Costuming

I make or purchase a lot of costumes. Here is where I'll talk about costumes I've made, am making, am in the process of upgrading, or talk to some of my friends in the costuming community.

Mom-Son Superhero Party

Every year, all across the country around Valentine’s Day, community centers have Father-Daughter Dances, which is great, but why should Dads and their little girls have all the fun? What about the moms and their boys?

With that in mind, the Delaware Community Center YMCA hosted the 2nd Annual Mom-Son Superhero Party, and the Heroes Alliance were honored to be invited out as a part of the event, along with several local real heroes in the form of Firefighters and Police Officers.

Batman, Batgirl, Captain America, Doctor Fate, Gambit, Rogue, Spider-Man, Supergirl and Superman were overjoyed to be on hand, meeting the kids and their moms, joining in on the dancing, playing superhero-themed games, and signing autographs.

Thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Carol Martin for out-of-costume support and photography!

This was the second year for the event, and over 200 moms and their sons turned out for the evening. The members of Heroes Alliance Ohio had a blast, and really hope to return next year.

To find out more about the Delaware Community Center YMCA, check out their website at http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/delaware

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org

Visit to the Childhood League Center

by Aaron Einhorn
The Childhood League Center is a preschool near Nationwide Childrens’ Hospital that provides preschool and special needs services to children from the ages of 18 months to 6 years old. Most of the enrolled children have special needs. Each year, a group of volunteers plan several activities throughout the year to enrich the students’ learning experience and provide respite for the caregivers. On Saturday, February 22, 2014, the volunteers offered a day of care for the children and to provide respite for the caregivers of these children. The members of the Heroes Alliance Ohio were invited out to take part in this day and to help brighten up the day for the children.

Batgirl, Captain America, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and Spider-Man were overjoyed to be able to go and visit with the children in their classrooms, getting to see the activities they were involved in, and to share hugs and high-fives with the kids.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Rick Merola for out-of-costume support and photography.

Founded in 1945 by a group of visionary women, The Childhood League champions educational opportunities for all children. The Childhood League Center, located in downtown Columbus across the street from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, provides a broad range of early childhood educational programs and therapeutic services for children from birth to age 6 in an inclusive environment.

With generous support from the League, individuals and companies in the community, the Center is committed to providing the best possible early learning opportunities for children with and without special needs through a combination of home-based and Center-based programming. To learn more about the Childhood League Center and the Childhood League, visit http://www.childhoodleague.org/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://heroesalliance.org

Rebuilding a Superhero: Week Two

by Aaron Einhorn
Here we are, one week into consistently focusing on fitness, diet, health and costuming. And while we’re off to a slow start, it’s an encouraging one. I managed to stick to my calorie budget (for the most part), exercised all six days this past week as planned, and had some significant progress on both Cyclops and Captain America coming together.

Fitness

When I weighed myself this morning, Monday, February 24, 2014, I weighed 203 pounds after showering. I didn’t run this morning, but will tonight – so I could have weighed in a little lower than that if I had. My goal weight is initially to get to 185 lbs. again, and from there, I may shoot as low as 165 – but a well-muscled 185 is perfectly acceptable. Last week, I weighed in at 204.2 pounds, so we’ve got a little over a pound lost.

With the exception of Saturday, I tracked my food intake this past week using the LoseIt app on my iPhone. I am using the app to set myself a goal of losing two pounds a week, which gives me a rough calorie budget of this past week of 1,714 calories per day. I am also specifically using the app to track my recommended levels of Fats and Protein. Results:

  • Sunday, February 16: 1,681 (-33)
  • Monday, February 17: 1,485 (-229)
  • Tuesday, February 18: 1,562 (-152)
  • Wednesday, February 19: 1,547 (-167)
  • Thursday, February 20: 1,893 (+179)
  • Friday, February 21: 1,847 (+133)
  • Saturday: No tracking

My total for the week put me at 38 calories under budget for the week. I didn’t log any of my exercise in the app, which according to the specifics of the app, would have given me extra calories to eat.

I successfully hit my goal of working out six days this past week. Alternating Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday will be weight-training/circuit training using Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred, which was the backbone of most of my success last time around, and on Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays, I am returning to running. I’m using the Ease Into 5K app from BlueFin to motivate and log my running.

Sunday: 30 Day Shred, using 10 lbs. hand weights for the whole routine. I overdid this, and managed to strain some muscles in my right arm, which affected the rest of my workout schedule. Note to self: You can’t jump right back in with the same weight you had been using when you worked out regularly two years ago.
Monday: C25K, Week 1, Day 1. Most runs were performed at a 6 mph pace, and most walks were done at a 3.5 mph pace. Covered a total of 2.06 miles on the dreadmill, with most runs at a .5 incline.
Tuesday: 30 Day Shred, using 5 lbs. hand weights for everything except the Chest Flys in the third interval, which I used 10 lbs. for. This was a bit rough, because Cordy came downstairs and wanted to help, so I spend a lot of my time correcting her form.
Wednesday: C25K, Week 1, Day 2. Most runs were performed at a 6 mph pace, with every third performed at 6.5 mph and most walks were done at a 4 mph pace. Covered a total of 2.46 miles on the dreadmill, with most runs at a .5 incline.
Thursday: 30 Day Shred, using 5 lbs. hand weights for everything except the Chest Flys in the third interval, which I used 10 lbs. for.
Friday: C25K, Week 1, Day 3. Runs alternated between a 6 mph pace and a 6.5 mph pace and most walks were done at a 4 mph pace. Covered a total of 2.50 miles on the dreadmill, with most runs at a .5 incline.
Saturday: Rest Day

Costuming

There was a lot of progress on costumes completed this week, partially bumped forward because of needing to have Captain America ready this weekend for a Heroes Alliance event.

Cyclops (Claremont-Era Inspired)
This week, Cyclops saw his gloves and trunks arrive, his gloves get painted, and I got a replacement top that is a turtleneck instead of a crew neck. I also assembled the belt. All that remains on the costume now is to dye the trunks, and to re-touch the paint on the boots.

The gloves, from Leather Mystics, in their unpainted form.

The gloves, from Leather Mystics, in their unpainted form.

The gloves, now painted with Angelus leather paint, as recommended to me by my friend Allen Hansard. I will never again Nu-Life gloves.

The gloves, now painted with Angelus leather paint, as recommended to me by my friend Allen Hansard. I will never again Nu-Life gloves.

Belt assembled together. The buckle originally came from Peachykitty, whose shop can be found on Etsy, although I purchased it unpainted and painted it myself.

Belt assembled together. The buckle originally came from Peachykitty, whose shop can be found on Etsy, although I purchased it unpainted and painted it myself.

Costume assembled. The boots in this image still need to be touched up (they were the Captain 105s from Funtasma, and originally I used them for Jack of Hearts).

Costume assembled with the new turtleneck top. The boots in this image still need to be touched up (they were the Captain 105s from Funtasma, and originally I used them for Jack of Hearts).

Since the previous image looks a little "Captain Underpants," I pulled it into Photoshop and color-corrected the trunks and fixed the spots on the boots.

Since the previous image looks a little “Captain Underpants,” I pulled it into Photoshop and color-corrected the trunks and fixed the spots on the boots.

Captain America (The First Avenger Inspired)
It will be some time before I’ve got the money saved up to purchase a new shield (and I’m not really ready to undo all the work I did on my U.S. Agent shield), so in a stroke of amazing generosity, a good friend has loaned me his Factory X “Official” Shield of Captain America. At 27” diameter, this is considerably larger than the movie shield, as you can see thanks to my amazing model, Captain A-Mira-ca.

It is absolutely unfair that she is so much cuter in the helmet and holding the shield than I ever will be.

It is absolutely unfair that she is so much cuter in the helmet and holding the shield than I ever will be.

At the last minute, the Heroes Alliance Ohio team was invited to come out for an event this Saturday, and I desperately tried to get Cap assembled. Between the borrowed shield, my existing helmet, gloves, boots, belt and pouches, and the same suit I borrowed for the previous test picture shots, I managed to make it happen.

Captain America: The First Avenger, as he appeared for the kids at the Childhood League Center on Saturday.

Captain America: The First Avenger, as he appeared for the kids at the Childhood League Center on Saturday.

This is not a complete costume. For one thing, the suit seen here isn’t mine. For another, the gloves and boots both need the addition of straps and extra panels to resemble the versions used in the film. And once the suit does arrive, there are a lot of pieces to the suit that I intend to replace and upgrade. But it worked well enough for the kids to be overjoyed at meeting Captain America, which is the ultimate goal.

That’s where I’m at. Not a bad first week, I think. Thanks for sticking with me.

Rebuilding a Superhero: Week One

by Aaron Einhorn
Long, long ago, I created a column on Comic Hero News titled Superhero Transformation. This column existed to chronicle my efforts to get in shape and to build my first superhero costume in over a decade – Superman.

That effort was originally based around wearing the costume to San Diego Comic Con, but that costume ended up leading me into helping to create the Ohio Branch of the Heroes Alliance, and has led to a lot more costumes.

Of course, life being what it is, there have been changes since I originally dropped from 216 to 185 lbs. Changing work schedules and increased activity from my children has given me less time to work out, and bad food habits have crept back into my life.

A few months back, I noticed that the scale was creeping north of 200 pounds again. And I have been halfheartedly keeping track of my food intake and trying to work out somewhat regularly. But there have been times the lure of a Snickers bar has been too hard to resist, and many mornings that I would rather lay on the couch playing Marvel Avengers Alliance on Facebook instead of throwing in Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred or jumping on the treadmill.

Today, I weighed myself and realized that despite those half-hearted efforts, the scale has not budged in two weeks. And while it’s possible that there has been some muscle build to offset some fat loss, I’m neither feeling it nor seeing it.

To paraphrase Wanda Maximoff, “No more cheating.”

Nothing keeps me accountable as much as a public log of my efforts, and so that’s what I’m doing again. This won’t just be a log of my fitness though, because that would be utterly boring and of no interest to anyone who is coming here for the superhero stuff. I will also be showing off my WIP for the costumes I’m currently working on.

Fitness

When I weighed myself this morning, Monday, February 17, 2014, I weighed 204.2 pounds. This was after running this morning, and showering. My goal weight is initially to get to 185 lbs. again, and from there, I may shoot as low as 165 – but a well-muscled 185 is perfectly acceptable.

My intention is to track my food using the LoseIt app on my iPhone. I am using the app to set myself a goal of losing two pounds a week, which gives me a rough calorie budget of 1,714 calories per day. I am also specifically using the app to track my recommended levels of Fats and Protein. For future weeks, I will be including my daily results on sticking to that goal.

I also intend to work out six days a week. Alternating Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday will be weight-training/circuit training. I’m starting off with using Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred, which was the backbone of most of my success last time around. I intend to add some more intense upperbody and ab exercises in the evenings of those days as well, but those will not be for a few weeks, because my arms are plenty sore right now just from doing that video yesterday.

On Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays, I am returning to running. I’m using the Ease Into 5K app from BlueFin to motivate and log my running. I used their app last time, and got myself to the point where I did successfully run a few 5Ks without stopping to walk during the runs. I’d like to get back to that.

Daily run results and whether or not I actually did Jillian Michaels’ routine will be recorded here as well, starting next week.

Costuming

I’m currently mostly focusing on two costumes right now, with a third project slowly percolating on the back burner.

Cyclops (Claremont-Era Inspired)
Cyclops has always been my favorite of the X-Men, and Chris Claremont’s run on the comics through the eighties and into the nineties has always been my favorite timeframe for the book (up until just now). So, I’m aiming to do a costume mostly focused on that suit.

Here’s what I have so far.

The raw, unpainted kit for the visor. I lucked into a steal for the visor, and that's why this is a Claremont-era inspired costume, instead of strictly faithful.

The raw, unpainted kit for the visor. I lucked into a steal for the visor, and that’s why this is a Claremont-era inspired costume, instead of strictly faithful.

The visor, cleaned, sanded, painted, and assembled.

The visor, cleaned, sanded, painted, and assembled.

Wearing the visor with the hood and spandex top. This isn't the actual top I'll be wearing, which will be a mock turtleneck. The navy of the hood and the shirt aren't a perfect match, but they're close enough.

Wearing the visor with the hood and spandex top. This isn’t the actual top I’ll be wearing, which will be a mock turtleneck. The navy of the hood and the shirt aren’t a perfect match, but they’re close enough.

My belt buckle, sanded and painted. I have a red leather belt to attach this to - I just need to figure out how I want to do so.

My belt buckle, sanded and painted. I have a red leather belt to attach this to – I just need to figure out how I want to do so.

I also have a pair of white leather gauntlets from Leather Mystics, which will be painted yellow with Angelus paint, and a pair of Captain-105 boots from Funtasma by Pleaser, which are already painted yellow, but need a bit of touch-up. This makes this costume almost completed, once I do some painting, complete the belt, and acquire a new set of yellow briefs. Expect to see updates for this costume next week.

Captain America (The First Avenger Inspired)
Captain America is hugely popular with kids right now, thanks to the success of the Marvel movies. I actually already have a U.S. Agent costume, but the truth is that when I wear him for events, kids treat me like I’m Cap, and it’s easier to tell them that this is just a different costume than my “normal” uniform and be Cap for them.

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So, I’m working on creating a new Cap suit, and hope to have it ready in time for a Heroes Alliance Ohio event we’re doing for the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

This is the helmet of the costume, made by the awesome folks at Malmey Studios.

This is the helmet of the costume, made by the awesome folks at Malmey Studios.

The gloves, as a base version. I'm going to weather them, add the wrist strap, cuffs, and then split the seam and add the buckle at the wrist.

The gloves, as a base version. I’m going to weather them, add the wrist strap, cuffs, and then split the seam and add the buckle at the wrist.

The base for the boots. These need weathered, and to have the cuffs/buckles added. They're not the Cocoran's that are screen-accurate, but they're a good enough match and were a quarter of the cost.

The base for the boots. These need weathered, and to have the cuffs/buckles added. They’re not the Cocoran’s that are screen-accurate, but they’re a good enough match and were a quarter of the cost.

These are vintage WWII ammo pouches, and will be worn on the belt of the costume. They're not exactly the ones seen in the film, but they're a good enough match.

These are vintage WWII ammo pouches, and will be worn on the belt of the costume. They’re not exactly the ones seen in the film, but they’re a good enough match.

This is the base cosplay suit. This version was ordered by a friend of mine, but mine has been ordered and is on it's way. It needs modification, including replacing hardware, changing out the star on the chest, and adding a red stripe that will go over the zipper in the front, but it's not a bad base, I don't think.

This is the base cosplay suit. This version was ordered by a friend of mine, but mine has been ordered and is on it’s way.
It needs modification, including replacing hardware, changing out the star on the chest, and adding a red stripe that will go over the zipper in the front, but it’s not a bad base, I don’t think.

That’s where I’m at. Hopefully some of you have read this far and will keep me motivated. And maybe I’ll be able to motivate some of you.

Jingle Bell Walk/Run For Arthritis 2013 (Columbus)

by Aaron Einhorn

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is an annual, national event put on by the Arthritis Foundation, and for a second year in a row, the Heroes Alliance Ohio team was thrilled to be able to come and out support the event. Despite the well-below freezing temperatures and snow and ice on the ground, Batgirl, Dr. Fate, Iron Man, Supergirl, U.S. Agent and Wonder Girl came out to support the runners as they raised funds for arthritis care and research, and also to take part in the Snowflake Run with the children.

The event managed to raise over $190,000 in funds for the Arthritis Foundation.

Many thanks to Stephen Blanzaco for out-of-costume support, photography, and braving the cold temperatures!

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest national nonprofit organization that supports the more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country. We’re also the largest private, nonprofit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $450 million in research grants since 1948. The Foundation helps people take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Learn more at http://www.arthritis.org/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, check us out at http://www.heroesalliance.org

University of Dayton Dance Marathon

by Aaron Einhorn
For fifteen years, the students at the University of Dayton have participated in a 15-hour Dance Marathon to raise money for the worthy and needy children who are patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Students participate in a variety of fund-raising activities leading up to and during the Dance Marathon. Each hour of the marathon has a theme, and this year Heroes Alliance Ohio were invited to be a part of their “Pop Culture” hour.

Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Iron Man and Rogue all came out to meet some of the patients of the hospital and to support the dancing students in their endeavors. And ended up getting pulled out onto the Dance Floor as well!

This was, without a doubt, one of the more unusual events the team has ever done. There were very few kids there, and most of our hour of attendance involved seeing us dance. And to be honest, it’s not bad that I play Superman, because I dance like a white boy from Kansas.

Still, through the efforts of the students, over $55,000 were raised for the hospital, and the team was more than happy to have been able to support them.

Special thanks to Wiccy and Manuella Galvan for photography and out-of-costume support.

To learn more about the UD Dance Marathon, visit http://uddancemarathon.kintera.org/

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, check out our web page at http://heroesalliance.org

The Super Fun Run: A 5K For Heroes

by Aaron Einhorn
Vito Nocero was a community activist, a good friend to many, and a huge fan of superheroes. He wanted to help kids learn to read, and to be happy. He died unexpectedly last year at the far too young age of 26. I didn’t know Vito, but I have a lot of friends in Columbus who did.

Vito’s mother, along with members of the community, organized the first “The Super Fun Run: A 5K For Heroes” this past Saturday in memory of Vito, and to raise money and awareness for Marburn Academy, a school with an emphasis on high-functioning students with ADHD and Dyslexia, which Vito had attended. The members of Heroes Alliance Ohio were only too overjoyed to be able to be a part of the event, and turned out in force with nine heroes present. Marburn is a great school, and one that Christina and I had actually considered for Cordy.

Superman, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Rogue and Thor were in attendance on behalf of the Heroes Alliance, and were joined there by a visiting Iron Man. We also saw a ton of costumes on the kids there, along with several adults who got in on the fun.

Despite the freezing temperatures, the event was well attended, and a great deal of fun was had by all.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco for photography and out of costume support.

Marburn Academy has been built on the belief that a school program could be designed which would enable bright students with learning differences such as dyslexia and ADHD to attain their full potential in academic, social, and affective development. The goals of Marburn’s school programs are to develop the students’ academic and cognitive skills, to build strong work habits, to teach the values of persistence and courage in overcoming challenges, to build effective social interaction and problem solving patterns, and to strengthen their self-image so they may successfully return to their local schools, prepare for college or other post-secondary schooling, and pursue rewarding careers. To learn more about Marburn Academy, visit their website at: http://www.marburnacademy.org/

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org

Call To Action! Report This Page!

by Aaron Einhorn
I wouldn’t normally post something like this, but part of the reason for the migration from Comic Hero News to this site was so that I could do a little bit more personal activity in this blog.

Facebook has become, for many of us, a kind of second life. Many of us keep in touch with friends through Facebook, we follow celebrities, and we take part in group discussions about our favorite fandoms. I have become friends with many costumers through Facebook, which let me have at least a basis for going up and talking to them when I attended DragonCon this past August.

And then there’s this.

For those of you not wanting to follow the link, here’s a screenshot.

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That’s right. It’s a Facebook page called “Fat Costumers,” and despite the “disclaimer” that everything here is a joke, it is anything but.

I hesitated to post anything about this page, because the last thing I want to do is give the… people… running this page any more attention. But the truth is, this sort of thing should not stand. So I urge all of my friends, family, fellow costumers and other decent humans to go to this page (for the love of God, don’t “like” it) and report them.

I’m overweight. Not obese, but overweight. And every time I put on my costumes, all I can see in the pictures is the belly roll or double chin. But I do it anyhow because I love the characters, and I love putting smiles on the faces of children.

People like the ones who run this page represent all that is the worst in us, and make it that much harder for any of us who don’t have a perfect comic-book physique to gather up the courage to express ourselves, our fandom, or our love for the characters.

Don’t let them get away with it for one second longer.

Sincerely,
Fat Superman

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Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part Four (Sunday & Monday)

by Aaron Einhorn

Sunday

Waking up on Sunday morning was a bit surreal. Where I had gone to bed in a hotel where you literally could not see the floor looking down from our room, I woke to an almost entirely silent hotel lobby. But then, this was where people had been partying HARD the night before, so I’m certain that many of them were sleeping it off.

But there was no sleep to be found in my morning. Why? Because I was off to see one of my favorite authors. Jim Butcher, writer of The Dresden Files had a book signing from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (with a lunch break in the middle there), so right at 9:30, I was there in line.

I should have arrived earlier. The line had already snaked back and forth five times by the time I got in line. Fortunately, Christina and I were told by a helpful DragonCon staffer that “He signs fast.” We were given instructions on how to help keep the line moving quickly, and fortunately, most people seemed to listen, because by 10:45, Christina and I had gotten to the front of the line.

I wasn’t having a book signed for myself, because I didn’t actually think to bring one. But I did have a copy of the graphic novel “Welcome to the Jungle,” which was actually a Christmas present from me to my Mother-In-Law last year. I had previously obtained a signed copy of Butcher’s “Ghost Story” for her at San Diego Comic Con, but that was an instance where he had signed a huge stack of books and left them sitting at a bookshop at the convention. It wasn’t personalized. This time, I would meet the man himself.

Since I didn’t have a book to have him sign, I asked him to sign a copy of my Dragon Con badge, which he was happy to oblige me with. So, when the time came, I went up, handed him my book and badge, and told him “Although I really love all your books, my favorite has to be your Spider-Man novelization.” Butcher’s eyes lit up when I said that. “Thanks! I’m really proud of that one. Poor Rhino, he doesn’t get enough respect.”

jim_butcher_autographs

It could have been a glib response, but I like to think I left an impression on him.

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After getting his signature, Christina and I made a trip to visit our friend to borrow a pair of red boots so that we could be both American Dream and U.S. Agent for the Big Marvel Shoot, and then it was back up to our room to change.

Arriving at the Big Marvel Shoot, the two of us went over to the Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. subgroup shot, which was a lot of fun, despite the threat of rain. Every time the thunder clapped, we heard a cheer from the Asgardian shoot. “Damn it, Thor!” became a common refrain.

Photo Credit: Paul Cory Photography Christina and I are in the lower right corner.

Photo Credit: Paul Cory Photography
Christina and I are in the lower right corner.

Sadly, a large bout of rain chased us away from the shoot before the actual large group shot could occur, although we later heard that it did happen, just delayed a bit.

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics We weren’t here, but it still looks like it was fun.

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics
We weren’t here, but it still looks like it was fun.

From there, we went back to the dealer’s room for some last minute purchases (new colored contacts for me), returned the boots we had borrowed, and then returned to our room to change into civilian clothes. I was going to then attempt an almost mythical action among Dragon Con costumers – I was going to go to a panel.

The panel in question was “Seriously Funny Ways to Get Rejected,” and for this author who is currently suffering through a wave of rejection notices from agents he has queried, it was exactly what I needed. It was fun, enlightening, reminded me why I need to stick with it, and gave me another agency to query. So, win-win.

From there, we made our way to the final SCF gathering.

Unlike the first night’s gathering, I was far more relaxed at this one. First off, I had now actually met most of the people at the gathering, at least briefly. Secondly, I had been shooting alongside them all day, and while I still admired their costumes, I now was able to see the costumes up close and realize that, hey, my costumes aren’t all that bad next to theirs. I still look up to many of the folks I’ve met on that board, but I now see myself as their peer, which is pretty awesome.

There was food, there was drink, there were a lot of hugs, and a lot of laughs. There were more names than I can remember, and many, many new additions to my Facebook Friends’ list. It was a great way to end the convention. As a friend of mine has long since stated in his signature file “Costumes are fleeting. Friends last a lifetime.” To many of these folks, I started Dragon Con as “the guy who wore Jack of Hearts,” but I think that by the time we left Sunday night, I was just Aaron.

Back to our room, and packing ensued. We had a 10:10 flight, which meant that we needed to be at the airport and checked in by 9:00 a.m., so we wanted to be checked out of the hotel by 8:00 a.m. Morning was going to come early.

Monday

There was some small kerfluffle with our checkout and using gift cards, but it is my sincere hope that it will soon be worked out. If not, expect me to fill in many more details here later. The flight home was uneventful, and soon enough, we were back to Columbus, Ohio with our daughters and our dog.

Dragon Con was exciting and fun, although huge and crowded. I know from crowed events, having been a several year attendee of San Diego Comic Con, but I fear that Dragon may have outgrown its space. I’d love to return next year, but for now Christina and I need to evaluate the costs versus the amount of fun we had. Seeing so many amazing costumers was great, standing in line and fighting with crowds was less so. Still, if you’ve never been to Dragon Con, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Read More:

Dragon Con 2013: One Geek’s Perspective, Part Three (Saturday)

by Aaron Einhorn

Saturday

The big event Saturday morning at Dragon Con is the parade. The parade is a massive, epic event, with hundreds of costumers filling the streets of Atlanta while thousands of other people watch. Not all of these thousands of watchers are attendees of the convention, obviously, but many then go on to purchase One-Day passes to the convention, making Saturday the most crowded day of the event.

And I? I did not go to the parade, nor walk in it. The SCF typically walks in the parade with a banner, and many of my friends were there. However Christina and I chose to skip out on the parade and use that time of increased con activity to go check out the dealer’s room. And I’m glad we did, because even with the number of people out watching the parade, the vendor area was still very crowded.

But it was crowded for a good reason, because there was a lot of really cool stuff to be seen. Aisle after aisle of costume accessories, books, toys, statues, games, bags and more. I’ve been to some of the biggest conventions in the world before (six years of attending the San Diego Comic Con), but even so I was impressed by the selection I found here.

And it wasn’t just stuff that could be seen. There were authors and artists tucked away throughout the vendor area, which led to yet another celebrity encounter as Christina and I found our way to the table of Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn.

The film adaptation of that story has long been a favorite in our house, with Cordy and Mira both falling for its enchantment, and I’m a huge fan of the novelization. So, we couldn’t pass up the chance to meet Peter and purchase a signed copy of the graphic novel adaptation. Peter is a charming gentleman, who spent a significant amount of time with each customer in line, posing for pictures, and generally making himself appear to be the coolest grandfather ever.

peterbeagle

But that wasn’t all that we did in the Vendor’s room. Remember that the previous day I had managed to sell off my Ultimate Spider-Man costumer? Well, it’s a good thing that we did, because while browsing the vendor’s hall, Christina showed me a corset she had noticed the day before.

I told her to go ahead and try it on. She did. And once it was laced up (complete with chemise, short-jacket and overskirt), I was convinced to hand over our credit card and cash.

That’s right. I had finally managed to get my wife into a superhero costume, even if it was a steampunk and feminized version of a costume.

Needless to say, we finished the outfit off with a cool pair of steampunk goggles, a pair of tights, and then she stole my boots and shield from U.S. Agent. And the final result? Steampunk American Dream.

I've been trying to get her back into a costume for years, ever since we stopped doing RenFaire together.

I’ve been trying to get her back into a costume for years, ever since we stopped doing RenFaire together.

Yeah, I was excited. I didn’t even care that it meant I wasn’t going to be able to wear U.S. Agent right away. Sadly, I couldn’t spend enough time as her costume handler (she’s used to being mine) because I had to get painted red for the Giant DC Universe shoot. I have since discovered that I hate spray-in hair color, but the effect worked for the day.

The shoot was awesome and epic, and I got to meet up with my Superman Blue counterpart for some really fun side-by-side shots.

Photo Credit: Badger Studios

Photo Credit: Badger Studios

A quick plug to Mehron’s cake makeup. While wearing both Superman Red and Jack of Hearts, I never had any makeup bleed. This impressed me, quite a bit.

Following the shoot, it was time for a quick run back to the room to change and get something to eat before putting Jack of Hearts back on and finishing setting Christina into costume so the two of us could attend the Heroes and Villains Ball.

American Dream and Jack of Hearts, ready to hit the town!

American Dream and Jack of Hearts, ready to hit the town!

The Ball was a blast, despite a short line to get in. The music was good and loud, and the number of obnoxious drunks was small. We danced away happily for over an hour, although Christina and I both realized that we’re not as young as we once were, and called it a night shortly after midnight.

Dragon Con was coming along well, and if this had been the end of the convention, I’d have had no complaints. But there was still one more day of the con to go, and it would be filled with just as many awesome experiences as the rest of the event.

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