Memoir of a Manic Nerd Girl
When I arrived in Canada just over a year ago, I managed to catch the tail end of Fan Expo, and as one of the first major comic festivals I’ve managed to attend, I was pretty blown away. The scope of the costumes, the dedication of fans and actors and artists alike was incredible. I made a promise to myself that day that I was going to come back the following year and indulge in the joy of it; cosplaying, shopping, photos - the works.
And boy do I love when I keep those promises to myself.
Fan Expo 2016 was eye-popping shades of awesome, just as I’d hoped. While I couldn’t make it down for the Thursday night start, Friday morning dawned bright and beautiful as I scrambled to get into the first trial of my costume.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m an avid Cassandra Clare fan. An idol and inspiration to my own writing career, I have read just about everything she’s ever published. The Mortal Instruments is a favorite and as such, I was going to this Expo as a Shadowhunter (a nephilim - humans with angel blood, for those of you who don’t know). Suffice to say, boots, a lot of leather and sharp, pointy objects to kill demons with. And it’s even better than it sounds.
First day costume jitters had me only going with a few runes, hastily applied with eyeliner, dusted with foundation powder, then spritzed with hairspray to try and preserve them. I wasn’t as fussed with the leather corset for day one so I went in a gold and black material favorite I’ve had for years, that really does wonders for the breasteses. Though apparently warrants many a judgmental stare as I made my way downtown, but more on that later.
The seraph blades featured (below), Ouriel and Remiel, were made by the fabulous Ethan Kincaid, who I found online last year in my search for costume creations. He created the blades with my input and kept me updated on the entire process, which was amazing. When I finally received them I was all kinds of thrilled, and they were the highlight of my costume, with many people commenting on them. So, all you Shadowhunter friends and fam, if you want your seraph blades, check him out!
Friday, if the hashtags were anything to go by, I think I was the only Shadowhunter in the building, which was kind of okay with me. I got to test the waters, browse both buildings and decide my plan of attack for Saturday. I wasn’t disappointed by the lack of Shadowhunter Fandom, what with random people actually recognising the runes on me enough to shout out ‘Hey Shadowhunter!’; and my geek-out was complete when I tweeted a few pictures of myself to the truly beautiful Kat McNamara and had her Like them. Giddy? Just a smidge. Dork out complete. Moving on!
So after my foray into the fandom kingdom on Friday, I was up bright and early Saturday to really get into my costume. Faux leather pants, a leather (pleather) corset with buckles across the chest, a silver studded belt with my seraph blades attached and the runes to complete the look.
Pretty bad ass if I do say so myself.
Saturday there were a few more Shadowhunters around, and by total accident I found Clary Fray while I was getting lost trying to leave the train station. Talk about happy co-inky-dinks. She and I made our way to the Convention Centre and I set off on my quest to conquer demons, make an appointment to see Stan Lee (what an amazing man) and indulge in the Expo life by taking pictures of other costumed geniuses and selfies with them too!
I even bumped into the incredible Brandon Dale, of Dale Sabers (Props - Replicas - SFX). He noticed me for my Shadowhunter costume, complimenting me on it and being pleased someone had dressed that way, since he works on Season Two of the Shadowhunter TV Series! We talked shop for a while, and I got to learn about the new set and props for S2. Talk about chuffed! I was so thrilled to meet him, and after my own work in the TV industry it was kind of like slipping back into the old days.
Going between both buildings, taking in the many costumed fans and fiends, I was struck by how much fun and joy goes into these events; how people from any avenue of life can come together for the simple love of the fantastical and amazing. There’s no judgement, no criticism, no hate. ‘That’ is what I love about Fan Expo, and every Con like it. The acceptance. The celebration of art, creativity and fantasy, no matter who you are.
To that end, I say thank you to every Cosplayer, every Crew member that helped out, and every actor/artist/genius that made an appearance. Truly, these events are great because of ‘you’. Because of your love, your dedication, and your commitment to spreading joy and happiness. One of my favorite moments of the whole weekend was when a Clint Barton cosplayer went and offered their bow to a child that was too shy and scared to come forward for a photo with the Avengers squad. Thank you, wonderful person. These moments reveal your conviction and they’re an inspiration, a reminder to all of us adults and a lesson to all children; if you remain young at heart you’ll never feel old.
And it is on that note that I want to remind everyone to never, ever let those that have lost their magic, that have stopped nurturing their inner child, to affect their happiness. What, you may wonder, makes me say this? Well, this is where those judgmental looks come in I mentioned earlier. You see, I had to traverse the subway and walk a few blocks to get to the Convention from the apartment, dressed as I was in full costume. I wish I could say the negative looks I received were minimal, but I encountered more than a few women who took it upon themselves to judge me for my outfit, and more than a few men who thought what I was wearing deserved lewd looks, or an invitation. It was why, when I arrived at the convention, the ‘Cosplay is not Consent’ posters really hit home.
You see, while I wasn’t altogether bothered by people thinking they could judge me, or somehow assuming I gave a fuck about their opinion, what did concern me was this culture of criticism; that if one person decides to be a bit different everyone else can put them down for it. That was some childish bullshit I got over in high school, and frankly, I think it sad that grown adults, grown ‘women’, still feel it okay to put each other down based on their appearance or non conformity as far as ‘the dress code’.
It is 2016, people. Grow. Up.
I even overheard one woman saying she thought it was ‘pathetic’ that grown men and women were dressing up to attend the Convention. Thankfully, I’d already had my coffee or I might have been inclined to give her a piece of my mind, standing and waiting by her at the lights. Now that might have been a scene to stop traffic. As it was, I ignored her because I was about to be in a building full of thousands of people that thought and felt as I do about the whole thing, so why care if one Grinch is trying to steal Christmas when all the Whos in Whoville are already having an awesome time?
So that really is my point. Never let anyone try and tell you who or what to be, or that you can’t be something when it makes you happy. To every girl that cosplayed, I hope you felt fabulous and strong and confidant. To every guy, I hope you had an incredible time playing your favorite hero, or villain. And to all of you that go to Cons, or Expos, or those events that let us indulge our inner child and inner (or outer) nerd, kudos to you! My thanks to everyone that made the entire weekend the celebration it was. Peace out, peeps!