NYCC 2014: Cosplay Roundup

Every year I attend New York Comic Con more and more fans cosplay. It’s tough picking favorites but the ones that made me squee the most were Death from East of West and Steven Universe and his mom as Garnet. Oh and here’s my post about my Sailor Moon (aka Sailor Goon), Space Dandy and Spike Spiegel cosplay.

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NYCC 2014: Women of Color in Comics

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I was on a panel at New York Comic Con. I still can’t believe it happened. It has always been a secret dream of mine ever since I did my first panel about Women in Comics last year. Coincidentally enough, the same person who ran my first panel, Regine L. Sawyer, asked me to be on the NYCC panel. So everything has come full circle. I immediately said yes of course because it was the opportunity of a lifetime. But right after I said yes, the nerves hit me. I’m not used to a lot of irl attention because what I do (blog) lives on the Internet. So when I get asked to be on panels I’m always very excited and grateful and extremely nervous. NYCC was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I literally thought I was going to throw up. I tried to calm down by telling myself that it’s just my opinions, there’s no right or wrong answer. I’m not giving a dissertation on metaphysics. I’m talking about what I know, which is comics, women and race.
Sonic Eclectic39 8.43.42 AMThe panel was called Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender and the Comic Book MediumIt was moderated by Regine L. Sawyer of Lockett Down Productions and the panelist included artist Alice Meichi Li, comic book artist Alitha Martinez, writer and cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft, cosplayer Geisha Vi, writer Juliana ‘Jewels’ Smith, writer and actor Vanessa Verduga and myself. I didn’t throw up so as far as that goes the panel was a success. But aside from the low bar I set for myself, the panel actually was a huge success. The room was almost filled to capacity, I heard there were over 700 people in attendance.

The description of the panel was, “Diversity. Women in Comics. Both subjects are hot button topics in the comic book industry. However, it isn’t often that both issues collide…” In all of my years attending NYCC, I’ve noticed a lack of people of color focused panels and PoC on panels in general. Despite the fact that NYC is probably the most culturally diverse city on the planet and the NYCC crowd reflects that. As the years went on there were more “The Women of ____” panels, but those panels often lacked women of color. So a panel like ‘Women of Color in Comics’ is something that’s not only necessary but should be regarded as essential.

The very existence of the panel showed two things, the growth of WoC comic fans and creators, but also the need for more representation and accurate representation in comics. Because we all know there’s a lot of misrepresentation of women in comics, but a majority of those women are white. So, we (WoC) are barely in comics to be apart of that misrepresentation. We have not only sexism to fight, but racism as well. This is especially important in regards to science fiction. Sci-fi often depicts worlds that are supposed to be our actual future, and if people of color are not there then they’re writing us out. They wrote us out of the past and now they’re writing us out of the future. I want women and men to understand that equality includes everybody. You can’t ignore the needs of women of color and call it feminism. 

The importance of diversity in comics should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t understand its significance. When a person doesn’t see characters that look like them, they begin to feel like they don’t belong. Young girls of color may stop reading comics because they feel like it isn’t for them, which stops them from becoming creators in the future. It’s cyclical. I do believe it’s important for creators of all backgrounds, straight white men included, to be responsible and make sure their stories are as diverse as their readers and the world. However, I think it’s much more important for people of color to create the stories we want to see. We shouldn’t wait for change we should make it.

The most important takeaway was what we can do to make the comic book industry a more diverse one. Coming from a fan’s perspective there are two things that are essential to promoting change and that’s using your voice and your money. Support diverse mainstream creators and comics and diverse indie creators and comics. The fact that there are so many young women who are reading comics now proves that our voice is bigger. We can affect change in the industry because we’re becoming such a large percentage of it. Use your voice to promote these diverse stories, characters and creators whether it’s in person or online. If you’re a creator, don’t be discouraged by the current climate of the industry. It will be tough to break into mainstream comics as a woman of color, but one of the best ways to make sure change in mainstream comics is to be apart it.

Forty-five minutes flew by and it wasn’t nearly enough time to cover everything about women of color in comics, but it was a start. Although the panel was over, the conversation doesn’t have to end. Blog, tweet, post, talk about these issues to help promote diversity.

Shout out to Mass AppealPC Mag (twice) and Flavorwire and Indiewire for covering the Women of Color in Comics panel.

 

 

NYCC 2014 Cosplay & Coords: Sailor Moon, Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop & More

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It was only a year ago when I posted “Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer” and look how far I’ve come! Now I know I’m not building Tali armor from scratch like my friend and cosplay sensei @DarthRachel, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless.

Sailor Goon

I introduce to you, Sailor Goon; my gangsta take on Sailor Moon. I was Sailor Moon and my friend Roshi was Black Lady. People at the con said we were cute and creepy so mission accomplished basically.

I was inspired by Asiey Barbie’s Sailor Gang art on tumblr. I tagged her on Instagram and Twitter and her reaction was, “O.M.G. yasss, this is EXCELLENT!” and “I am SLAYED. absolute perfection.” She reblogged my post on Tumblr which is probably why it’s getting so many notes and said “YOU GUYS LOOK AT THIS FLAWLESSNESS”. So of course that made my day!

Artist Babs Tarr was also a big influence on this cosplay design. Her Bōsōzoku Sailor Scouts helped us come up with accessories like the denim jacket, patches and ripped nylon stockings. Babs was at NYCC this weekend so I was lucky enough to meet her and get a gorgeous Bōsōzoku Sailor Moon print and my Batgirl #1 signed. She is super sweet and LOVED our cosplay. She took a photo of us and gave us some of her stickers I actually planned on buying anyway!

As you can probably tell, Sailor Goon was my favorite cosplay of the weekend. The fun part was coming up with ways I could change Usagi’s regular costume from Moon to Goon. And my friend Roshi was giving some Black Moon realness with her Black Lady cosplay. Surprisingly, Sailor Goon was the first woman I’ve cosplayed. Up until now I’ve Rule 63’ed my favorite male characters like the Eleventh Doctor, Spike Spiegel and Space Dandy.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is amazing… and weird. But that WTFness of Dandy is why I love it so much. I remember how excited I was hearing that the GAWD Shinichirō Watanabe of (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) was going to be the chief director of a new anime called Space Dandy. I admit, I had to adjust to the randomness of the show. Although Dandy is a bounty hunter in space, it’s nothing like Cowboy Bebop. Once I got that through my head, I fully enjoyed each episode. The finale was mind-blowing. Maybe I’ll blog about it at some point.

I’m not a crafty person at all, but I managed to make some Dandy accessories and I’m really proud myself, even though these are nothing compared to other stuff people make. It’s my first time “crafting” so give me a break! I made the necklace out of poster paper and paint marker, but it doesn’t look that bad as it sounds. It’s kind of like a Monet and looks better the further away you are. I hope my kanji isn’t too embarrassing; it was my first time writing that as well. The jacket is from Csddlink and I made Dandy’s belt buckle out of foam which I painted gold. Since I decided to go with high-waisted leggings, I turned the buckle into a pin. The items that are missing are his hair, bracelet and shoes. So this is kinda a half-assed cosplay. But now that I have most of his costume, I’ll give the rest my best effort next year.

I made a Space Dandy playlist because the music is so good. Shake your booty while reading this blog post, baby. It’s the Dandy way!

 

Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop 

If this looks familiar it’s because I did this female Spike last year. I loved it so much I had to do it again! Nothing new added to this except I’m channelling Faye Valentine with my purple hair. It’s been a year and I still haven’t gotten a good Spike wig. I’m the worst you guys I’m so sorry.

Kawaii Street Style

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I wasn’t always dressing up as someone else at NYCC. These last two additions aren’t cosplay but some pretty cute coords if I do say so myself.

On Friday I wore my new favorite sweater from Omo-Cat called ‘Toast Girl’. I was going for kawaii street style and did cult party kei makeup which is hard to notice because… you know… I’m black.

Subtle Princess Serenity 

*Queue magical girl transformation* I went from Sailor Goon by day, to Subtle Princess Serenity by night (with an emphasis on “subtle”). I wore this to the Fan Girls’ Night Out Party hosted by Geek Girl Brunch (that org I co-founded). There are tons of galaxy prints out there but the Shadowplay NYC shop on Etsy has some of the best I’ve seen. Better than Black Milk (yeah I said it!). I ordered two dresses from them and wore the Mystic Mountain Jersey Dress to FGNO. It features a Hubble Print of the Mystic Mountain, a Pillar in the Carina Nebula. I kept the space theme going and paired my Nebula dress with Princess Serenity and Sailor Moon accessories. I got so many compliments!

Well, that’s a wrap for my New York Comic Con cosplay and coords! Stay tuned to see if I get better at cosplay crafting next year. Spoiler: I probably won’t. I already have my eyes set on Leatherface Joker, Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolian and a a young Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Arise (all featured in my Cosplay Bucket List post).

Dedicated to the Impossible Girl (And The Doctor Who World Tour)

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Although I met Alison only briefly at The Doctor Who World Tour, it’s a moment that I will remember forever… The thing is, I wasn’t even supposed to be at the #DWWorldTour in NYC. I was one of many who couldn’t get tickets. Then the day before the event, my friend Yissel asked if I wanted to go in her place. Her friend Christina had an extra ticket and Yissel couldn’t make it. I mean, why would I not want to go? Doctor Who is my favorite thing in all of time and space. I was lucky enough to meet Matt Smith and the crew not once but twice a few years ago. Now I get to see Peter Capaldi in the flesh! 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo Thursday afternoon I put on a bunch of TARDISes and set off to see the Doctor and the companion and the Moff hosted by Chris Hardwick of the Nerdist. I met the golden ticket holder,Christina, in line at around 2pm and we instantly hit it off. The event wasn’t until 7PM but Whovains were in line since 1AM the night before. As usual with line cons (line con: (noun) the very long lines geeks wait in at geeky events and conventions) we made friends with the Whovians around us. (Shout out to Monica and Tatiana!) There were constant bursts of cheers going on during the line con, mostly because BBC America kept asking us to cheer for footage. They even interviewed me and my new Who friends, but only time will tell if I’ll make the final cut. We passed the time by talking about favorite Doctors and companions, crazy DW theories and other geeky things. Time seemed to fly by up until the last hour, or should I say the Eleventh hour, which seemed the longest. Legs were hurting and caffeine was needed. (Let’s see how many Doctor Who puns I can fit in this post.)

AnyWHO at about 7:30PM they finally let us in and me and my Who crew got pretty close to the front. They played the U.S. premier of season eight and it was awesome. I laughed a lot. I almost cried. Typical Doctor Who feels. I can’t tell you any more because of *River Song voice* spoilers.

Peter Capaldi was all I really cared about though. Here in my face was this new 12th Doctor face. But oh man, he was amazing in the first episode. He really really was. You’re gonna love him I’m sure of it. Then Q&A happened which was also very cool but I don’t remember a lot of it because I kept staring at Capaldi. And his eyebrows. Oh and Neil Gaiman was there! How could I forget?!… Oh yeah because I didn’t see him. He tweeted he was there which spread like wildfire on the line con but I didn’t see him. But I felt his presence (jk not really). 

Chris Hardwick, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat

Chris Hardwick, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat

So now on to the best and most important part of the whole entire day. As I was being ushered out of the theater a lady whovian named Alison came up to me, (bet you were wondering when I’d bring her up again) and said something like, “Hi Jamila, I am a fan of your blog.” And I’m like omgwut? First off, I don’t usually meet people in person who are fans of my blog. So when I do meet GGG readers I usually think they are mistaking me with someone else. Some other blog with “girl”and “geek” in the title, which is probably quite a few. So then Alison continued to tell me all of these kind things about my blog and myself and what a great job she thinks I am doing and I was hit with wave after wave of emotions. Shock. Happiness. Confusion. ME? All of this is about me? What?! Then of course in true Jamila fashion, those tears that almost came out during the Doctor Who episode came back.

The thing is, I was having a pretty shitty week personally. Then that shittiness was multiplied by Ferguson and Robin Williams. I had cried a few times earlier that week about sad stuff, so to cry about something happy when I needed it the most is something I’ll never forget. I just blog into the void not knowing who is reading my blog, let alone cares about it. So to meet someone like Alison is something I still can’t even comprehend. I still get emotional thinking about it. I’m forever grateful for that. 

Let’s end on a quote from the Doctor,

“What’s the point of being happy now if they’re going to be sad later? The answer is of course- because they are going to be sad later.”

Geek Girl Brunch Judges the Wasabassco Burlesque Costume Contest

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Ma’at, Techno Babble & Bella Blackheart [Photo by Hyuk E Kim]

The Geek Girl Brunch co-founders we’re asked to judge the Wasabassco Burlesque SUPER! Heroes vs Villains costume contest back in May. After we were done freaking out about how excited we were, we started freaking out about what we were going to wear. 

To enter the contest the contestants had to create original characters. So you know what that meant, as judges we just HAD to create our own original characters. We had a very long email thread going between the three of us full of Etsy links and partial back stories. In the end, Bella Blackheart, Techno Babble and Ma’at, The Scribe were born… and cosplayed. 

Bella Blackheart 

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Origin Story: Bella is the daughter of a human woman and Shango, the African god of fire, lightning and thunder. Her mother died giving birth to her and she was raised by her father in the realm of the gods. Her father’s three wives, the goddesses Oshun, Oya and Oba, loathed Bella. She was a living reminder that their husband fell in love with a human woman.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThroughout her childhood, the wives tried to have dangerous “accidents” befall Bella, but her father, Shango, always protected her. After 16 years of living with Bella, the wives could not stand it anymore. One night they tried to kill Bella in her sleep. But, as they discovered, killing the daughter of a god isn’t easy. So instead of losing her life, she lost an eye. 

Bella escaped to the mortal world and took up residence in a small ghost town in the American West called Blackheart. Bella lived alone in the town for years, only venturing out to neighboring towns to get supplies and food. One day, a roaming group of assassins came to Blackheart and attempted to take over the town for themselves, but Bella wouldn’t have that. After a fierce battle Bella came out victorious. Impressed with her skills, the surviving assassins asked her to join them. Bella, being tired of the solitary life, accepted their offer. Over time, she became their leader and they became known as The Blackhearts, the most infamous band of assassins in the Americas.

Character Design: It all started with the eyepatch. I knew, whoever my character would eventually become, she would have an eyepatch. Because just like bow ties, eye patches are cool. I wanted her to look badass, mysterious and someone you wouldn’t want to fuck with. 

Bella’s overall costume design was inspired by Elle from Kill Bill, Ginny from Pretty Deadly and Death from East of West. I’ve never really been a fan of Westerns, but the comics Pretty Deadly and East of West sparked a love for the genre and the aesthetic.

Rachel as Techno Babble

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She’s a doomsprite that works for the super villain The Viral Menace. She travels via viral thought, loves meme culture and has the ability to screw with your tech just enough that it doesn’t work but not enough to look like it is broken.

Yissel as Ma’at, The Scribe

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Formerly Egypt’s personification of truth and justice, with scribes of her own. She’s been living among us for centuries in search of her stolen wings. All that she has of them is a single plume with which she writes events into existence, prepared to suffer the cost of her powers.

Introducing Geek Girl Brunch

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I’m excited to announce the launch of Geek Girl Brunch! GGB is a meetup group for geek girls who hang out over brunch. I’ve been working on this project for a while with my friends and co-founders, Yissel and Rachel.

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Geek Girl Brunch- Game of Thrones Edition

Origin Story 

In a galaxy far far away… some geek girls had brunch. A few actually, and since we had so much fun geeking out and sipping on mimosas we wanted it to become a bigger thing. After a few brunches we tossed around the idea that we wanted to start making Geek Girl Brunch a “bigger thing” and open it up to more geek girls. We didn’t want to keep all of this fun to just our group! 

A talking cat with a crescent moon on her head told Rachel, Yissel and I that we were the chosen founders of Geek Girl Brunch. We’ve watched enough anime to know that talking cats are completely normal and immediately accepted the mission. Geek girl extraordinaire and design magician Leslie did some moon prism power stuff to our blog and made it pretty and we are forever grateful! 

Themes

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 5.27.03 PMWhen you get a group of geek girls who like to shop and cosplay it was inevitable that we’d find excuses to dress up to these events. That’s when the concept of themes was born. So far we’ve had themes of Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lolita, Reverse Harem Anime and Game of Thrones. Next month our brunch theme will be ‘Magical Girls’ in celebration of the relaunch of Sailor Moon in July.

For our themed brunches we tend to cosplay or dress up based on the theme, it isn’t required at all, but it’s fun! Whenever possible, we have field trips related to our theme. For our Lolita brunch, we attended the Sakura Matsuri festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

On our blog, we dedicate each month to a different GGB theme. This gives us time to learn more about each theme and share our love about it with others. 

We are more than just geek girls drinking mimosas 

GGB is more than just a group of geek girls who eat bacon, drink mimosas and talk about anime boyfriends (although there’s nothing wrong with that). As women that live in the geek subculture online and IRL, we know how it isn’t always welcoming. With Geek Girl Brunch, we want to create an environment where identifying lady geeks can be themselves without fear of sexism, bigotry or ridicule. We hope to provide a safe space to give voice, create friendships and hang out! 

No Power in the ‘Verse Can Stop Us

The founders of GGB are NYC based, but we have dreams of expanding around the world and to alternate dimensions (when the technology becomes available). We plan to recruit officers in other cities to spread GGB around the globe.

If you’re interested in becoming an officer or have any questions about GGB email us at geekgirlbrunch@gmail.com. If you live in the NYC area and want to attend one of our brunches or meetups you can sign up here! Follow us to stay up to date on GGB news and meetups! 

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The very first Geek Girl Brunch

The very first Geek Girl Brunch

GGB judging the Wasabassco Burlesque Costume Contest cosplaying as original characters

GGB judging the Wasabassco Burlesque Costume Contest cosplaying as original characters

Sakura Matsuri @ Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Sakura Matsuri @ Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Lolita Selfie :3

Lolita Selfie :3

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Star Wars Brunch

Star Wars Brunch

Reverse Harem Anime Brunch (We are pretty much a J-pop boy band lol)

Reverse Harem Anime Brunch (We are pretty much a J-pop boy band lol)

Reverse Harem Anime Brunch

Reverse Harem Anime Brunch

Doctor Who Brunch

Doctor Who Brunch

Game of Thrones Brunch

Game of Thrones Brunch

Doctor Who Brunch

Doctor Who Brunch

 

Chew Takes a Bite Out of NYCC 2013

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I’ve been a big fan of the comic book series, Chew, for a while now. John Layman’s writing and Rob Guillory’s style are a perfect match. It’s one of the few comics that actually make me literally LOL. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, pick up the first volume. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Being a fan, I was excited to see the Chew crew for the first time. During the panel, we learned that Chew started off dark. I mean really dark. Which isn’t surprising considering the main character eats human flesh on a frequent basis (he gets telepathic readings from meat). But thanks to Rob’s artistic style, Chew turned out to be more light and goofy.

Chew1The art style John wanted Rob to use in Chew was actually Rob just screwing around on the internet because he confessed that no one actually liked that style. No one except for John Layman. The first three issues of Chew weren’t written for Rob’s style, so as the series went on, it got funnier because John would write to Rob’s strengths. They both thought Chew’s concept was so crazy no one would buy it. But a few years and one Eisner Award later, they were proven wrong.

It comes to no surprise that Rob channels Broadway’s dramatic over-actors when illustrating the characters. He likes that you can tell what’s going in the story, even if there was no dialogue. Speaking of exaggerated, the two talked about fan-favorite Poyo, the cyborg rooster that’s kicking ass for the USDA.  John descried Poyo as, “Chew without the rules.” Fans should be happy to know that the next arc will feature Poyo, followed by The Vampire, then Mason Savoy and ending with Tony Chu.

You may remember hearing about Chew being pitched to Showtime for as a show. John updated the fans that it’s no longer on the table. It seems that the Showtime people weren’t interested in a cartoon, which is the direction John and Rob wanted to go in in order to keep the story genuine. Thankfully, they have a new “Hollywood guy” that’s focused on animation and they want to keep it to as close as the story as possible.

If nothing else, learned that John Layman is a pretty big gamer an really just wants to play Warcraft and GTA all day.

[Photo via Bleeding Cool]