As a comic convention connoisseur there is always a sense of wonder and excitement I receive when attending a new con. The Mesa Comic and Media Expo (CMX 2014) not only fueled my excitement, it took me to new levels of appreciation for the work that convention owners and volunteers put into events such as these. Day one for me was meeting a friend in downtown Mesa in a demon hunter cosplay (from Diablo 3) to pick up press passes and get a feel for the convention’s layout. Programming was sparse on Friday but we did manage to catch one about Steampunk anime that opened our eyed to artists and creators we were not familiar with ( this is saying a lot as Steampunk anime is a genre I rather enjoy so finding new titles is great!).
Saturday we met early to sign in for a video game panel I was invited to be a speaker at and to scope out an area with great lighting for the FGN cosplay spotlight. The morning temperatures were perfect for photography and the weather permitted ample sunlight to filter through sparse cloud cover. After our photo sessions ( only two cosplayers showed up due to the dreaded scheduling conflicts) we set our sights on several panels: Dante Basco/Janet Varney Q&A, How to Cosplay an Alien and Video Game Cosplay Q&A ( the panel I was invited to).
The Dante Basco and Janet Varney panel was terrific! Feel free to check out my review on them in the FGN archives. The How to Cosplay an Alien panel provided amazing insight on costume make-up, fabrication and transformation. The panelists (Red Nebula Studios and Firelight Cosplay) were experienced, informative and witty. Check them out on Facebook for tutorials and tips on alien cosplaying.
Before I get into the final panel let me elaborate on my experience at this point: everyone was friendly, courteous and supporting. I am not limiting this compliment to the staff either, I literally had one of the most pleasant social encounters at this convention than I have had at any other. The cosplay was amazing! Be sure to visit the Mesa Comic and Media Expo Facebook page: it is WELL worth the click to see the amazing cosplay photo stream. Last: the vendor hall was spacious. Yes, comics were scarce (which is ironic as it was called a comic expo) however; the vendors were friendly and the variety of merchandise was incredible.
Now, as for my experience with being a panelist…few words can describe the honor I felt speaking to a crowd that was genuinely interested in my craft. Allen Amis Creations and KnowOne’s design made me feel welcome in a world I have only recently involved myself in. There were many questions and lots of eager minds ready to learn the cosplay craft. We spoke of failures and successes. It was a wonderful time with wonderful people.
Honestly, there is little constructive criticism I can offer this event. My only hope is that they remain as organized and people focused as they have in their inaugural year. If you have time and are in the Phoenix area during the weekend of October 17th and 18th next year take a short drive to Mesa and experience a small convention with the heart of a large one!
In the Gallery Below:
San of Princess Mononoke cosplayed by Lina Dawson
Elizabeth of BioShock Infinite cosplayed by ThermoCosplay.
Toph of Avatar: The Last Airbender cosplayed by Stevie Brown.
Photos taken by ThermoCosplay with the assistance of Lina Dawson.