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– by Dayna Verhey

With Supercon having just passed, there is much to say about the massive event which took place at the Raleigh Convention Center. With celebrity guests and four stories filled with vendors, panels, and cosplayers over a three-day span, the event was a sight to behold. The line to enter the convention on Saturday wrapped around the building, numerous cosplayers and fans alike eagerly awaiting admittance into the halls.

Celebrity guests such as Michael Rooker, who was most recently known for his role as Yondu in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and Tara Strong, voice actress for Twilight Sparkles, Harley Quinn, Raven, and more, as well as LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner who played Geordi Laforge and Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was a star studded weekend, with numerous cosplayers and voice actors conducting panels, meet and greets, and signings.

A positive attribute of the Con was its large and diverse vendor market. Vendors on the bottom floor of the convention sold anything from pillows to leather-bound journals to Harry Potter cloaks and wands to Doctor Who jewelry. There was a broad array of artwork, and even artists who took commissions to create caricatures on the spot of those who sat down in their chairs. Another theme among the vendors was a focus on Game of Thrones merchandise, as the new season premier was to air Sunday night.

The events and panels at the Con were fantastic. There were always multiple events going on with something for everyone. Guest stars spoke at panels just as much as up-and-coming cosplayers did. There was a lot of variety, and the Con ensured that everyone was represented through the coverage of the panels, from writers to artists to those of the LGBT community and minorities. There were events, dances, and photoshoots as well to keep the energy up throughout the long weekend.

One drawback of the Con was the limited amount of food. There was a small food court with several stands, but the overall quantity of food did not stack up well against the large number of people in the crowd. There were about seven or eight places to eat with about six of those places serving actual food at an inflated rate, and the other couple selling ice cream or smoothies. Overall, for the thousands of people in attendance, it simply was not enough. The location of the convention did not alleviate the issue, either. There were limited places to eat around the convention and almost no cheap alternatives for food nearby. Food, or the lack thereof, was definitely an issue.

Throughout the day on Saturday I picked cosplayers out of the crowd asking each a single question: What was their favorite part of attending a convention? The most memorable answers, along with the Instagram or Facebook handle of the speaker, are as follows:

@ninelivescosplay: “I want to see all my favourite nerds, especially in North Carolina since they’re all spread out.. It’s always cool because there’s always amazing cosplay, amazing talent, and I just supervised kids making lightsabers, so it’s fun stuff like that that you don’t get to do every day.”

@g_terrill722: “Definitely the cosplay… cosplaying gives you so much confidence that I just want to be able to come here and be confident.”

@bandananinja, @the_confather, and Kamikaze cosplay (on Facebook) all agreed on, “Spending too much money!”

@ladypotatocosplay: “Seeing all the cosplays.”

@Vieracomics: “Well, I own a comic shop and I based my comic shop around cosplay. We have a lot of cosplay events, so I just like going to see different cosplays, meeting different cosplayers, networking, and hopefully meeting them at other conventions in other states.”

@leeleethebunny: “Meeting new people that have the same interests in stuff that I’m interested in.”

On Sunday I repeated the process with a different question, the question being: How do you feel cosplay has had an impact on you? Once again, the answers along with the Instagram or Facebook handle of the speaker, were as follows:

@blackkarmacosplay: “It has definitely brought me to a place where I can meet people more like myself, especially when I grew up without a lot of people like me who were nerdy, and I’ve made my best friends and it’s really helped me be a happier person.”

@Wilylifecosplay: “There are probably two that are tied. I have extremely high anxiety… and being able to do this, I’m able to open myself up. By being different characters I’m able to kind of pull from different emotions, which I probably couldn’t do if I were just walking around in normal clothes, but I’m able to be more myself while dressed as other people. The other is being able to, kind of help… see kids, they get really excited. That helps boost my confidence, and it’s just an all-around good environment.”

@Wilylifecosplay: “There are probably two that are tied. I have extremely high anxiety… and being able to do this, I’m able to open myself up. By being different characters I’m able to kind of pull from different emotions, which I probably couldn’t do if I were just walking around in normal clothes, but I’m able to be more myself while dressed as other people. The other is being able to, kind of help… see kids, they get really excited. That helps boost my confidence, and it’s just an all-around good environment.”

@lacysquirrel: “So, about two years ago, I found myself really sedentary. I was diagnosed with cancer, and then I realized, I’m a really good sewer. One thing turned to another, I started networking in the community, and now I’m travelling statewide and sometimes even country-wide selling my props and it’s absolutely amazing. The people I’ve met at cons have become my best friends. They’re the nicest people in the world and give so much support. They’re part of my family now.”

@mossyfox_: “Meeting people. I mean, just seeing genuinely how amazing, helpful and nice everyone is, especially in cosplay. It brings out the best in people, I think.”

So, overall, Supercon was a great convention with an extremely positive atmosphere and numerous talented cosplayers. I would certainly recommend the event to those who enjoy cosplay and to those who want to attend a larger convention.