Las Vegas Comic Expo 2013 Cosplay Contest

Cosplay Contest at Las Vegas Comic Expo with Iron Man standing in Front with Palms Lit up By Lights

Iron Man Joins the Cosplayers For a Photo Op

An expectant crowd gathered Saturday evening at the 2013 Las Vegas Comic Expo, awaiting the start of the Cosplay Contest. Judging the event were cosplay guests Brieanna Brock, Toni Darling, Ivy Doomkitty, and Jackie Goehner, while Valerie Perez served as the MC. Perez occasionally made humorous asides as contestants strutted their stuff on stage, but more often, was a reassuring figure in her Wonder Woman costume with all the warmth and charm of Dolly Parton.

Cosplayers gathered on stage with a variety of costumes including Mami Kraven and Invisible Woman

Superhero Cotumes Predominate at Las Vegas Comic Expo

One by one contestants stepped onto the stage and turned around to model their costumes. Some delivered lines of dialogue. Kickass and Hit Girl had a lengthy interaction with a good deal of acrobatics involved. Later a second Kickass took the stage, this time with batons. There was a Judge Dredd who took command of the stage, three of the Watchmen in the form of the Comedian, Night Owl, and Rorschach, and a Flame Princess from Adventure Time. A Ghostbuster had to slowly turn to show off his backpack’s elaborate details. The cosplay of Edna E. Mode from The Incredibles had the audience in stitches, while some lesser-known costumes drew polite applause and a good deal of confusion. Solid Snake knelt on stage, pistol at the ready. “Gender bender,” spoken by Valerie Perez, introduced a Captain America as well as a Dr. Who later on. DC had both heroes and villains with a Red Son Superman and a Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Joker. Not to be outdone, Marvel had a Wolverine, an excellent Jubilee, and an original Nick Fury. Kraven the Hunter stalked the stage. Pinky Pie from My Little Pony was exuberant, matched only by the adult Ash from Pokemon, who was met with a roar of laughter when he did his victory pose. There were two separate pairs from web-comic Homestuck and finally two adorable children who shyly wandered about the stage, with the boy in a Captain America costume and his sister in Fantastic 4 get-up as the Invisible Woman.

Cosplay Contest at Las Vegas Comic Expo with DC characters Red Son Superman, The Comedian, Poison Ivy blowing a kiss, Catwoman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Rorshach

DC Characters Face Off Against Their Marvel Counterparts While the Judges Deliberate

As the judges conferred all of the contestants piled onto the stage for group pictures including a suggested Marvel vs. DC. At this point Tony Stark must have put the bottle down, because an Iron Man materialized onstage and posed. There was a brief Kickass-Kickass conference before they leapt up onto the stage, bringing Hit Girl with them to photobomb the Marvel vs. DC shoot.

Kickass Cosplayer Looking Uncertainly at Marel and DC Characters around him on stage

Kickass #2 Looking a Little Panicked About the Kickass Photobomb

The Results

Kickass looks down at a grinning Hit Girl onstage at the Las Vegas Comic Expo's Cosplay Contest

Entertaining Duo: Kickass and Hit Girl

First up were the honorees with the judges recognizing Kickass and Hit Girl. Though they had such good chemistry that they might seem to be brother and sister, Kickass later revealed that the two had only met earlier in the day. With only a quick rehearsal, the pair was quite entertaining. The Hit Girl cosplayer announced “I want to be Hit Girl when I grow up!” and then it was on to fellow honorees Karina Perez and Tiffany Silver as Blondie and Baby Doll from Sucker Punch. Perez won a signed James Stone comic, while her counterpart got a gift certificate to a local bar and grill. For Perez, even the honorable mention was a shock, given how “amazing” her fellow cosplayers were and the fact that it was her first time cosplaying. The acknowledgement has fueled Perez and Silver who would like to expand their Sucker Punch group to include more girls, while individually Perez has begun work on a Power Girl costume.

Sucker Punch cosplays from Karina Perez and Tiffany Silver with both using guns at Las Vegas Comic Expo

Honorees Karina Perez and Tiffany Silver as Blondie and Baby Doll from Sucker Punch

3rd Place: Anne Marie Page as Rydia

Green-clad Anne Marie Page cosplays as Rydia from her wheelchair with a female Frieza and Edna E. Mode behind her at Las Vegas Comic Expo Cosplay Contest

Anne Marie Page as Rydia from Final Fantasy IV

Coming in at third place was Anne Marie Page as Rydia from Final Fantasy IV. Page was a fan of the Heather Irete’s Mami cosplay as well as Josh Dietrich’s Halo ODST Medic. She spent Sunday at the Las Vegas Comic Expo in an Oracle costume, but looks forward to playing Kyoko from Magica Madoka and Hsien-Ko from the Darkstalkers video game. Page has been cosplaying for over five years and has played Sailor Saturn, Chii, and Olette from Kingdom Hearts II.

2nd Place: Josh Dietrich as Halo ODST Medic

Halo ODST Medic Dietrich waits his turn at the Cosplay Contest at Las Vegas Comic Expo

Halo ODST Medic Dietrich Waits His Turn

While he took Best in Show in the Sy Fy Channel’s Naked Vegas’ Cosplay Contest the evening before, “both events were fun” for Halo ODST Medic Josh Dietrich, who took second place on Saturday evening. Dietrich is a fireman in the Air Force and also a cast member of Duel at Dusk Productions where he performs under the name of Crow Shadowfire. Earlier on Saturday Dietrich was in a Jedi costume because he also cosplays with the 501st’s Neon Garrison. His ODST costume took him two weeks to build, but he has adding to it over a period of months, describing it as a “work in progress.” The chest, arms, and legs are constructed out of high impact polystyrene with straps and buckles riveted to them. A close look at his costume reveals that his mundane name is painted on just above his visor. In a sense Dietrich is cosplaying as himself or as he puts it, “I basically took my character and said if I joined in 550 years, what would I do? This is pretty much what I would be doing.” As for his own favorite costumes, he favored the manly ones with a lot of props or armor, picking out Judge Dredd, as well as Kraven and Deathstroke. Judge Dredd’s costume had “a lot of detail” and his cosplayed “had the character” down, but Dietrich had praise in general for the contest as well: “a lot of people put a lot of time into all their costumes. It really impressed me.”

Shaved head Jedi Crow Shadowfire waves his hand to pass through Stormtroopers at Exhibition Hall at Las Vegas Comic Expo

Dietrich Pulls the Old Jedi Mind Trick on the 501st’s Neon Garrison Stormtroopers

1st Place: Buck Steele as Kraven the Hunter

Closeup detail of Kraven the Hunter cosplay jacket with lightup eyes

Closeup of Kraven Costume

Twenty-two years ago Buck Steele sold comics and ball cards at a collectibles shop and met his future wife when she walked through the door. The love and affection between the two was quite evident after the costume contest, in which Steele took first place for his Kraven the Hunter costume. Mrs. Steele said, “I think he’s pretty amazing. He just blows me away with his craftsmanship and his creativity.” Buck Steele’s foray into cosplay is a fairly recent one with Steele first cosplaying the Red Skull the previous year. By day Steele works in auto parts in Pahrump, Nevada which is roughly 45 minutes away from Las Vegas. The discovery of a “big Macklemore coat” at a yard sale prompted him to make his Kraven outfit. Thirty to forty hours later, after taking time for the paint to dry, and his costume was complete. The fur coat started out white, but Steele airbrushed a lot of color into it and his tights, which are the only part of his costume he had to send away for. The lion on his chest has light-up eyes which Steele got from Radio Shack.

Buck Steele cosplaying as Kraven the Hunter complete with Spear and Glowing Lion Eyes

Buck Steele as Kraven Poses on Saturday Night Once Most of the Audience Has Cleared Out

When Steele went up to receive his prize, the showboating super-menace known as Spiderman jumped up on stage and the two mugged for the cameras, just as they had done earlier in the day in the Exhibitors’ Hall. Steele shared that the hardest part of his costume was keeping his “gut sucked in.” As for which era of Kraven he was playing, Steele easily explained “This is straight-up Steve Ditko. Amazing Spiderman 15, first appearance. I got to take a picture with the book today!”

Best Group: Mami and Team Magpie

Heather Irete in handsewn Mami cosplay dress from Magica Madoka

Heather Irete as Mami

Next up was the Best Group award with Team Magpie winning. Led by Heather Irete who cosplayed as the character Mami, Team Magpie also consisted of three other members who worked a giant caterpillar creature down over Mami to “swallow” her during the group’s first time on stage. MC Valerie Perez called for an encore performance, “Let’s see her get eaten again!”

Heather Irete in cosplay as Mami from Magica Madoka waits to get her head eaten

Heather Irete as Mami Waits to Get Her Head Eaten Off by Giant Caterpillar

Irete’s no stranger to cosplay, having sewn and attended conventions for the last twelve years. She even has her own online cosplay portfolio, Angelic Threads. Irete was also a panelist earlier in the day at the Cosplay 101 panel. She estimates that her Mami costume took about two months, not counting the wig. “Each wig that I’ve worked on has probably been around ten to twenty hours each; it’s not an easy thing to make.” As for future costumes, Irete was full of enthusiasm as she outlined plans to construct a Tamaki costume from Oran Highschool Host Club, picking a male character who goes in drag in a dress at one point. Irete’s costuming attention is grabbed by anything that is “really silly, sparkly, and shiny”, which the character in the dress will certainly fulfill. She’ll also be wearing an Attack on Titan costume and a Final Fantasy VI costume in early November to AnimeVegas, where Irete is on staff. She’ll be joined by boyfriend Brian, who made up a third of Team Magpie (and is also a consummate board gamer) and together they’ll play Setzer and Daryl.

Best Performance: Andrew Myers as the Zombie

Valerie Perez dressed as Wonder Woman fends off Zombie with a baton on stage at Las Vegas Comic Expo

Wonder Woman Defends Herself!

Andrew Myers dragged himself onto stage both when he first shambled his stuff and later when he went to receive his prize for Best Performance. He also spent a good deal of time trying to chase Valerie Perez’s Wonder Woman down, but was a suitably slow predator for her to evade. That and she used the podium for protection as she tried to keep the undead menace at bay, though there may have also been threats to use her Lasso of Truth. She definitely warded Myers off with one of Kickass’s batons.

Horribly burnt Zombie cosplayer Andrew Myers next to smiling yellow trenchcoat wearing Jubilee in crowd at costume contest

Andrew Myers as the Zombie Watches Other Competitors Alongside Jubilee

Best Craftsmanship: Manuel Samson as Deathstroke

Deathstroke cosplayer brandishes sword on stage at Las Vegas Comic Expo

Deathstroke Brandishes His Blade

While there were a number of contenders for Best Craftsmanship, the title and the prize bag of comics from Cosmic Comics ultimately went to the guy whose completed helmet included a face mask, wood paste, paper mache, cardboard, stucco, a helmet, and a clay mold for the eye piece. In other words: Manuel Samson as Deathstroke. Samson estimates that he spent a month or two on the costume with much of it made out of cardboard including the chest and shoulder pads. Samson is another new convert to cosplay, having only done it since June, when he cosplayed as Black Mask from Batman at the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con. Samson was particularly taken with the artistry and effect achieved by the Dragon Ball Z cosplay of Frieza, which featured a lot of body paint.

Cosplays of Deathstroke, Inspector Gadget, Data from Star Trek, and a Raccoon City Resident Evil SWAT Member

Manuel Samson as Deathstroke Joined by Friends: Inspector Gadget, Data, and RCPD Officer

Best in Show: Samantha Nicole as the Painted Doll

The contest came to a close with the Best in Show award, with the winner receiving a Captain America statue limited to 250 copies. In the end the prize went to Arizona resident Samantha Nicole as the Painted Doll from the film The Devil’s Carnival. Samantha Nicole was elated with her win saying, “I feel so honored and it’s really, really awesome.” Not only did she win Best in Show, but it was Nicole’s first time ever entering a costume contest! She got her start in January 2013 when a friend told her that she “sucked at sewing”, so Samantha Nicole set out to prove her wrong and it seems to have worked!

The Painted Doll as cosplayed by Samantha Nicole at Las Vegas Comic Expo with Knightingail standing to her right

Samantha Nicole as the Painted Doll Joined by Fantasy Comic Character Knightingail

In “The Devil’s Carnival” the Painted Doll is played by actress and singer Emilie Autumn. Samantha Nicole is a huge fan and will be returning to Las Vegas later this month to see Autumn perform live at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. For Nicole cosplay is also an expression of her fandom as she loves the movie, the character, and the artist who plays the Painted Doll. As for her next costumes, she’s working on a Jean Gray/Phoenix costume, but would also like to cosplay as a Gatoman from Digimon as “nerdy” as that may be. There may also be a Poison Ivy “with roses in her hair” in her near future, based off of the Batgirl Begins episodes from the third season of the animated The Batman.

Samantha Nicole cosplaying as The Painted Doll next to Knightingail at Las Vegas Comic Expo

Samantha Nicole Displaying the Mannerisms of the Painted Doll with Knightingail

Samantha Nicole’s Captain America statue will stand “with pride” on her desk and keep watch over the cosplayer as she continues to prove her friend wrong. Appropriately enough, two of Nicole’s favorite costumes at the contest were the Invisible Woman and Captain America, worn by a brother and sister pair. “I really loved the little kids. They just stole my heart.”

Every Las Vegas Comic Expo 2013 Cosplay Contestant in costume crowded into a group shot

All of the Cosplay Contest Contestants Including the Adorable Invisible Woman and Captain America

For more pictures from Las Vegas Comic Expo 2013 and further articles about the convention, be sure to visit Craven Games on Facebook.