Eye-popping costumes take Wizard World by storm
Styrofoam, papier-mache and buckets of elbow grease.
That's what it takes to create one of the eye-popping costumes seen here at the Wizard World Comic Con on Saturday, April 14. The celebration of geekiness in all its glory lured thousands to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland's Lloyd District
The festival offers an opportunity to meet comic book creators, directors and actors — with fans queuing up in epic lines for the chance to snag a pic or an autograph with celebrities including Jason Momoa, Sebastian Stan, Ezra Miller, Bonnie Wright, Billy Boyd and Henry Winkler.
But even if you can't tell the difference between an Aquaman and an Arthur Fonzarelli, anyone can appreciate the skill and craftsmanship of the customed attendees known as "cosplayers."
"Two hours to get into it, six months to make," nonchalantly noted Aurel BockNelson, an 18-year-old Portlander who used green skin, foam muscles and a purple leotard to portray She-Hulk.
"I put mine together on Monday," added her friend, Alaina Sargent, a Scappoose resident dressed as the superhero Black Widow. "I've been such a huge nerd my whole life. This is one of my easier cosplays."
About 250 vendors hawked sci-fi lightsabers, blasters and everything else during the three-day event that started on Friday. So many people bring faux arms that there's a special "weapons check" station at the entrance.
Harry Jensen disguised himself as the superhero Nova using a yellow breastplate and helmet made out of EVA foam. It was his second costume, as he previously appeared as Deadshot from the Suicide Squad.
"It took a couple of weeks, mostly due to money and time constraints," the Hillsboro local commented. "It's trial and error."
Not everyone splurges on fantastic accoutrements or handmade apparel.
Clara — a 17-year-old Portland resident who declined to give her last name — said her Loki costume cost "a hundred bucks on Amazon." Loki was accompanied by The Grandmaster, though underneath it was a Milwaukie Academy of the Arts student named Toni Harrison.
"It's a good way to connect with people who have similar interests to you," Harrison said.
Children are encouraged to get in on the act, with a separate costume contest for kids and workshops held to teach the basic rules of trading cards games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.
"I didn't have the suit for Luke Skywalker, but I do have a white suit," explained stormtrooper Thelonious Wheeler, age four and three-quarters, who lives near Mt. Tabor.
Malakai Contreras, who attends Deer Creek Elementary in the Tigard-Tualatin School District, said he knew Iron Spider was a good guy because "he's always on Spiderman's side." The 6.5-year-old's favorite part of the event was buying several illustrated posters.
His dad, Raymond, 33, said a lady friend helped him fashion the question-mark suit made famous by the Riddler.
"She thought I would look good in green," he joked.
Emcee Kato Kaelin — the actor best known for his testimony during the O.J. Simpson murder trial — said hosting the kid's contest is the day's high point for him, because "they actually believe they are the characters."
Some dedicated cosplayers hand out slips of paper with their Instagram information, including the Lindsay family from Troutdale. Geoff and Tiffany dressed as Link and Zelda, while their son Maddox appeared as Colin, another character from the videogame who often gets into mischief.
"I like seeing the panels, and there's some (parts) where I'm like, 'Can I get this? Can I get this?!'" the fourth-grader at Sweetbriar Elementary reported.
The answer from the parents? "Maybe."
Amateur photographers converged at Comic Con to capture the costumes, and it's one of the few events where attendees expect strangers to walk up and take their picture.
Dott Campo of Woodburn was one such willing participant, her head covered with a foam dome painted to look like the "Star Wars" droid R2D2. A blinking flashlight completed the get-up.
"I got to shake hands with a lot of celebrities yesterday," the 42-year-old highlighted, "but it's more to commiserate with my world, my fellow nerds."
PHOTOS FROM COMIC CON