During the week of San Diego Comic-Con in July, there are some elements which are absolutely integral to the make-up of the event, some which you cannot imagine the thing going ahead without: the International Film Festival, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the wrap-up ‘Once More With Feeling’ Singa-long, the stale overpriced, over-salted pretzels, the LEGO Minifigs line which stretches from the Exhibition Floor to the very sunset, the overnight camping line for Hall H on Friday and Saturday nights (Comic-Con International can tell everyone not to do it all they like but, dagnabbit, we’re going to do it anyway…!). But one of the longest-running, much-loved pieces of the Nerdvana puzzle is the San Diego Comic-Con Annual Masquerade.
Taking place on Saturday evening in Ballroom 20, cosplayers both experienced and amateur parade their creations on stage to an always packed room. Interestingly, it is the one event that does get officially streamed live outside of its location: the Masquerade is also broadcast to the massed throng that were unable to gain entry to the room, gathering in the Sails Pavilion to watch – coming together partly for the spectacle, partly for the party atmosphere of shaking a money-maker with a fellow nerd on the provided dancefloor… but partly for the fact there’s a bar involved!
But for those taking part, it can be nothing but a serious matter – the Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope documentary by Morgan Sperlock showed acclaimed cosplayer Holly Conrad and her friends taking part in what she called ‘a suicide mission, a suicide mission for her career’. (Thank goodness, then, that she has gone on to be acknowledged as one of the best costume and make-up creators working today, appearing regularly as a judge on Heroes Of Cosplay.)
Could you be the next cosplay superstar to take to the stage in San Diego? Gather your friends, mix up the body paint, sculpt and stitch together your best outfits; marshal your efforts and fill out the forms today…
The 41st Annual Comic-Con International Masquerade
A SATURDAY NIGHT SPECTACLE CELEBRATING THE ART OF COSTUMING!
Anyone who’s ever attended Comic-Con can attest there are always great costumes to be seen, strolling past in the corridors and Exhibit Hall, on display in glass cases, in countless images on posters, comics, fine art, and books, even in miniature form on collectable figures and in computer games. Costuming is a vital ingredient of nearly all the popular arts, and has been a part of fan conventions ever since the first World Science Fiction Convention in New York in 1939. At Comic-Con’s Saturday night big event it’s a unique evening of fun and amazing costume creations as the stage lights brighten, the music swells, the spotlights come on, and the huge audience that’s lined up many hours in advance takes their seats for the 41st annual Comic-Con Masquerade costume competition.
Not a dance nor party as the name might imply, it’s an on-stage event in the style of a talent competition, with a Master of Ceremonies, a panel of guest judges, and impressive awards in various categories. The large elevated stage has theater-style lighting, changing backdrops, and 4 huge high-definition video screens providing great close-up views gathered by multiple cameras, so everyone gets great viewing. An audience of 3,900 fills the convention center’s Ballroom 20 to capacity, and an overflow audience of over 2,000 more people watch the show on large projection screens in the nearby Sails Pavilion and other ballrooms. It is FREE to participate in— or just be in the audience—for anyone with a Comic-Con attendee badge valid for Saturday.
Our Master and Mistress of Ceremonies will again be the very entertaining five-time Hugo Award-winning artists and writers Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio, who for many years have created, published, and contributed to a variety of comics, art, and games in the science fiction and fantasy genres through their company Studio Foglio. They are guests of honor at many conventions, and you’ll often find them at the Girl Genius booth in our Exhibit Hall.
To attend as an audience member, all you need is your Saturday badge. Tickets for Ballroom 20 seating for the Masquerade are given out FREE starting at noon on Saturday to those people lining up early, so they may get out of line to enjoy other daytime events at Comic-Con, then return to the Masquerade line later (towards the evening) knowing there will be a seat for them. Tickets are not needed for watching the show in the Sails Pavilion or the overflow ballrooms, although Sails Pavilion seating can fill up too.