Thousands of fans flock to Orlando each year for MegaCon, the self-proclaimed “largest comic book, anime, gaming and multimedia event in the Southeast.” This past weekend, MegaCon 2012 was one of the biggest yet, nearly filling the Orange County Convention Center’s West concourse with merchandise, collectibles, celebrities, and plenty of costumed attendees. Even with the unique items available for purchase and the stars available for meeting, it’s the attending cosplayers that always offer the most entertainment and what I personally find to be most enjoyable to see at the convention.
Each year while covering MegaCon, we take hundreds of photos, capturing all its interesting sights. But for 2012, I decided to take a more personal approach to spotlighting the people who spend hours creating their elaborate costumes for the event. I asked each cosplayer I approached to say “I am…” followed by their character name. With a mix of their own voices and in-character performances, the video below offers a glimpse at just who are these people who dress up for the convention. It’s simply called, “I am MegaCon 2012.”
Video: I am MegaCon 2012 – Costumes and Cosplay in Orlando
From the hundreds of photos we took, below I offer a few of my favorite sights, from more costumes to celebrities to exhibits. Everyone’s experience at MegaCon differs based on their own preferences and tastes for pop culture and genres. For me, I was naturally on the hunt for anything Disney related, plus a few other favorites. Following my personal picks, flip through the full slideshow of all of our MegaCon 2012 photos at the bottom to spot out your own. And if you find any costume photos simply captioned “Costume” that you know more about, head over to our Flickr gallery and comment with the additional details.
The MegaCon excitement begins even outside the convention center, with Batman and Robin heading in at the same time I was.
It doesn't take long to find entertainment inside. Before even making it to the show floor, I spotted C-3PO and R2-D2 drawing a big crowd.
The entrance area is a popular spot for cosplayers to pose for pictures. Here Thor engages in an epic MegaCon battle.
Nearby, a few Resident Evil characters battle it out too.
One of the most popular franchises to inspire costumes is Batman, with a variety of each character showing up throughout the convention. Here are just a few: Joker, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Penguin. We'll see more of these characters later.
Like Resident Evil above, video games are also a big source of inspiration for costumes, such as with these excellent attendees dressed as Mega Man and Dr. Light. More video games to come inside.
The crowd attending conventions like MegaCon are generally easy-going, laid back, and quite friendly. Free hugs are common. Towel-wearing Pokemon characters are not.
Most free hugs are gentle and met with a polite smile.
Others begin with a running start and end up with a bigger smile.
While free hugs are a common theme each year at MegaCon, this year a few were offering a new variation: Free shrugs. Meh?
On the convention floor, I spotted surprisingly few people dressed in Star Wars costumes. Or it could be that I'm so used to seeing Stormtroopers at Disney's theme parks and other conventions that I just don't notice them anymore. Regardless, this Darth Maul caught my eye.
Though Star Wars characters are common, those from Spaceballs are not. This Barf (short for Barfolomew) was a close match for the late John Candy.
Though most Stormtroopers tend to blend in, this one grabbed my attention, though I can't imagine why...
Ghostbusters are a dime a dozen at MegaCon, with many attendees running around wearing proton packs. But this pair was unique among the group. It's not every day you see an inflatable Slimer and a recently-slimed Janine.
And this family of Ghostbusters melted everyone with cuteness.
Back in the world of video games, Mortal Kombat has seen a return in immense popularity, possibly due to the most recent installment in the series being quite possibly the best ever. Here's Shao Kahn, with Sub Zero lurking behind him.
Jade and Kitana are good choices for female Mortal Kombat costumes.
And if there's Jade and Kitana, Mileena is bound to show up too. Oh, and Raiden.
But the video game show stoppers this year were from Street Fighter II. This impressive Dhalsim costume is one of the best I've ever seen. Dee Jay looked great too, but simply isn't as interesting of a character.
The hottest trends inevitably make their way into MegaCon and Monster High characters return again this year, not only with frequently-seen Frankie Stein, but also adding Spectra Vondergeist and Deuce Gorgon to the mix.
And we're back to Batman, with multiple Jokers and Harley Quinns, plus a few others.
I risked my life to get this photo of Two-Face (er, sorry, Harvey Dent) and Poison Ivy.
Catwoman was much more welcoming, but I suppose that's how she tricks her victims.
Speaking of welcoming women, here's a Slave Leia. I normally feature many of these in my convention wrap-up articles (by popular demand), but I only spotted a handful this time around. And yes, that's yet another Joke. And Moaning Myrtle too.
But Slave Leia's not the only one afraid to show off a little skin. This variation of Pokemon character Vaporeon is certainly more appealing than the real thing. (Google it.) It often takes imagination to transform an animated creature into a wearable costume.
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic is hugely popular, inspiring many uniquely homemade costumes for each of the TV show's main characters, without overtly looking like ponies. Here are Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash.
Over in MegaCon's Anime Sushi costume contest, a different Rainbow Dash glitter bombed the audience from the stage.
And as quickly as she arrived, she galloped away, showing off her cutie marks. Everypony in the audience was clapping.
Though the 'adults' section of the contest always features impressive costumes, the kids thrilled with elaborate outfits like this creepy getup.
A sword-spinning Link lept to the stage to the sound of cheers from the excited crowd.
Back to video games, Travis Touchdown from the video game No More Heroes, uh, recharged his sword. And the crowd loved it.
Street Figher II's Vega gracefully commanded attention.
Costume contestants needed to enter in advance of the show, but a few walk-ons were met with applause near the end as judges deliberated. How can you say no to an eager face like this?
But I didn't stay to find out who the winner was in the Anime contest, as the other MegaCon costume contest was going on elsewhere simultaneously, featuring a variety of themes from TV, movies, video games, and beyond. Here a particularly furry Beast claims one of the prizes.
Other impressively detailed winning costumes included this Scarecrow from Batman.
Ultimately the Scooby-Doo gang took home the judge's favorite prize.
And the crowd goes wild.
With Inside the Magic mainly covering Disney topics, I couldn't look past the many excellent Disney costumes at MegaCon, like this spot-on Jasmine.
And then there's Briar Rose / Aurora / Sleeping Beauty, another Jasmine, and Ariel / The Little Mermaid.
This Rapunzel packed plenty of attitude, accompanied by Paschal on her shoulder.
Disney properties now reach far beyond the usual Princesses, with Star Wars, LEGO, and Marvel all part of their universe.
Keeping with the Marvel theme, here's Thor - again. I already pictured him above (and in the video above as well), but this guy was a dead ringer for Thor movie star Chris Hemsworth and thus is worth including again. I even overheard someone nearby say they thought he was actually the actor from the film, which is the biggest compliment anyone could give to a cosplayer.
But my favorite of the Disney-owned-but-not-created properties is The Muppets - specifically, Beaker! Meep meep.
Not Disney, but I was intrigued by this Charlie Chaplin costume. It's not a common one at MegaCon - or any other convention. (Though I suppose Chaplin's antics aren't that far off from those of Beaker...)
Beyond the costumes, a big draw for MegaCon is the celebrities who not only sign autographs and take pictures with attendees but also host panel discussions about favorite topics. A TRON/Babylon 5 panel featured stars Bruce Boxleitner, Cindy Morgan, Peter Jurasik, and Steven Furst. You can hear snippets of that on Show 359 of our podcast.
I was particularly excited about meeting Don Rosa, writer and artist for Disney's Scrooge McDuck (my favorite) and Donald Duck. He was quite busy with other fans wanting to chat and buy his autographed prints, but took the time to sit down with each one and offer everyone a smile and a handshake.
Celebrities of all sizes appear at MegaCon, from this recognizable guy from Star Wars...
...to this more recognizable guy from Star Trek. Yes, that's Brent Spiner posing in front of a Dr. Who TARDIS.
MegaCon 2012 was filled with Dr. Who fans, many gathering in costume around the TARDIS.
Not quite a time-traveling device but equally impressive, in the middle of the convention floor iGate 3D showed off its ability to create a 3D scan of a person, ultimately creating a small lifelike figurine.
They were promoting their line of Stan Lee 3D mini busts, each autographed by the Marvel god himself.
Needless to say, a huge crowd formed when Stan Lee appeared at the booth on Saturday.
And after three days of convention excitement, MegaCon 2012 came to a conclusion... until next year. (Advance tickets are highly recommended as soon as they go on sale. Be ready!)
Though the focus of my attention is generally on the costumed attendees, MegaCon always offers much more, including personal time with celebrities and artists, entertaining presentations, and countless rows of booths filled with artwork, merchandise, and other collectibles. I left with four signed Scrooge McDuck prints from Don Rosa (I’m a big fan), but each person attending the annual convention will find something to satisfy their own tastes. And it’s for that reason that I continue to return to MegaCon year after year, along with tens of thousands of others in this ever-growing event.
More photos from MegaCon 2012: (Feb. 18 photos by Ricky Brigante, Feb. 19 photos by Michael Gavin)
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Based in Orlando, Florida, Inside the Magic was launched in 2005 by Ricky Brigante. The Inside the Magic podcast has since become the longest-running Disney podcast in the world, with a new show having been released every week since its inception.
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