Simply put, there were two types of people who came to Phoenix Comicon this past weekend: those who wore a costume and those who didn't. The attendees who got into the spirit of the event and donned apparel were inspired by any number of comic books, cartoons, TV shows, video games, or movies. Some went the store-bought or lo-fi route, others spent a good chunk of their life building something killer.
In the midst of all the various versions of Doctor Who, Finn, The Joker, Deadmau5, or X-Men (all of which are commonplace at Comicon) were 13 different costumes that caught our eye and earned our respect. It was hard to whittle the list down -- especially with such worthy candidates as DIY samurais, game-inspired warriors, and clever genre-bending creations -- but here's a bakers dozen of our favorite outfits.
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13. Brony Bros Passionate aficionados of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic were in abundance at Phoenix Comicon throughout the entire weekend, be they female or the notorious male fans of the cartoon and toy line known as "bronies."
These curious individuals could be found at My Little Pony fan panels, cosplay workshops, a separate trivia and discussion event dedicated to the show, and even a brony-themed Q&A. We also spotted this pair of pony-like furries who put the "bro" in "bronies" by sporting shutter shades and swagtastic muscle shirts.
12. The Disney Princesses Not gonna lie, we're big Walt Disney nerds at heart after growing up with the timeless animated classics the House of Mouse produced over the past 76 years. So we enjoyed seeing this retinue of Disney heroines traipsing about Phoenix Comicon. As you can see, the quintet included Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast's Belle, Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella from, uh...Cinderella, and Brave's Merida, the newest member of the club.
We considered asking the chica portraying the fiery-haired lass for her take on the backlash over the thinner, sexier version of the character that Disney recently unveiled (and subsequently withdrew), but she and her fellow princesses were mobbed by some adoring children.
11. Double Rainbow Ever have that dream where it's Halloween, you don't have a costume, and have to rush around to find one? We certainly have and were reminded of this nightmarish scenario when we spoke with Sean Keeney of Tempe about his embodiment of the infamous "Double Rainbow" viral video. Turns out that the 24-year-old wasn't certain he was even going to Comicon this year until Saturday morning and pulled out the papier-mâché and cloth costume to wear.
"It's something I made for Halloween three years ago and I found it in my garage," Keeney says. "I wore it [to Comicon] two years ago and had some poor planning this year, but it's a crowd favorite." When asked the question "What does it mean?" (which is posed in the original video and is written on the back of the costume in magic marker), he stated, "That's the question we're all trying to figure out."
10. George from Paperman One of the many highlights of last year's Wreck-It Ralph was Paperman, the seven-minute animated short that preceded the feature film. For those who haven't seen it, the touching and poignant black-and-white Oscar winner stars George, a lonesome accountant stuck in a mid-century office job.
The character uses paper planes in order to score the attention and win the heart of a winsome brunette working in the building opposite his workplace. Impressed by the memorable short, Andres Epaloose of Tucson recreated the moment mid-way through the short when a fleet of folded paper gliders attach themselves to George with his choice of costume.
9. Robert Lutece Players of old-timey first-person shooter game Bioshock Infinite will undoubtedly recognize this dapper and effete physicist. The eccentric brainiac is rather obsessed with probability, outcome, and logic, and confronts Booker DeWitt with some curious games and experiments along with his "twin sister" Rosalind, including asking the protagonist to flip a coin and guess whether it will be "heads...or tails."
8. Juan Solo Over the past couple of Comicons, David Bolebruch has combined his Hispanic heritage with his love of Star Wars via his costuming. To wit: Last year the Tucsonan came as "Boba Bandito," a remix of the feared bounty hunter that also poked fun at the old stereotype of a Mexican outlaw. He even got to meet Jeremy Bulloch, the English actor who originally portayed Fett, while wearing the getup.
This year, however, Bolebruch went as "Juan Solo," the sombrero-wearing space captain and rogue. "It took a couple seconds to think of it and about a week for the actual creation of the costume," Bolebruch says. And does he have any Wookie sidekicks? "No, not per se," he says. "I have flown with such a friend named Chuey. But she's from Kashyyyk and she's awesome."
7. The Gentleman Robot Sierra Vista artist and craftsman John E. Floyd is a creative cat with a serious yen for all things steampunk. You may have seen his retro-looking, copper-colored diving bell set up in a booth in one corner of Phoenix Comicon. Or you might have encountered the man himself, albeit completely disguised as The Gentleman Robot.
"I took some nods from The Iron Giant and 9," Floyd says of his costume, "But mostly I just wanted to do a steampunk robot that basically is trying to become more human, sorta like Data, but way more steampunk."
6. Space Wolves Armor Battling in the dystopian wastelands of the Warhammer 40,000 realm can be an often deadly prospect (at least in the context of its various games, novels, and other media) given all the vicious Orks or other bloodthirsty and heavily armed forces that occupy this particular fictional universe.
The same proves true in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, the action-packed THQ video game that came out two years ago and features the titular soldiers slaying and getting slayed by the aforementioned Orks or simply getting pwned by other gamers. One of the many upgrades available in the title's multiplayer mode is the badass Space Wolves Armor, which is worn by a "savage and barbaric" sect of the Space Marines and typifies their "red-hot battle-lust." One Phoenix Comicon attendee decided to bring the armor from the virtual realm to reality, resulting in an impressive-looking costume.
5. The Computer Virus Christian Polack certainly got plenty of attention at Phoenix Comicon as he strutted around as this 8-foot-tall shimmering creature, which he described as the "physical representation of some nasty computer virus."
The costume was made from more than 400 CDs that the 38-year-old Mesa resident cut into triangle-shaped pieces and hot-glued together. "I started it seven years ago and have been working on it on and off a month at a time," Polack says, "So it's taken awhile to put it together."
4. Griff Tannen Felix Allen of Chandler is a major fan of the Back to the Future trilogy. So much so that he owns an actual DeLorean decked out like Doc Brown's fictional time machine, which was on display in front of the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday, and came dressed as Marty McFly during Comicon weekend.
On Sunday, however, the 31-year-old showed off his Griff Tannen costume, replicating the entire ensemble of the psychotic, cybernetically-enhanced bully from Back to the Future II. While we could nitpick the fact he used Marty's neon pink hoverboard instead of Griff's badass Pit Bull model, it was still pretty damn cool.
3. Zapp Brannigan If Chris Campbell was forlorn over the recent news of Comedy Central giving Futurama the axe, he certainly wasn't showing it when we spoke with the 22-year-old Tempe resident. Instead, Campbell was all smiles as he described his fandom for the zany animated show and why he chose to portray the smarmy, foolhardy, and lunk-headed space captain and "25-star general" at Comicon.
"I love how much he hams it up in the show, so I wanted to bring that to life," he says. "I have a lot of fun doing it here and people get a kick out of it." One of his friends even portrayed Brannigan's long-suffering green-skinned majordomo Kif, but happened to be elsewhere at the time. Probably off "crying like a woman" somewhere.
2. Iron Man We witnessed several different versions of Marvel's armored Avenger gracing the Exhibitor Hall and other locations, including fans in intricate recreations of the Mark VI armor or kiddos dressed in pre-packaged children's costumes. None of these, however, were as unique as Taylor Fajun's humorous parody of Iron Man that was literally resembled a giant steam iron. (Get it?)
When pressing the Gilbert resident for details, we learned that the character's alter ego is named "Tony Starch" and is the nephew of the genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist, and also is the employee of either a laundromat or dry cleaner by day. "It's a little hot in here," Fajun told Jackalope Ranch in deadpan fashion. Wocka wocka.
1. Old Space Although there's a longstanding tropes dictating that jocks and nerds are mortal enemies and never, ever mix, Marcus Washington dispels such notions every time he appears as "Old Space" at various local comicons.
The beefcake running back for ASU's football squad, who nabbed three tackles in one game last season, is certainly no stranger to wearing helmets. But whenever events like the Amazing Arizona Comicon roll around, he trades up his maroon-and-gold headgear for the red-and-green helmet of Boba Fett for this mashup of the Star Wars character with the "Old Spice Guy" (not to be confused with the psychotic he-man portrayed by Terry Crews in other commercials for the deodorant line).
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According to artist friend Anabel Martinez, Washington started appearing as just the towel-wearing lothario at a recent Taiyou Con before she created a special print of him wearing Fett's helmet. He reportedly rushed out and bought the actual costume item to make Martinez's creation a reality the very next day.
"Marcus is a cool guy and works around his football schedule to come out for the fans by my table when he can at cons," she says.