Nerd Culture

10 Best Costumes from Phoenix Comicon 2014

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Dark Helmet

Darth Vader has naturally become sort of an omnipresent figure at Phoenix Comicon, whether its on posters and T-shirts being sold by vendors or the dozens of fans who dress as either the O.G. version Star Wars villain or a creative remix (like Elvis Vader, Pulp Fiction Vader, or Hipster Vader). Heck, we even saw an adorable tyke dressed as a pink ballerina Darth, complete with a tiara and tutu.

But probably the most memorable Vader at this year's event was proffered by Ryan Niebla, who came as Dark Helmet, the parody of the dark lord from Mel Brooks' Star Wars send-up Spaceballs. The Schwartz was definitely with the Peoria resident's costume, which boasted a jet-black necktie, oversized helmet, and even a snake-shaped ring. Niebla (wisely) declined to recreate the film's famous scene where Lord Helmet smashes head-first into a wall after his ship suddenly ceases going ludicrous speed, however.

Boris Badenov & Natasha Fatale

Valley residents Lauren Kline and Ken Stewart went old school when searching for inspiration for their Comicon outfits -- way old school. The pair flipped on the Wayback Machine and decided they'd go as the bad guy Russian spy duo of Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale from 1960s cartoon The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

"We were looking for something classic to do that not a lot of people would do at Comicon," Kline says. "A lot of people overlook the old school and go for The Hunger Games or other, newer stuff. We knew that a lot of the younger generation wouldn't know who we were, but a lot of older people are going crazy over it."

As if to perfectly illustrate her point, a 50-something gentleman (who likely remembered the bomb-toting characters from their misadventures as the longtime nemeses of "moose and squirrel") just happened to pass by and exclaim, "Hey, Boris and Natasha!"

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.