Tag: cosplay

Cosplay Recap from FAN EXPO Philadelphia!!

Cosplay Recap from FAN EXPO Philadelphia!!

Pop Culture Squad was in the house this past weekend at FAN EXPO Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.. It was the first show in the City of Brotherly Love since FAN EXPO HQ acquired the former Wizard World show in that town. The mood of the show was super upbeat, and there was quite a bit of excitement among the attendees.

As spring in the Northeast desperately tries to climb out of frigid clutches of this past winter, the people at the show were proudly flying their geek flags and putting on quite a varied assortment of cosplay. We caught up with a bunch of folks asked them to allow their picture to be taken. Here is the result of some of what we saw:

 

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Cosplayer and Photographer Harry Crosland

Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Cosplayer and Photographer Harry Crosland

A big part of the comic and entertainment convention scene is the presence of people cosplaying as their favorite characters. It adds an exotic and textural dimension to the shows. You can see a massive variety of costumes from store bought to incredibly intricate custom made versions.

We got a chance to chat recently with one of the most iconic cosplayers at the con circuit, especially at east coast shows. Harry Crosland is a imposing figure and his long dreadlocks are as unmistakable as his infectious smile. A Maryland native, he has been cosplaying at shows for over a decade along with his wife Gina. He also is professional photographer specializing crafting fantastic and inclusive artistic representations of people cosplaying.

This interview was fun and covers topics that are important to deal with regarding respect and acceptance at our favorite nerdy gatherings. Harry (or HC or Aitch Cee) is a fantastic ambassador for geekdom and if you ever run into him, you will be glad you did.

You can listen to the audio of the interview below. We also included some of the key interactions in the conversation transcribed below.

Pop Culture Squad: I wanted start off with you telling your origin story in cosplay. What, when and how did you start getting into cosplay?

Harry Crosland: Okay, so I’m going go way, way, way back to half past 2007-ish, I would say 2007, 2008. Gina [Harry’s wife and partner], I were just starting to date and Halloween was around the corner and she’s asking me, “Well, what are you gonna dress up in?” I was like, “What do you mean what I’m gonna dress up as? You know, grown people don’t do costumes like that.” Then, I thought about it for a little bit. I wanted to do something cool. Let me just kind of test the water. So, I decided to do a Matrix costume where she took Neo’s long coat from The Matrix, and she did a hell of a job on that coat, and believe it or not, I still have it. That was my first costume.

It wasn’t until about 2008 or so when I discovered Baltimore Comic-Con. I had just started getting back into comic books at that point. I had a friend of mine who literally was calling me every week kept saying, “Man, you need to understand what’s going on in Secret Invasion.” You know what, I thought, “Let me go see what this is all about. Where can I go to talk to other people about this?”

So, in August 2008, I’m at my very first comic con in Baltimore. Of course I’m not in costume. And that’s when I started meeting other folks, Fred Holt, being among them. And at that point, that’s when I started seeing, okay, there’s a place for cosplay for grown adults. And I said to myself, after going through Baltimore, seeing all these, you know, grown folks from all different walks of life, shapes, sizes, colors, whatever, have you? I said, you know what, I’m gonna Coplay next year.

Yeah. 13 years later. So much time has gone by. And then, I got Gina into it. I got my best friend when into it.

PCS: What was it that, that drew you into saying, “I need to make this cosplay a big part of my life”? You travel for it. You put a lot of thought, a lot of effort, I’m sure, a lot of money in it.

HC: I probably got really excited in cosplay because I saw not only what it can do for myself as far as like being able to enjoy going to some of the venues, but I like inspiring other people as well. Like seeing younger folk than I, who are nerdy, who are of different backgrounds, be it black, white, Asian, Latino, heavyset, skinny. I kind of used to be tall, awkward, and gawky, and it’s like, I want to be able to do this too. How can I do the things while it’s possible? You just put your mind to it. And, and that’s one of the biggest enjoyments I get out of this.

And I believe that if you go in it really just to have fun and to take a weekend and kind of blow some steam while also, you know, dressing up as your favorite characters, you can really, really get into it, enjoy it. And if you’re someone who does happen to find an avenue to be able to profit off of it, or, or establish yourself, or make a name of yourself by all means, do it. Just remember, you gotta put work into it. This isn’t something that you’re just going to say today. “I’m just gonna throw on the costume and the entire world was gonna recognize me and my works and that’s the end.”  No, no. You got to, you got to put blood, sweat and tears into this.

PCS: Can you talk about the cosplay community. As a regular attendee, but still an outsider to the community, it seems welcoming and supportive on the whole. Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview with Cosplayer and Photographer Harry Crosland”

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…?  NYCC in 2021

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…? NYCC in 2021

Conventions and trade shows are great places to find your tribe and celebrate your passions or professions. But for the first hours of New York Comic Con, just held last weekend at NYC’s Javits Center, I felt a bit out of place. At first, it felt, to me, like going to your college campus about 5 years after you graduated. The vibe was a bit weird, and I was constantly comparing and contrasting the show floor to what was there in prior years.

The good news is that I quickly ‘got over myself’ and really enjoyed the convention. There were so many good things bubbling up, and it felt terrific to see so many old friends in person again. Given the realities of the world, there were more fist-bumps than bro-hugs, but it was still invigorating.

Here’s a few highlights and observations from New York Comic Con 2021:

Serious About Vaccinations

I wasn’t surprised, but still happy that ReedPop, the company that runs the convention, took vaccinations serioucospsly.  The area that they had staged outside the Javits had rows of tents and workers, so it was quick and easy to prove you had the vaccination and that you were who you said you were. I had downloaded the Clear app, as was suggested, and it all was seamless.

Inside the convention center, just about everyone had their masks on and the crowd size was such that we weren’t all on top of one another. Part of that was smaller number of attendees, and part of it was the new Javits North Building

The new Javits building makes it seem like a real convention center.

So many convention centers worldwide, and stateside are grand and gorgeous. I am sad to say that the Javits Convention Center hasn’t been that way for a very long time. The joke has always been that the Crystal Palace, the main entranceway, is inappropriately named.

The new Javits North Building is spacious and grand. It overlooks the Hudson River and even the top of the ‘regular’ Javits building.  The openness and long areas to walk between conference rooms will surely help spread out the future attendees – and offer lots of opportunities for Cosplayers to pose for photos.

AfterShock was #1

Without the bigger, more established publishers (Marvel, DC, Image) officially participating in the show, the biggest comics publisher on the floor was AfterShock Comics. They’re a great company (full disclosure- I have many friends there) just celebrating five years in business and 100 published comics series.  Word was that they had their best convention sales day ever – on the Thursday of NYCC.  Sounds like a rousing success.

Captain America Cosplay

It was invigorating to see the many Sam Wilson Captain America cosplays on the show floor. As you may recall – I’ve been a big fan of the many iterations of Captain America (here’s an old column). And it was even nicer to just yell out “Hey, Cap” and have that instant connection.

Excited for Crime

My Hidden Entrepreneurs / Crime Fiction panels had fans lining up an hour ahead of time. That really surprised me, if I am to be 100% candid and frank. This panel was all about how authors, and crime/thriller authors in particular, have to not only be good writers but be also strategic marketers. Their publishers don’t really do the marketing anymore.   I was encouraged by the fans that were hungry to talk crime fiction and by my Hidden Entrepreneurs – J.C. Vaughn  and Charles Ardai.

Artist’s Alley Was Where It Was At

Another result of absence of big publishers was that Artist’s Alley seemed so vibrant.  Anchored by ComiXology Original’s debut of Scott Snyder/Best Jacket comic line, there was plenty of the usual suspects (amazing artists like Billy Tucci, David Mack, Art Baltazar & Franco – just to name a few) and new up-and coming creatives.

The coolest part of Artist’s Alley – for me- was buying old comics from longtime pro and visionary Denis Kitchen. How many hundreds (thousands?) of times has he done that? And he always seems to be “on” and happy to be there. There’s a lesson there for all of us.

 

TerrifiCon 2021 Was Fantastic

TerrifiCon 2021 Was Fantastic

Well, Convention season has returned. Following a year and a half of postponements, cancellations, and online approximations, there are actual in-person comic and entertainment conventions popping up all along the calendar. Vendors, creators, entertainers, and fans are attempting to return to a semblance of normalcy.  This past weekend, we went to the middle of the woods in Connecticut to attend TerrifiCon, and it was a welcome experience.

Mitch Hallock had a diverse and robust lineup of comic pros, toy and comic vendors, celebrities, and a nice artist’s alley. This was my second time at TerrifiCon, and like before, this show is in a single large hall. It was well set up to maximize the aisles widths and people flow. Overall the physical layout of the show was well done.

I do find it interesting how the lines and locations of certain “high-traffic” guest get modified between Friday and Saturday. This is not a knock on this show; it happens everywhere. Inevitably, there is some guest that draws a more than expected number of fans, and they need to be moved to an area that can handle the traffic. Often there are unexpected last-minute cancellations that help provide the space to let everyone enjoy the show with the least amount of congestion.

Is It Safe To Go Back To Cons?

Alright, let’s get to the big questions. How was the Covid-19 protection at the show? Were people wearing masks and social distancing? Is that possible at comic con? I have to say that I was impressed. There was a large segment of the fan base that were wearing facemasks. If I had to guess, I would say about half of the attendees. Keep in mind, there was no mask state requirement, and Connecticut is a state with high vaccination rates and low current infection rates. The show did request that all unvaccinated attendees to wear face coverings. Along with those positives in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, there was a sense of responsibility among the guests and patrons. Continue reading “TerrifiCon 2021 Was Fantastic”

Cosplay Pics from Terrificon 2021

Cosplay Pics from Terrificon 2021

Hey there. Guess what? Comic conventions are making their way back, and we were at one this past weekend. As we decompress from our first three-day con in eighteen months, we wanted to share some of the great cosplay that we saw roaming the aisles at Terrificon!!

There was some amazing effort put into costumes and one of the best parts was that there were lots of families getting involved together. With all the pop culture properties that have been released during the lack of conventions, there were plenty of ideas to turn into reality.

While there were some tried and true staples of cosplay that we saw, there were a bunch of adventurous choices in cosplay. In terms of newer cosplay choices, we did see Red Guardian or two, but we are really looking for someone to nail the Alligator Loki cosplay.

We will be delivering our full report on the con tomorrow, (Spoilers… It was terrific!) but in the meantime enjoy these great pictures of some folks getting their geek on!!!

Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 – Cosplay Pics

Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 – Cosplay Pics

We are back from the fantastic Baltimore Comic-Con. As we walked the aisles and convention areas for three days in Charm City, we were treated to wonderful display of cosplay. There was a vast array of characters from every genre and medium that showed up at the event.  We collected a small spattering of the cosplayers we saw and are bringing them to you here.

The cosplay game at Baltimore is serious business. There are a bunch of meet-ups and you can see photo shoots going on all around the convention center. However, even the most basic costume is welcome and appreciated. It is a truly accepting convention. There is a very comprehensive Weapons Policy for the con and it is posted on its website in an easily located place.

As a special treat, we got a shot of the über-talented Afua Richardson in her Okoye cosplay.

If you are following us on Instagram or Facebook, you will find some bonus cosplay pics there.

 

 

Photography by Shari Harrison.

This is just our first post from the Con. Stay tuned for more…..

Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 Is Here And Pop Culture Squad Will Be There

Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 Is Here And Pop Culture Squad Will Be There

The twentieth anniversary celebration of the Baltimore Comic-Con will be taking place this weekend. It will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD from Friday, October 18, 2019 – Sunday, October 20, 2019.

This is one of our favorite conventions of the year, and various members of Pop Culture Squad will be on-site for it.  You can find our sage-in-chief Mike Gold at booth 118 with the great folks from Insight Studios. Evelyn Kriete and Adriane Nash will be there as well.  If you stop by, you may find that they have some exclusive PCS swag (stickers and buttons).

Our photographers will be out and about getting pics of some of the fantastic cosplay that is sure to be on the floor of the show. Stay tuned to PCS, here and on our social media, and we will bring you the great costumes that we see. Continue reading “Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 Is Here And Pop Culture Squad Will Be There”

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics

This past weekend of August 23 – 25, 2019, PopCultureSquad attended the Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.  It was an entertaining convention. There were high level celebrity guests and a good collection of comic professionals. Tom Holland was the big celebrity draw.

The “Artist Alley” set up was very well laid out, and even on a surprisingly busy Sunday, getting through the aisles was easily manageable. The amount of incredible creativity on display and produced was amazing. Unfortunately, we were made aware of some behind the scenes drama among the guests, which was not very pleasant. The show was not interrupted by any personal issues.

This show was definitely designed for all types of fans of pop culture. There were two types of gaming areas; tabletop and video. There was also a wrestling ring on the show floor for fans of the grappling arts.

The vendor areas flowed nicely around the guests and had a good variety of crafts, bargain comics, and high-end comic resellers. The food vending area had an interesting array of menu items and was appropriately sized for the population of the show.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable late summer show. We would be interested in going back. We would hope that the show would grow to the point that there would be a larger selection of comic pros, but that is what we hope from every show. Also, this relatively new show contended with FanExpo Canada in Toronto, and Wizard World in Chicago on the same weekend.

In parting, let us leave you with some excellent cosplay that we saw. Continue reading “Keystone Comic Con Review and Cosplay Pics”

FlameCon 2019 – Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

FlameCon 2019 – Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

Flame Con 2019 was held this past weekend August 17-18, 2019 at the Sheraton Times Square in New York City. We were lucky to be in attendance and had a terrific time.

Flame Con is “the world’s largest queer comic con”, and this was its fifth year. The event features comics, arts and other entertainment, while hosting creators and special guests from all corners of the LGBTQ fandom.

There was a fantastic array of creators from corporate publishers and small, independent, often self, publishers. The atmosphere was intensely joyous. While the show floor was a little tightly packed, the visitors made their way through the aisles with little complaint. The placement of featured guests was spread out around the show floor which was an inspired decision.

Continue reading “FlameCon 2019 – Thoughts and Cosplay Pics”

All-Star Comic Con 2019 – Cosplay Pics

All-Star Comic Con 2019 – Cosplay Pics

PCS was at the All-Star Comic Con in Tyson’s Corner, VA this weekend. It was the second year of the show and it was an improvement on an already really nice little local show. We were able to snap a few cosplay pics but there was so much more than we are able to show you.

If you are in the DMV area, or can get there, definitely look into attending next year.

The little Groot really stole the show on Saturday…

 

 

 

Photography by Shari Harrison