Supanova 2014 with Beyond Cosplay
The weekend just gone saw the biggest pop-culture and costume event of the year play out over three action packed days. Beyond Cosplay was there to bring you the all the highlights which I will now run through as well as share a few of my favourite cosplays.
Friday was a late start and seemed to be mainly for the dedicated fans to show up and grab their 3 day pass and avoid the inevitable long queues the next morning would bring. Still most people seemed to turn up in costume and there were some real stand outs such as this guy..
Or this guy..
There were lots of talks and signings and photoshoots with celebrities from across the sci fi and anime world and of course one can’t talk about supanova 2014 without mentioning its biggest drawcard personality wise, the eponymous Stan Lee himself! Known world wide as the creative genius behind comics and heroes such as Spiderman, The X-men and countless other characters who are now household names and inspirations to us all. The 94 yr old jetted all the way over from the east coast of the USA to be here and managed to stick it out for three entire days posing for photos, making speeches and signing autographs.
He was not alone as notable celebrities such as John Barrowman/Captain Jack Harkness and Jon Heder/Napoleon Dynamite were also in town to a riotous reception but to be still doing the circuit after nearly a century of hard knocks just has to be admired.
Soon enough it was arguably the biggest day of the con, silly Saturday, where a rough headcount and pre-sale estimate put the numbers at just shy of 60, 000 people walking through the doors of the Dome at Olympic park. No matter where you looked you would be sure to see some sort of hand made papier mache’d prop, an elaborate headpiece, a small child in a wonder woman outfit which would make you cry all the tears of cuteness and then suddenly you bump into Death himself holding the largest Scythe you have ever seen, just as you are about to make your peace with your maker you notice the ‘Free Hugs’ sign hung across his chest…
Never have so many cultural references been jammed under one roof, from amateur first time comic artists selling prints and hand drawn comics in artists alley to Stan Lee himself just metres away posing happily away with fan after fan. Did I mention he was 94? We at beyondcosplay really can’t get over how awesome that guy is…anyway before I sign off and let you get at all those delicious photos I simply must mention a few other aspects of the convention that I think will be what keeps people coming back for more year after year..
The friendly atmosphere, people are more than happy to be approached for a photo, it is one of the few times and places where it is considered normal, even flattering to go up to a girl in a skimpy outfit and ask her to pose for you while you take endless shots from various angles with anything from an iphone to a top of the line DSLR camera . A lot of these photos will go to die in some forgotten corner of the internet and the subject will never see them, but maybe, just maybe they will be tagged on facebook and it will be THE BEST photo of them ever taken. I assume this is partly the reason everyone is so happy to pose for complete strangers, that and hell, they spent a lot of time on their costumes and they might as well let as many people as possible see it.
The social aspect. Lobby conning is a fairly common practice, at events like this, those who are too short of funds to buy entry to the con itself find the lobby and surrounds a great way to catch up with friends and enjoy watching the various costumes that wander in and out of the event proper.
Another typical sight is photographers going nuts taking pics in the surrounding areas, these guys range from amateur opportunists who just happened past and pulled out their phones, (we even saw people taking pictures from their cars as they rolled past) to fully geared up professional photographers with bags full of lenses, expensive lighting equipment and assistants helping to hold screens up behind cosplayers and touch up make up and fix hair. Thankfully the location at Olympic park provided plenty of interesting backdrops for some of the more creative photographers.
From the giant ANZ stadium and the modern architecture of the railway station just metres away to the modern art sculptures that litter the open spaces all around the venue, there was plenty of choice for a budding photographer!
One other thing becoming more and more prevalent is seeing entire families get into cosplay, with mum dad and the 3.5 kids all dressed up in their favourite characters typical garb. Often they would be wearing costumes from all across the spectrum but the most impressive were those who dressed as a team and looked like a miniature X-Men ensemble or away team from Star Trek.
We hope to see this trend continue and of course it can only be a good thing for the future of the hobby as the children being dressed by their parents grow up and decide to improve on their skills and develop their own style.
A must see for any true fan of the scene were the Cosplay competitions, hosted in heats on both the Saturday and Sunday these featured a wide range of talent who occasionally performed an amusing or inspiring skit for extra points. I witnessed a young man walk out with nothing but a Godzilla handpuppet do some impromptu stand up comedy, next came some elaborately dressed Sailor Moon scouts who performed an equally elaborate dance routine to great applause. The MC was always amusing if a little cheesy at times, thankfully someone in the control booth kept him honest with the occasional funny comment flashed up on the screen behind the performers.
Like Dicky from ‘Hey Hey its Saturday’ he kept things irreverent and generally tapped into the mood of the crowd quite well with most of his twitter like missives guaranteed to raise a laugh from the crowd. It wasn’t all about the cosplay though, a few martial arts displays trotted out their best athletes to show us their moves and this correspondent was more than impressed with one limber young man who managed to do a series of push ups on his thumbs…then one hand. Then while doing a handstand. The mind boggles.
The last thing I noted was that of nearly everyone having to be ushered out rather firmly by security at the scheduled closing time. Rather than being put off by this the very fact that people were not wanting to leave and were staying till the very last possible minute so they could squeeze as much con in as they physically could is a VERY GOOD sign that the organisers are doing something right.
We at Beyond Cosplay hope they keep sprinkling their events with the same fairy dust for a long time to come, and as long as they do we will be there to bring you all the highlights, photos and eventually videos that we possible can!