Oh my goodness everyone!

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything, my sincerest apologies. I’ve been caught in between many rocks and hard places lately, all of them demanding much of my time, leaving me unable to write very much this month. 🙁 I’m hoping November will be a much easier month for me in regards to staying on a schedule!

But in any case, I went to Baltimore Comic Con 2019 for a day this past Saturday! Aside from the horrendous traffic I faced actually getting there, it was honestly a lot of fun! It’s been so long since I’ve been to a comic convention and I really enjoyed the experience.

Baltimore Comic Con (BCC) is on the smaller side, but I really feel like I rather prefer the size of BCC, as it’s something that is far more manageable. It’s also not as crazy crowd wise, which I think makes it easier to meet fans as the crowds are not nearly so ecstatic and energized, with everyone running from place to place. I loved being able to hunt down comics that I’d been looking for for years. It was great being able to find not only the comics, but also many people of multiple generations looking to add to their collections too!

I am Groot.

For Baltimore Comic Con, I was super excited to debut my revamp/reboot of one of my first ever cosplays (my 3rd I believe and 2nd ever handmade) from 2009 – Starfire from the Cartoon Network show “Teen Titans” (2003-2006). The original costume I made was… not great, but I still am proud of it, considering it was only my 2nd attempt at making something myself. The Teen Titans though, they really mean a lot to me.

My first Starfire cosplay from 2009. It was my 3rd cosplay and 2nd handmade one.

So now, 10 years later, I really wanted to go back and do the character justice. It took a long while. I was very picky and nervous about making it for some reason. But I finally managed to make it. This time brand new and better than ever! I’d been working on it on and off again for about a year. (The delay might have something to do with my hate for spandex… ^^; ) And thankfully, I literally finished it the day prior to the convention! (Another reason for the delay in my writing.)

Some of my favorite things about the costume in comparison to the last included the use of resin gems. I got to try my hand at making myself, which was a ton of fun!). I also got a beautiful new red wig and made the boots. My favorite new addition though was my glowing orbs for Starfire’s starbolts. I’ll likely do a quick tutorial on how I made these in the future, so definitely subscribe to see that update too! ^_^ Overall, I was really happy with how the costume turned out. I felt like it was far better in terms of function. The boots had a much more reliable method of staying up (not using sock glue). And everything is also easier to care for too.

Jim Lee in the middle of his panel, drawing.

I arrived at BCC at about 11:50 and went straight in to get a seat at Jim Lee’s panel. Jim Lee was probably the definitive “Batman Artist” of my teenage years and it was fascinating to watch him draw and get insights into the history of his work (I remember tracing his art when I was younger – I couldn’t believe how he did so much by freehand right in front of us!). As I sat down, I also readjusted some things on my costume, sewing one thing to give myself an easier time while there.

Protip! Always bring with you to cons a tiny little emergency case with thread (on bobbins to save space), scissors, pins, safety pins, bobby pins and any other small things you might need to quickly touch up your cosplays with! They’re super useful in case you ever encounter a cosplay emergency! Afterwards, I headed downstairs to the convention exhibit hall to have a look around.

Oh my gosh, Greg Cipes!!

After meandering through the rows of retailers and sellers, I finally came to the autograph station where I redeemed two reservations I had to meet and get autographs from Greg Cipes and Tara Strong, two incredibly talented voice actors. In particular, I know them for their work as Beast Boy and Raven respectively on “Teen Titans”, which was another reason I wanted to have Starfire done in time – so I could meet them in it! 😀 I had met Greg (and his wonderful dog WingmanG!) once before and it was super nice to meet him again. This time though, was the first time I got to meet Tara.

Pardon me for my mini-backstory here and a little elaboration on what I meant above. But I think we all have that one show that changed their lives somehow. For me, that show is most definitely “Teen Titans”. It was a show that found me during a very dark time in my life. It was a time in which I felt very alone. I won’t go into it too much, but essentially, I felt like I was on my own a lot of the time. I felt weird and different for being a bit of a dorky kid who liked to read and play video games. (Who hasn’t been there before?) But being so young, it was a new experience for me. It was upsetting somewhat and with the turbulence in my family life, I was very disillusioned by “fairy tales”.

Just standing next to the brilliance that is Tara Strong!!

And then on a particularly down day for me, I found “Teen Titans” and watched it – and the episode didn’t necessarily have a happy ending (the episode was “Masks” in case you’re wondering) – and I was hooked. It felt much more “real” to me. I dived in, growing to love each of the characters. Subconsciously I think, I loved it because it showed me that just because we’re different, it doesn’t mean we don’t have things to contribute. In fact, each of our unique qualities can indeed be strengths and perhaps mean that we have even more to give to others. It taught me a lot of other things too, like helping me to understand that only I can decide who I want to be in life – no one else can. It taught me that friends can also be your family and to cling to true friends.

That show was there for me during some of my worst years. It was an escape that I cherish and even though I don’t get the chance to watch it much anymore, I still love it dearly.

Gosh, I really could go on. But in any case, I was super happy to meet two of the cast members of this wonderful show and thank them from the bottom of my heart for being part of this show that not only helped me through some of my darkest days, but also was a catalyst that helped lead me to where I am today. (Don’t believe me? “Teen Titans” -> Robin -> “Batman Begins” -> Comics/Film/Manga/Writing -> Film School/Cosplay -> Required Language Course (Japanese) -> Moving to Japan -> Career Path that I have today.) (And oh my gosh Greg featured a pic of the two of us on his Instagram feed – Greg you’re amazing!! And Tara, you’re so insanely talented, do you realize how much of a part of all of our childhoods you were?? Thank you both so so much!!)

(Oh, and by meeting them, I now have two more autographs for my collection of Teen Titans autographs for a special project I’m building. All that’s left now of the Titans are Scott and Hynden. Come to the east coast you two!! Would love to thank and meet you as well! ^_^ )

The good times didn’t stop there though. Afterwards, I continued to weave through the aisles and to my surprise, who else should be there signing autographs, but Marv Wolfman! (He was the creator of Starfire and many of the New Teen Titans!) Marv was also a very influential writer in my life. Probably, one of the biggest inspirations to me when it came to writing. My oh my, all the writing I’ve done based off of his characters too. He’s truly brilliant.

Interestingly, I had met Marv 10 years ago when I first went to San Diego Comic Con. (It was the same convention I debuted my first Starfire cosplay at!) I didn’t meet him in Starfire that time, just as myself then. But considering it had been 10 years, 10 years in which I had grown up quite a bit and now had a completely revamped version of Starfire (that I believe is far better), I’m very happy I got to meet him this time as Starfire. It was also a treat as I got to take a picture with him as well. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t taking pictures with many people that day. So definitely a wonderful memory!

The first time I met Marv was in 2009. Wow, does time fly!
Me and a fellow fan got the lucky opportunity to take a picture with Marv!

The last surprise treat for me was that I was able to find copies of Green Lantern and Green Arrow #85 and #86 from the 1970’s while at Baltimore Comic Con 2019 . I then was able to get them signed by Neal Adams, the artist behind them! Neal Adams remains one of the most iconic Batman artists of all time. Additionally, he worked on a solid, iconic run on the Green Lantern and Green Arrow comic book of the 1960’s-1970’s that would go about changing the course of comic book history. It would push the envelope during a time that comic book publishers were still self-censoring themselves. (This was after a tumultuous time during the 1950’s.)

#85 and #86 were key examples of this, as they featured a storyline in which Speedy, Green Arrow’s sidekick, was caught by the two heroes doing drugs, something really once thought unthinkable for a comic book storyline. For that reason, I was very grateful to have met this man as without his work with Dennis O’Neil, much of how comics look today might never have come about.

I walked around Baltimore Comic Con 2019 a bit more – shocked at how much I had spent as I normally don’t buy things at conventions, before taking everything to my car and grabbing one of my mammothly large art books for my next reserved signing at 5 – with Jim Lee. He was so nice and I was so grateful for the chance to meet him. I opted to have him sign the inside of the book on one of my favorite pieces. It was one of his work of two of my favorite characters – Batman and Robin. Just a really cool experience.

Deciding I still had some time before I had to return home, I walked the halls for a bit longer before heading to the car. On my way back, I ran into the cutest little girl who was dressed up from Black Panther with a light up outfit. As I had light up orbs, I suppose she decided that she had to walk with me. So we walked together, her parents right behind her the whole time. It was seriously the sweetest experience.

In fact, I was surprised by how many kids recognized me as Starfire at Baltimore Comic Con 2019. I suppose I shouldn’t have because of the “Teen Titans Go!” show. But it was the best surprise because I got to share my love of a character with so many kids. I was living without cable with “Teen Titans Go!” premiered I believe, so I didn’t really get the chance to watch it or get into it (Though I DID see the movie which was hysterical and kinda great – you can read my whole review of that here).

In any case though, because of that, I feel my thoughts of “Teen Titans Go!” are pretty muted as I can’t say much about it either way having not seen much of it. However, I am appreciative of it as it’s clearly been a wonderful way to introduce these characters to a whole new generation of kids. And let’s be real, bringing a character to life for a child is one of the best parts of cosplay. It always has been, at least for me anyway. 🙂

Overall, I really enjoyed Baltimore Comic Con 2019! I loved the chill atmosphere, the age range of people there, the spectrum of fans. Hard core comic fans to those just getting into it. Fans of DC, fans of Marvel, fans of both – and just the really positive and kind atmosphere. I met so many people and new friends that I hope to meet again in the future. It was a great experience.

End of the day selfie time! ^_^

I have one more event coming up this year now after Baltimore Comic Con 2019. So it’s back to the old cosplay sweatshop so to speak. But I’ll do my best to be better for the rest of the month! Until then, love you all and remember, always do what you love to do. You deserve to have some fun in life – don’t let nay-sayers (including those inside your head) dissuade you.

Much love,