Cosplays at Comicpalooza Are Always Fun

It’s amazing how people react to me when I put on a Spider-Man costume. I don’t know how many kids, teens, and adults either fist-bumped, hugged, or posed for pictures with me on Saturday at Comicpalooza, but it was a lot. I know they’re responding to the costume, and the positive associations they have with Spider-Man when they see me, and it’s always a rewarding experience.

I like to think there’s at least one part I bring to the cosplay that goes beyond just the costume, though. Striking dynamic poses and imitating Spider-Man’s mannerisms is something I’ve come to also enjoy about “being” Spider-Man. I’ve studied his movements from movies, cartoons, and video games, and do what I can to incorporate them into my disguise.

I know I’ve gotten more than a couple of good-natured giggles when I’ve crouched up on the seat of a chair, knees bent and arms gripping the front of the seat between my legs, turning my head in short, quick motions. Con-goers and fans have often reacted with surprise and admiration when I’ve crouched into a Spidey pose for a picture. I also make a point of talking in a friendly, interested manner to any little kids who notice me, something that parents always seem to appreciate.

During the con, I had one little girl, a tiny, cute little thing whom I could scarcely believe was old enough to be walking, run up to me and give me a hug. She was so far ahead of her mother that we finished the hug before the mother was able to catch up with her, so she had to hug me again in order for her mother to take the picture. When we were done, her mother was so grateful and happy that her daughter got to give her favorite superhero a hug.

Another little boy was so excited to see me, he ran to get into the picture I was taking with his older brother, yelling, “SPIDER-MAAAAAN!!” all the way until he crashed into me with a hug. It was without a doubt one of the funniest, most satisfying moments of the weekend. I high-fived both brothers afterwards, told them to enjoy the con, and wished them and their parents well as they headed off into the growing crowd.

These are the kinds of moments I live for. They’re one of the big reasons I do cosplays in the first place.

Spider-Man in particular gets a lot of love at these kinds of events, though he’s by no means the only cosplay I’ve done. Past costumes have included Nightwing, Hawkeye, the Crow, and an anonymous Jedi. I consider them all wins, as I’ve always gotten at least one compliment from an onlooker. I realize that may make my standards low, but I think as long as anyone has enjoyed the cosplay I’ve put together, then that’s all I need to know.

To say I enjoy doing cosplays would be an understatement. I look for any and every reason to put on a costume and let my nerd flag fly. Just ask any of my co-workers!

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Happy New Year–Now Let’s Get This Ball Rolling

I need to see how possible it is to crop GIFs while retaining the motion, if only so I can clean up this post’s featured image some day.  Never forget, people: Google is your friend, at least if you can’t take multimedia classes.  I’ve learned a lot of DIY skills through Google (and YouTube, for that matter), and while I’m no expert, I’m smarter than before I started searching.

maxresdefaultAt any rate, as the doubtless imaginative title of this post suggests, I’m all full of New Year cheer, and eager to get underway with my resolutions.  All the more remarkable about it is the fact that, by and large, I don’t formally make resolutions, at least not during New Year season, as I find them arbitrary, trite setups for failure that can really be made at any point during a given year with equal importance.  And I’d say that’s still a relevant attitude I sport towards them in general, so it’s fair to say that I’m not going to be making any new resolutions for the coming year.

But new resolutions aren’t a requirement these days, as I have plenty of old ones I’ve either failed at or left behind, as well as existing ones that, while I haven’t failed, might do with a new twist.  Those are the resolutions I’m happy to focus on for the coming year. Here are some ideas

  1. Get healthy–or at least, heathier. Always easily said, I’ve had my ups and downs when it comes to getting fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On the down side, I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic last year, but as a result, I’ve implemented at least a basic exercise regiment that has stuck pretty well these last few months. My biggest enemy here tends to be stress, as it makes me go to comfort food whenever things get tough.  There are a few ways I can continue to improve and uphold this goal:
    1. Take up a more intense form of exercise, such as martial arts.
    2. Get better at avoiding sugars, such as sodas and desserts.
    3. Eat less in general, while doing more.
  2. Continue to write, and write more.  I once wrote in a blog every day for six straight months, and this was back when I had a full-time job, so I know I can do more writing than I recently have been.  I profess to want to write, and yet I way too often find myself wasting time on video games, Youtube, and other idle pursuits.  Stress, again, tends to be the enemy here, so I should probably look into ways to manage it.  Specific to writing, a few possible goals are spinning in my head, among them:
    1. Resurrecting 187,500.  This is a 500-words per day mandate, at the end of the year of which I should have 187,500 words written.  I’ll detail the rules of this self-created goal some other time, but it’s significant that each year I’ve tried to accomplish it, I’ve failed.
    2. Creating themed day posts for my blog. Madcap Mondays, Terrible Tuesdays, things like that.  We’ll see.
    3. Find a writing exercise every day, and do them.
    4. Work on my novel(s).
    5. Write X number of {short stories, articles, novel excerpts, etc.} per Y unit of time.  Taking suggestions on how much of what in what amounts of time.
  3. Work towards a writing career.  Similar to the previous resolution, it’s more focused on publication and earning income.  Some possibilities:
    1. Finish a novel manuscript and start shopping it around.
    2. Enter x number of writing contests this year.
    3. Find websites and magazines that pay for writing, and start submitting applications.
  4. Make things.  So many possibilities with this one.  Writing is technically included, I suppose, but I’m thinking in a more broad sense.  Some examples:
    1. Learn to play an instrument (make music).
    2. Create superhero costume parts/pieces (make cosplay).
    3. Raspberry pi/arduino projects (make fun and useful technology).
  5. Read more–or at least, consume more audiobooks and podcasts.  Aside from graphic novels, which I love, I just haven’t found much time to actually sit down and read.  I’ve found that audiobooks and podcasts have been much more conducive for when I’m doing things like exercise, driving across town, or simply working on chores, writing, or other tasks.  Some things I’ve considered:
    1. Ask friends for podcast recommendations.  Try out a new podcast every week, and expand my current base of podcasts.
    2. Listen to both fiction and nonfiction in audiobook form.  I’m loving The Dresden Files so far (James Marsters reads them!), and am almost done with Stephen King’s On Writing, which he narrates.
    3. Where possible, listen to these things for free.  Library cards are your friends in this endeavor.
  6. Educate and teach others.  I do this more or less every day as a librarian (case in point: want to learn how to use your tablet or smartphone to access your library’s e-books and e-audiobooks? I and other librarians can help you!), but I’m hoping to do so this year in a more formalized sense.  Some ideas:
    1. Host a program or programs at work on a topic I’m knowledgeable in.
    2. Participate on a panel at a conference or convention on a topic I’m good at.

Quite the list there, eh?  I’ve been working on a lot of these for a long time, and hopefully can just build on them as the years go on.  There may be more new ones as the year continues, and I reserve the right to modify or abandon these as I choose (at my own risk, of course–I’m sure if I eat too many more chocolates, I’ll go into a diabetic coma), but this is a good base from which to work as I try to make 2017 as good a year as I can.  It is my hope that each and every one of you can achieve the goals and dreams you set for yourself this year.

75cfb75b958e159f647988b804a4ce36aa1d2ace5be9328ddb1eaf505ec4e1e1Happy 2017, and may it be a great year for us all!  Now, let’s get this ball rolling, and knock it out of the park as best we can.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Set Photos Takeaway: I Want That Backpack

Yesterday Looper, an entertainment website, put up some photos fresh from the set of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming showing actor Tom Holland in his Spider-Man costume.  They’re pretty good, and aside from showing a clearly less-shiny version of Spidey’s costume from Captain America: Civil War, provide a clear glimpse of a backpack presumably used by the character both for high school and hero-ing.

The fact that this is a fairly plain JanSport backpack actually makes me really happy, as whenever I cosplay Spidey at conventions, I usually have had bags that I carry (because hey, gotta keep that spare set of civvies nearby) and fish through when I need something in them.  While I haven’t actually carried one in a few years, I’ve always felt a backpack was an appropriate thing for Spider-Man to carry around.  Clearly writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley agree with me (or I with them), as Peter Parker from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics also carried around a backpack with some regularity.

I’d also argue that if you’re going to be a masked, anonymous vigilante with superpowers who wants to keep his identity secret yet still carry a backpack, you’re best going with a commonly carried, plain-colored backpack that will be hard to easily identify as belonging to just one individual.  Still, in this day and age of social media, mobile phone cameras, and Instagram, it’s probably not going to throw people off that easily.

In any case, yeah, I now want one of those things.  I’ve actually wanted one for a while, but now even more so.  Maybe not in that color, but definitely for my cosplay purposes at the least.

I can’t wait for 2017 to get here.

Comicpalooza, Then and Now

Comicpalooza is arguably the best comics and pop culture convention in Houston, but I  can remember when it got started as nothing more than a loose association of local artists and collectors.  Or, to put on my “hipster” hat, I remember it before it was so big and popular and cool.

And I’m genuinely glad it’s gotten to the size and renown that it has.

If you look at Comicpalooza’s website for their media coverage over the years, they only link to two stories from 2009.  I remember that year fondly, as it was at the West Oaks mall, and was noticeably less celebrity-heavy than it’s gotten now (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Guests were comics industry people, and they had tables set up in the mall, and it was really easy to get to them and talk to them personally for a few minutes.

It was also the year before Comicpalooza moved to the George R. Brown Convention Center, where it’s been held ever since to a justifiably grown attendee crowd.

But I’m here to tell you that 2009 isn’t the first year Comicpalooza was held.

Nope.  It was 2008.

I had been working for the library for a little over a year at that point, and in July of 2008 I was overjoyed to suddenly find out there was a very small comic book convention happening in Houston–I don’t think we’d had any in years at that point, and certainly none since I’d arrived in town.  Even better was that I was able to convince my supervisor to let me attend as part of a library outreach, on work time.  I got to bring library calendars, talk to attendees, creators, and convention staff at the Alamo Drafthouse in Katy about possible collaborative opportunities.  Terry Moore was there (among many other local artists and creators), and I met him for the first time at this first Comicpalooza.

Since 2009, Comicpalooza has grown, at a seemingly exponential rate.  It’s gotten comparable to size and scale to some of the larger and more famous cons, and each year attendance seems to get even bigger.  I think I’ve been every year except for one, and it’s easy for me to say I’ve watched this con grow from its very infancy.  There’s definitely an affection here that I can’t claim to have for the other cons that have since popped up around Comicpalooza’s success.

Not that there’s anything wrong with them.  Well, except for Space City Comic Con this year.  They seem to have really dropped the ball.  But hey, they’ll learn or they’ll sink.

Which is not the attitude I have towards Comicpalooza.  Their success matters to me in a very real and tangible way.  I want them to be the best, and as far as I’m concerned they are the best that Houston has to offer in terms of fan conventions.  When they report bigger attendance numbers, I get genuinely happy for them.  If ever there is a major problem with how they run things, I will be upset and will want to know everything about it.

As I get ready to attend this weekend’s festivities, I have the occasional thought that perhaps I’m doing this out of a sense of obligation or rote.  I’ve done Tony Comicpalooza 2016outreaches to Comicpalooza in the past, I’ve liaised between them and the library for many of the last few years, and I’m more than familiar with how things are laid out and done here.

But then I remember how much fun I have at events like this.  Seeing fellow fans in cosplay, cosplaying along with them (I’ll be Hawkeye and/or some version of Spider-Man, in case anyone is curious), attending panels and perusing the dealer room and artist alley.  I also recall that I missed Comicpalooza one year, and I’ve always regretted it.  I always see friends at this con, and I usually make new ones.

So, I’ll see everyone there.  This event is as important to me as many of my comics-related quirks, and I’m excited to continue to grow and develop with it.