Nerd Culture

The 20 Best Costumes We Saw at Phoenix Comicon 2017

Captain Planet and Captain Pollution cosplayers at Phoenix Comicon 2017.
Captain Planet and Captain Pollution cosplayers at Phoenix Comicon 2017. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Captain Planet and Captain Pollution cosplayers at Phoenix Comicon 2017. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Captain Planet and Captain Pollution cosplayers at Phoenix Comicon 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman
Cosplayers endured a bit of a setback at Phoenix Comicon 2017. As you may have heard, all prop weapons were banned from this year's event after a local man armed with a cache of weapons was arrested inside the Phoenix Convention Center.

While the situation frustrated many cosplayers, others took it in stride, including a few Stormtroopers who brought bananas or baguettes to double as weapons.

If nothing else, it helped illustrate the creativty of cosplayers, as did the vibrant and imaginative array of costumes we spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017.

Costumes were pretty much everywhere during the four-day experience, which took place from May 25 to 28 at the convention center.



That included dozens of Wonder Women (because, you know, she's got a movie out and all) and a lot of Mary Poppins (owing to Dick Van Dyke's appearance) mixed in with the usual assortment of Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and other superheroes.

And, as always, there were a bunch that caught our eye due to their creative, clever, or impressive nature.

But first, a few honorable mentions: Costumes that just missed making the list, but deserve to be applauded include a Negan/Joker mashup, The Muses from Hercules, a female version of Zardoz, the Log Lady from Twin Peaks, the flock of Yip-Yip aliens from Sesame Street, and characters from Westworld (both the original film and the HBO revival series).

click to enlarge Finest kind. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Finest kind.
Benjamin Leatherman
Hawkeye Pierce
We’ve seen a variety of Hawkeyes at Phoenix Comicon over the years, including both the purple-clad archer straight from the pages of Marvel Comics and the Jeremy Renner version from films like The Avengers and Captain America: Civil War. This year, we encountered a Hawkeye from a completely different fictional universe altogether: Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce, the wisecracking and martini-drinking chief surgeon of the 4077th M.A.S.H.

click to enlarge They're truly, truly, truly outrageous. - AUBRIE GANEM
They're truly, truly, truly outrageous.
Aubrie Ganem
Jem and the Holograms
Any child of the ‘80s worth his or her weight in Rubik’s cubes and Garbage Pail Kids cards would enjoy this group cosplay depicting the gals from the cartoon Jem and the Holograms we spotted at Phoenix Comicon 2017. It’s pretty faithful to its source material, right down the brightly colored attire and period-specific instruments, like that bodacious keytar.

click to enlarge Pretty in pink. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Pretty in pink.
Benjamin Leatherman
The 5-0-Fabulous
It was hard to miss these Phoenix Comicon attendees, 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), they got plenty of attention at the event. The group included pink versions of a Wookie and Mon Calamari, as well as Princess Leia and Queen Amidala, the latter of which was played by drag artist Maraya Jordan. Local cosplayer Neo Cosman also portrayed a hilarious mashup of Han Solo with Reno 911's Jim Dangle known as “Han Dangle.” May the fabulousness be with them.

click to enlarge Admit it: you wished you’d thought of it first. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Admit it: you wished you’d thought of it first.
Benjamin Leatherman
Edgar Allan Poe Dameron
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. It wasn't his only amusing costume at Phoenix Comicon, as he also came as another mashup, Sirius Black Widow (you do the math), and glorified extra Guy Fleegman from Galaxy Quest.

click to enlarge Go Voltron force! - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Go Voltron force!
Benjamin Leatherman
Voltron: Legendary Defender Lion Paladins
One of the many joys of cosplay is the ability to reimagine or reinterpret popular characters in new ways. Like this group of friends, for instance, who 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. “We just didn't like the plain outfits for the Paladins,” says one member of the group. “So we just did lions instead.”

click to enlarge Valley resident Annie Williams as Samus Aran. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Valley resident Annie Williams as Samus Aran.
Benjamin Leatherman
Samus Aran and Bowser
DIY cosplayers have a knack for incorporating ordinary objects into outstanding-looking costumes. In the case of Valley resident Shane Yearneau, he used sporting equipment, household items, bicycle tires, and even seat belts to create a getup for his friend Annie Williams representing Samus Aran from Metroid. Meanwhile, he also transformed himself into Bowser from Super Mario. Well done.

click to enlarge The only version of Apocalypse we tolerate. - BO ELEFTHERIOU
The only version of Apocalypse we tolerate.
Bo Eleftheriou
Apocalypse
Don't let the underwhelming nature of last year's X-Men: Apocalypse flick diminish your opinion of the titular mutant. As longtime fans of the X-Men comic book series can attest, En Sabah Nur is a immortal badass and has been ever since writer Louise Simonson and artist Jackson Guice conceived the character back in the '80s. According to Guice, Apocalypse is a "true heavyweight contender as a villain" and "brutal monster of a guy," both of which are reflected in his fearsome appearance. Phoenix Comicon attendees got to see this for themselves, thanks to the efforts of cosplayer Zachary Weitzel (a.k.a. PretzelBot) of Vancouver, Washington, who came to the event as a spot-on version Apocalypse.

click to enlarge To infinity ... and beyond! - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
To infinity ... and beyond!
Benjamin Leatherman
Buzz Lightyear
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. Like the old saying goes, all good things to those who wait.

click to enlarge Tucson's Charlie Deutsch as General Franky. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Tucson's Charlie Deutsch as General Franky.
Benjamin Leatherman
General Franky
As you’d expect, there were tons of anime-related cosplay at Phoenix Comicon, and much of it was impressive. That includes this recreation of General Franky, an “Iron Pirate” and robot from One Piece, by Tucson resident Charlie Deutsch. The costume came about after he got inspired while attending last year’s Tucson Comicon. “I went there and saw other people's suits and I was like, 'I can do that,’” he says. “So I put it on my bucket list and decided if I was going to do it, I might as well go all out.”

click to enlarge Tell me... do you bleed? - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Tell me... do you bleed?
Benjamin Leatherman
Mech Batsuit Batman
Despite what you may think, last year’s execrable Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn’t a complete and total crapfest. Helping illustate the theory that there’s occasionally cool shit to be found in bad movies, a few things about the superhero film were rad, including Wonder Woman’s ass-kicking appearance and the armored “mech batsuit” sported by the Dark Knight during his clash with Kal-El. We weren’t the only ones to think so, as this local cosplayer built an excellent mockup of the armor, complete with glowing eyes. Well done, sir.

Read on for more of the best of Phoenix Comicon 2017 — including a stellar Nebula and a perfect War Machine.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.