Story by Jess
Ok! Hi, I’m Jess and a couple of weeks ago I got an invite from the guys at Games vs Play to attend Oz Comic-Con 2017. Immediately I thought this was a great idea. I’m a comic book librarian (yeah that’s totally a thing, it’s awesome) and a super amateur photographer so it would give me a chance to have a peek around the con scene for the first time without feeling like a total jerk for not being in cosplay. Near instantly my joy turned to cold hard terror and the thought of going to a con at all was an inexplicably frightening prospect – I think they might call this ‘imposter syndrome’.
But I managed to get over myself and decided the best place to start was somewhere I might be more comfortable than not, so I headed for Nicola Scott’s panel “Comic Book Women: Leading the Charge”. For those not familiar with Scott (pictured left), she is an Australian comic book artist working in the American industry and is probably best known for drawing Wonder Woman. I have seen Scott speak before on women in the comics industry and I maybe have a super huge, strong lady type crush on her. Basically she’s a woman who knew what she wanted to do with her career and made it happen, in a male dominated area, plus she speaks well on the topic and is very entertaining. The floor was open for questions which ranged from Scott’s career and its progression to a coy query about whether Wonder Woman is dating anyone in the Justice League (I didn’t see the asker but he sounded a tad young for Wonder Woman). The question was received with warm giggles from the audience and a sincere, thoughtful and lengthy response from Scott (if you’re wondering, Wonder Woman would maybe be interested in Batman but on a bit of a casual kind of level).
I am still alive post-Nicola Scott and decide it’s time for me to wander the floor and maybe pick up the courage to ask for some photos. This takes me an obscenely long time and I mostly end up yelling at people “HI I REALLY LIKE YOUR COSPLAY CAN I PLZ TAKE A PHOTO,” a technique that will require some refinement if I ever try it again. But once I start, it gets easier and I think my ludicrous enthusiasm is maybe a tiny bit contagious. During these interactions and watching others, it occurs to me for the first time that cosplay as a whole is much more than just wearing an outfit. The people that I ask to photograph pose and act in the ways the characters they’re dressed as (DUH JESS! I can hear you yelling) but for someone who hasn’t been here before, I find these gestures simply glorious, and my high pitched-ness increases exponentially. (If you’re new to the whole con/cosplay thing and are interested, or just love a bit of cosplay, I came across this TED Talk by Adam Savage from Myth Busters quite randomly a week or so after my experience and it’s super cute and nice and excellent ….) I also LOVED watching people meet strangers in amazing cosplay, when you can see the admiration in their faces as they approach, thinking someone has made that costume, with incredible attention to detail, craftsmanship, sheer passion and imagination – that’s a real superhero!
During my time at Oz Comic-Con I saw A LOT of Harley Quinns, like billions (what’s that thing about showing up to a party in the same outfit as someone else?!) Obviously there are trends when it comes to pop culture, like what’s popular, so this made sense. There were also MANY princesses, the Disney kind, which I found a bit more unexpected but still, popular. I then overheard a mum-aged lady saying there were a lot less zombies this year and far more princesses … which made me wonder what the years to come will bring and who people dressed as a lot in the past.
In the sea of Harleys and Elsas who I personally don’t find the most interesting I found Tank Girl, Ms Marvel, a few Tardis ladies, Sailor Scouts, Rey from Starwars and Lady Thor (Jane Foster, OOOMMMGGG).
If you have’t noticed, I was taking notes on the girl cosplayers and who they chose to be. Did you know that more than 50% of con attendees are lady types? No? Me either! I learned that in Nicola Scott’s panel earlier in the day. Finally much to my disappointment, I saw NO SQUIRREL GIRLS. None! Hopefully once she gets her TV show there will be billions of her too!
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to day two of Oz Comic-Con. But if I had, I would have sure practiced my yelling at people for photos skills some more. I guess I’ll just have to wait until next time.
Jess is an overenthusiastic try-er of new things who enjoys comics, cats, skateboarding, photography, cute sh*t and general nonsense. She is into books/films/TV with strong lady type protagonists and also things like diverse representations of race, physical ability, sex, sexuality & gender
All images in this post taken by Jess Kilpatrick.
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