Midnight Madness at Midtown Comics!
Cosplay came to a comic book store near me as Midtown Comics hosted a Midnight Madness celebration this past Tuesday night. They were celebrating one of the most anticipated and talked-about events for the last few years in comics – the relaunch of all of DC Comics major lines in the fallout from the epic events of the Flashpoint saga.
For those not following the major news, DC Comics decided to revamp all of their titles with changes to major characters. Along with costume changes (Wonder Woman and Superman both got revamps – like pants and not tights!) there have also been some big character changes ( like the return of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl) that have had fans questioning whether this revamp will be something spectacular, or a spectacular flop.
Anticipation was high, however, at Midtown on Tuesday. Fans lined up from 11AM in preparation for the midnight comic blitz. Most were drawn by the chance to meet DC headlining artist Jim Lee and writer Geoff Johns, and to get their autographs on the first print run of the relaunched JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 and the last issue of FLASHPOINT. Media was in attendance too, with everyone from MTV Geek reporters to CNN to Ology.com there to cover the major event. DC provided a great stable of comic celebs besides Jim Lee and Geoff Johns, including BATWOMAN artist Amy Reeder and new BATMAN writer, Scott Snyder. They even provided pizza to those waiting in line, delivered by Lee and Johns themselves!
But it was the costumes that drew this intrepid blogger and I got to speak to a number of the cosplayers who came out for the small costume competition held by DC. The competition was held early, so only three cosplayers made it fort he competition. Sisters Nicole and Danielle Marino rocked two amazing costumes, Danielle as Black Canary and Nicole as Supergirl in her brand new costume ala the 52 relaunch. Their competition? A hardcore Sinestro Corp. cosplayer named Bree Smith, decked out in purple face makeup and a full yellow lantern costume. The three posed for photos and were all awarded with prizes, with the first prize winner going to Nicole for her dedication to the brand new Supergirl look.
I spoke briefly with Nicole and Danielle about their gorgeous costumes and what made them come out to Midtown for the event. “We already had these costumes together for Comic Con and we figured it would be nice to, y’know, get out there on other occasions.” Danielle has rocked some other DC looks in the past, including the new Wonder Woman costume from the recent ‘she has pants’ look, while Nicole is the owner of the Black Canary costume her sister was wearing. I asked her about the controversial Wonder Woman costume. “I think it’s nice,” Nicole said. “It’s more now… more current.” Nearby their mother was standing by holding their presents. When I spoke to her, she explained that she often takes them around to get their costumes prepared for events, gathering materials to put the cosplay costumes together. Stated Mrs. Marino, “I’m the original comic nerd.”
I caught up with Bree Smith to ask her about her costume, as well as how she feels about the relaunch of the comics line. “About time,” Smith said. “I mean, the DC fans are such sticklers for continuity. Marvel changes their continuity every year – World War Hulk is happening, World War Hulk didn’t happen. Secret Invasion happened? Let’s forget Secret Invasion happened. Where does it end?” When I asked what her favorite change is going to be, she grinned. “Sinestro. The Sinestro Corp. is getting their own book!” Her dedication as a Sinestro fan is obvious – from the purple makeup that marks her character as an alien from the planet Korugar (that’s right, I know where Sinestro is from!) down to her black on yellow costume – and Bree seemed pleased to taunt and banter with all the Green Lantern t-shirt wearers on line. This is hardly Bree’s first cosplay either; she has costumed as Mystique, Medusa and she’s working on a Spider-Woman right now. I asked her, of course, what her favorite thing about costuming is and she admitted, “When it’s done!”
As the night went on, more cosplayers showed up to join the line and I met two Green Lanterns, one hell of a great looking Static Shock, and not one but two beautiful Zatanna cosplayers. When I asked Taran Lopez, a pig-tailed Green Lantern, about the relaunch, she showed a bit more reserve about the events of 52. “I don’t know how I feel about it,” she admitted. “I want to see what the comic has in store. I want to be excited about it, y’know? I kind of stick to the old ways and the old stories so its kind of hard for me to let go of that. But also, this is new and now and fresh so it could be cool.” I hit her with the hard question too, while I was at it and asked who is her favorite Green Lantern. She went classic with Hal Jordon before she and Bree then had a great photo showdown, in proper Green versus Yellow fashion!
By the time we were let in at midnight, the crowd was hopping with anticipation. Jim Lee and Geoff Johns signed comics and graphic novels surrounded by fans happy to see them. The shelves were lined with copies of the new Justice League #1 (which sold out within the first 24 hours of release!) and cosplayers and regular fans alike trooped in to pay homage to the relaunch. Midtown Comics handled the crowd with grace and organization, making the entire event a positive experience. After picking up your comics and getting them signed, more photos were taken downstairs with the some of the cosplayers.
I caught up to Scarlet Stepford, a member of Cosplay Burlesque and one of the two Zatanna’s in attendance, as she was barraged by the cosplay paparazzi. Her Zatanna costume was being prepared for Comic Con, an event many of the cosplayers in attendance talked about with anticipation. She’s also previously done Final Fantasy’s Tifa Lockhart, a femme Darth Vader, Ruby Malone from the video game Wet, Officer Jenny from Pokemon and the famous/fabulous Jessica Rabbit. When asked if she was excited about the relaunch, she joked, “Yes, I want to know more about the retractable pants and then I want to know how to make them!” (She’s referring to the question about Wonder Woman’s costume, shown to sometimes have pants and sometimes not, which WONDER WOMAN artist Cliff Chang called ‘retractable’ at San Diego Comic Con this past July.) Scarlet plans on bringing her Zatanna costume to another level at New York’s Comic Con. “I’m planning on learning some magic tricks to round out the outfit so I’m not just standing around.”
All in all, from slices of pizza given out by Jim Lee to brilliant costumes by some talented folks preparing for the upcoming Comic Con, Midnight Madness came away as a rousing success for both DC and Midtown Comics. I look forward to returning to Midtown for their September 21st signing by Scott Snyder of BATMAN #1 and seeing all these great costuming folks at NY Comic Con on October 13-16th. In the meantime, I’ve got some 52 comics to read and a new era in DC comics to enjoy!