More than just dress-up

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

FOR MORE THAN 30 years, comic, lm and sci­ence ction fans have de­scended on San Diego in the US for the an­nual Comic-Con In­ter­na­tional event. It started in 1970 when a group of fans cre­ated the rst comic book con­ven­tion in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia – a oneday mini-event called San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Mini­con, which saw about 100 at­ten­dees. The mini-con’s suc­cess led to the rst three-day San Diego Golden State ComicCon just a few months later, with 300 peo­ple in at­ten­dance.

In the last few years, the con­ven­tion has seen 130 000 peo­ple walk­ing through the San Diego Con­ven­tion Cen­tre doors over the four-day event. It has grown to en­com­pass pop cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment el­e­ments across a range of gen­res – par­tic­u­larly an­i­ma­tion, hor­ror, an­ime and manga; the trade of col­lectable toys, cards, video games and comics; and the Comic-Con In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. It is, ac­cord­ing to Forbes, ‘the largest con­ven­tion of its kind in the world’. From its be­gin­nings in a ho­tel, the event now in­cludes satel­lite lo­ca­tions in the con­ven­tion cen­tre’s sur­rounds, in­clud­ing out­door parks.

One of the most pop­u­lar el­e­ments of at­tend­ing Comic-Con is cosplay, where fans dress up as their favourite comic book, video game and lm char­ac­ters. Dress­ing up in cos­tumes like these dates back to the rst World Sci­ence Fic­tion Con­ven­tion in New York in 1939. Of­ten, they are metic­u­lously de­tailed recre­ations of char­ac­ters’ like­ness, while oth­ers have el­e­ments of the in­di­vid­ual’s own cre­ative al­ter­ations: usu­ally hand­made cos­tumes, body paint and make-up. Each year’s con­ven­tion has an an­nual mas­quer­ade com­pe­ti­tion on the Satur­day evening, where any­one is wel­come to take to the stage in front of a 4 000-strong au­di­ence and a panel of judges to win awards in cat­e­gories in­clud­ing Judges’ Choice and Best Re-Creation.

LEFT Star Wars en­thu­si­asts pos­ing as what they call ‘Chew’s An­gels’ CEN­TRE AND

RIGHT Colour­ful cos­tumed fans at Comic-Con

BE­LOW Cosplay fans dressed as char­ac­ters from the Trans­form­ers fran­chise

The 2015 San Diego Comic-Con drew 130 000 peo­ple and in­cred­i­bly de­tailed cos­tumes from ev­ery genre.


ABOVE Fans cre­ate de­tailed cos­tumes of pop cul­ture char­ac­ters

BE­LOW Fans dressed up as char­ac­ters from the Cap­tain America fran­chise

BE­LOW LEFT A group of Power Rangers pose in­side the San Diego

Con­ven­tion Cen­ter

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