With over 3,500 fans of varying sorts gathered here in Boston for Arisia, it is nice to see so many comic fans enjoying good discussions and so many who are happy to show off their fantastic comic book costume creations and recreations.
Let no one be deluded, these fans know their comics. The winners of the Novice category in the Masquerade, Antonia Pugliese and Raven Stern, were as excited about Gail Simone commenting on social media about their costumes, as any comic book blogger would be if they managed to get a comment from their favourite writer. Along with Julia Pugliese, their entry, The Birds of Prey, not only looked stunning, but their dance routine had the crowds cheering. I had the pleasure of discussing with Raven and Antonia one of our shared favourite comics, issue 112 of Birds of Prey, an issue that features Lady Blackhawk written by Tony Bedard, and their enthusiasm for comics was refreshingly genuine.
Many of the ‘Young’ entrants to the masquerade chose comic characters as the basis for their entry. Perry Olum, as Absolute Zero, had electronics in the palms of his gloves and helmet which illuminated on the Darkened stage. Isabel Kadel-Garcia sewed her own Momo Hinamori costume. Arisia Huff was wielding wildly a huge prop hammer as part of her Harley Quinn costume, and Aurora Arnt not only had a fantastic costume as Catwoman, but presented some amazing gymnastic moves to boot.
Creation from inspiration, rather than recreation, was frequently rewarded with Elizabeth O’Malley-Lepesto & Christa Newman-Morris receiving an honourable mention for their stunning frocks entitled, Avengers Assemble.
On the Doctor Who front, Cosmo-Hottie and The Princess TARDIS caught everyone’s imagination. Jax and Sasha Trabanes’ presentation being humorous and entertaining, while the canvas inside the beautiful TARDIS Dress was painted and incredibly inspired. Also based on Doctor Who, Weeping Angel by Rachel Toups was stunning, while Maghda from Diablo 3, by Aurora Celeste, was a fantastic example of a costume based on a computer game and Where the Wild Things Are was a lovely angle to a favourite book.
There were also hundreds of costumes being worn in common areas. I was taken by a lady dressed as Loki, while Raven and Antonia, as Scientist Hulk and Scientist Iron Girl, were delightful. Adria Kane, as an Agent of Shield, was great, while shows met, with Star Trek costumes mixing with interpretations of Dalek Ironside.
Discussions were varied, with twenty panels specifically about comics, talking about a wide variety of subjects, such as Sandman’s 25th Anniversary with DC Editor Alisa Kwitney Sheckley on the panel.
It wasn’t all perfect. One conversation lacked diversity, or perhaps was a bit US-centric, the Sexuality in Comics panel missed the likes of Lost Girls, V for Vendetta, Devlin Waugh, Apollo and Midnighter and Martin Eden’s Spandex as comics worth discussing. The panellist who told the young lady who raised her hand with what I assumed was a suggestion of a comic that featured an element of sexuality, that questions or statements would only be taken at the end of the panel, missed the fact that perhaps some alternative suggestions might have made the discussion successful. But this was the one session stood out as mediocre amongst the brilliance.
(pics by James, click the images to see the larger pics on the Flickr stream)
Female Fandom in comics seems very topical and when questioned why, despite women always reading comics, we’re still seeing evidence of sexism and misogyny, took a positive turn, looking at what readers can do to rectify this, talking solutions and discussing the comics that actually feature well-written women.
There was a great selection of conversations. Wild about Kirby, a panel about the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, year two of DC Comics’ the New 52, fifty years of The X-Men and discussions of Elseworlds and What-ifs were just some that caught my attention.
The hundreds of panels talking about everything from Science Fiction Literature to concepts in gaming, the gaming rooms, the lounges, the variety of dances, the five hours of Rock and Metal that had a floor filled till after 3am, the parties where organisations offer ‘friendly’ hospitality and in some cases music to rock to, the stage performances of Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo: The Genetic Opera, the numerous maker workshops and the great chats and laughs, made this a different paced and very fun convention with a massively welcome social side, that is frequently missing. A fabulous weekend amongst fans of all sorts, and many fans of comics.