Mileena from Mortal Kombat fuses Edenian flesh and Tarkatan blood. This warrior is both beauty and beast.
Mileena from Mortal Kombat fuses Edenian flesh and Tarkatan blood. This warrior is both beauty and beast.
Photo by Chuck Cook

The Clock Is Ticking; the Cosplay of Comicpalooza Is Just Around the Corner

Houston, we've got a problem. With so many sci-fi and comic-inspired big-screen releases already under our belt, and more coming down the chute, how's an über-fan to know which persona to embody when Comicpalooza dominates H-Town for Father's Day weekend?

Viewed separately, they could each be representing their respective movies, but we're betting they're doing the Aliens vs. Predator film. Nicely done.
Viewed separately, they could each be representing their respective movies, but we're betting they're doing the Aliens vs. Predator film. Nicely done.
Photo by Chuck Cook

Safe (and apropos) bets include anything Aliens-inspired, especially with scheduled autograph experience bookings by Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Bill Paxton (Private Hudson), Paul Reiser (Burke) and William Hope (Lieutenant Gorman); also making an appearance are Michael Biehn (Corporal Hicks), Jenette Goldstein (Private Vasquez), Mark Rolston (Private Drake) and Ricco Ross (Private Frost).

We also expect a good showing of Lycans and Vampires this year, especially with celebrity headliner Kate Beckinsale (Selene) booked for a Saturday-only appearance, whetting our appetites for all things undead with this fall's Underworld: Blood Wars.

Mystique (Raven Darkhölme) from X-Men. This mutant with superhuman abilities first appeared in 1978, in Marvel Comics' Ms. Marvel #16.
Mystique (Raven Darkhölme) from X-Men. This mutant with superhuman abilities first appeared in 1978, in Marvel Comics' Ms. Marvel #16.
Photo by Chuck Cook

Bex Rathbun, Comicpalooza's cosplay coordinator, says that this year's blockbusters are definitely an indicator. “If you're looking at comic book cosplayers, Marvel and DC are putting out their movies. There's also the movie side of comic book characters. I think that Captain America and Bucky Barnes are going to be some popular ones,” says Rathbun, who also mentions X-Men: Apocalypse and, from the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn.

Steampunk — with its 19th-century steampower inspiration fused with sci-fi and fantasy — is always in fashion.
Steampunk — with its 19th-century steampower inspiration fused with sci-fi and fantasy — is always in fashion.
Photo by Chuck Cook

“If you're looking at anime, [Japanese webcomic] Hetalia is going to be seeing a little bit of a resurgence, because they put out a new season for the series.” She says another one in the anime category, though it's really more of a computer video game, is Undertale. “That's really popular right now; it's sort of replaced another web comic by the same creator, Homestuck; that was popular four years ago. The fans have continued and keep the spirit alive.”

Chun-Li from the Street Fighter series in one of her outfit variations. Will this interpol officer and expert martial artist ever avenge the death of her father?EXPAND
Chun-Li from the Street Fighter series in one of her outfit variations. Will this interpol officer and expert martial artist ever avenge the death of her father?
Photo by Chuck Cook

It's a rich pool from which to draw, with inspiration from movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Deadpool, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Independence Day Resurgence, Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond and Doctor Strange.

Two different interpretations of Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series. She began as The Joker's psychiatrist, but soon left Arkham Asylum to serve as his henchwoman and girlfriend.EXPAND
Two different interpretations of Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series. She began as The Joker's psychiatrist, but soon left Arkham Asylum to serve as his henchwoman and girlfriend.
Photo by Chuck Cook

The good news is that Comicpalooza has planned four separate events for strutting your stuff, beginning with a Crossplay Drag Contest on Friday, June 17 at 8:30 p.m. “It's a pretty common thing in cosplay, especially since there's going to be more popular male characters than female characters,” says Rathbun. “It's a nice way to [showcase] our local drag talent here in Houston.” This event tends to draw the core community, and is generally more performance-based, rather than craftsmanship-based.

We hope to see a lot of Doctor Who fans at Comicpalooza. (L to R) Here we have a Cyberman, the 11th Doctor, a Weeping Angel and Rose.
We hope to see a lot of Doctor Who fans at Comicpalooza. (L to R) Here we have a Cyberman, the 11th Doctor, a Weeping Angel and Rose.
Photo by Chuck Cook

Cosplayers will be running amok throughout the June 17-19 event, and we hope to see a return of faves like Lady Deadpool, Wolverine, Chun-Li, gender-bending Thor, Mystique, anything from Doctor Who, Mileena and those always-hungry, gerbil-talking Minions. It's all leading up to the big reveal on Saturday night with the Cosplay Contest.

(L) The gender bend of superhero character Thor from the Avengers movie and (R) the new Thor from the Marvel comic book Thor.EXPAND
(L) The gender bend of superhero character Thor from the Avengers movie and (R) the new Thor from the Marvel comic book Thor.
Photo by Chuck Cook

For those aware of some of the grumbling over last year's competition, rest assured, there's a new sheriff in town. Rathbun has addressed any residual complaints and assures us that those issues “are no longer present” and that “everything will be taken care of” this year. Which is a good thing. The Cosplay Contest is one of our favorite events, and there are always a few surprises with the 40-seconds-in-the-spotlight walk-on competition, with categories for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

(L) and (R) are Wolverine from the film X-Men, with (center) another interpretation of the Wolverine character.EXPAND
(L) and (R) are Wolverine from the film X-Men, with (center) another interpretation of the Wolverine character.
Photo by Chuck Cook

“Every now and then there is a beginner — they will come out, they have everything: They've modified the shoes, even made the shoes; they do special effects, makeup, lights, moving parts,” says Rathbun. “It happens. You get a wild card every now and then.” She says that, if a beginner meets the craftsmanship percentage (participants must have made 80 percent or more of their costume) and, even if the person has never entered a costume contest before and never won a big award, he or she could still win Best in Show. Sure, there's the glory and adoration of the fans, which is awesome, but it also comes with a $1,000 cash prize.

"Bee Do Bee Do." Well, we know the cosplayer on the left is a Minion from the Despicable Me film. "Me Want Banana!"
"Bee Do Bee Do." Well, we know the cosplayer on the left is a Minion from the Despicable Me film. "Me Want Banana!"
Photo by Chuck Cook

Interestingly enough, Rathbun says that the skit component is more popular overseas, whereas the trend here is for the walk-on and craftsmanship elements. For the skits, which range from one and a half to three and a half minutes long, contestants can do a parody or a comedy act or can sing, as long as it's family-friendly. “Let's say they wanted to do something from Robin Hood: Men in Tights. There's one scene where men are all dancing, doing a jig. If they wanted to do that as Avengers, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, they can do a parody,” says Rathbun. She even remembers one instance where somebody did a re-enactment from The Lion King. Props are welcomed, but no spraying water or glitter bombs. For those interested in either the walk-on or skit competition, there are many rules in place and, upon advice of counsel, we recommend that you read them all beforehand to avoid being eliminated. Forty-five spots will be released on Friday, with the remainder of the spots becoming available on Saturday.

Lady Deadpool has superhuman stamina, agility and reflexes, and channels her mutant Wolverine DNA to regenerate damaged body tissue faster than mere mortals.EXPAND
Lady Deadpool has superhuman stamina, agility and reflexes, and channels her mutant Wolverine DNA to regenerate damaged body tissue faster than mere mortals.
Photo by Chuck Cook

For informal cosplayers, Sunday morning offers another opportunity. "If there are people that don't necessarily want to compete, there will be what's called a Cosplay Procession on Sunday morning," says Rathbun. "If they just want to show up, we'll be doing a mini-parade through the first floor at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.

For the pajamas-and-cereal crowd, a Children's Cosplay Contest is planned for Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. in the children's area.

Comicpalooza is scheduled to run noon to 8 p.m. Friday, June 17; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 18; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 19 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, comicpalooza.com. $10 to $250, plus additional fees for autographs and photo opportunities.

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