Monday, August 7, 2017

Dragon Con 2017: The Costume Post – aka – In Your Satin Tights

By Phantom Troublemaker

It takes many different elements to create the magic of Dragon Con – fan Tracks, celebrity guests, apple pie – but in my opinion few are as important as the costuming community.
To me, Dragon Con’s biggest virtue is that it gives me the ability to immerse myself in an environment that is accepting, nurturing, and fantastical. Where, for five(ish) days we can all be whoever we were mean to be – our best selves. Whether you’re a wizard, a wrestler, a soldier from the future, or a mad scientist, you get to be you. And more importantly, you’re surrounded by fellow wizards, warriors, and Wonder Women.

Being able to look around the massive Dragon Con staging area of the Hilton, the Marriot, the Hyatt, the Westin, and AmericasMart and see fantastical characters of every shape and size is an unequaled experience. Without those cosplayers Dragon Con would still be fun, but it would lose a massive portion of its magic.

If you’d like to rewind back to Episode 67 of the Needless Things Podcast you can hear a great episode about cosplay (hopefully I’ll have another one this year).

While I like to the think of myself as a pop culture commentator (and occasionally a wrestling one), I tend to stick to what I know and like. It turns out that is but a small portion of the massive universe of genres and geek interests that are happening today. Also I am an old, old man and I have no idea what these kids today are into. Overwatch, right? Wasn’t it that girl’s butt that made everyone angry?

Anyway, here are my picks for some of the biggest costuming trends this year, as well as some stuff I’d just like to see. If you’ve got your own thoughts on the matter, you can comment below or, even better, join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and get in on the conversation! Let us know what you think!

Wonder Women

Let’s go ahead and get the biggest cosplay explosion of the year out of the way.
Not only do I expect to see as many Wonder Women (and Men, right Darren?) as Harleys and Deadpools, I think we’re going to be overwhelmed with Themyscirans. This is actually awesome because it provides so many options to represent what is probably the most popular movie of the year.

Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling

I sure hope that everyone has watched G.L.O.W. ON Netflix so you all know what I’m talking about. Not only do I expect to see Zoya the Destroyer, Liberty Belle, and the ladies from the modern show, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see some of the 80s original.

Honestly I’d rather see those. We got a fairly limited glimpse at the costumes and characters of the modern show, but the 80s ladies provided plenty of outrageous, cosplay-worthy looks. I might not necessarily recognize them all individually, but you’ll know a Gorgeous Lady when you see her. Spandex, glitter, big hair, eye shadow. LOTS of eye shadow.


These might be lower-key options, but with the success of the show I think we’re sure to see some recognizable looks.

Jesse is pretty straightforward and unmistakable, Tulip is more about attitude and looks. Cassidy is where the artistry of cosplay will come in. If you’re going to be the Cassidy from TV, you’re going to have to nail it. He never looks cool. Nothing matches. The guy looks like he smells terrible. I’m going to be really impressed when I see the perfect Cassidy, and I know I will.

I’m also hoping for Herr Starr, but preferably clothed.

The Dark Tower

HA! Just kidding.

I’m sorry, Dark Tower fans. I know it hurts. I feel it, too. Heck, we might still see some Rolands and Walters running around.

Doctor Who

Lots of people have been calling for a female Doctor for a few years now, and I expect to see dozens of them in costume at Dragon Con.

Of course, we’ve been seeing female versions of Doctors for years, including our pal Sara Pope, but this year there are going to be Jodie Whittakers running all over, even though we don’t yet know what her costume will be. I imagine we’ll mostly see ladies in Capaldi getups with blonde hair (or wigs).

As far as Whittaker’s eventual proper costume, I’m hoping for something a little more outlandish than what we’ve gotten with the last few regenerations. Granted, eventually Smith and Capaldi both got some more interesting looks, but I’d like for Whittaker to be visually compelling right out of the gate. Or TARDIS, as it were.

Thor Ragnarok

In my opinion no movie trailer has boasted costumes more spectacular than what we’ve seen from Thor Ragnarok. Thor’s costume alone is a visual treat, which the recently released Marvel Legends figure has emphasized. Lots of color and detail.

You know we’re going to see some fabulous Helas, plenty of Lokis of every variety, and probably a Gamesmaster or two. I mean, it is Goldblum, after all.

Black Panther

I’m cheating a little bit here because I already know there’s going to be a Wakanda photoshoot. Granted, that will likely include the current comics, but the Black Panther trailers have offered an even greater variety of costuming possibilities than Thor. Some of the most visually striking styles I’ve seen have been displayed and I feel like that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Plus, it has to be exciting for cosplayers of color to have such a wide range of representative characters and looks to choose from. Not that there weren’t already many heroes and villains to choose from, and not that cosplayers haven’t been breaking racial expectations for years, but for the first time these characters are being presented in the context of a world they command and on equal footing with over a decade’s worth of beloved superhero films.

Video Games & Anime

I’m not going to recognize any of these. Unless it’s Pac Man or Battle of the Planets.

Twin Peaks

David Lynch’s bonkers television series returned this year and is apparently even more bonkers than it was two decades ago. I haven’t ever seen the original seasons in their entirety, as my Lynch Limit seems to be about two hours, but people seem to be,,, responding?... to the new season. I’m sure there will be plenty of costumes inspired by both eras of the show.

Guardians Inferno

And just to end things on a happy note, I feel like there’s more than enough time for some industrious cosplayers to throw together costumes to represent pretty much the entire cast of this incredible video. Out of all of my picks, this is the one I’ll be the most surprised to not see.

Final Thoughts

Obviously this list doesn’t acknowledge the overwhelming number of constant cosplay fandoms – Stars Wars, Trek, and Crash, Game of Thrones, Middle Earth, Harry Potter, Manimal – and I’m sure I’m missing some new hotness that I’ll feel like an idiot for overlooking the minute Thursday gets here. But my point is that costumes are critical. Take a minute and thank some cosplayers for making Dragon Con so magical.

Here’s my advice to you – wear a costume. Maybe you’re already doing that. If so, good for you. But if you don’t think of yourself as a costume person, do it anyway. Find something you’re comfortable with. Go buy a mask or a cape or maybe even just find a character you like whose garb isn’t terribly outlandish. But dress up in a way that is different from your normal routine. Even if you just wear a suit and a funny hat – get away from yourself for a night and have fun. You’ll be surprised at how freeing it can be just to put on a different pair of pants. Or none at all. But save that for after-hours.

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If you’re here checking out Dragon Con stuff and haven’t visited Needless Things before, thanks for coming by. Me and my writers post five times a week about toys, movies, music, and all manner of pop culture dorkery. I do the Needless Things Podcast once a week. And definitely come back in October for our 31 Days of Halloween! It lasts all month long and everything on the site is thoroughly Halloweeny! 

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