Hot Glue: The Answer to Cosplay, WonderCon, and Everything

WonderCon 2014 was held over the Easter weekend (April 18 - April 20, 2014) at the Anaheim Convention Center.  The entire Geek Say What? team was there to enjoy the atmosphere, energy, and fun that can only be had when surrounded by a crowd of nerds in their element.  We also happened to enjoy the food from our sponsor, Burger Monster, but that is good anytime, anywhere.  While our podcast hosts, Alix, Jason, and Cole, ran around advertising the podcast and filming some great video content for you guys, I did the Dr. T thing of sitting in panels, taking notes, and gathering knowledge.


There were basically three types of panels I sat in on: (1) cosplay panels (obviously), (2) comic book creation and writing panels (I like big books and I cannot lie), (3) tabletop gaming panels (because, fun!).  I also half-sat in on a few comic book artist/drawing composition/character creation panels because they let people wander in freely, and they happened to be in rooms immediately before panels I had planned into my schedule.  I’m sure Andrew will give you a run-down of the tabletop news in this week’s On the Table, but today I will be sharing all of the fun we had in the cosplay panels I attended.


Cosplay at WonderCon 2014


501st and Rebel Legions: Costuming for the Good of the Galaxy!

Friday April 18, 12:30pm Room 203


To be completely honest, I did not actually attend this panel at this year’s WonderCon, but I was able to attend the Star Wars costuming panel held by the same organizations at WonderCon in 2013.  The presentation last year was fantastic - the presenters detailed the exacting costuming standards required to join one of their organizations, as well as offered advice about construction and materials to create the costumes.  They also discussed “entry level” costumes (ie, Jedi costumes) that are required to join, versus “advanced level” costumes (recognizable characters or alien creatures) that are allowed after you have joined the group.  These groups do some amazing charity work in addition to setting the standards for Star Wars cosplay, and they have some great resources for all Star Wars cosplayers, even those who don’t have an interest in joining the organizations.


Rebel Legion

    Costume List (by source)

    Costume Tutorials


501st Legion

    Costuming Page


Cosplay Makeup 101

Friday April 18, 1pm Room 210A


Although the Cosplay Makeup panel got off to a bit of a slow start (the panelists had a bit of difficulty getting to the convention due to traffic and the room monitor hadn’t quite figured out the microphone system at that point), once it got going the panel was quite informative.  The panelists were Dawnielle Banks, who specializes in beauty and editorial makeup, Chrissy Lynn, who does a lot of wigs and props for cosplay, and Aubriana Zurilgen, who specializes in prosthetics for costuming.  The panelists clearly had a lot of experience and knowledge about their crafts; they even brought in a Troll from World of Warcraft to show off their handiwork.  Much of the discussion was about specific products that work well for various make-up applications, but there were some great general tips as well.  A few tidbits of wisdom from this panel:

  • Always use a vinyl bald cap!

  • Glycerine is great for a wet-look

  • Use a soft base for a hard mold and a hard base for a soft mold

  • Latex is easy to learn, silicon is best left for near-professionals

  • Sea sponges are great for texture

  • Use many colors of body and face paint to create contours

  • Alginate (used by dentists) is perfect as a starting point for teeth molds

  • Primer is important to help your makeup stay in place



Saturday April 19, 6pm Room 207




WonderCon Anaheim’s 10th Annual Masquerade

Saturday April 19, 8:30pm Arena


Unfortunately I was unable to attend either of these costuming events due to scheduling conflicts.  XYZ-Punk was a panel discussing the increasing prevalence of the steampunk pop culture in cosplay, and the Masquerade is, of course, the premiere cosplay event that starts out as a costume competition and ends as a giant costume party.  The Masquerade is always one of the most highly anticipated events at any convention, and though I wasn’t there I am sure it was fantastic at this year’s WonderCon as well.


Cosplay 101

Sunday April 20, 2pm Room 207


Like all of this cosplay panels this weekend, this room was completely full of enthusiastic current and future cosplayers.  The panel was hosted by Johnny Wickham and Chloe Dykstra of Nerdist’s Just Cos and SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay fame.  Other panelists included Jessie Pridemore (cosplayer), Kai Norman (Kommissar Props), Frank Ippollito (film industry makeup artist, SyFy’s Face Off), and Holly Conrad and Jessica Merizan (Crabcat Industries and SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay).  After a bit of backstory, the panel was run completely as a Q&A session, with the panelists being sincerely interested in helping the fans improve their own cosplays.  Despite many of the audience questions coming from new cosplayers and first-time convention goers who were (understandably) a bit timid, the panel did an excellent job of providing helpful and enthusiastic responses to everyone.  Being in the room you could feel the acceptance, support, and excitement of the entire cosplay community.  Although the panel jokingly provided “hot glue” as the answer to everything, there were some other great tips the shared with the audience:

  • Save your patterns!  (Seriously, you never know when you might need them!)

  • Worbla, E6000, and hot glue are the answers to everything.

  • When painting, use aging and highlights to emphasize details.

  • Find creative places to stuff your stuff while cosplaying (in your boots!), or get you own “bag bitch.”

  • Look for inspiration everywhere.

  • If you are getting body glue, make sure to also get the remover!

  • While most of the panelists admitted to spending hundred to thousands of dollars on their costumes, they also suggested repurposing props, and closet and thrift store shopping as ways to keep costs down.

  • “There is no bad cosplay” and “live your dreams” were the mottos of the panelists.  Definitely words for cosplayers to live by.


Cosplay from the Floor


There were so many fantastic cosplay costumes wandering around on the floor and outside by Photography Fountain.  From comics and movies to TV shows and web comics, if the character exists, it was brought to life at the con.  It was also great to see the wide age range of the cosplayers - from grandparents and grandkids to high school students who showed up in their first costume, there was a definite sense that con cosplay is only growing in popularity.  The number of booths selling costume pieces and props also seemed larger than at last year’s convention (especially those specializing in steampunk).  All in all it was a great weekend for cosplayers, and I am sure we are all leaving inspired, energized, and excited for the next con.


My WonderCon wrap-up will continue in next week’s Nerdconomics, where I will give my review of the writing panels at the con.  More write-ups, reviews, and videos will be coming from the rest of the Geek Say What? crew in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!  Until next time, this is Dr. T reminding you to get your hands nerdy.