My sister and I took a little road trip this past weekend and visited the Cincinnati Comic Expo. This is a fun show for us because so many of our artist friends tend to work the show, so it feels a bit more like a family reunion than a comic convention. On the trip there, we listened to nerdy podcasts and laughed hysterically. We were only able to spend about an hour on the con floor on Friday, but did a quick run-through to get the general layout and take note of where we wanted to stop the next day.
Saturday, I was able to catch a few panels, including spotlights on John Ratzenberger and Wallace Shawn, a panel for cosplayers who don’t sew, and a sketch duel with Alejandro Rosado and Scoot McMahon from Aw Yeah Comics.
The Q&A with Wallace Shawn was such a treat. I will never forget the look on his face as he walked out. He seemed so gennuinely shocked that there would be so many people there just to hear about him. He’s had such a great career and remains so humble. He commented on how he still considers himself mainly a playwright who acts. His background in Latin and History is seriously impressive. I learned so many interesting tidbits that I think I may have left the panel with more questions than I had when I walked in.
Another huge highlight for me was seeing Alejandro and Scoot from Aw Yeah Comics have a sketch (and banter) duel. They answered questions and shared stories while they each drew pictures of Wonder Woman fighting a jellyfish riding a raptor. They each had different interpretations of what that meant, but both sketches were absolutely fabulous.
On Sunday I went to a panel on anxiety and how cosplay can help. This panel was especially intriguing to me as cosplayer with a panic disorder. I’ve always found costumes to be helpful, as you can take on the persona of the character and work on refocusing the anxiety. While I didn’t really learn anything new, I hadn’t thought much about the option of building things into a cosplay to help with anxiety, such as lenses to dim the bright con lighting, or using earplugs or another sound dampening device in order to avoid overstimulation. I think it’s pretty clever to not only make a costume of a character that you’re passionate about, but building it to suit your own anxiety needs.
When we left on Sunday, I had quite the little stack of art and comics. I have been waiting to get the perfect sketches of Morticia and myself as Dorothy, and I finally took the leap this weekend and got some commissions. Tressa Bowling sketched Morticia for me, and Jay Fosgitt checked out one of my Dorothy cosplay photos and made me a sketch from that. I have to say, I have never looked cuter. I’m pretty excited about the present my sister gave me for my birthday. Scoot drew the two of us totally decked out in all of our geek apparel and it is surprisingly true to life.
Were you at the Expo? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Twitter at @amlehr.