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Cosplayers had an easier time showing off their stuff at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019. Thanks to the unseasonably cool weather during the annual geek extravaganza, which took place from May 23 to 26 at the Phoenix Convention Center, wearing a costume wasn’t a tortuous experience.
And there were definitely a lot of people dressed up at the event. Thousands of attendees came to Fan Fusion in costume, adopting the identities of superheroes and superheroines, as well as any number of characters from movies, television shows, video games, and books.
There were even celebrities who got in on the cosplay action. Adam Savage of MythBusters fame, who was a special guest at Fan Fusion, rolled through the event as Captain America.
He wasn’t the only noteworthy cosplayer who grabbed people’s attention at the event. Many costumed people stood out from the crowd or caught our eye as a result of their creative, clever, or impressive get-ups. And we’re taking the opportunity to laud those attendees who, in our humble opinion, wore the very best costumes at the event.
But first, a few honorable mentions: Costumes that just missed out on making our list, but deserve to be applauded, include the Spartan Spawn, Baymax from Big Hero 6, the attendee dressed as Totoro from the anime classic My Neighbor Totoro, and a trio of Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen.
Now, on with our list of the best costumes and cosplayers at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019.
Weird Alexander Hamilton
Smart Alex has a habit of creating clever costumes, including plenty of character mashups. Two years ago, the local cosplayer came to what was then Phoenix Comicon as Edgar Allan Poe Dameron, a mix of the late writer and the dashing X-wing pilot from the newer Star Wars movies.
This year, Smart Alex took zany parody musician "Weird Al" Yankovic and mashed up him up with the main character from the ultra-popular Hamilton: An American Musical. The result: Weird Alexander Hamilton, complete with a mini-accordion and rubber chicken version of Aaron Burr. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Smart Alex’s cosplay of Goose, the cat...uh, sorry, Flerken from Captain Marvel. It even featured tentacles of sorts that emerged from his chest. Well done, sir.
Hellboy was a popular costume at Fan Fusion 2019, likely because of comic book character’s recent cinematic reboot. Vincent Gonzalez of Chandler (a.k.a. VCG Cosplay) was one of those who dressed up as the “Beast of the Apocalypse,” creating a fantastic-looking version that earned him praise from fellow geeks.
Gonzalez took references based off the comic books and made his own scaled version out of EVA craft foam. “Why did I want to do Hellboy? It was just a costume that I had in the back of my mind for years,” he says. “He’s honestly been one of my favorite comic book characters and I just had to do it.” We’re sure Hellboy creator Mike Mignola would dig it.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast Characters
Sisters Shauna, Stacey, and Courtney Smith have created some of the cooler costumes we’ve encountered at Phoenix Comicon/Fan Fusion over the years. In 2014, they came as characters from famed Internet cartoon Homestar Runner, including the infamous Strong Bad. The next year, they were members of the Teen Girl Squad, a spin-off of Homestar Runner.
At Fan Fusion, the trio was inspired by another subversive toon: Adult Swim’s legendary Space Ghost Coast to Coast. They portrayed three characters from the animated parody talk show, which ran off and on from 1994 to 2004. Shauna portrayed Zorak, the villainous and mantis-like bandleader. Meanwhile, Stacey was Brak (a buffoonish feline space pirate who shouted non-sequiturs like “All Hail Brak!”) and Courtney played Moltar (an evil scientist covered in lava who wore a containment suit).
“It was one of favorite childhood shows to watch,” Stacey says. “I think this kind of helped develop our weird sense of humor.”
The only thing missing was Space Ghost himself. Stacey says they tried to get a male friend to play the heroic character, but they couldn’t pull the costume together in time. “We wanted him to be our Space Ghost and he was thinking, ‘I could like get a galaxy [bedsheet] and then cut holes out of it. That didn’t happen, though.”
Doctor OctopusEddie Wouters of Phoenix used EVA material, electrical conduit, and car seat foam to craft his version of one of Spider-Man’s most dreaded foes. And it looked as good as any version of Doc Ock we’ve seen in the pages of Marvel Comics.
We weren’t the only people who thought so, as Wouters, a member of the Arizona Avengers cosplay group, got plenty of attention at Fan Fusion for his efforts. He needed a bit of a wide berth while showing off his costume around the crowded convention center because of the get-up’s lengthy appendages. “Walking through the halls, people run into me non-stop,” Wouter says. He wasn’t worried about losing an arm, however. “Nah, its pretty sturdy,” he says.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Brothers Braeden, Ethan, and Kian Gilliss of Desert Hills have been going to local cons dressed as King Arthur, King Arthur, Sir Bedivere, and Sir Lancelot from Monty Python and the Holy Grail for years. During Phoenix Fan Fusion, their mom, Kellie, joined in on the fun, portraying the alleged witch from the 1975 comedy film as the family galloped about the con. It was a worthwhile experience for all, especially after Star Trek: Voyager actor Garrett Wang recruited the family to accompany him onstage for his panel on Sunday afternoon. It earned plenty of chuckles and cheers from the crowd, as well as a sweet memory for the Gilliss family.
The ShiningOne of the most iconic scenes in horror film history became the basis for this inventive cosplay by Jamie Giang. The Salt Lake City man used a full-sized bathroom door made from foam core boards to mimic the famous moment in The Shining where a deranged Jack Nicholson chopped his way through with an ax. He also dressed up as the character and scrawled “REDRUM” across the door for added effect.
Giang recreated the scene for his fellow Fan Fusion attendees in the exhibitor hall and elsewhere, including shouting “HERE’S JOHNNY!” We’re guessing the costume was a relatively easy thing for Giang to put together, which was probably for the best, considering all work and no play makes Jamie a dull boy.
Demon HunterVyndi Cosplay put more than 300 hours of work into creating this badass-looking armor, which was featured in the hit video game Diablo III. According to her, it was a tremendous effort. “I made patterns for these pieces by tracing the armor in Adobe Illustrator, printed and sized them to my scale, and then built each piece layer by layer using the pattern as a guide,” she says. However, it was worth it when she took home a trophy at this year’s Masquerade Costume Contest at Fan Fusion.
Starbucks Cup From Game of ThronesWhen Game of Thrones’ producers accidentally allowed an anachronistic Starbucks cup to appear in a recent episode of the fantasy show, it set social media on fire like King’s Landing after a Daenerys Targaryen freakout. It also gave Mesa resident Michelle Green an idea for a nifty, last-minute costume.
Using poster board and hot glue, she made a similar-looking Starbucks cup to wear at Fan Fusion after attending the first day of the con, including adding a “Winterfell Coffee” logo she printed out from the internet. Green also scrawled Daenerys’ lengthy list on monikers (“Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, and the Mother of Dragons”) in magic marker on the cup.
“I was not planning on cosplaying this year, but the idea stuck and I knew I had to do it,” Green says. “I came up with the idea on Thursday night, scrambled to whip it together when I got home, and then wore it Friday and Saturday.”
And she got plenty of attention, too. “The response was very positive in person and online,” she says. “I was surprised on Saturday to hear people coming up and saying they had already seen my costume on Facebook or Instagram.”
Kraft PunkWe’re guessing that Connor Dziawura is a big fan of The Eric Andre Show, owing to the spot-on Kraft Punk costume he sported at Fan Fusion. If you’ve never seen the chaotically absurd Adult Swim program, the parody character is basically the love child of Daft Punk and box of Velveeta Mac 'n’ Cheese. He pops up on the show occasionally to harass celebrities with processed cheese slices or show hidden camera clips of him pranking people in public, also with cheese. (And did you guys know that he cannot die?)
As far as we know, Dziawura didn’t pull any cheese-related shenanigans during the con (probably because he would’ve been tossed out like Kraft Punk always gets booted off the show by Hannibal Buress). We’re not disappointed in the slightest, since Dziawura’s version of the character was perfect, right down to the sea of elbow macaroni glued to his helmet. No word on if he’s looking for a cheese wife like KP.