Super Chats: Talking fandom and cosplay at Arisia 2014

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What last weekend’s Arisia convention lacked in celebrities charging $40 for autographs, it compensated for in every other conceivable regard. Rather than zeroing in on a particular fandom, organizers provided events and panels concerning genre fiction, comics, gaming, steam punk, anime, sci-fi, science without the “fi,” gender and sexuality, LARPing … and the list goes on. Basically, there was something at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel for everyone who likes anything … except sports.

We chatted up this dude, Daniel Donnelly, who cosplayed a self-created character he describes as a “modern samurai” on Sunday afternoon.

Most interesting thing you’ve seen at Arisia thus far?

The diversity of the steam punk mixed with the anime mixed with the comics.

They covered freaking everything!

Exactly. The other thing I’ve seen is a lot of leashes and collars and people being dragged around by other people. It’s kind of nice to see that people are being kind of free, but with decorum, considering all the kids running around.

Yeah, you can’t dial up the fetish meter too high without being skeevy. I tried interviewing Batman earlier and I totally dropped the ball. What would you ask Batman?

Well, I cosplay Batman, because I think Batman is the phenomenal comic character. If I could ask another Batman cosplayer anything, it would be, “What can I do to improve my cosplay?”

Sure, but what about the real Batman?

Can I drive the Batmobile?

What if you could interview any fictional character?

This is probably going to sound corny, but of all the fictional characters I’ve looked up to in my life, Spider-Man was the biggest influence. I could relate to him because I was that geeky science nerd picked on by the bullies, and he got these powers that enabled him to climb walls, spin webs and do fantastic feats of strength. That was something I wanted to do.

Do you think Batman and Superman should make out at the end of Zack Snyder’s “Batman vs. Superman”?

I would rather see them shake hands and begin the Justice League. I don’t think kissing would be a great segue into that.

Is the media way too interested in the cosplay aspect of cons like this?

I think the media sometimes glorifies the bad side of the cosplay world. They glorify it when cosplayers destroy private property and things like that. It’s not fair to blame every cosplayer for what other people do.

Just like how J. Jonah Jameson’s always giving Spider-Man flak.

Exactly.
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Later in the day, we stumbled across Jax Adele, a veteran cosplayer and apparent expert on one of Marvel’s more-obscure mutants: Alison Blaire.

Why Dazzler?

I’ve actually done Dazzler twice before. I’ve done Dazzler’s blue X-Men costume, and the one she wore in [X-Men spinoff team] Excalibur. Recently, I learned how to roller skate, and I said, “That’s it! I’m doing the original disco Dazzler who first appeared February, 1980.”

Why not go with a better-known X-Man?

Well, Dazzler’s more my personality. She’s the audio/visual X-Man. She turns sound into light energy, and passes it off as special effects at her concerts because she’s a rock star.

I tried interviewing Batman earlier and utterly botched it. What would you ask Batman, if given the chance?

What he’s doing later.

Can you think of a subculture that isn’t represented at this crazy thing?

I think there needs to be a little more of urban Boston represented within the fandom. I know there are fans [in that community], but they don’t necessarily come out to the conventions.

Is the media way too preoccupied with cosplay at cons?

I think the cosplay aspect is definitely a glittery, fun part that brings people into it. That’s what drew me in, but I was already a fan of the literature, the television shows, and the movies. The media likes visual things anyway. They’re going to go for the cosplay, as opposed to the talking about “Game of Thrones.”

Can you think of a significant fandom that hasn’t had its own convention, as far as you know?

The hula hooping roller skaters of the world don’t have a big enough concentration in one area to have a convention. That’s something that would mean a lot for me.

Should Batman and Superman make out at the end of Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman movie?

They’re people who work together, and people who work together generally shouldn’t mix. That is something to remember when looking at Batman and Superman, or Superman and Wonder Woman. They can’t have a relationship because they work together in the Justice League. There’d be jealousy, and then Green Lantern gets involved, and then it all gets out of hand.


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