San Diego’s Day of Cosplay
“What are you supposed to be?”
For kids, it’s a question you hear once a year on Halloween. For kids that grow up to be cosplayers, you hear it a little more commonly.
“I’m Kate Bishop,” one cosplayer explained, paradoxically to a small child. “I’m Hawkeye. The female Hawkeye, I guess.” The child grimaced like she’d seen someone tell her that previously before trying to sell her a time share and turned back to her laughing father. “I don’t really know how to respond to that,” Monday Mournings said to herself as she turned to keep walking.
Mournings is a personal trainer based out of San Diego. This was her first cosplay event outside of convention appearances.
It began with a Facebook invite to meet in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The event had been organized by Meredith Grace James and Stephanie Storm. The event garnered the interest of more than a thousand people online, a little more than two hundred who confirmed they’d be there, maybe fewer than a hundred who actually showed up.
Balboa Park on a Saturday morning is hardly a scantly populated location. Cosplayers had to, in some cases, park in adjacent neighborhoods and walk the distance to the Organ Pavilion or the Hall of Champions. Nova Bloom had to park in the neighboring Hillcrest, walk to the event, then return to change from his Boba Fett variation to his Stormtrooper before traversing the distance once more. Of course, walking isn’t the hard part. Turning heads, watching people nervously sneak pictures and avoid you on the sidewalk is the hard part.
Or maybe that’s the charm.
Of course, not everyone took the approach of being a hardened bounty hunter or cult-favorite archer. Cosplayer Rae Niks found herself to be a bit more approachable. As Supergirl, she was not only well received by the cameramen but the crowds of people who readily recognized her, and as a result seemed to find her to be a bit less menacing. “I also do Captain America,” she offered up. “I’ve got a vintage look and his Winter Solider costume. I do Lady Odin. I did Doctor Grant from Jurassic Park not that long ago.”
Cosplayer Kaylianna Reeves was easily recognized as Ms. Marvel, while others took more inventive approaches like the steampunk Bishop.
“It’s so nice to see so many people who are already friends,” Mournings said. “I like that these people know each other through this, that they can rely on each other to come together for an event like this. I want to start making more friends like that.”
“Hey, can I get your picture?” a young man shouted.
“Sure,” Mournings as Kate Bishop posed for a shot on his phone, a dramatic perspective as she stood a few feet above him. After a few flashes he began to walk away. “Do you mind hashtagging ‘Hawkeye’ when you post that?” She called to him.
“Yeah, watch me do that,” he said without looking back.
Mournings watched him as he passed through a gathering wedding party that had booked the Organ Pavilion for that time. Suddenly, the group of anime and comic book characters was intermingling with a group of bridesmaids whose gowns flattered her Hawkeye outfit. She smiled and waved, they met her gaze but seemed less amused by the timing.
“Oh, well…” she said. “I’m really just doing this for the fun, anyway.”
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