by Chuck Brouillette
As determined as any comic convention attendee may be in their efforts to traverse the convention floor, they are certain to be stumped by more than a few roadblocks and bottlenecks along the way.
And amid the occasional overheard cellphone conversations of fellow attendees listing chores to loved ones and or holders back home that they are promising to complete later, in good faith for being allowed to come out and play today, and those dead drop stops caused by Sudden Cosplay Snaps in Progress, there is often time to contemplate theories about what makes comics and comic cons super. And what makes that super ‘real’ while still being a comic.
For me, it’s always been Neal Adams as the paragon. In so far as, in my opinion, though there are many other comic art contemporaries of his, and many as well who’ve illustrated our classic muscle-massed fellows and females of four color picture fiction since, I feel that, in using strictly The Tools That Started It All, graphite and ink on paper, few can compare to the style he’s developed, though the late 60’s and 70’s, of keeping things simple but also making them super.
Some may say Alex Ross has been a successor in this regard, but though I defiantly admire his work, (and here’s where the torches and pitchforks may come my way) I feel his painterly photorealistic super-images, with every wrinkles in every pair of underwear worn on the outside of every super-suited subject, illustrated with exacting detail, just too much for the medium. Make sense?
And then there’s cosplay.
The word didn’t exist a generation ago. Although the act has been around since the dawn of man.
Dress up. And when it comes to comic conventions its dress up of the most crafty kind. It’s admirable and impressive to see the amount of time and effort put forth by basically two sets of folks. There’s the individuals who have developed a skill and/or love of a particular comic character SO much, that they want to emulate them via basically the same means and methods (a needle and thread) Peter Parker utilized back when he found a mission for himself. And there are The Loyal Pals, those who seem to have the heart, and confidence, and ‘look’ better suited to modeling a particular super-talented crafters wares.
It’s all great, as much as it can get super crazy to navigate through and around at an event like NYCC 2016.
But as a non-participant in this forum myself, I guess I can be a little objective about its purpose in the Grand Scheme of Things as I come back to my ‘how real is too real theory,’ and stop and think, as I’m road-blocked up once again, that the day that I’ll really start stopping and staring and paying attention to all the costumed cosplay all around me, is the day when one of them actually starts shooting solar beams from their eyes or lifts off for the sky unaided.
One can only dream.
Chuck Brouillette is an artist and writer living in Saratoga Springs, NY. You can see how he does both @twitter/ChuckBrouilette