By Terry Rogers
On Saturday, August 6, downtown Dover was filled with people in costume, walking the streets and celebrating Japanese animation and pop culture. Dover Comicon, a convention to celebrate Japanese animation, manga, video games and other forms of artistic expression, was held for the second year. The first year, the convention was so well attended that the Dover Public Library, who sponsored the event, expanded it significantly.
Anime conventions consist of costume contests, panels and vendor booths designed to bring fans of various media together. Many of those who attend do so in costume, known as “cosplay” to those who participate, representing characters from their favorite show, comic, game or movie. It is not unusual to see large groups of friends dressed in related costumes, including the Sailor Scouts from Sailor Moon or as the main characters in the Harry Potter book series. Some of the costumes are simple while others are very elaborate.
“I have been cosplaying for two years,” said Andres Valdez, who goes by the Brown Ranger in the cosplay world. “I have been Baymax from Big Hero 6, but my favorite was Cyborg from Teen Titans. I make all my own costumes and have attended about 10 conventions this year. Last year, I attended 14.”
There were many panels arranged to discuss various aspects of the anime world. WolfRealm Cosplay offered tips and procedures to create cosplay versions of non-human characters like Sonic or Digimon while Liz DeJesus offered tips on writing paranormal stories. C. Edward Sellner, Chief Creative Officer of Visionary Comics, provided information on how to start a career in comics and Will Hahn, Lands of Hope Chronicler, provided insight into creating characters. L.S. King led a workshop on getting a novel published with information on what editors look for and what they want. Ms. King is a former submissions editor and the co-founder of Ray Gun Revival, a semi-pro online magazine. Mr. Valdez, who is from the Milford area, led a panel discussion along with Nicole Renee of Princess Potato Cosplay and Tyler Rose of Candy Floss Cosplay and CandidJohnKim, a photographer, that described how cosplay changed their lives.
“During the panel, we all discussed the benefits of cosplaying,” Mr. Valdez said. “We explained how the cosplay community is very close knit and how seeing how people who follow the same comics, movies or animated series unite. Everyone in the cosplay community is friendly and outgoing. For me, it is about meeting new people and having fun. It also provides us with a way to express our artistic side.”
People who attended the free convention were able to visit 120 different exhibitor stands. Some of the stands were cosplayers who had developed their craft over decades with some offering costume items for sale. Others offered prints of what is known as Fanart, original depictions of well-known characters including team emblems from Pokemon Go, drawings of Teen Titans and more. Programs were available throughout the downtown area for attendees of all ages.
An anime convention is planned for Milford from October 28 through October 30, presented by Audio Electric Entertainment. The convention will be held at the Milford Senior Center and will offer similar activities as Dover Comicon. The convention, which has been titled “Mirufodocon,” will feature Michele Knotz, a voice actress who provided the voice of Team Rocket’s Jessie on Pokemon. More information on the convention is available at www.mirufodocon.com.
“Conventions and cosplay are all about having fun and enjoying the love of anime, comics and more,” Mr. Valdez, who will be attending the Milford convention as a guest, said. “I strongly recommend that people learn more about this aspect of artistic expression.”
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