Feeding my inner sci-fi fan

I was a big sci-fi fan at uni (guess it goes with the science curriculum), attending conventions and helping organise one or two, travelling interstate to visit other uni SF groups. I don’t read much fiction these days, although I do enjoy Terry Pratchett’s novels, “Doctor Who” and intelligent (in my own humble opinion) genre fiction (like, yes folks, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and anything Joss Whedon).

Last November we’d gone to the media convention “SupaNova” in Brisbane. We’d arrived early, got in the cash queue (much quicker than the credit card queue) and were just about third in the door. But going on Friday to avoid the weekend crowds meant we missed out on the cosplayers (people who enjoy dressing up as their favourite characters from the movies, graphic novels, animation and sci-fi/fantasy fiction).

This time the event was much closer, at the Gold Coast. The merchandise stalls were not open on Friday, so we opted for Saturday. We’d stopped at the Uki farmers’ market on the way, so arrived at the convention centre half an hour after the opening. The car queue for parking was immense, but kept moving. Then it took us 30 minutes to actually get in the doors. Luckily the organisers were very organised, as it seemed all 23,400 attendees from November’s event were there that morning, and there were plenty of staff to shepherd people in the right direction. The cash queue was long but still the fastest way to get in, as the credit card queue was hundreds of metres long.

A plus side of waiting in line was getting a good look at the many costumes as we shuffled along. Some people had made their own; others had bought them “off the rack”. I particularly enjoyed this pair – it’s not every day you meet the Warrior Princess away from Ancient Greece …

Xena and Gabrielle cosplayers

Xena and Gabrielle on the Gold Coast

You can read about the enthusiastic Kelly Mitchell (Xena) here – it helps that she has a resemblance to a certain Kiwi actress. She’s a 24-year-old uni student, and feels like a movie star for a day as people love her costume. [Update: Kelly has commented on my About page. Thanks, Kelly! Her website is here.]

Note the muggle on the left – there were Harry Potter and Hermione costumers, and plenty of other T-shirts that betrayed people’s enthusiasms, such as “Lord Vetinari Rules”. Personally I liked the one with two dinosaurs facing off, with the caption “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal” – sob, Wash! One woman I spoke to said she ignored “Serenity” and just concentrated on “Firefly” as she couldn’t handle Wash’s sudden but inevitable death – unfortunately someone always has to “get Jossed” in Whedon’s movies. I bought Andrew a T-shirt that said “I’m only here because my server is down” – appropriate, I thought. 🙂 Next year I’m wearing my “Cardiff Weevil Retrieval Team” T-shirt.

Here are more details of their (bought) costumes … beats my action figures any day.

All this walking … where’s Argo when you need her?

The “play” in “cosplay” …

Even without her chakram, she has many skills

There are many “subcultures” in cosplay. There’s steam punk …

Steam punk lady – the goggles and general Victoriana give her away

… diesel punk …

Diesel punk group

… anime …

Anime girls

Black Cat (Marvel comic character) … there were some Catwomen (from the comic Batman) in skin-tight vinyl, too. Looked great but must have been sweltering.

Anime character

… and just about anything fantasy or sci fi that attracts an enthusiastic group (comics, graphic novels, movies, TV shows, animation, role playing, computer games …).

Everyone wanted a photo with the TARDIS …

Potential TARDIS companions – look out, Matt Smith!

Lady 10th Doctor – she keeps her sonic screwdriver in her hair

… and it’s …

Too big for the living room

This is not Suranne Jones, but she is the TARDIS …

She is the TARDIS

… and so is she …

Tardis2I was perusing the array of Doctor Who merchandise, and next to me a woman was discussing pocket money with her two small boys (about 7 or 8 years old). They wanted a Time Lord pocket watch, but that would use up all their pocket money. I asked her if I could get some pocket money, too – “are you my mummy?” She immediately got the joke. That was one of the nice things about this event – people knew what you were talking about. (And, sorry, I’m not going to explain that one. If you’ve watched New Who, you’ll get it.)

The fellow on the right below went to the trouble of taking off his watch and glasses to be more authentic to the character – “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”.

All hail Time Lord President Rassilon (left), and the Shadow (right)

Some of the boys like the military/superhero costumes …

Comic book heroes

The costume on the right is definitely not off-the-rack …

Mixed genres were no problem …

What have you done with Princess Leia?

I didn’t get a shot of the most wonderful Queen Armadillo [darn, that natural history always pokes in] Amidala, nor one of a fabulous monster from one of the Alien movies. I was too busy picking my jaw up from the floor, by which time it had sloped off into the crowd.

My “cutest costume” prize goes to the littlest Darth Vader …

The littlest Darth

Many thanks to the lovely people who allowed me to take photos of them.

Since we’re on the topic, here are some pics from the Dalek Race at a convention in Melbourne in 1976. Each uni (Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide) had made a Dalek for the occasion.

It’s a bit cramped in there

Where to in all the universe?

The Dalek that won had a bicycle built in, whereas the others relied on cramped foot power – technology rules, again.

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8 Responses to Feeding my inner sci-fi fan

  1. Rebecca says:

    Lovely! Someday I really must make it to a convention.

    Word is that someone gets “Jossed” in The Avengers, too. I’m steeling myself for the heartbreak.

  2. Joy Window says:

    The man can’t help himself! But he’s brilliant anyway.

  3. Cath Clark says:

    I tell ya, I wouldn’t have gotten the reference to Wash straight away, tho I do remember his dinosaur play before the spearing. Talk about getting “Jossed!” Thanks for that B&W pic of you & the Tardis console, I love that. Tho I think you may harbor a secret desire to slither into Zena leather. I want a blue fuzzy Tardis outfit myself, that was really creative. Also liked the girl dressed as D. Tennant. Thanks for sharing all the fun cozzies!

  4. Alan Sandercock says:

    This is a great collection of photos. Of course I recognize the people in those last two photos, although I suspect that I’d left Australia at that point in time. Speaking of “The Avengers” we saw it the other day. It’s certainly a great film for comic fans and fans of Marvel in particular. This is almost certainly the most financially successful Joss Whedon film to date – it was probably so in the first hour or so of being released!

    • Joy Window says:

      Thanks, Alan. Did you catch Whedon’s “Doctor Horrible’s Singalong Blog”? Even the commentary is in song form. As I heard on the “This American Life” radio podcast recently, you either know nothing about the man or you love him.

  5. Pingback: Talking about pop, pop, pop culture | A-roving I will go

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