with your utility belt, make for an impromptu drinking game.
Incidentally, the most popular female costume seems to be Arkham City Harley Quinn, so that pic counts as a twofer.
Also, what’s with the perv dudes taking just ass-pics? You’re fooling no one, reminding us that no matter how far we’ve come, we are always in the shadow of a mountain of neckbeards. You are the reason why cameras still make that shutter sound, even though cameras haven’t had shutters haven’t been unironically used since the 80’s.
Sorry for the mini-rant, so here’s a palette cleanser and best hair of the show, Super Saiyan 3 Goku: