Our week-long coverage of Wizard World Atlanta 2014 comes to a reluctant end today, but it doesn’t do so without making a little more noise. On Day 2 of the convention–the evening of Saturday May 31, 2014, to be exact–Wizard World held a cosplay costume contest that resulted in plenty of laughs, and even more smiles.
Even with all the great booths exhibiting awesome comics, collectibles, and conversation; even with so many fantastic panels for fans to attend and absorb as much information as possible from a wide variety of guests; and even with Wizard World Atlanta’s eclectic film festival running for the entire weekend: when it comes down to it, the best part of any comic convention is the fans. They’re the most important cog in a very complicated machine; without the fans showing up, there is no convention.
What’s awesome, however, is that fans do not only show up, but when they show up, they’re often clad in cosplay that can range from a simple t-shirt and hat, all the way up to full-on bodysuits and hand-crafted armor that took days, weeks, or months of dedicated spare time to create. Those are the fans who can make a convention feel like a comfortable environment to relax and enjoy, and those are the fans who are honored by conventions whenever the time is taken to hold a costume contest for cosplayers.
Now, on to the competition. I don’t know the exact number, but I estimate there being approximately 100 contestants who were lined up all the way from the stage, along the wall, and out the doors of the Sidney J. Marcus Auditorium at the Georgia World Congress Center. Each of those contestants got a moment on stage to pose and then display their craftsmanship to the panel of judges; a panel that included noted cosplayers like Danny and Heather Kelly, as well as special guest judge Jason David Frank (the green–and white–ranger from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers).
As we walked around the convention floor all weekend, we had met and photographed several of those fans who would later compete in the costume contest, including: 8-year-old Thomas Orrell from Bonaire, Georgia, who cosplayed as Falcon and went on to win an honorable mention in the contest; and 19-year-old Sydney Jenkins from Auburn, Alabama, who cosplayed as Harley Quinn and went on to win Best Female Villain in the contest.
One young fan that we had not seen or met prior to the contest managed to steal the show, however; he is known only as vengeance. He is the night; he is Dancing Batman. Just watch him go!
After roughly two hours that really did fly by, it was time for the judges to make their decision. Each judge was allowed to choose one honorable mention; in addition to the fantastic Falcon pictured above, other honorable mentions included a Red Power Ranger and a very acrobatic Spider-Man. When it was all said and done, though, there could be only one overall champion, and his name was Tyler Stanton, a 22-year-old from Dallas, Georgia, but you can just call him the most badass Mandalorian you’ve ever seen.
Stanton told us that this was actually just the second costume contest he had ever entered; the previous one had been held at February’s Con Nooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The kicker? Not only did he enter wearing the same awesome costume, but he won that one, too. Not too shabby for someone who admittedly just started. It’s easy to see why Stanton has begun his cosplaying life with such success; he told us not only did he do all the fabricating himself, but he also did the painting and weathering of the material. With professional-level work like that, I’d imagine he has a long and fruitful cosplaying future ahead of him–and perhaps a lucrative career.
That brings our week-long coverage of Wizard World Atlanta 2014 to its conclusion. I hope you’ve enjoyed our look at all the events of the weekend, and I want to see all of you back here next year when we cover Wizard World Atlanta 2015.