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Why Wear Costumes To Comic Conventions?

By Phil Stauskas, CBSDFW.COM
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(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) - What do your favorite superheroes and supervillains do when they’re not saving the world, or plotting to take it over? To find the answers, one only needs to attend a comic book convention. And this weekend is the perfect chance to do it, as the Dallas Comic Con brings geek culture back to the Metroplex.

Wonder Woman resting at a picnic table, munching on a jumbo bag of popcorn. Superman hauling around a super-sized sack of lithographs and action figures. The Joker taking a smoke break on an outdoor patio. These will not be uncommon sights at the Irving Convention Center this weekend, as costumed fans soar into DFW for a chance to see some of their favorite stars from the world of pop culture.

Most of those in attendance are not decked out in brightly-colored spandex or elaborate “Star Wars” battle armor. But some are, which begs the question — why? On a day when the temperatures reached above 90 degrees in Irving, what would make someone want to dress in a full Power Rangers uniform. Or a tight leather Batgirl outfit? Or a form-fitting Spider-Man costume?

And, yes, all of those are actual examples of people seen roaming the halls of the Dallas Comic Con on Friday afternoon.

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

“You’re a rock star for a day,” said Evan Greenwood, who along with his best friend was wearing space marine armor from the “Halo” video game series. Greenwood built the two costumes by himself out of reinforced carbon fiber. The armor was so strong that it could actually stop bullets, and he had the indentions on his chest to prove it.

Greenwood has been coming out to the Dallas Comic Con for several years now. “It’s for the crowd,” he said. “Most of the time, you don’t see this type of stuff.” That is certainly true, and the folks at the convention center could not get enough. He had a hard time walking around the event floor, because other attendees mobbed him, asking to pose for pictures and seeking out more information about how he built such an eye-catching outfit.

The most elaborate costumes draw the most attention. Strap a Superman cape to your back and nobody will care. But put on a full set of red and blue tights, slip on a pair of red rain boots, and style your hair with that signature forehead curl — and word will travel fast that there is a spot-on Superman doppelganger on the convention center’s third floor.

The outrageous costumes have become a part of the appeal for many attendees. It is a tradition known as cosplay — dressing up as a beloved pop culture character. “I like meeting the other cosplayers. I like seeing what others wear,” said Will Coherd, who could have passed on any movie set for being the actual Captain America.

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

“It’s that whole inner, want-to-be-a-superhero, liking-the-attention piece,” Coherd added. “I tend to do costumes that you don’t see a whole lot of. Yeah, you see a lot of Captain America, but you don’t see a whole lot of 1940s Captain America. Over there, you’ve got Robin Sparkles [from "How I Met Your Mother"], which I think is perfect. That’s amazing. This is the only Robin Sparkles that will show up here.”

But while some are sharing their passion, and others are seeking a brush with fame, one group of “Star Wars” fans are dressing up to help a good cause. “I’m a member of the 501st Legion,” said Phil Grubenhoff, who was attracting a moderate crowd with his highly detailed Darth Vader costume. “The convention was kind enough to loan us a room over here for display, and we do a charity event called Blast-a-Trooper.”

Kids are invited to knock down their favorite “Star Wars” characters with toy blasters. Money raised goes to charity, with this event helping a young girl who has been diagnosed with cancer. Grubenhoff’s striking black outfit and glowing red lightsaber help draw in attendees, and let the group spread their message. “It’s for a good cause,” Grubenhoff said, “and we have fun.”

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: Phil Stauskas/KTVT/KTXA)

The Dallas Comic Con is taking place all weekend long at the Irving Convention Center. Click here for more information about the awesome event, including times and ticket prices. Costumes are not required.

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