During the weekend of VA Comic Con I experienced for the first time ever exactly what happens when you have a Cosplayer become disruptive and think they are THE show. If you want to read my full review of the train-wreck show please click here.
I have put a lot of thought into if I should post this blog or not. The tipping point was this morning watching Facebook reactions as the news got out about this Cosplayers behavior, I watched as one of my Artist friends get attacked as he basically posted the truth about what this Cosplayer did, but in a satirical meme.
As an ex-reporter you are trained to get the facts and from there build the story, when you become part of the story, or are the story then it all becomes a matter of perspective, and then you are walking the line between reporting and opinion-editorial. So this is my story, told from my perspective.
How It started
If you follow my blog you will know I spent the weekend November 22-23 down in Richmond, VA at the Two-Day VA Comic Con. This was the big year ending event for Altworld, and I purchased a corner booth to give Charmingly Geeky, the Geek Jewelry made by my wife, and my work for the Teddy Bear Tales a lot of room. The Booth prices were good, and the show has historically been awesome to us. We wanted to celebrate our last show of the year after a long convention schedule for us, and Tristan the Teddy Bear.
Set-up was fine, attendance on Saturday looked good, because of the success of last years show we stumped the premium for a corner booth and were set up next to Gemstone Publishing; who publish a street guide to comic book selling and they were going to start a Cosplay guide at VA Comic Con. We settled any possible access issue (which was perhaps move your sign on the access way in an inch so it doesn’t get knocked over.) My wife was set up in the main traffic spot, front facing on the main traffic aisle and I took the facing down one of the aisles away from the main traffic, and we looked forward to a good show.
Then This happened
Around 11.30am a Deadpool Cosplayer turned up dressed as a Deadpooly with a Boombox (Thug for Life theme?), I didn’t think anything of it. Cosplay at shows is fun to look at, and we all know there is over a thousand pictures are out there with Tristan the Teddy Bear getting his mug shot with a Cosplayer.
In short we love you guys, Cosplayers are just as much part of the show as all the Artists, Vendors, Guests and other Attendees. This is what makes this post even harder. Because is isn’t about the Cosplay Hobby, nor is it an attack on the Cosplay Community, but about the behavior at VA Comic Con of just one Cosplayer, as witnessed by me.
Now We Dance
Deadpooly proceeded to sit in front of the Gemstone Publishing Booth, cranked up his Boombox and started an impromptu dance party. Three to four fellow Cosplayers popping and locking in front of us, attracting a huge crowd of people and totally blocking us off from any foot traffic. Now we are used to these things happening at conventions and thought it was a one-off, and although put out we got on with the day as Deadpooly moved off.
Then he kept coming back, sitting down on his Boombox and having various little dance offs, which pretty much blew most of the morning for my wife as Attendees were actively avoiding the huge bubbling crowd and moving down the other aisles.
Around 1-2 pm… Dance Party Part Two happened… First is was Deadpooly dancing with a little girl dressed as Anna from Frozen – it was cute, but the crowd was getting worrying big. Then as she was collected by her parents, Deadpooly cranked up some dance music and for five minutes we were in the middle of a rave, and it didn’t look like it was going to stop.
This was two much… I grabbed a Convention Staff Member (one of the poor bastard volunteers in what turned out to be a understaffed convention) who was already worried about the crowd levels and asked him if he could move it on. Which he did, talking to Deadpooly and asking him to turn it down, and to move around the convention.
Ahh… Problem solved…
Well… No it was not…
For a while Deadpooly did disappear, it seems he hosted a few more parties around the convention hall. As reports from fellow Exhibitors around the hall kept popping up of him disrupting traffic, and clearly not giving a crap. He certainly started to be a topic of angry conversation among us, and had been moved on several times.
Updated 11/25/2014 – I have learned from VA Comic Con Staff that during this time Deadpooly started to disrupt discussion panels, and was told not enter them while his Boombox was playing. He refused to comply and even tried to crash the Ivy Doomkitty Cosplay panel, refusing again to stop playing his Boombox and was removed from the panel by Staff Members. His comment,’I am a grown man and can do what I want.’
He Came Back
To finish off the afternoon we involuntary experienced a third dance party, just as disruptive and huge as the first second one. At that point I asked Gemstone Publishing if he was anything do with them. They said yes, he was their Promo Guy for the weekend. I told them it has got out of control and can you please end it, which to their credit they did very quickly.
At this point you think Deadpooly would be aware of the problems he was causing? Right?
Wrong, but I digress…
My wife’s day, after effectively being blocked by Deadpooly’s antics for most of the day never recovered and she made a fraction of the sales she normally makes because no one could get to her part of the booth. Always fun paying extra for a corner booth and effectively only being able to use one side of it. Even worse is the sales my wife makes pretty much pay for our attendance.
I decided to do a quick poll and found out all the Exhibitors in the immediate area of the Gemstone Publishing Booth had nose diving sales because of the Deadpooly Dance Parties. This isn’t a good thing, virtually none of the VA Comic Con Exhibitors are in the money and rely on conventions sales for income to continue doing what they love, which is making comics, art, jewelry, you know create the stuff that Cosplayers, well cosplay about…
My day had been pretty normal, although it was hard to have conversations over constant blaring dance music that Deadpooly thought it would be fun subject us all too as he constantly walked up and down the aisles. Yay…
I talked to a VA Comic Con Staff member about the Deadpooly issue after the show ended, and asked could they do anything. I was told that Gemstone had a contract with the show so they could not be censored for Deadpooly’s behavior, which is not true the Cosplayer could have been banned from returning the next day. It turns out the Cosplayer was here to promote the Cosplay Guide that he was central to making happen for Gemstone. (I found out later that the VA Comic Con Officer I talked to about the problem was just lying to to my face. Because hey, that is how you deal with problems that paying Exhibitors face at VA Comic Con, you lie to them.)
Wow… I figured at this time though Gemstone were aware of the issue their Deadpooly was causing (you had to be blind not to see it), and tomorrow he would turn up with a different less disruptive persona and that would be that. I mean, I don’t know a single Cosplayer who wears the same outfit two days running (gets stinky in those tights, right?)
Hope in our hearts as Sunday is traditionally a family day and is kind to us, we arrived at the convention prepared for the day and hoped Deadpooly had disappeared.
Nope… Around 11.30am he reappeared, but seemed to be more aware that his actions were causing problems for the Exhibitors around him. So for the first hour we saw very little of him and sales, foot traffic and attendees carried on as you would normally expect, and I could talk to people without shouting at them over headache inducing tunes.
Why Dance Party Four, WHY?
It happened for the fourth and final time, the party in the Video was thankfully barely a quarter of the size of the what we experienced on Saturday. This time I witnessed Gemstone Publishing freakout and they had to ask Con Security to shut him down, quoting to me that ‘He was out of control.‘
Out of Control? That struck me… I certainly felt the final Dance Party was an FU by him to all the Exhibitors around him, and up to this point we thought he was operating with Gemstone Publishing’s blessing, if they had no control of him? Then what exactly was Deadpooly doing here? Did he not realize he had been a total Asshat at this point? Did no one tell him to cool it? Did he know he had disrupted the convention so much that he was a topic of heated conversation among the Exhibitors, and most oddly fellow Cosplayers?
Did He Think He Was THE Show?
Well it seems he did think he was THE Show, and that is a walking example of everything that can be bad about Cosplayers that have a huge overblown sense of self-importance.
Update 11/25/2014 – I have learned from a fellow convention Exhibitor that Deadpooly and his Boombox was pulling the same stunts a week earlier at NC Comic Con.
How Do I Know This?
This blog post is a side-effect of a post Deadpooly made on an Artists friends Facebook page. The Artist posting a satirical meme about how much this one Cosplayer disrupted the show. The Deadpooly Cosplayer reply was he was THE show and how we should be thankful he turned up. I really wish I had chance to save that interaction, but it lost to the wasteland of Facebook deleted posts. The Artist decided he didn’t want to keep dealing with this Asshat, and removed the entire thread and Meme, and was also threatened to be blacklisted by this Cosplayer from entering SDCC… Yep… Pretty heavy stuff, threatening to take someones lively hood away because they posted something you didn’t like.
So Why Are You Stepping Up?
Because it was me who was on the receiving end of the majority of Deadpooly’s antics at VA Comic Con, it was me who could not use one side of his corner booth effectively because of one Cosplayer.
I had to experience the Four Dance Parties and the multiple mini-disruptions he caused, it was me who kept getting him moved on, it was me who complained to the VA Comic Con staff, and to his event sponsors Gemstone Publishing about his behavior, and it was me who started this chain of events. THIS IS ALL MY FAULT!
All of this because I was not cool enough to continually tolerate Dance Parties in front of my booth, because I don’t want to see my friends blacklisted from their profession because of one full of himself Cosplayer. SO BLAME ME!
Yes, this entire post is pretty much an Editorial, but here is the pure Op-Ed part.
He Was Just Keeping Kayfabe, Right?
I hate it when I hear this because Cosplay is not excuse to be a dick. Just because you are wearing a Deadpool mask does not give you license to act like Deadpool. The Marvel character is a complete asshole, and is aware that he is, he really is ultimately unlikable as a person. While I expect some zany behavior from Deadpool Cosplayers. You are in the end just a someone wearing a mask, not a comic book character. It is like expecting Joker Cosplayers to kill random people, just because THEY ARE DRESSED LIKE THE JOKER! Don’t be a jerk, don’t think wearing a characters costume gives you license to be a jerk. Be you… (unless you are a jerk then there is not much I can do to help you.)
Together Not Apart
I love Cosplayers, you add to the show atmosphere. With all the Artists, Vendors and Guests, and the Attendees we form the show experience just Cosplayers are not THE show by themselves, we all exist because of each other, not apart from each other.
Think How Would You Like It?
If a Cosplayer wants to be THE SHOW, I say go for it, pay for your space and the convention hall and see how it goes. As a regular on the Mid-Atlantic East Coast Convention scene I am not there to sponsor your playground. If you want to hold dance parties go for it, but do it in your own space and on your own dime. I will then attend your Cosplay show, dress up as Drawpool and set up my art gear right in front of your booth, and draw huge crowds with my lightning fast sketches of Teddy Bears, while I play Awesome Mix Tape #1 through my 80’s style cassette player, then lead a Dance Off for someone in the crowd to win my awesome sketch. I want to see how much fun you would think it is, when it is your money, when your booth is blocked for most of the day because you wanted attention.
What This Is Not
This is not me joining the so called Cosplayer vs Artist war that was supposed to have started in 2014 (according to Bleeding Cool), it is a genuine report of a single Cosplayer really getting too full of themselves, disrupting a show and hurting the experience for everyone.
Please don’t be disruptive at a show, be respectful of everyone around you, just as you expect everyone to be respectful of you. It is the Golden rule of all convention attendance – be excellent to each other.
That is all.
Yes, I do know who the Cosplayer is.
No, I will not share his name with you.
Yes, I know who the Artist is.
No, I will not share his name with you.
Why no picture of the Meme?
It was deleted before I could grab it.
For my further adventures at VA Comicon 2014 click here (Warning, the VA Comicon train-wreck continued.)