The short of it is, two weeks ago I went to FanX and I had an amazing time, and I’ve only just gotten around to writing about it. If you want the long story, read on.
As promised last week, now through April I will be doing a monthly post listing 40 things I like about Star Wars. Bear in mind, these are in no particular order of importance, and I may be going back and writing individual posts about these as the year passes. What do you like about the things/characters I have listed? Feel free to share your thoughts!
Yes, I can make this list work. I can come up with 17 reasons that the year 2017 is going to be a good one that are all geek-related. Can you? Is there anything on this list you didn’t think of? Anything I didn’t have room for?
While you’re digesting your turkey and pie and thinking about the things you are grateful for, feel welcome to browse this list and the attached photos, and if you want to give feedback you can share why you are grateful for Salt Lake Comic Con. Disclaimer: yes, next week for my personal blog I’m going to be posting a wish list for guests to have at future SLCC events, so if you think I’m buttering up the Salt Lake con organizers I won’t blame you for thinking that. And bear in mind, none of these are in any particular order…except towards the end.
It can look like Cosplay came out of nowhere. But science-fiction and fantasy have been popular genres for generations now—one could argue that they’ve been around as long as literature itself. Costuming has been around since the first scifi conventions in the 1930s and 40s, when people would dress up to fit into the genre they liked to consume, not necessarily to reflect certain characters. By the 1970s there were formalized costume contests and standards for costuming. The term “cosplay” itself was invented by a Japanese news reporter who visited an American convention in 1970 as a shortened form of the terms “costume play”.
Summer of 2015, Jake asked for people to come co-write for The Geeky Mormon. I posted my first article in July. So it’s been more than a year—more like a year and two months. But better late to get around to an anniversary-type post than never. This isn’t really to brag on my achievements but to look back on what else I’ve been doing with my life in addition to The Geeky Mormon as well as some of the changes that have happened, some I may have mentioned in writing, others not so much.
Utah has gained a reputation in recent years as a haven for geeks of all fandoms and degrees of interest. The rising popularity of Salt Lake Comic Con and the golden age of Geek on the internet has fueled the creativity and talents of many locals into pursuing cosplay. As a member of this vibrant cosplay community, I would like to give my readers a glimpse into what we do and introduce them to some of my fellow cosplayers. Some of us are part of major costuming organizations like the 501st Legion, others are part of smaller local charity groups. Some of us invest considerable time and money into making elaborate, screen-accurate costumes. Others can’t bring as many physical resources, but we make up for it with lots of heart and dedication. Some of us live outside of the Salt Lake-Ogden-Provo area, but thankfully the internet makes it easy to keep in touch on a daily basis and we can share ideas and post photos of our work.
When people ask what the difference is between Salt Lake Comic Con and its FanX event, the only real answer you can give is the size. Part of the Salt Palace space is closed off and so there are much fewer artists and vendors. There are also fewer attendees, so when it comes to fighting crowds it’s much less of a hassle.
The good news is, I will be attending Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX event next week. I am planning perhaps my most intense cosplay ever for the occasion: I am going as Mira Nova from the TV show Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. This will involve painting my face blue and wearing a wig, and I am currently working on sewing the dress (and like all of my sewing projects it’s consuming my life). So far, it’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of time and money. There are pieces of the project I bought as far back as October. Why am I doing this? Why am I cosplaying an obscure character from an obscure TV show in hopes that a few people at FanX will recognize me?
Because it’s worth it. If you ever saw BLoSC back in the early 2000s and knew what a brilliant show it was, you would see.
The irony of all this is that I was never a huge fan of Toy Story, where Buzz Lightyear, the Little Green Men, and Emperor Zurg originated. But right after Toy Story 2 came out, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command premiered with a feature-length event, The Adventure Begins, starring Tim Allen. Then the show came on ABC and Disney’s One Saturday Morning. I couldn’t tell you at what point I fell in love with the show or specifically why. But the show’s female lead, Mira Nova, grabbed my attention quickly and kept it. The humor was a big draw, too. Booster was okay but I really loved the zany robot XR. As for Buzz Lightyear himself, well, for me it was never about him. At least at that age.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command took place in a very engaging original world even while making riffs on Star Trek and other popular science fiction, but it was also never afraid to poke fun at itself. Some of the episodes veer off towards the cheesy side, some are brilliant, some are better animation quality than others. The show very rarely referred to its Toy Story origins, except for in the “Strange Invasion” and “Stranger Invasion” arc where it becomes the butt of a brilliant joke that I know better than to spoil here.
I’ll give you the scoop on the main cast, since you may not have seen the show. Buzz Lightyear himself in the show is a little less nuanced than the Toy Story version, a straight-up, stereotypical hero who is sometimes so caught up with himself that he isn’t aware that the ladies find him desirable. But he’s occasionally interesting to watch, as in when he saves the day in “Speed Trap.”
Booster is a large alien who likes to eat food, and he also has a thirst to prove himself as a hero. There aren’t any moments that stick out for me except for “Plasma Boy,” where he falls in love with a girl but has to compete her boyfriend.
XR the robot is the main comic relief, with his killer one-liners, smart attitude, and tendency to blow up in nearly every episode. However, he gets to be a hero on multiple occasions, including in “Enemy Without a Face” when all of his flesh-and-blood friends start fighting each other.
Now, the meat: Mira Nova is a princess of an alien race known as the Tangeans that can “ghost” through solid objects. In addition to her powers and beauty, however, she is a level-headed counterbalance to Buzz’s high-and-mighty act and the voice of reason for Booster and XR. Her best episode? In “The Shape Stealer,” Star Command goes on a lockdown and Buzz is trapped outside with the nemesis. No one else can get to him. She puts her helmet on and ghosts through the armored security of the space station. Flawless.
Mira isn’t overly sexualized on the show, but she’s comfortable with her femininity while kicking butt for a living. Maybe there’s some flirtation with Buzz at the beginning of the series but she saves the show by being the one woman who doesn’t want him. I think she’s mostly attached to Buzz because he’s her hero and her team leader. Mira does get a bounty hunter love interest in the episode “Star Crossed,” and he was okay, I wasn’t terribly attached to her relationship with him, but the episode itself was one of the best in the series. She is definitely a heroine for any young girl to look up to, and I can say that even though she would never make the official lineup she is my favorite Disney princess.
(Also, Mira was voiced by actress Nicole Sullivan, who also played Shego in Kim Possible. I have asked repeatedly for Sullivan to come to Salt Lake and it hasn’t happened. So if they won’t bring me Mira Nova, I’ll bring Mira Nova to them–aka that’s part of the reason I’m doing the cosplay.)
While the central cast is the glue that holds the series together, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command offers a host of supporting and minor characters that are to die for. Other heroes of the series include Commander Nebula, the head of Star Command; Buzz’s love interest biologist Osma Ferbana; the President of the Galactic Alliance, the adorable LGMs; and Cosmo the diner operator. The villains are delicious: there’s Zurg with his grubs and brainbots but also the malicious Gravitina, the sinister energy vampire NOS4A2 who delivered some of the most thrilling episodes of the series, the egotistical Torque, and Buzz’s traitorous old friend Warp Darkmatter, now in the employ of Zurg. We even get a few characters in between, like the Star Command Psychiatrist, Mira’s father priggish father King Nova, and the scumbags on Tradeworld. If you like the worlds of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy you will love this show.
My mother is a huge fan of BLoSC, and she says it’s not just a show for kids but there’s humor for the adults as well. Watch The Adventure Begins if you get the chance, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If someone knows of a way to watch the show online (preferably for free) let me be the first to know, I may start looking myself, but Disney seriously needs to release the show in DVD/Blu-Ray so the fans aren’t as tempted to pirate it. In the meantime, I am getting very, very close to finishing my Mira Nova cosplay, and I will have pictures for you. Hope to see you at FanX!
It goes without saying, but Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 was amazing and I had a great time. There was a lot that I did and didn’t get to do, but probably one of the most memorable parts of my experience was helping break the World Record for the most people dressed as Comic Book characters in one place.