An awesome-looking Wonder Woman costume at Phoenix Comicon 2017.EXPAND
An awesome-looking Wonder Woman costume at Phoenix Comicon 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman

The 20 Best Costumes We Saw in 2017 in Phoenix

We encountered a helluva lot of costumes and cosplayers this year.

They were legion at geek extravaganzas like Phoenix Comicon, Fan Fest, and the Game On Expo, as well such gonzo events as the annual Phoenix Idiotarod and Santarchy. And it goes without saying that Halloween had a lot of ‘em, too.

Wonder Women were in abundance, of course, as were Rick and Morty, Pennywise from It, and numerous Game of Thrones characters. There were also characters being portrayed from popular geek franchises, including Overwatch, League of Legends, and Star Wars.

And then there were the costumes that really grabbed our attention in 2017, including impressive armors, elaborate outfits, and clever cosplays that took months to create.

Here’s a look back at the 20 best costumes we saw this year and many of the people behind ‘em.

Quoth the raven, "May the Force be with you."EXPAND
Quoth the raven, "May the Force be with you."
Benjamin Leatherman

Edgar Allan Poe Dameron
Spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017

As his nickname implies, local cosplayer Smart Alex has a wicked sense of humor. Hence his mashup merging mopey author Edgar Allan Poe with hunky X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The 20 Best Costumes We Saw in 2017 in PhoenixEXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

Ulala from Space Channel 5
Spotted at Game On Expo 2017

As you’d might expect, the annual Game On Expo featured loads of costumes inspired by video games. A lot of it was fantastic, including this cosplayer’s groovy rendition of Ulala, the main character from the 1999 Sega Dreamcast music/rhythm game Space Channel 5.

Last seen in the waiting room of the afterlife.EXPAND
Last seen in the waiting room of the afterlife.
Benjamin Leatherman

Magician's Assistant from Beetlejuice
Spotted at the Wicked Ball 2017

Megan Fulp of Phoenix and her stepmom created this costume depicting the memorable background character from Beetlejuice who was seen in the waiting room for the afterlife. As you’d guess, she’s a huge fan of the 1988 Tim Burton flick.

Pretty in pink.EXPAND
Pretty in pink.
Benjamin Leatherman

The 5-0-Fabulous
Spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017

It was hard to miss this group, probably because of their hot pink renditions of iconic Star Wars characters. Calling themselves the “5-0-Fabulous” (which riffs on cosplay group the 501st Legion), it included pink versions of Chewbacca, a Mon Calamari, Princess Leia, Queen Amidala, and hilarious mashup of Han Solo with Reno 911's Jim Dangle.

Juliette Clermont and Madeleine Clermont.EXPAND
Juliette Clermont and Madeleine Clermont.
Benjamin Leatherman

Ice Climbers
Spotted at Phoenix Fan Fest 2017

Sisters Juliette and Madeleine Clermont wanted to do a dual cosplay for this year’s Fan Fest. So they settled on the titular characters from the ‘80s Nintendo classic Ice Climbers. "We were looking for something we could do together," Juliette says. “It's not a costume that's been done a lot before.” And it turned out to be one of the best we saw at Fan Fest.

Go Voltron force!EXPAND
Go Voltron force!
Benjamin Leatherman

Voltron: Legendary Defender Lion Paladins
Spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017

This group of friends reimagined the pilots (or “paladins”) from Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender cartoon. More specifically, they rendered the characters' outfits in the style of the Foretellers from Kingdom Hearts, who wear animalistic masks and costumes.

Hermione Hatch of Tucson as Darla.EXPAND
Hermione Hatch of Tucson as Darla.
Benjamin Leatherman

Darla from Finding Nemo
Spotted at Phoenix Fan Fest 2017

Most kids dread the thought of getting braces. Hermione Hatch of Tucson, however, had a different reaction. According to her mom, Deann, it gave her the chance to portray Darla, the pint-sized scourge of pet fish from Finding Nemo. “When she found out she had to get braces, she turned to me and said, ‘I must cosplay Darla,'” Deann says. And she portrayed the character well, earning herself a prize at Fan Fest’s costume contest and a shout-out on Twitter from Matilda star Mara Wilson.

Hannah McCormick and Jake McCormick mashed up Guardians of the Galaxy with Mary Poppins.EXPAND
Hannah McCormick and Jake McCormick mashed up Guardians of the Galaxy with Mary Poppins.
Benjamin Leatherman

Yondu Poppins & Bert Kraglin
Spotted at Saboten Con 2017

One of the biggest things to come from the summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was Yondu’s now-famous quip, “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all.” It’s inspired memes and shirts aplenty, as well as these clever mashup costumes worn by local couple Hannah and Jake McCormick (a.k.a. Magic and Mischief Cosplay) at Saboten Con, which merged Mary Poppins and her chimney sweep pal Bert with Yondu and his first mate Kraglin, respectively.

"It’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost? 10 dollars?"EXPAND
"It’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost? 10 dollars?"
Benjamin Leatherman

Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Stand
Spotted at Phoenix Fan Fest 2017

Fans of Arrested Development will probably dig this costume portraying the frozen banana stand where Bluth patriarch George Sr. got his start way back when. It was a recurring setting and running gag on the show, as well as the butt of many jokes (“There's always money in the banana stand!”). This local cosplayer portrayed a walking version of the stand at this year’s Fan Fest this year and even sported a “Mr. Manager” name tag worn by George Michael.

Jack's back.EXPAND
Jack's back.
Benjamin Leatherman

Jack Pumpkinhead
Spotted at Phoenix Fan Fest 2017

You don't see a lot of cosplay inspired by Return to Oz, the dark and moody fantasy film from 1985 that carried on the story of L. Frank Baum's Oz novels and got a polarizing response when it hit theaters. Israel Garcia of Maricopa loved the flick. "It was really dark, but it's one of my favorite Disney movies," he says. So much so that he fashioned an astounding version of the character Jack Pumpkinhead from the film.

To infinity ... and beyond!EXPAND
To infinity ... and beyond!
Benjamin Leatherman

Buzz Lightyear
Spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017

It helps to have to have a certain amount of patience when you’re a cosplayer, considering that it can take months or even years to put together a fantastic costume. Just ask Vincent Gonzalez of Chandler, who spent two years crafting this amazing Buzz Lightyear spacesuit using EVA foam, fabric, hot glue, and spray paint.

Make way for Ghost Rider.EXPAND
Make way for Ghost Rider.
Benjamin Leatherman

Ghost Rider
Spotted at Wicked Ball 2017

Casey Tsosie and his wife, Michelle, wowed the crowd at Talking Stick Resort's Wicked Ball with their awesome-looking version of Ghost Rider, complete with bone-covered motorcycle. And, for the record, he was portraying Johnny Blaze, the first incarnation of the legendary Marvel Comics character.

Boldly going where no Idiotarod team has gone before.EXPAND
Boldly going where no Idiotarod team has gone before.
Benjamin Leatherman

Bar Trek: The Final Frontier
Spotted at Idiotarod 2017

The annual Idiotarod urban shopping cart race and bar crawl features a lot of unique and colorful costumes. And one of the most attention-grabbing teams at this year’s event was a group of Chandler neighbors who created an enormous built-to-scale mock-up of the original U.S.S. Enterprise and dressed as Starfleet officers. "It was kind of a way to bring the neighborhood together,” says member Craig Smith.

There's no case too big, no case too small for this group.EXPAND
There's no case too big, no case too small for this group.
Benjamin Leatherman

Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers
Spotted at Phoenix Fan Fest 2017

Local cosplayer Gabrielle Abrams teamed up with five of her friends – including Lucas Boyle, Cameron Heivilin, and Malachi Quinones – to portray the main characters from animated show Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers at Phoenix Fan Fest. “I've done Gadget for a few years now with different props and I wanted to do Rescue Rangers as a group,” Abrams says. The result was a fun group costume that was one of the highlights of the geek event.

The members of By the Power of Grayballs.EXPAND
The members of By the Power of Grayballs.
Benjamin Leatherman

By the Power of Grayballs
Spotted at Phoenix Idiotarod 2017

Logan McKenzie and his friends channeled their love of ‘80s cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe when creating their themed team for this year’s Phoenix Idiotarod race. Their cart was a recreation of Castle Greyskull made from Styrofoam, papier mâché, and neoprene rubber mats. They dressed as a number of characters from the show, including He-Man, Teela, Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, and Evil-Lyn.

AmberSkies as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy. EXPAND
AmberSkies as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Benjamin Leatherman

Nebula
Spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017

Local cosplayer AmberSkies does Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy and does it fantastically. So fantastically, in fact, that Marvel Entertainment helped her update the costume to match Nebula’s look in honor of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this year. She even was featured in their online video series, Marvel Becoming.

A lot of work went into creating this impressive armor.EXPAND
A lot of work went into creating this impressive armor.
Benjamin Leatherman

Valus Ta'aurc from Destiny
Spotted at Game On Expo

A lot of eyes were on Preston Woolsey of Cave Creek at this year’s Game On Expo when the local cosplayer entered the Phoenix Convention Center adorned in this hulking costume. Modeled after the Cabal Colossus Ultra armor of villainous character Valus Ta'aurc from the hit first-person shooter video game Destiny, it took approximately a good chunk of time to build and, by the looks of it, was worth every minute.

The Blue Ribbon Army's Jen Hinds poses with the Tauren Chieftan at Phoenix Comicon.
The Blue Ribbon Army's Jen Hinds poses with the Tauren Chieftan at Phoenix Comicon.
Courtesy of Matt Hinds

Tauren Chieftan
Spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017

Within the World of Warcraft online RPG, the Tauren Chieftan are gigantic warriors that wield enormous strength. Suitably enough, the Tauren Chieftan we saw at Phoenix Comicon was a gigantic costume that towered over other attendees and earned plenty of awe and admiration.

The only version of Apocalypse we tolerate.
The only version of Apocalypse we tolerate.
Bo Eleftheriou

Apocalypse
Spotted at
Phoenix Comicon 2017

Phoenix Comicon attendees got to chance to encounter the X-Men villain known as En Sabah Nur, better known as Apocalypse, thanks to the efforts of Zachary Weitzel (a.k.a. PretzelBot). The pro cosplayer, who lives in Washington, came to the event as a spot-on version of the villain inspired by his look in the X-Men comics.

Something wicked this way comes.EXPAND
Something wicked this way comes.
Benjamin Leatherman

Samhain from The Real Ghostbusters
Spotted at Phoenix Fan Fest 2017

Gabriel Espino of Tucson earned the “Best in Show” award at Fan Fest’s costume contest for his towering recreation of this insidious villain, who appeared on a few episodes of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon from the 1980s. “It's one of my favorite characters and I wanted to do it well, so that's why I made it over-the-top,” he says. Good job, sir.

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