A Cosplayer’s Adventure Through New York Comic Con
November 2, 2011
By Nick Larsen
Saturday, October 15th 2011 – A man in green traveled across the great yonder that is New York City to reach the culmination of all things nerd, New York Comic Con. Cold wind, strange looks, and the occasional stop to pose for pictures, nothing would stop him from reaching the Mecca for geeks under a star filled sky. I was this determined cosplayer, dressed as Link from Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. Wearing a green tunic, leather belt, boots, khaki pants, a white dress shirt, Link’s famous green hat, and purple hair while carrying the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and an ocarina; I traveled from the Staten Island Ferry, along the subway, and up 34th street to reach the Jacob Javits Center. This was my third year at NYCC, and my second year in costume, so I was prepared for the chaos that would ensue as I approached my final destination.
In the previous year, I wore the costume of DC Comic’s Green Lantern Guy Gardner (with custom home made Green Lantern Battery), and expected to travel freely, take the occasional picture, and well, pretty much travel the floor like I would in normal street clothes. I was wrong – very, very wrong. I stood posing among other fans in every costume imaginable for hours, became a costume hunted after by people in picture scavenger hunts, and had a light saber duel with a Pikachu just for the sake of a fun photo session.
Thus began my love for dressing up in costume for comic cons, the excitement and thrill of having thousands of people single you out of a crowd, to have comic creators praise you for the effort put in to recreate the character in reality, and the random encounters with other cosplayers who will continue conversations with you for hours completely in character. In all the amazement and excitement that came with dressing up there also came the harsh lessons I had to learn rather quickly (tips to remember for those of you out there thinking of dressing up, be prepared).
- Know the routes in which you are traveling (this goes for whether you are dressing up or not). I was under the assumption that if a train left a station it would return to said station, I was wrong and as a result stuck to wonder NYC until 4 A.M. in full costume, but that’s a story for another day.
- Bring repair supplies. Last year I was lucky to meet a group of guys who had sewing kits, tape, and other essentials to repair any damage a costume might take at a convention, I was also lucky enough not to need it, but this year I brought extra duct tape to repair my boot covers and sword as the day carried on.
- The three pocket check. This year I carried my phone in one pocket, wallet in another, and my camera and my ocarina in yet another. After taking a series of photos with a fellow cosplayer I forgot to check my pockets to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and I did… my camera, I’m lucky enough to have awesome friends who went back and found my camera for me but, if they weren’t there I wouldn’t have any of my photos.
- (This is manly for those of you in costume) Travel with a friend (or friends). If you’re like me and you don’t carry a change of clothes when you wear a costume, it’s a good idea to have at least one friend with you as you travel the city streets at night just for general safety reasons.
Now let’s get back to the story of this year, from the moment I stepped on the Staten Island Ferry I grabbed people’s attention; more importantly a police officer’s. Here I was, standing with a sword (made from a Nerf Marauder and lots of duct tape) and a life size functional Hylian shield thinking, “I’m about to be kicked off the boat for possible weapons”, boy was I wrong. The officer turns me around and asks with a completely serious face “Excuse me Link, can I have a photo with you?”, and with that the tone for the day was set. I spent the rest of my adventure to NYCC stopping for photos and catching occasional comments from people (both negative and positive), and as I slowly approached the Javits Center, I joined a herd of cosplayers forming into a group of Supermen, Catwomen, Super Sayian Goku, and countless anime characters I could only guess at. Twenty feet from the door, a Boba Fett sat playing the Legend of Zelda theme as I walked through the doors, and as I entered a goal came to mind, I’m going to find at least one Princess Zelda today.
Seven hours to complete my goal (I arrived at 12pm and the convention floor closed at 7pm), panels to go to, booths to visit, and friends to see, I had a big day ahead of me. As I walked past thousands of stands selling everything imaginable I noticed something strange, Link was a much more common costume then I had thought he would be this year. With the oncoming release of Skyward Sword the next adventure in the Legend of Zelda series, there was an increase in Link cosplayers but strangely not a Zelda to be seen (even stranger there was a large amount of Princess Peaches). Roaming the floor in search of the Zenescope booth (I highly recommend their comics, especially their Grimm Fairy Tales and Wonderland series of titles), a woman dressed as Mida from the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess game found me and we posed for pictures for people (afterwards is when I lost my camera and my friends found it again an hour later at the Zenescope booth). That was as close as I came to finding Princess Zelda up to this point, but I did not lose hope, I still had a few hours left.
Since I was dressed as Link and Nintendo had a booth for the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I felt I was obligated to at least wander through and pose against the large poster advertising the game. It is here that I will note a minor annoyance I had to get used to, being called Zelda. I understand the confusion, the hero of the game is called Link but if you have never played before you would assume that the hero is named Zelda because the game is called Legend of Zelda, but that being said, I was in the Nintendo booth, next to the game, and people were asking “Hey Zelda can I get a picture?” There are very few moments in life that I would consider a “face-palm” moment, this was one of them. I still took it with a smile and posed for people, rarely ever correcting them, but the culmination of where I was, what I was surrounded by, who I was dressed as, and still being called Zelda was just a minor moment of pure fail.
Speaking of things having a time and place at comic con, the classic Legend of Zelda, Navi quote of “HEY LISTEN!” was expected (heck if I didn’t hear it I would be a sad panda) but getting that while trying to go to the bathroom was not cool (funny but not cool). With those two moments aside though, my quest continued, only to be halted with a side quest from an old man with a beard. He turned to me and said “It’s dangerous to go alone, TAKE THIS!” and handed me a cardboard sign that was being passed to every Link on the floor, making it my duty to continue the passage of the sign. Half an hour later the sign continued into the hands of a fellow Link, and my quest to find Zelda continued. Hours passed, countless pictures were taken, and hope began to dwindle as the floor began to close down. I walked through the food court heading to meet Big Blue Bullfrog’s very own J.D. Cook, when a girl came running after me yelling “LINK!!!!!”
I finally found a Princess Zelda (or well, she found me) I posed for a quick picture (handing my camera to her friend who proceeded to drop it) marking my quest as complete but my adventure was not over, for my quest to return home had only just begun. After going to one last panel, I ventured back into the city lights to the nearest McDonald’s to grab a drink with friends.
Here I was ambushed by endless hugs and was stabbed with a metal Master Sword by a random girl. Leaving the McDonald’s, we headed back to the ferry. Little did I know I was being followed; a young man was following from train to train until we reached the ferry to get a picture of me. Even in the ferry terminal one last picture of me was taken. The ferry ride home was calming, the city lights disappearing into the horizon as I sat among friends playing my ocarina into the night. Upon docking my friends and I realized something; our ride home had three open seats and eight of us were getting into the car.
So a final race began; who could get to the car first? The three of us reached the car, threw open the trunk, and crammed inside. Three guys, three backpacks, one shield, and one sword, not our brightest idea but, hey, it was defiantly a fun ride home. As the rest of the group crammed into the open seats, we pulled away, letting the day come to rest, and preparing for the final day of NYCC that would follow. My adventure came to a close, and preparation and thoughts began for a new costume for the next convention.
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