The Star Wars Togetherness

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I much enjoyed the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie.

It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s got all the stuff I ask for in a Star Wars movie; awesome visuals, big space and ground battles, dueling light sword wield wizards, interesting characters with great development and interaction, light humor, and a lot of answers to fictional questions.

The picture above (Rebel Pilot and Biker Scout) are of two dressed up persons in front of the Cinerama theater in downtown Seattle on Friday Night. I saw the movie yesterday, and was not dressed up (though I wish I was).

That’s all for now. May the Force be with you.

– Orion T

 

Picture of Today 10/31/2017, Halloween Spirit

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Happy Halloween from here in Seattle…

Sadly, I did not dress up for this year’s spooky season. Sadly, I was not feeling heavy in the spirit. But, I saw many out there who were definitely in the Halloween spirit. Here in Seattle, this time was good for going outside in costume. Especially, being that we had no rain on this day, the first in 11 years since the Emerald City streets were wet for Trick or Treaters.

I took a few pictures of some dressed for the day…

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An undead cop, with excellent makeup done by Brian Flynn (@aglasscannon on Instagram).

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Morpheus, at the Goodwill store in Cap Hill.  Ask him, and he will offer a choice of the red or blue pill. Choose wisely.

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A group of jellyfish passing me by.

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That’s all for now. I enjoyed the spirit of Halloween silliness passing by, and that is enough. Cheers and Happy Halloween!

– Orion T

 

 

PAX West 2017 Gamingbalooza…

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I spent much of the weekend with friends and strangers, at the PAX West 2017, an annual event gathering for gamers of the video and tabletop variety. The feelings shared among us involved excitement, cheer, and anticipation of gaming.

The event itself is the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Now held at Washington State Convention Center in Downtown Seattle, the event is host to hundreds of companies big and small, and its many ticket holders (at least 70,000).

For me, the event was about exploration into the ever changing industry of interactive games and its culture. I sought out a lot of new indie games, and stuff coming out for PC (not much of a console gamer anymore). Though VR and MMOs are the rising rage, I loved the new treasures of side-scrolling platformers, tactical turn-based strategy, and single-player RPGs; many with a nostalgic old-school edge to them.  For the tabletop variety, I gravitated toward fun, storyline based card games for play at parties (plenty of new stuff around here).

Now, I am exhausted and will write more of my PAX impressions soon on my other blog, strangerworlds.com. Meanwhile, here are some pics taken by me of select moments of this crazy fun show.

– Orion T

 

Picture of Today 9/3/2016, the Much Colorful Cosplay..

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The PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) returned to Seattle, bringing the unusual bunch special, colorful bunch of gaming enthusiasts together.

Though this year, the event is now PAX West (former PAX Prime), an annual convention for gamers of both the video interactive and the physical tabletop variety. Tomorrow, I will be attending the inside of the event and intend on doing much mingling and observing of a culture I enjoy taking part in.

But outside (where I was strolling by for a walk behind the convention center), there was an interesting sub-group of gaming enthusiasts among the PAX participants gathering around; the cosplayers, who dress up as their favorite characters of their current favorite fandom. Often, they gravitate towards other and court the local photographing paparazzi. With the nice weather peeking out, there were clusters of cosplayers about presenting their colorful attires.

Above, are a sub-group of cosplayers who are growing in presence with their costumes familiar to the League of Legends online MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). I have yet to play this fascinating game, but very much enjoy the character designs that bring a worthy challenge to its fans who cosplay. The costumes are traditionally hand-made or assembled from ordered fabrics, with some parts taking great craftsmanship and skills to bring about the wonderful details.

Here, is another shot of the League of Legends gathering, taken from my smartphone..

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That’s all for now. More pics soon!

– Orion T

Pictures of the Weekend, Outside the Sakura-Con

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Last weekend was a bit more colorful than usual..

I spent a little time outside the Sakura-Con, an annual convention for lovers of Japanese anime, manga, gaming and related pop-culture. I missed my chance for tickets inside the event, as I was a bit overly busy for much of the greater portions of the event. But outside, I had some hours to spare.

Much of the time was conversing with old friends, making new ones. We discussed emphasis on the anime and gaming pop-culture of decades past (the newer generation was more present). It was all fun, to see old characters brought to fly, thanks to the cosplaying element of the gathering.

I took some pictures, of which only some shared below. If you would like more than,please check out my expanded gallery and writings on “geek” culture at strangerworlds.com.

Here, are some chosen pics of mine for here (click on each for more into)..

That’s all for now…

Oh wait.., here’s me caught with the creepy mascots of the Five Nights at Freddys video game series!

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– Orion T

 

 

 

Outside Memories of the 2015 Sakura-Con..

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I love these fandom gatherings.

Recently, I joined among the many in colorful costumes for the celebration of an interesting sub-culture. Here, together to celebrate their love for the Japanese anime/manga; including related games, art and lit. The  grand show inside (of which I was unable to attend) was the great Sakura-Con, held annually in Seattle’s downtown convention center. The outside show in the back park area stretching some blocks, is a fan driven compliment to the event.

I spent good time outside the event in the back park area, there to meet up with old visiting friends. While around, I had great fun, cheering on the celebrated icons of Japan’s contributions to pop-culture, and learned much on the new popular trends of today’s “otaku” faire.

I took some pictures with two cameras. The sunny weather was perfect for that, adding vividness to the amazing array of colorful attires. Here below, with notes:

Photo Apr 04, 12 11 42 PMDressed as characters from an anime/manga TV show, Cardcaptor Sakura.

Photo Apr 06, 5 57 16 PMA giant handmade Pokemon creature, made by the mohawked person in the back. Many cheered on this giant creature.

Photo Apr 04, 2 17 58 PMLink and a fairy (from a later game I think, of which I have yet to play)..from the Legend of Zelda series

Photo Apr 05, 7 26 39 PMWaLuigi, brother to Wario. Not sure who the other us.

Photo Apr 05, 7 29 05 PMVegeta and Piccolo perform the fusion dance. I am not a big fan of Dragonball Z, yet have been enough of the fandom to pick up on this stuff.

Photo Apr 05, 7 27 05 PMGodzilla!!

Photo Apr 04, 5 02 52 PMFrom the worlds of the Walter Robot studios, of which I know very little. I know for sure, this make-up job is awesome.

Photo Apr 07, 7 10 25 AMJokers and Harley Quinns. They are not of the Japanese culture origins, but they fit well as the anime/manga altpop culture welcomes all fantasy, sci-fi, superhero, etc genres of creative storytelling.

Photo Apr 07, 7 14 27 AMNot sure who she is from but that makeup job and costume detail is phenomenal.

Photo Apr 07, 12 40 52 PMVash the Stampede and Wolfwood, crossplayed from the classic Trigun anime series. This brings love and peace to my heart, to see fans bring life to one of my fav series of years ago.

Photo Apr 07, 7 12 09 AMThese players are from the Yu-Gi-Oh game and anime franchise. Well done!

Photo Apr 05, 7 39 06 PMI think she is from a newer show called RWBY. Not sure, but nice detail.

Photo Apr 05, 7 30 48 PMAn odd traditional game played every year here during the show. This involves a large circle, where those inside the circle kick around a bottle. The bottle points to someone in the circle, signalling for a walk and a hug to that person. That person replaces and fronts to the middle of the circle, to repeat the circle. There are some various chants and songs that sometimes happen.

Photo Apr 04, 1 18 17 PMCharacters from the long-running One Piece anime/manga series. The fandom of this was so huge, that a separate gathering far in the back of the park happened; where fans put on their own cosplay show.

Photo Apr 04, 2 04 58 PM Photo Apr 04, 2 03 10 PMA small portion of a massive League of Legends gathering (based on a very popular video game). The fandom and dedication to this astounds me.

Photo Apr 05, 7 34 17 PMSome fun under a bridge, which I helped with for a friend (in the bunny suit). Here, many enjoyed a hop scotch game for to promote her Android dating/social meet-up app, Cuddli..

Photo Apr 04, 2 10 14 PMAnother character from League of Legends, I think. I like this shot.

Photo Apr 05, 7 40 55 PMA wild Pokemon spotted!

Photo Apr 07, 7 06 34 AMFrom the anime series, RWBY. Note: Monty Oum, the animator and creator of RWBY and many short films I admired, passed away last year at the age of 33. His work lives on with the fans.

Photo Apr 05, 7 36 01 PMNot sure on this series..but I like the craftsmanship.

Photo Apr 04, 4 59 19 PMA lady adorned with many Moogles (from the Final Fantasy video games). I hope they are clingy, and not dead..heheh.

Photo Apr 06, 5 51 20 PMLara Croft, as portrayed in a recent and very gritty retcon of the Tomb Raider game franchise.

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Well, that’s all for now. I had a huge blast for the one day of three  (I only had the time for, and why I didn’t go for a pass to the grander show inside). I give a huge thanks to all those who shared the joys of their fandoms, with the cosplay and cheers. Good times shared, are the best times.

– Orion T

Memories of an Emerald City Comic Con (2015)

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I love a good comic convention, and any geek-out gathering of a similar nature. For me, it’s all about my comic/graphic novel appreciations, and all the connecting fantasy and science fiction driven art. To be among the creatives, and to converse with them is a complex joy that never ends for me.

I also enjoy the thrill of a good hunt, to peek through the exhibit floors.Through the aisles I explore the artist alleys, company booths, dealer tables, and demo stops. I take much with me. All including (but not limited to) my personal favorite things to take home are: sketches, cheap loose figures, vintage magazines, bargain comics (including graphic novels, trade paperbacks), special edition exclusives, free swag, samples, and the occasional new thing an exhibitor successfully pitched .

I also take home some interesting memories, and fun sights. I love taking pictures of people and happenings, to treasure the shows further. Every convention over the last 20 years (lost count of how many of these now), has had something special. I often meet someone new, or see some interesting gathering. I meet an admired creator, or listen to the words of some interesting celebrity to the realms of geek. This is all great fun.

Here are some wonderful memories of this Emerald City Comic Con (my third attended) for 2015.

IMG_3905The gathering of Spider-Man and related Marvel Comics cosplayers. Among them were many Deadpools, and some Spider-Gwens (a new character to the Marvel Universe, long story), and a classic Electro (a personal fav to my childhood cartoon viewing).

IMG_3894I noticed an abundance of loose action figure toys. Much of which I feel somewhat amused, that an appreciation of plastic detailing and articulated mobility could still be a fun novelty, in my grown-up years.

IMG_3945Paul Tobin (writer) and Colleen Cloover (artist), of the Bandette comics; a personal favorite (and highly recommended) series of a whimsical super-hero thief. Both a married couple hosting their own booth, and a joy to meet.

IMG_3940Long Vo and Joe Ng, at the Udon Booth. Both, drawing two video game favorites; Mega Man and Akuma (Street Fighter). I cam back at short times a bit later to see what they were up to. Both very friendly, and put much love into their work

IMG_3951Christopher Pike, and Harry Mudd cosplay; from the Classic Star Trek series.

Photo Mar 29, 12 19 10 PMI love seeing comic book covers of different areas on display and in boxes. There is an awesome nostalgic beauty to all this.

IMG_3910-0DC Comics “Bombshell” versions of Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Harley Quinn, and Batwoman. All brought to life, from a series of variant comic covers showing the heroines with vintage pulp cover twists. Well done.

Photo Mar 29, 1 40 54 PMAlana and Marko cosplayers, from the Saga comics series. Saga (by Fiona Staple and Brian K. Vaughan) is the best sci-fantasy comic series currently released on the shelves now.

IMG_3930A vintage Batman playset still in the box. Will Batman save Robin in time, or will the Joker have the last laugh?

IMG_3947Jim Mahfood, an admired artist over my last two decades of comic reading. He is the perfect match for the new Tank Girl series coming out. He also drew me a cool Batman sketch.

IMG_3936And here, are the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Seattle is safe for now!

IMG_3880Doctor Doom vs. Judge Dredd. Place your bets!

IMG_3899They let me go, after showing them the droids they were looking for.

IMG_3924Sailor Scouts, crossplayin

Photo Mar 28, 11 15 37 AMThe Gundam Wing 1/100 Endless Waltz model kits. Not shown is my favorite, Duo Maxwell and his Deathscythe Hell Custom.

Photo Mar 30, 7 32 42 AMA new Mega Man figure coming from Bluefin toys. Multi-articulated with LED lights, and pop-out compartments. This was originally promoted as a Kickstarter campaign for fans, now with all goals met.

Photo Mar 30, 7 29 13 AMThe Image Comics booth, once again standing tall as my favorite current comics publisher.

Photo Mar 28, 8 19 50 PMSome of the later stage cosplayers showcased that Saturday weekend night. There were many groups, with incredible detail and craftsmanship. The Troll from World of Warcraft (fifth from the left) I think won best in show.

IMG_3871On the last day and outside the convention, lucky fans got an up close performance from the D20 Brass Band. Many cheered to the Legend of Zelda theme, and other classic tunes.

IMG_3903Gotta love the some of the really geeky merch. I was seriously considering buying that Chewbacca robe in the top right corner.

Photo Mar 28, 10 36 48 AMRob McDaniel at work, sculpting with clay one of this amazing creatures. For the show, his work is inside the fantasy anthology series, Monsterpedia.

21923_10153111978863159_1712772259610341081_nMy obtained sketches on small trading card sized boards, from the show. From the top and left…Leonardo by Albert Nguyen, Batman by Jim Mahfood, Miniature Man by Steven Butler, random lady sketch by Enfu (local Seattle Artist), from the upcoming Faster Than Light augmented reality comics by Brian Haberlin (Anomaly) Inspector Belgique by Colleen Cloover (from Bandette), and Gyro Gearloose by Don Rosa!

IMG_3939Well, that’s all for now, with Gender Bender taking us out.

Until the next Con (probably San Diego in the summer)..

– Orion T

Picture of Today 3/29/15, Geekin Out

Wow, loved the colour and fun of this past weekend.

I geeked out at the annual Emerald City Comic Con, just happening in the downtown convention center. I had a blast, with heavy interaction among the creative minds, alternative pop culture enthusiests, nostalgia collectors, and dedicated gamers. But now, I am tired out as excitement on these higher levels can push limits. I have some good pics coming, covering multiple aspects of this event. I will post them in the near future, so look forward! 

The pic above, was of a final impromptu event outside the event in the back park area, among fellow attendees. The D20 Brass Band performed, playing some tunes familiar to the classic video game fans (including myself). Moments including this by fans and for fans, add much reason to why I love to attend these gatherings. 

Good times!

Pictures of Yesterday 4/20/14

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I can never resist a gathering this colorful.

And here, was the Sakura Con; a gathering of a different sort than yesterday and day before’s NorWesCon. This event focused more towards the appreciation and partaking of Japanese anime and manga. Much of the action was inside the convention center, where the event was centered. However, the heavy rains of the last days finally stopped. Many attendees came out the open behind the convention center, to enjoy the sun and surroundings of each other.

Above, is a Sakura Con tradition continued; where many gathering in a circle whole other participants each kick a bottle and eventually have it spun to a someone connecting the circle. That person soon gets a hug from the bottle kicker, and replaces the other..to continues the cycle.

Also, there some dancing, posing for cameras, and more fun-having.

Here are a few pics..
I’ll post more up, another day..

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Picture by Orion Tippens. Note: Do not copy or use any of the images here or herein without written consent (contact Orion at travelingorion.wordpress.com). © Copyright 2014 Orion Tippens. All Rights Reserved

Pictures of Yesterday 4/19/14

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Stranger worlds are ever close..

And here, are some pics from my great adventure at the annual NorWesCon science fiction and fantasy convention. This was my first attendance to this event (now in its 37th year); of which I had a grand time discovering new fiction, turning strangers into friends, and cheering on the boldest among us.

There will be more pics (and more musings) for a few alt-pop websites, soon

In the meantime:

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Picture by Orion Tippens. Note: Do not copy or use any of the images here or herein without written consent (contact Orion at travelingorion.wordpress.com). © Copyright 2014 Orion Tippens. All Rights Reserved

Picture of Today 1/5/14

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Winter lifestyles can vary..

Picture by Orion Tippens (taken from mobile phone). NOTE: Do not copy or use any of the images here or herein without written consent (contact Orion at travelingorion.wordpress.com). © Copyright 2014 Orion Tippens. All Rights Reserved

From the great San Diego Comic Con

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I have some cool pics posted on the comics journal site, alldaycomics.com. These are first of many chosen by my friend, site host, and comics writer/industry insider: Mike Hansen. For that first set, click here.

I have much to say about this year’s Comic Con, the modern geek fandom, fellow creative spirits, sequential art and convention gathers in general. I also will share some personal pics (though not as good a camera as my earlier conventions this year), here with my own added commentary, and more will be shared on the All Day Comics site.

I am trying for soon..

Cosplay fun at Sakura Con – Part 3 (of 3)

photo by Orion Tippens Finally, the remainder of my pictures of my brief visit to the 2013 Sakura Con Northwest Anime Convention, in Seattle. These focus on the costumes and the fanpeople who wear them well.

For previous pics and commentary on this event, click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

I really enjoyed this kind of visual atmosphere. I am a bit of a “geek,” so I feel a part of the fun and in showing my appreciation by sharing their awesomeness with the world around. Many of these costumes, I know very well from games I played, books I read, TV shows and movies I viewed. For those I do not, than I am open to learn more.

From here, I hope people who have not attended a gathering like this will understand the love cosplayers bring. These cosplayers are not paid, nor do most of them seek to promote their name or service. Their costumes are handmade. The more skill and thought put into the costume, the more cheer. It’s all in good fun. This collective mindset in enriching, adding to a special atmosphere by dressing up. When next you see a cosplayer, at least smile at that person for being so bold and wonderful in sharing.

Below are the last and best of the cosplayers, noticed at this Sakura Con. Enjoy and click on each for the full details. I recognized some and labeled them in descriptions. Others, I could use some help in the comments.

Cosplay fun at Sakura Con – Part 2 (of 3)

photo by Orion Tippens

Here below, are the next set of pics from my brief visit to the 2013 Sakura Con Northwest Anime Convention, in Seattle. For the first set and opening commentary, click here.

This set is focused on the outside fun. The day was bright and wonderful, with cherry trees in bloom and the sky blue. This environment and wide open space was perfect for its for anime, gaming, alternative “geek” culture enthusiasts. Here are some observations on this gathering, based on similar musings over the many years at other alternative pop culture conventions.

  • Anime conventions bring a younger, more energetic crowd. Most come to entertain and be entertained. Being outside, often leads to random conversation and sharing of favorite things, especially if wearing a costume, apparel, or even holding a sign referring to similar interests. This can also leads to… 
  • Singing and dancing. Some bring their own instruments and voices. Conventions and sponsors sometimes liven it up with their own special paid performers. But overall, the attendees will gather around and cheer on entertainers (especially if it’s Japanese pop or Japanese rock.).
  • Impromptu games happen. Often these began after a large circle is formed. At this event, I observed some sort of bottle kicking game in the center of a circle here. Succession leads to massive hugging, and myself being a bit puzzled in this observation. Other things I have noticed in the past and a little here are sing-a-longs, dance-offs, and the occasional pretend fight.
  • Some shows are measured in popularity by their frequency in cosplay. Bleach, Naruto, Gurren Lagann still carry a strong presence. Nintendo and Disney, Capcom company characters also have a strong infiltration. Cosplayers centered around fan-favs often gravitate together, merging for amazing (sometimes surreal), group photo shots and posing.

Below is much of that fun. Click on each images for the full picture and additional text details.

Cosplay fun at Sakura Con – Part 1 (of 3)

Photo by Orion Tippens

Colorful, exuberant, awesome. This describes the atmosphere of cosplay, the culture of voluntary costume dressup, at its best. Such words are more in frequency for convention gatherings involving anime appreciation.

The following set is from my brief visit to the Sakura Con Northwest Anime Convention, in the great Seattle city. Here, is a gathering of wonderful folk who display their love for their favorite Japanese animation art styled programs, movies, manga, etc. By the best, I mean those who wear their custom-made costume and mingle with others who appreciate, smile, and participate in that displayed affection.

Keep in mind, anime conventions differ from comic and science fiction conventions. More people do dress up. Often, you will see offshoots of things that are not quite based on Japanese animation or styles. – Disney characters, Doctor Who, Marvel and DC characters, and a lot of video games. They are also welcome, as the spirit and pride of cosplay is all the same. Anime conventions also attract a more youthful demographic, so more activity and energetic interaction result.

For the Sakura Con, the weather outside was beautiful and sunny. Outside in the back area of the convention, there was an open courtyard adorned with blooming cherry trees. The atmosphere was playful, full of cheer and activity. Much of that will be highlighted in the next set, to be posted another future day.

For now, dig in. I took all the pics myself. I’m happy to share as long as I and this blog gets the credit. Click on each  to enlarge and get the full detail, and some identifications. Feel free to comment and add more information.

Happy Easter Sunday, and other stuff…

photo by Orion Tippens

O special day, this Easter Sunday.

For many, Easter is a religious day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Church activity is heightened among some denominations, and families connect. A heartened feast often results.

Happiness is spread, and celebrations connect with later traditions not religious. In many places, this will involve bunny rabbits and decorated eggs. Children laugh and cheer, and usually encouraged to go outside and play.

Also on this day, there are public holidays, bonfires, butter lambs, and other cheerful activity. There is plenty good fun for everyone, I think.

Meanwhile, I am having fun while thumbing through some pictures I snapped from the recent 2013 Sakura Con, an annual Japanese animation festival held in Seattle. Time will wait for me to properly edit, upload and share these pics. Above is an appropriate bunny pic for today, and a preview of what’s coming from my blog.

And below is another exclusive sneak peek. Look forward to the rest!

photo by Orion Tippens

Comics convention fun in Seattle part II: The Rise of Cosplay

photo by Orion Tippens

In continuation of yesterday’s posting, the rest of my 2013 Emerald City Comic Con pictures are now posted on my friend’s blog, All Day Comics!

For this second half, it’s all for the love of cosplay, or the act of dressing up in some costume, usually based on a fictional property. Often at these conventions, many attendees will dress up as their favorite characters from books, comics, movies, games, etc. They usually do this for fun, and to express their current or nostalgic “geek” obsessions. Here are a few extra notes and observations on the nature of this wonderful culture:

  • Often, the costumes are hand-made. Some are sewn together, and/or made from gathered materials. The more work and details that go into a costume, the more appreciation is given. Also, using body or face paint accentuates a certain boldness in presentation of character choice.
  • Crossplay is a rising trend in cosplay convention visibility. This is the style of taking a familiar character and flipping the gender. This is usually done by females, in using their natural body shape and costume alteration to make that provacative switch. 
  • Often, a measure of popularity can be attributed to the frequency of cosplay choice. For example, Doctor Who exploded in popularity since its revival eight years ago, so expect to find many Doctors running around, wielding their Sonic Screwdrivers.(an easy costume). Star Wars is still very strong, so expect to find many Jedis, Stormtroopers at these gatherings. The recent Avengers movie (and related individual character movies) raised the presence of Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury at recent conventions. Rising the fastest are characters from the popular animated Cartoon Network series, Adventure Time.
  • The best-loved and most memorable costumes (for me, at least) are those of obscurity and lesser known. Sure, we all know our Batmans, Jokers, Spideys, Vaders, Spartans, Mario Brothers, etc. But who among us can spot the Ambush Bug, Castle Crasher, Trap Jaw, Radia, Duffman, and others not well-known? To identify, often puts a smile on the face of those making the obscure effort. And if not, ask who is that character. This could be your next obsession, or perhaps opening the mind to something new and exciting. For example, a conversation I had with a lady dressed up as a character exclusive to an obscure Tron video game. She had me far more curious about the expanded Tron world, beyond the otherwise limited movies. My later online searches also stretched my love for hardcore science fiction, just a little more.
  • Some costumes are recognizable by their style. Some are adorned in steampunk fashion, others in medieval garb, a few in heavy military gear. Often, the participants are part of a club or a scheduled gathering of similar attire. Many are also into live action role-playing or LARPing.

I could go on with these notes, but another day or perhaps the next convention to share on. For now, I leave behind a couple more enticing samples of my larger picture set for the All Day Comics blog. For the rest of my wonderful ECCC pics (and footnotes), please click here..

photo by Orion Tippens

Photo by Orion Tippens