San Diego Comic Con 2016

OC Register Kevin Sullivan

Photographed with cosplayers Alicia Marie and Stephanie Castro

I usually don’t have much to say about conventions other than I had fun. But, I actually have a lot to say about SDCC.

First, let’s talk about the actual costume. I wanted to wear my Slave Leia but in the past there have been a lot of them at Comic Con, so I wanted to do something a little special. I’d been sitting on the Khal Drogo / Slave Leia mashup idea for a while now and figured what the hell! I really love wearing Leia, it is so fun and usually very comfortable. And, yes, I wear underwear (It’s the No. 1 asked question). But for the first time I had some actual issues with this costume though. Issue #1: Apart from tightening the skirt a little to accommodate my flux in weight, my top doesn’t quite fit like it used to. I’ve gone down several bra sizes over the last year or so. I tried tightening the straps, which are nothing more than thin strings of elastic, but that ended up digging into my shoulders and left marks for several days and caused me to slouch more, which is generally unflattering and uncomfortable. I heated and reshaped the bands that go around my ribs but ultimately I think I will have to remove the fabric from the breasts and reshape the whole thing, since my girls weren’t supported like they had been in the past. Issue #2: I wear pasties under the top to guarantee no nip slips. But I’ve been using these flesh colored ones that until day of, I didn’t really think about. Because they kinda look like shapeless nipples. There really isn’t much of a point of hiding my nipples with fake nipples; no one can tell the difference. Sooooo, going to look into a different option, even if it means painting the original pasties a different color. Issue #3: emoting is difficult and a little painful with the beard. Overall, not too bad, but some changes for sure need to be made before I wear it next. I am however very thankful for this costume because it was very hot over Comic Con weekend and I felt pretty cool most of the time since I was wearing pretty much nothing.

I was a little worried about cosplaying Leia though, since having so many people around means I’m more likely to find the kind of people looking to harass somebody, however the con floor was actually very easy and I didn’t feel uncomfortable until I stepped outside the convention hall. We didn’t catch anyone taking photos up our skirts, no one touched us inappropriately, and anyone who did want to touch us in some way asked first, which is great. It really means that message of the cosplay is not consent campaign is really getting out there. The overall feel of the vendor’s hall was much more laid back than it has been in the past, which I prefer.

Photo by

with cosplayers Stephanie Castro and Fatal Siren

Over the years my game plan for SDCC has changed. I used to be one of those people who would stand in line all day long to *maybe* get into a panel in Hall H or Ballroom 20. And I mean my whole day. I’d arrive bright and early before the con opens, to zig zag lines that creep their way back and forth outside all afternoon, until I could finally sit down in a crowded ballroom to watch every single panel happening that day so I could guarantee I’d be able to see the one I wanted. Looking back on it, it kind of blows my mind that I wasted a Saturday SDCC ticket to do that when the panel I wanted to watch would be on YouTube by the time I got home. Nothing against those that spend their con doing that, I don’t really feel that it’s for me anymore.  So in the recent years I’ve focused mainly on hanging out with friends from out of town, early Christmas shopping, photo opportunities, cosplay here and there, etc. I don’t usually cosplay at SDCC, and if I do, it’s probably a more casual cosplay that’s easier to wear. But there are so many people in the hall that cosplaying can really slow you down. When in full costume we are able to move across the hall 5-10 ft at a time due to picture taking, which is great! But it means we have to really plan out our day and sometimes I don’t have the energy for that. We also try our best to find a corner or a wall to pose in front of so we don’t block hall traffic or booths. But in such a tight space it’s a challenge.

Chief Geek Photography

Chief Geek Photography

The event itself was the same as last year and the year before that. I feel like Comic Con got into this pattern of topping the last year’s presentation year after year and has started to run out of things to wow us with. Which is fine, I don’t need a big wow factor for me to enjoy a convention. But I feel like there has been less and less cosplay every year, but maybe I’m just not seeing enough of the convention. Some felt like SDCC is starting to fizzle. Whether or not that is true, I don’t know, but I do feel similarly. Maybe I’ve gone too many times and have become jaded. I think for new people its still really cool and wows them a lot. We always try to bring someone new with us every year and they always have a really good experience. And perhaps the calmer feel is due to new security measures that make it harder for people to sneak in. They introduced a new badge scanning system this year that seemed to work out pretty well. Maybe one day, in street clothes, is enough for me nowadays.

But when I explain comic conventions to people who have never been, they always seem surprised that SDCC isn’t a typical comic convention. Not to me at least. Everyone assumes it’s the crème de la crème of cons. And in a lot ways it is. The issue is, I don’t want people going to a local con expecting SDCC, feeling disappointed and thus ruining their con interest. It has a lot of big things going on that most cons don’t. Huge part of that is the Downtown San Diego aspect to it. You could go to SDCC without a ticket, hang out down town, and have a very full weekend without stepping into the convention center. It’s great for San Diego local business for sure, takes care of a lot of the over flow of guests, and makes the convention almost like a 24hr party every day. Which brings us to the part where I was, for once, actually uncomfortable.

DarthBX Photography

DarthBX Photography

As the day was winding down, my friend and I headed up the street over to market and 7th. Which is maybe 6 blocks from the convention center. After we got a few blocks away, there were more San Diego locals than convention goers. And I’m sadly ashamed of many of my fellow San Diegains for being so rude. We were clearly trying to get somewhere, skirts gathered in our arms to walk faster, looking at our phones for directions etc. We told multiple people that we were sorry but we were running late trying to meet up with friends and couldn’t stop for photos. You stop for one person and a mob forms, you’ll never leave. You have to be able to tell people no. And most people were respectful of that. I completely understand that coming downtown for con is an exciting experience and as people in costume we should expect people trying to stop us for photo but there were some people that were really pushy and rude about it, to the point where I was even uncomfortable. While walking down the street many people took photos of us as we walked, which is fine. But some of them you could tell they were trying to do it in secret. I’m half naked wearing a beard, I’m aware I’m a sight to be seen. There’s no need to hide or pretend you are doing something else. I won’t go into great detail of the experience, no need to spread more negativity. But there is a good reason I don’t go far from the Gaslamp area at con.

Someone built a tribute to me! haha

Someone built a tribute to me! haha

By the time we got to the block party we were trying to get to, I was a bit exhausted from people in general. Then we realized we didn’t have our IDs and couldn’t get in. I ended up calling it a day and heading home rather than face the walk back to the convention center. I’m not hurt by these people, not personally at least. I mostly feel disgusted that anyone is that negative and comfortable treating strangers like that. And I make it a point to call those people out because yeah, I can take a lot of shit from people and I don’t mind doing so if it means someone else won’t have to. But what about those people who are cosplaying for the first time? Those people who had a hard time walking out the front door that morning? Not everyone has thick skin like I do and if other people don’t feel comfortable and safe, then neither do I. The message I’d like to send to people doing their first cosplay is that whatever a stranger does or says to or about you has no reflection on who you are as a person or a cosplayer, it’s purely a reflection of who they are. Please, never take anything personally. Rudeness like that stems from ignorance. People don’t realize that their words are spells. When you say negative things, that’s black magic you are casting on someone else. Maybe people think their words are insignificant, but one word can ruin someone’s day. Why would you ever want to be that person? I imagine most don’t. Every person you meet is in middle of a struggle you know nothing about. No one knows your struggle and you don’t know their’s. So do your best to be treated how you want to be treated.

Overall I had a great time with my friends. Every year I always say “I don’t know if I want to go again next year” but I always do. So while I am full of mixed feelings about SDCC, I’ll probably see you all next year!

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