Pop Culture Fun at Coer d'Con 2016

Coeur d’Con 2016 is over. It was the second year for the event at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library in Idaho, and my first year as an exhibitor. Okay, it was my very first time EVER as an exhibitor anywhere, and only my second time as a comicon attendee. Like many writers, I'm an introvert by nature, and my anxiety expanded as the event approached. I wasn't concerned in the least about selling my books. The late-night questions that swirled in my sleepless brain were more along the lines of "How am I going to talk to people? What on earth will I say?"

I needn't have worried. At heart, I'm a total geek, and there was no lack of people just like me. Lovers of Sci-Fi, Fans of Fantasy, Admirers of Superheroes, and Devotees of Pop Culture in all its zany forms. It was like a grand reunion. In short, I had a blast!

Tall, dark, and furry meet mini cosplayers
From sleepy caped toddlers being carried by their costumed parents, to wizards and wise guys whose gray beards were the real deal, the event left no doubt that “cosplay” is for every age! My ultimate favorite was the senior with the cane, sporting a bright red shirt and shorts with the Flash insignia. (He was the father of my new friend in the booth next to mine, and I’ve never met anyone more knowledgeable about Star Trek!)

Cleverness and creativity abounded in both the simplest t-shirts and the complex whole-body costumes. Many of those who sported more elaborate apparel had worked for over a year to craft them! All were labors of love to pay homage to a character, a comic, manga, or anime series, a book, a movie franchise, a TV show, even an entire genre, or to create something brand new to share. 


Lady Deadpool
Junior Men in Black patrolled for aliens, while Star Wars personalities from both the Republic and the Rebels kept a wary eye on each other. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was well-represented, as was Disney’s evergrowing world of Princesses.

Many incarnations of Dr. Who were on hand. Plus a four-man Ghostbusters team amazed attendees with their carefully crafted proton packs that boasted sound effects and lights!

Incidentally, each of those otherworldly weapons sported a bright orange zip-tie. So did many of the swords and blasters carried by cosplayers. The orange zip tie signified that an organizer had examined the weapon and approved it. Anything a little too realistic or that had the potential to hurt somebody accidentally (like a genuine steel sword) was wisely discouraged. I noticed this with a bit of a smile, because I was exactly the kind of kid who would leap to the top of a table and start swinging my magical blade, too caught up in my character to notice whose hat or head was being lopped... 

Dr. Horrible + Captain Hammer
It was impossible to choose a favorite from the many characters portrayed at Coeur d'Con, and I confess, while I recognized most, there were a few I didn't know. But I was truly gratified to see that Joss Whedon’s Firefly is alive and well in the brown-coated hearts of many. I nearly ran up and hugged characters Jayne Cobb and Kaylee Frye, but settled for congratulating the folks who portrayed them on their excellent costume choices.

I was also thrilled to see another Joss Whedon creation brought to life: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog! Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer couldn’t be entreated to sing, but did a wonderful job of staying in character through much of the event.

You never know who'll you find in the fiction department...
Something I should mention is that wearing a costume in October is one thing. Wearing a heavy whole-body suit on a sweltering August day while posing for endless pictures takes artistic dedication and a pure love for the craft, as well as a genuine desire to entertain. I was truly impressed by the number of cosplayers cheerfully enduring what had to be extreme discomfort to help make the event a success. And it was successful – there were hundreds of attendees, and from my vantage point at least, a good time was had by all.

Characters of every description populated the Coeur d'Alene Library in Idaho on Saturday, August 13th

Harley Quinn
One of the things that impressed me the most was the large number of female cosplayers. And they didn’t restrict themselves to portraying purely female characters! Among the Black Widows, the Harley Quinns, and the many anime characters including Kaori Miyazono and friends, there were also female versions of Captain America, Deadpool, Juuzou Suzuya, and Darth Vader (and no, Darth wasn’t pink!)

Sir Didymus Warington,
portrayed by Shawn Shay
More than a few cosplayers demonstrated a sincere love of the Steampunk genre. One of the most entertaining and charming characters of the entire day was Sir Didymus Warington, Steampunk deep-sea diver and proclaimed mermaid hunter. Beneath the heavy helmet was Shawn Shay, who was awarded Best Costume overall. (And see that big Black Rabbit in the photo above? That was ALSO Shawn!) Other Steampunk aficionados were in the winner's circle as well. Kyle and Aubrey Craviotto topped the Adult Costume category with their creative portrayal of Steampunk Superman and Steampunk Wonder Woman.

Kyle + Aubrey Craviotto
Steampunk Superheroes
The organizers of Coeur d’Con did an incredible job, making certain to have a large variety of activities for guests of all ages. A wide array of fan meet-ups, video gaming, papercrafts (I saw more than one paper Tardis or Tie Fighter carried by my booth), “geek storytime”, photobooth fun, technology demos, and much more filled the two floors of the library – plus a Legends of Zelda slingshot challenge was held outdoors! (PS, the surroundings of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library are just as beautiful as the building.) 

From my booth in Artist’s Alley, I had the proverbial bird’s eye view of the on-stage panels held throughout the afternoon. With presentations like “What it Takes to be a Podcaster” to “Women and the Future of Comics”, once again there was something for everyone. As a writer, I particularly enjoyed “Creating Fantasy Worlds” by YA author Toby Neighbors. The crowd favorite, however, was definitely “Cosplay 101”, where tips and tricks were given not only on costuming, but on how to truly bring a character to life.

At the end of the day, I seriously felt like I had found my tribe. The choicest aspect of the entire event was the genuine friendliness, camaraderie, and just plain good humor of those who participated.

I can hardly wait for Coeur d’Con 2017!


3 comments:

  1. Those were some fabulous costumes! So glad you had a good time...now to get you to go to PheonixCon with me and Katie :)

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  2. I had a blast, I was the big black and blue dog from the first pic.

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