Rose City Comic Con 2017

The last blog I wrote I said that I would talk about the costume contest at Rose City Comic Con and my time there. Well, that was back in September of 2017 before Rose City Comic Con! It is now April of 2018! I’m starting to see a trend. Don’t worry, everything is still fresh in my mind; but I do need to catch you up so I can start talking about my most recent project.

Friday:

I usually sleep pretty well the night before the con starts. I don’t usually cosplay on the first day so I’m not nearly as nervous or anxious about going. Friday my friend Carolyn drove up from Salem. Her plan was to stay with me the whole weekend and we carpool to the convention. The day before I made a schedule of everything we wanted to do; panels, autographs, photo ops, and lunch breaks. I’m kind of a stickler for schedules. I like having a time frame but also know that we didn’t HAVE to go or do everything at that exact time.

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See… I’m a stickler for schedules!!

As soon as we got to the Portland Convention Center we went straight up to the panel room to see Brent Spiner! We had not eaten lunch yet so we made sure to bring snacks and lunch with us so we could eat before the panel open. Best idea ever! He is a really funny guy!

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He gave people poses who had flashes on their cameras. No flashes people!

After this we were able to roam the floor a bit and check out all the neat Artists and Vendors. Some of our favorites were GeekStar CostumingEmerald City Wigs, and Charlie Donkin Art. You will be hearing more about him later. Definitely check out GeekStar Costuming. They make amazing earrings and necklaces that are very light and are laser cut. Absolutely fun to wear!

We had a photo op with Brent Spiner and John DeLancie and while waiting in line we met two girls who had some amazing Star Trek cosplays! We always seem to meet really 20170908_164201(0)cool people when we are in lines. That is actually how Carolyn and I met. We met in 2015 at a Wizard World convention waiting to have our photos taken with Stephen Amell!

One thing that sucks about photo ops is the speed they push you through. You don’t get to really chat with them or anything like that, but you do get your photo with them… sometimes get to say something… and then back out you go. However, after you retrieve your photo, go stand in line for the autograph. At that point you will get to have a much better conversation or longer interaction with the celebrity of your choosing. Which is exactly what we did next.

Now the sections that the celebrities are at are some what partitioned off… at least between each celebrity… sometimes. The lines are usually split with a short metal pole, fence type, thing. Not entirely sure what the “correct” name is for it. At the top of each curtain partition it says who the celebrity is. As we were standing in line for Brent Spiner’s autograph I look to the right of his section and see Mr. Dominic Cooper who play Howard Stark in Captain America and the Agent Carter series! *sigh* It was very hard NOT to look at him! I just kept leaning over to glance at him. Carolyn kept laughing at me. It was then that I made the decision that I HAD to get Dominic’s autograph and give him the photo of me as Peggy Carter!

 

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We finally get Brent’s autograph and to the left of him was John DeLancie. Although I had his autograph scheduled for Sunday we decided to just get it done now and not have to worry about it. We didn’t have anything else to do so that was good.

After we finished with the autographs we walked over to an open space that was across from all the celebrities. As we were putting our stuff away Carolyn taps me on the shoulder.

“Janice… the twins are over there” as she points behind me to their table. I look up from what I was doing and stared directly at them. James and Oliver Phelps. The guys who played Fred and George Weasley on Harry Potter!

“Do you think they would mind if I just went and said HI??” I asked. She told me she didn’t think so. I picked up my stuff and ran over. There was no one waiting in there line so I was quite easy to spot! I shook their hands and told them how much I loved them… and I don’t remember what else cause I was absolutely star struck. I think Carolyn had to talk for me a bit. Thing was… I was not able to get their autograph or get a photo of them since it was a bit much. $100.00 for the Autograph… $100.00 for the photo. Couldn’t do either at the time. Saying hi to them was the next best thing and I’m thankful I got the chance.

One of my favorite artists, Charlie Donkin, was there and we stopped by to say hi and pick up a picture. I told him of my Steampunk Snow White I would be wearing the next day as I saw his Steampunk Disney art. Which is absolutely beautiful. I made a mental note to stop by his artist booth again the next day to show him Snow White.

The day was over and we headed home. My friend April came over to hang out afterwards. Our minds were still going through memories of just our first day. The next day was going to be longer and a little more stressful. Both Carolyn and I planned on dressing up in our cosplays. Me as Steampunk Snow White and her as a character from Tron! Needless to say… sleep was very difficult. Even I couldn’t sleep well, but Carolyn didn’t get hardly any. Her stomach was hurting (possibly nerves or from dinner). So she ended up having to stay at my place while Jon, Esther, and I went to the convention. I was heartbroken that she wasn’t with me. However I hoped and prayed that she would be there the next day!

Saturday:

My husband and two year old daughter, Esther, came with me so they could watch me during the costume contest. I normally dress Esther up in a pretty elaborate costume. This year I chose to make her a toddler Moana Cosplay. It was quick, easy, and definitely a hit with the folks at the convention!20170909_143607 She was even featured on their main website!!  It was  a good thing the weather was pretty warm that day since that costume was a bit on the “just a diaper” style.

The first thing I wanted to do was get Dominic Coopers autograph, however, by the time we got onto the convention floor, I needed to be standing in line for the costume contest entry. Before we headed over there my daughter and I were stopped by the photographers for Rose City Comic Con to get our pictures taken in front of their gorgeous black and red backdrop. Esther… she was a natural!

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As we headed toward the are where the costume contest entry was, Esther spotted a Cosplayer dressed as Tafiti from Moana! It was a stunning cosplay and the reaction between the two of them was wonderful. 20170909_105033

There is preliminary judging prior to the contest. Part of it is  “does the costume qualify” and  is 90% of it made by the cosplayer. They also ask how everything was created, with what materials, how long it took to create the entire look, etc. It is quite the process but very thorough.

As I was getting pre-judged, my husband and Esther went to the large panel room where James and Oliver Phelps were going to be speaking. I was hoping I would make it up there before they started but if I didn’t, I at least wanted my husband to save us seats. Now I told him to find seats in the middle front, but apparently there were already a lot of people there.

He found a seat, but it was all the way to the left. It was towards the front, so I”ll give him that. When I arrived they were already on stage and taking questions from fans. I felt terrible walking in to the middle of it. Especially since my costume was a little on the noisier side. It was a great panel with a lot of laughs.

We stayed in that panel room for the next celebrity, Mr. Carlos Valdes. He plays Cisco Ramon on the CW show, The Flash. Great show and he is a great actor. Plus side… Danielle Panabaker who plays Caitlin Snow on the same show was going to be with him! When everyone (almost everyone) vacated the panel room I tried to move more towards the center.

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Before I could get over, a flock of people moved forward and took up every seat. All I needed was one seat. It was there that I saw my friend Deborah and her dad sitting 5 rows back from the middle front. I started talking to her and then her Dad gave me his seat and he sat on his walker (it had a little seat on it). I was so happy I cried a little. I couldn’t stop thanking him for that!

We roamed the convention floor for awhile before I had to do my photo op with Carlos Valdes.

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I was going to get his autograph right afterwards, but since I really wanted him to meet the person underneath the costume, so I changed the timing for the autograph to Sunday.

One other thing that changed (and why I could move things to Sunday) is Karl Urban (Bones in Star Trek). He had to cancel at the last minute because of a family emergency. This was understandable but definitely sad. Because of all the switches we had a good 5 hours before the costume contest. Most of the time we chilled out on the 2nd floor with my sister and nephew, eating good food and letting my daughter run around as Wonder Woman! She was getting chilly as Moana!

I did, however, go back over to Charlie’s booth again to show him my costume.

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He didn’t even know what to say. It was so very humbling to see an artist like him admire my costume and be speechless over it. He was amazed at all the little details. It was right then and there that I knew what my next cosplay was going to be. I’ve normally done cosplays as either my own design (like Steampunk Snow White) or straight from the original character (like Rey, Galadriel, and Tauriel). This time I would be taking something he drew from his own mind and render out a 3D version of it.

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It was Steampunk Belle. Isn’t it amazing? ——–> There are so many little details that I’ll be paying attention to. I can’t wait to start work on it!

When it came time for the costume contest, a lot of time was spent waiting for them to tell us where to go and when to go in. There were three categories of costume designs; tailoring, soldier, and tinker. Tailoring was my category and we are usually the first ones to go up on stage. But until then we sat in a hallway and we all chatted with each other. We might be competing against one another, however, in the world of cosplay, we all just want to learn from one another. At least that is how I look at it.

When it came time for us to go on we stood behind the stage and tried to get rid of our nerves. It can sometimes be a long process, but because of the preliminary judging, all we had to do was walk up on stage, do a little move or so, show off the costume, and then walk off stage. Even with that little bit of action, it was still very nerve racking, especially if it is your first time. This was my 2nd time so I wasn’t nearly as nervous.

As the announcer called my name, I walked onto the stage, bowed a little, took a few steps and used my spy glass to look out at the audience,  then took a few more steps and showed off the ruffles of my skirt.  As I walked off stage I stood against the wall with the others until everyone was announced and did their walk.

Video of Steampunk Snow White in Contest

At that point they announced the winners of the tailoring category. First they announced an Honorable Mention, a costume which they felt had some great work and even though didn’t become runner up or win, was still needing to be, well, mentioned! After that was runner up (2nd place) and then the Winner which stays till the End for Best in Show prize.

Honorable Mention was a girl who cosplayed a character from the video game Overwatch. I’m unsure of which character it was particularly, but if you watch the video, and you know anything of Overwatch, then you should get it. At least I think it was Overwatch. If i’m wrong, feel free to inform me!

Then they were about to announce runner up. As I stood with my back against the wall, I looked to my left and right, admiring all of the fantastic Costumes that everyone created. I was honored to be among some of the most amazing creative people. There was no way I would get picked when so many of them were way better than me.

“Runner up goes to…. Janice Angell for her Steam Punk Snow White!”

The look of pure shock that hit me was probably quite entertaining if you could see it. The girls next to me had to nudge me off the wall so I could go up and receive my prize! Such a blessing and humbling moment for me as I walked up and heard the applause! It was definitely a great moment for me! The prize? $200.00!! 20170909_212701

First place went to a cosplayer who was Helga Hufflepuff from Harry Potter! She deserved that. The dress was so elaborate and beautiful! To take a character who is not mentioned a whole lot in the movies, and make a costume for her, especially when all you see is painted liked pictures, is amazing!

Video of Prize Reveals

The night was over and we were all worn out.

Sunday:

Carolyn was feeling much better and was eager to get back to the convention center. She still had an autograph to get from Katee Sackhoff. Because of winning $200.00 from the costume contest I was able to afford to get James and Oliver Phelps photo and autograph! Such a blessing! Plus, because I had $60.00 in credit from Karl Urban canceling I decided to use that to get Dominic coopers autograph. It was starting to look like all we were going to be doing was photo ops and autograph. That was just fine with us.

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First step was getting my photo with the twins (James and Oliver). However, of all the times they had for photo ops and autographs with everyone we needed, everything was clashing with the times to get Dominic Coopers autograph. I asked Carolyn if she wouldn’t mind getting his autograph for me and giving him the pictures of me as Peggy Carter. She agreed to. I thought, if I have any time at all and he’s still at his booth, then I will come by and at least say Hi.

I go in for my photo shoot with twins and again, very fast, but, it was very nice to be in, what Carolyn and I call it, a Weasley Sandwhich. They are very tall so they leaned over and in towards me a bit.

Carolyn met back up with me in front of the celebrity booths to give me Dominic’s autographed picture. From there, after fawning over what he wrote, we went to the twins’ table so I could get their autograph. 20180417_174629We weren’t far from the front of the line, but that just meant we had to wait longer for them to get back from the photo ops. When they returned.. and it was my turn, we shook their hands… again… and I told them about how the autograph and photo op would never have been possible if I hadn’t won 2nd place in the costume contest. Then, miss Carolyn decides to show them the picture of my cosplay! They were very impressed and said congratulations. I even mentioned to them the Helga Hufflepuff who won!

This is where things kind of get fuzzy. I don’t remember what we did next or in what order. What we did get a chance to do is go back to Dominic. What he wrote on the picture was “To Janice: All My Love, Dominic Cooper”. 20180417_174610Seriously… make a girl swoon why don’t ya!! Carolyn gave him my photo of Peggy and said he loved it! So of course I have to go say Hi. He had no one in line as I approached the booth so I knew I didn’t have to completely rush what I was going to say! But to look at him and try to speak, was going to be difficult. He started saying something about whether he should sit or stand and how people thought he was a little short and preferred him to sit (they were stools so it made them taller). I actually preferred him standing cause it wasn’t as tall as he was sitting down. Made it easier for me to look at him. I then told him how Carolyn was a sweetheart and got the autograph for me and that the picture she gave him was ME. He was like “That was you?” I nodded. He said told me He loved it and thanked me for giving it to him. I had another one as well that went with it (I had Carolyn just give him both) and I told him I had a hard time deciding which one to give to him, that’s why he got two. He said “I’m seeing Haley in a week, could I give her the other one?”

My heart was pounding in my chest. I’m not sure if I was able to speak let alone smile. I felt like I was giving him the “deer in the headlights look”. I of course said yes. Oh, who is Haley you ask? Haley Atwell plays Peggy Carter on Captain America and starred in her own show for Agent Carter!! So you could imagine my excitement when the person who played the character I cosplayed was going to receive a picture of me in it!!  Let’s just say, I feel like that was my top FAVORITE moment of the weekend! And now I’m regretting not asking him for a hug!!

We also stood in line to get Carlos Valdes’ autograph. This one was a wonderful interaction as well. 20180417_174531As we got up to him and he took the picture to autograph, he said “wow… this is awesome!”  I then asked him to give me a hug. I”m used to them just hugging from over the table. He got down for his chair, walked around the table, and gave me a hug! *SWOON and proceed to melt!* I still remember how his hug felt. Since he is not much taller than me it wasn’t very awkward. It was so sweet… and Carolyn was kind of shocked cause apparently it was a long hug. I think it might’ve been… I was just too speechless to think about it.

Anyway, that’s how the weekend went. As you can imagine we have been talking about those memories since. This was one of the best Rose City Comic Con’s I had been to and I can’t wait till next year! I mean this year!! Right! September 2018!!

What I’ve Been Called For

This weekend I get to work with a Cosplay group called Cosplay Characters for Kindness. They raise money for different charities and attend many charities events for children and adults. At first I was nervous about trying to submit my cosplays to the group, but I just had this gut feeling that it was something I really needed to do. They approved them quickly (I submitted Tinker Bell and Peggy Carter) and I’m now finally a part of a wonderful group for some wonderful causes.

We are raising money for Magic Wheelchair at Cherry City Comic-Con in Salem, OR. This is one of my favorite organizations as they make cosplays for kids who are in wheelchair. I don’t mean they make their clothes… no… they make the WHEELCHAIR a costume!  It is incredible!!! It started off with them having two kids in wheelchairs that really wanted to be involved in Halloween, so they created their chairs into costumes! This was one of their first ones:dragontitle
(Source: Google Images-Magic Wheelchair)

AMAZING right??  But wait… there’s more! Last year at Rose City Comic-Con in Portland, OR they revealed a Green Arrow bike for a little girl!  🙂 Although we didn’t get to witness the reveal while we were there it was wonderful getting to see her in it going around the convention center… biggest smile on her face!!Green-Arrow-Wheelchair
(Source: Google Images-Magic Wheelchair)

Just one more! This one they did for a little boy who was battling cancer. They asked me to show up as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and asked the 501st Legion to join us as well. It was such a pleasure and an honor to witness this reveal and meet the little boy and his family. screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-7-30-58-am
(Source: Google Images – Magic Wheelchair)

At the Harvest Hustle was where I finally realized why I cosplayed in the first place. It wasn’t for me or the compliments I get, it is for the kids. The reaction when they get to see their favorite character is a huge moment for them! It’s like when you go to Disneyland for the first time and you see the one character you adore the most!!  My fan-girl moment was when I finally got to meet Captain Jack Sparrow!!  I will always remember that time.  It’s the same way with cosplayers… we do it for the memories that we can give others!

I will update about how this weekend goes sometime next week… maybe when Esther is napping! 😀  Being a mom is hard work. Being a mom and a cosplayer… THE BEST JOB EVER!!

 

Please visit these pages, like, and give them some support!!  We can make a difference!
https://www.facebook.com/cosplaycharactersforkindness/

https://www.facebook.com/magicwheelchair/

https://www.facebook.com/cherrycitycomiccon/

https://www.facebook.com/RoseCityCC/

To Cos-play or Not to Cos-play…

Last year, sometime in the summer I believe, I attended my first ever Comic-Con in Boston, Massachusetts. I wasn’t really set on Cos-playing at the time, but I was sure that I wanted to dress up. I decided, since I had beautiful long brown hair at the time, to cos-play Vala Malderan from Stargate SG-1 (the last three seasons). I already had the SG1 black combat uniform because I was Samantha Carter for Halloween a couple years before that.The only thing I really needed to do was straighten my hair and place it in pig tails.

Vala Malderan Cosplay - Boston Comic-Con 2014
Vala Malderan Cosplay – Boston Comic-Con 2014

Who knew that this would start me on a long journey of Cos-playing that has a never ending future. From that time on I have been contemplating many different characters to cos-play. Recently I have gotten involved in a Lord Of the Rings Costuming group on Facebook, which I met at Emerald City Comic-con this past February. After my SG-1 Cosplay I wanted to step up the game and make my own.

Sewing is not new to me. I have made many costumes/outfits in my time but cos-playing is a bit different. It’s a lot more about accuracy and characterization than it is about just making a costume.  I had picked up a pattern for the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time, and knew in an instant that was my next adventure. I started by searching many fabric types that could possibly work and be accurate. I also needed to keep it in my price range, which made picking out fabric quite a challenge. However, thanks to the wonderful 50% off coupons I get from Joann Fabrics, I was able to find a brocade fabric that would work perfect. It was still a bit on the expensive side since I needed almost 9 yards of fabric, but thanks to my mom and dad for a generous birthday gift, I was able to splurge a bit.

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Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time Cos-play Rose City Comic-Con September 20th 2014

Tuesday, September 9th, I started to make the Evil Queen Cos-play. I was planning on wearing it on Halloween  since I wasn’t sure when the next  comic-con was that I could attend. That day I got a call from my mom saying that my dad had passed away from a heartache. This news came as a complete shock and in order to keep my mind off of it, I continued to work on the cos-play. It took me two days to finish it, just before I would fly out for my dads funeral and memorial service. The day of my fathers Memorial was the Rose City Comic-con in Portland. Well, since my dad had given me the money to purchase the fabric for this cos-play, I figured, what better way to remember my dad then showing up in my cos-play at comic-con. As I walked around and people stopped to get pictures of me, I was constantly reminded of my dad and how he would be saying, jokingly, “You ain’t got no talent”. It was a phrase I heard quite often from him when I finished a new project or decorated another cake. He said it to remind me how much talent I do have, and I can’t thank him enough for that.

After this I was so excited for the next comic-con and all the things I could possibly do. However, the next comic-con I went to, I didn’t cos-play at. Instead I went, supporting my F-Cancer shirt from Stephen Amell, and got to meet him as well. It was a huge moment and I do not regret not cos-playing for that.

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Tauriel from The Hobbit Cos-play Photo by: Jenelle and Jan Newton

The next plan was to invade Emerald City Comic-Con with my two cousins. My cousin Jenelle Cos-played Batgirl and I cos-played Tauriel from the Hobbit. This cos-play took the longest to make and had much more fabrication involved. My brother-in-law helped make the leather waist guard and arm bracers after I created the design to be imprinted on it and i made my own bow and arrows out of pvc pipe, craft foam, clay, and other materials. The finished work was amazing and it was the first time I ever had to wear a wig.

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Tauriel, Thandruil, and Bilbo Emerald City Comic-Con 2015

At Emerald City I made a couple friends who cos-played as Bilbo Baggins and Thandruil. Their cos-plays were amazing. I was basically in awe of how much work they put into it. I also knew that I needed to step up my game a bit. They were the ones that told me about the Lord of The Rings Costuming group, which I am now involved in and enjoying the many updates of the cos-plays that people are working on.

I liked my Tauriel so much that I decided I wanted to make another Lord of the Rings character, so I chose Galadriel.

20150505_224852I have not worn this cos-play at any convention, yet, however I have plans to wear it to the next Emerald City Comic-con. For now, I am finished with it and will be doing a photo shoot with my cousin sometime in the near future.

My future cos-play endeavors include: Tinkerbell, WWII Peggy Carter and Captain America (with the help of my dear husband), Storm from X-Men, The Winter Sisters (Frozen), Disney Snow White and the Once Upon a Time Snow White, and Cinderlla.

I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing art form. I’ve met many wonderful people along with seeing some amazing cos-plays that I can’t even begin to imagine how to do it. I’m still new to all of this, but its a growing fascination and I’m getting more involved in understanding what it is to be a cos-player. May I never loose sight of what it really means!