Lord Vader (Zhǔ de fùqīn) emerges like a black ghost through the billowing smoke of residual canon fire after his massive, 150-gun Imperial Chinese warship, the Star Chaser, overtakes a English rebel frigate. The black-clad samurai is flanked by an elite fighting force of white-armored, kabuki-masked pirates called Fēngyún. They make short work of their enemies.
Nothing beats the melee of costume madness marching through the hallways of the San Diego Convention Center. It’s like nerd Halloween… for four and a half days.
For those of you thinking of dressing up for next year, here’s a few tips to make your costume stand out:
1. Mix It Up: Stormtroopers are a dime a dozen at Comic Con. Princess Leias? More than you can count. There’s even a handful of Darth Vaders. So what’s a Star Wars fan to do? Start mixing and matching genres. How about Boba Fett dressed as Elvis? Or a medieval samurai Sith? Ever wonder what a cowboy-steampunk-Jawa might look like? Time to find out.
2. Dead Ringer: Do your friends think you look like a celebrity (particularly one that has starred in a superhero, sci-fi or cult hit)? Then you’re halfway there. Do you have the same build as Adam West? Go find a 60’s Batman costume. Look anything like Patrick Stewart? Then find a wheelchair or a black and yellow onesie. Often mistaken as Lou Ferrigno? Eh, probably not. Set the green paint down and put your shirt back on… quickly.
3. Out From Obscurity: Come dressed as one of your favorite side characters, minor villains or long-lost golden age heroes. Don’t worry, someone will rack their brain trying to figure out who you are, and when they do, you’ll make their day.
4. D.Y.O.T (Do Your Own Thang): Why conform to The Man’s predefined, corporate, white-washed definition of superhero? Be your own invention. Sure you’ll get weird looks, but isn’t that how people would react to a real-life mutant with glowing green skin and a headband named Draxel Fin the Glom God of Zon?
Wondering who the #1 most talked about villain was at the San Diego Comic Con? Darth Vader? Nope. The Lizard from “The Amazing Spider-man”? Nuh-uh. Loki from “The Avengers”? Hardly. Everyone from “Game of Thrones”? Nay. It was the Fire Marshal – a malevolent and unseen being who imposed Nazi-like restrictions on any activity that looked like resting or relaxing.
“You can’t sit there,” an A-1, top-notch, unarmed security guard (i.e. volunteer) would say to you just as you lower your aching bones, twenty pound backpack and two bags full of comics (and cheap giveaways) to the ground.
“Why not?” you’d reply.
“Because of the… (da, da, dum) FIRE MARSHAL.”
I’m sure that sitting near a door, or leaning against a wall, or walking too slowly through a hallway has been known to cause buildings to spontaneously erupt in flames, but come on. If SDCC was a gathering of sports fanatics, or perhaps a convention organized to celebrate standing for long periods of time, then there would be no problem, but we’re just geeks geeking out on geeky stuff, man. Let us park it for a minute. Seriously.
Somewhere, illuminated by the back light of a controlled burn off the 8 Freeway, the Fire Marshal laughs to himself. “Next year,” he mutters, “attendees will not even be permitted to slow down. Four and a half days of walking! Perpetual walking! Mwwa-ha-ha-ha!”