by Victoria Uribe
Characters took over San Antonio’s Convention Center Saturday, including husband and wife, Ismael and Victoria Gamboa, who encouraged their 4-year-old daughter to pose as a pink Marvel character called a Gwenpool.
For the Gamboa family, Alamo City Comic Con is not just a convention but a vacation the whole family can enjoy. This is their third Comic Con to attend as a family. This year, 4-year old Kiera and mother Victoria, dressed in pink and silver spandex with double-crossed swords on their backs.
Cosplay heaven took place for characters of all ages. The three-day pop culture and comic book convention attracts large crowds for celebrity guest star panels, vendors and an all-around geeky atmosphere.
As crowds increased, cosplayers use their love for costumes and fictional characters to connect.
They don’t know each other, but as soon as they see each other, personal barriers are broken with hugs and selfies.
Characters, young and old, participated in the convention’s festivities by dressing up as their favorite video game, comic book or Netflix series character. Genres ranged from sci-fi to horror and everything else in between.
All around, Harley Quinn’s, Deadpool’s and Pikachu’s shopped vendor booths and sat in on celebrity guest panels to take full advantage of the three-day pop culture convention.
By observation, friends and families participate in cosplay to share the experience together.
“We’ve [traveled] to Houston, San Antonio and the local comic cons in the Rio Grande Valley area,” Victoria said.
Her initial interest began four years ago when her Halloween costume was mistaken by trick-or-treaters as a Cosplay outfit. She researched the term and bought tickets to the next Comic Con in the RGV area soon after.
Along with the Deadpool gang, the Gamboa’s have previously cosplayed as an Agent Venom clique and are currently working on an Alice in Wonderland set of outfits.
While she considers cosplay a performance art, involving her daughter in the whole process is what’s most important, Victoria said.
“I like her to get involved. There are certain costumes that she does like and that she doesn’t like but I try to get my family involved.”
Across the auditorium, two friends in heavy armor costume browsed the comic book and art vendors while posing for the occasional photo.
Playing a role
Gabino Gonzalez, a local shipping consultant dressed as a hunter from the fantasy-themed video game Monster Hunter, said his interest sparked when friends started attending Comic Con years ago.
He credits his first handmade costume as a Lobo, a fictional character appearing in DC comics, as the genesis that created his current love for cosplay.
But according to Gonzalez, this year’s costume shows his artistry evolution since his very first convention.
The 20 lb. monster hunter suit took three months to build and is layered with various widths of Ethylene-vinyl acetate foam to create the appearance of armor.
While countless hours are spent to build the ensemble, Gonzalez feels there’s nothing like the experience of walking around in the finished product.
“It’s the sense of not being yourself,” Gonzalez said. “When I’m here in costume, I’m not a shipping company consultant, I am a monster hunter who goes out on his free time to kill monsters for villages.”
His fellow cosplayer, Jonathan Ramirez, dressed as a hunter from the online video game Destiny, agrees with the notion and believes it’s more of an escape from his everyday life.
“You want to be something else,” Ramirez said. “You want to be someone that everyone likes, you know?”
“Everyone loves playing the hero, and you get to be the hero… you can get out and meet new people that like the things you like.”