Conning Wonder From Cosplay

This year we passed a milestone. It was the first year that my daughter, Somewhat Wonderful, is old enough that I felt comfortable taking her with me to a comic book convention. If you’ve never been, 1. I assume you probably found this site by accident while looking for the perfect dinner recipe to prepare for your date tonight, more power to you, and I totally understand if you want to bounce; 2. Comic book conventions are enormous gatherings to which thousands of people flock. They are chaotic, and colorful, and amazing, but what they are NOT is a place I felt comfortable taking very young children. There are those that do. I have seen families there with babies who are just weeks old. I’m not sure how they manage, I’m not sure I could have. I can barely manage to keep my own attention focused, much less corral someone with the relative attention span of a goldfish, but that’s me.

I digress. Sundays are usually a good day to bring family to these things, and as this particular convention falls close to Somewhat Wonderful’s birthday, it seemed like as good an excuse to take her as any. We justified it as a special birthday treat.

Somewhat Wonderful had a blast! We were there for hours and hours and she got to see all kinds of people in costume, met artists with me, squealed with delight when the outstanding Jeff Pina presented her with a sketch cover of Spider-Gwen #1 I had commissioned on Friday. She also charmed the socks off the equally charming Val Hochberg, creator of Mystery Babylon. Val drew the first piece I ever commissioned at a comic book convention, and it was of my then one-year-and-change-old daughter wielding a lightsaber (which I am spelling as one word, screw you WordPress spellcheck).

Seriously, Jeff and Val are lovely people and great creators. If you haven’t discovered their work yet, you should check them out.

On Cosplay

I am a fan of cosplay. These are artists who work in fabric and molded plastic, vinyl and metal, where I work in pencil lines and pen strokes. The work they produce is as worth of attention as any other artist present at these conventions, and I love getting photographs of particularly good cosplay. Somewhat Wonderful enjoyed seeing a bunch of the costumes, even if she was a bit shy about getting her pictures taken with them. Which is fine, I’m not one to force my kids to take pictures with total strangers if they’re not into it. We don’t go see mall Santas during the holidays for the same reason.

Just as not all characters are kid-friendly, the same is true for the cosplay of those characters at these events. Throughout the day I spotted several such costumes and generally did okay steering my daughter clear of them. I’ll admit it’s less for her comfort than for mine. It was, however, a doomed enterprise as I was fated to inevitably turn a corner and be confronted with a cosplay such as Ryuko from Kill La Kill, Savage Land Rogue from the X-Men comics, or (as ultimately turned out to be the case) Vampirella.

The cosplay was outstanding, but the level of discomfort on my part was mind-erasing. If there had been a Mary Poppins cosplayer nearby I’m sure she would have chastised me to close my mouth as, “we are not a codfish.” It played out pretty much how you see in the comics here, with the exception that I told my daughter exactly who the character was, and before she could ask anymore questions asked her if she was hungry and ushered her in the direction of the food court, not unlike a fireman clearing a civilian from a burning building. The comic came together that night as I was relaying the story to my wife, Mildly Sensational.

ETA: My wife is not nearly as touchy on this subject as the comic would make her out to be. The punchline is what it is because it made her laugh when I talked it through with her.

Roles of the Critical Variety

Sharp-eyed readers might notice my shirt in the comic reads “The Mighty Nein.” I am a big fan of Critical Role and their current campaign The Mighty Nein. One of the player characters is referenced in the dialog for this strip, too, without permission, which I certainly hope they don’t mind. I discovered Critical Role when I stumbled into their panel at a comic book convention. It seems right that I give them a shout out in a comic strip about comic book conventions.