Saturday, October 17, 2015

Aftermath: New York Comic Con 2015

Our Bob's Burgers group was a hit!
Ack! Ack! Another New York Comic Con has come and gone and I've emerged victorious. Albeit tired, sore and with no desire to hear my own voice for at least a few weeks. Therein lies the adventure that is NYCC. We had a rallying cry all weekend of the show- if we didn't love this, we wouldn't do it.

Our "NYCC Skybox", as we ended up calling it. All that separates us from the teeming masses.
 Much like last year: me, Little Asian Sweatshop and Maria Danalakis Art all pitched in and got a booth on the main floor of the exhibitor hall and had all of our usual pinup-inspired goodies for sale. Now fully aware of how grueling NYCC's schedule is, we decided to not be as ambitious in our cosplay themes. Four 12 hour workdays in a row that have the intensity of a Macy's on Black Friday really takes a toll on us physically and mentally, so we played it more low-key this year. Thursdays we just wore whatever- I dressed in a pants version of my Mouseketeer outfit. Friday was Batman-themed where I was a very loose interpretation of Catwoman. Maria dressed in her adorable Riddler dress and Fenny busted out her VERY old-school Robin costume from cosplays past- she literally had not worn it in over 12 years. It was hilariously terrible- back from the days when all we had to make costumes from was cheap wedding satin. She looked great though. That costume will always crack me up. Saturday however was our crowning achievement- we had a Bob's Burgers group of Maria as Linda, me as Tina and Fenny as Louise. It hit two big bullet points with me and cosplay- amazingly comfortable and instantly recognizable. And Maria was BORN to play Linda. She borrowed my bubble flip wig I had made from Fifi Mahoney's and was SO into it, even being in character a good chunk of the day. Our little Cosplay Diva! Sunday was our 'screw it' day- jeans and hoodies. We were so tired people should be happy we were even there at all.

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Unfortunately we were unable to get the cherry spot we got last year so we had to choose a booth location all the way in the back of the exhibit hall- which also happens to be the length of about 4 football fields. As a result we all did well, but not as well as last year. Either way- we are def planning to exhibit again in 2016. This is usually the most social I am all year, so it's a good way to get all of my desire to dress up in silly outfits, talk about art, get pictures taken and hang out with friends in one fell swoop. Plus I get to make a little money and hear from people coming up to me about how awesome they think I am? Let's do it! It's certainly a nice break from sitting in front of the computer in my apartment while wearing 4 day old pj pants. (Like I am now…)

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Got a visit from my pal, burlesque superstar Dangrrr Doll as Black Canary!

Fenny in her awful/awesome Robin costume. At 8am.

It was always like a little party at our booth.

Rewarded with elote for a hard day's work!

At times standing at the front corner of the booth it was almost hypnotizing watching the endless shifting sea of people. And every day of the show it just got more and more crowded. You thought it was "bad" on Thursday and Friday? (It was.) Oh heavens, that was mostly comprised of people who were willing to take off from work to attend. Saturday and Sunday are usually when the GENERAL PUBLIC come out to the show, as those are the days most already have off for the weekend. It was like each day just escalates more and more with attendance until it reaches maximum humanity. And then, AND THEN on the final day- Sunday, when you don't think it can get any worse with the shuffling masses and lack of personal space, they decide to make it KIDS DAY. >_<; So now not only are you dodging and weaving through people in general, but at least 40% are most likely going to have a slower, waist-high counterpart attached by the arm who is being dragged through (or pushed, or led) the mob. Which I have to admit- I really feel kind of bad for kids who are brought to New York Comic Con. I just don't see it really being that fun for anyone under the age of 12. If you really think about it- you're being led around a building that kinda-sorta looks like an amusement park with characters running around and and crazy structures like the giant pavilions that the larger companies build. Buuutttt-- it's crazy crowded so you can't really stop. Each aisle is like a giant, slow moving line with no real ending. And being a child, you can't really run off on your own to check out whatever catches your eye. (As my mother would say: That's how you get snatched!) Also the characters and cosplayers running around are a bit of a gamble if you choose to have your child interact with them. Some cosplayers I know are great with kids and have an amazing rapport with the public. Others however can be weird, or creepy, or rude- because guess what, cosplayers are people who are there to enjoy the show just like everyone else. They're not there like characters from Disney World who are paid to be there and have a code of conduct in a controlled environment. There's going to be characters dressed up in costumes that most parents would deem inappropriate for their children to see- whether they're super sexy battle bikinis, gory zombies that will scare the crap out of them, or guys in spandex bodysuits where you can totally make out their gross little wiener waggling all over the place. And don't get me started on the in-character Deadpool cosplayers. Also I hope those parents either brought a ton of money or have their "No, you can't have that." game on lock because they are essentially walking their child into a giant toy store that stretches on for miiiiles. However, I must say there needs to be a mass reinstatement of the 'keep your hands in pockets' policy I had as a kid when shopping with my mom- too many grabby little fingers of questionable cleanliness smeared on all my merch. Look, but don't touch guys. Jeez. What I'm saying, in my opinion is that a lot of NYCC isn't fun for little kids. It's big and boring and scary and anxiety-inducing, especially if the kid didn't really want to go in the first place. Or thought that NYCC would be more akin to an amusement park, only to find the only rides is a crowded escalator. There's plenty of smaller shows that are way more kid-friendly with even special areas set up where they can color and draw and do kid things that I think they would probably enjoy more than standing crotch-level next to a lumpy, middle-aged Spider-man with a visible trouser snake.
I'd have to say with my experience the best time for a kid to start going to conventions (especially NYCC) is early-mid teens. They can go of their own volition and pursue their own weird interests with other like-minded teens with little to no supervision. Much like dropping kids off at the mall back in the day (or do what my parents used to do and go as well, but wander around on their own). Plus cons are held during daytime hours and are relatively safe- more and more conventions are stepping up their staffing, security and policies to help the expanding community feel more included. I know if I had the option of going to a con like the ones they have now I would have lost my damn mind. I however didn't start going to cons until 1998 when I attended my first Otakon at 17, and I've attended shows every year since then. The way I actually met my best friend Fenny was through anime conventions and the mutual friends I had within different groups that all met up at various shows in the mid-Atlantic area back in my late teens/early 20's.

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Louise and Tina waiting for the M train.

Practicing my Tina face in the bathroom. Weirder. No, WEIRDER.

I LOVE Maria as Linda. I kept randomly looking over at her and cracking up. The inclusion of her into Fenny and I's cosplay shenanigans has definitely breathed some new life into our jaded old convention souls.

It's so weird seeing me in glasses so big.

As much as I bitch and moan during cons, especially NYCC- I really do love attending and interacting with people and sharing my art and merch with everyone. It's crazy and crowded and physically destroys you over the course of 5 days (we gotta spend all day Wedsnesday setting up the booth), yet as soon as my recovery week is over I'm already thinking about next year.

A video posted by Paige Pumphrey (@paigey_pumphrey) on

I attempted to be social on Saturday night. Phil and I met up with some out-of-town friends for drinks and I ended up almost nodding off after 1 drink.

Aw! Friends!!

Dorking out with our con pals Brit and Emily!

Fenny and I quoted Mr. Meeseeks from Rick & Morty all weekend. I'm kind obsessed and Fenny had never seen it so we spent every night after the show watching episodes on hulu. It's brilliant and if you aren't already- you should watch it too. Fenny and I are already talking about doing R&M characters for 2016.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Aftermath: Baltimore Comic Con 2015

Baltimore Comic Con 2015 marks *8* years of attending comic conventions as a professional exhibitor! Man o Manischewitz! It almost seems like I know what I'm doing at these things, right? Haha! I've got you all fooled!

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I've been writing about Baltimore Comic Con for as long as I've had this blog (which is actually coming up on a good long while!) and going is always a treat. It's my hometown show so I get to see an interesting mix of folks- friends from my past intermingle with the new and it's always a fun party at my table that I set up alongside my best friend in the whole wide universe: Fenny from Little Asian Sweatshop. I always do rather well at this show and I'm able to save money by staying at my parents house a mere 15 minutes away.

I also changed up my appearance for the first time in quite a few years: chopping off my hair into a short pixie-ish cut and dying it royal blue! I needed a change and had this realization that my hair when long had been spending 95% of the time clipped up, which is kinda pointless. I also have very little hair styling ability and once I'm dona fixing my bangs and spit curls I'm just about at the end of my patience- so I figured let's keep the front the same and just chop off the back. Easy Peasy!

Spoopiest of the Spoopys

I am VAMPYR!!!!

AMAZING Elvira and Pee-Wee cosplayers that were in character! So good!

They made me SO HAPPY!

With Kayley and Sharon of Cosplay 10.6 as Gwen and MJ

I am WORTHY!! With Kayley of Cosplay 10.6 as Thor

With Hunter Spanks, tattoo artist at Have Fun Be Lucky! This is his FIRST COSPLAY! Awww!

Here's a video interview with me from Sunday with Loading Snacks:

Fenny and I's tradition of post-con crabs at Captain James

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