Comic-Con:San Diego 2016: Crowds and Cosplayers
Delores Fisher and Chris Smith of Sync Sound (Blogger’s dream simulation”
Comic-Con International:San Diego 2016 as an annual local, national, and international diverse population event was interesting this year http://www.comic-con.org/ . Yes, you detect a hesitation and searching for the right descriptor. Commercials flooded our consciousness with television invocations to “watch us live here in San Diego at Comic-Con 2016” for those who could not or did not get tickets. Professional and quasi-professional Media coverage was massive this year.
As usual, I interacted with quite a few awesome Cosplayers:
My focus this year, due to a different teaching schedule and musician obligations, was to go downtown and photograph a few cosplayers and reflect on science fiction, comics, computer games, and technology. I wanted to NOT include myself in a lot of the photos and to seek out more African American cosplayers.
What inspired my flights into costume play and sci-fi day dreams? Saturday morning Cartoons! And of course, I read plenty of books: fiction, historic, fantasy, and illustrated books like comics and Mad Magazine (one of my personal favorites as a youth). They played a role in African American literacy n the past. Today, an African American Comics festival celebrates these influences and others on today’s youth. http://bcaf.norcalmlkfoundation.org/ It’s an exciting time for those interested in e-books, electronic simu-worlds, space/time/inter-dimensional travel.
For me, in addition to written the influences on African American written and cultural literacy noted in a previous post https://sonictapestry.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/delores-fishers-san-diego-comic-con-chronicles-2015-4-literacy/ , sci-fi horror Blaxploitation films like “Blacula,” alternative worlds films like Sun Ra’s “Space is the Place,” even avant- garde music have all contributed to diverse interests in sci-fi, fantasy, and technology among Black people that often goes unnoticed, invisibilized into more overtly “acceptable” pressing social-cultural concerns and expressions associated with African Americans, or morphed politico-socio-futuristic academically inflected identity issues in lived-experience genres like Afro Futurism.
(See my ongoing newest page:https://sonictapestry.wordpress.com/afrofuturism/
Yet, borrowing a phrase from others and Jimmy Diggs screen writer for “Star Trek Deep Space 9,” and “Space Trek Voyager,” that I heard uttered while on a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Ajani Brown about Afro Futurism, perhaps my thoughts from time to time seem like a case of “Black to the future.”
Dr. Adilifu Nama, Delores Fisher, Grace Gipson, Jimmy Diggs (on Skype) and Ajani Brown
Technology, historical recovery, and identity politics has been reaching across the country, transforming our youths interests in even our poorest neighborhoods most noticeably since the television Star Trek and the pre-Hip Hop generation. As noted by Nichelle Nichols who played the original ground breaking role of communications officer Lt. Uhura, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Star Trek fan.
We have had few African American highly visible galactic female roles like Nichelle Nicholes, despite genre blurring innovators like the heavily make-up covered role Zoe Saldana embodied with poignancy and yet strength in “Avatar.” Her role as communications officer in the new “Star Trek” franchise not only openly explores a vaguely hinted at inter-galactic affair with Dr. Spock in the T.V. show, but also creates a platform on which to become this generations’ space/technology inspiration. However, Lt. Uhura was not the only visible African American woman in an alternative world series. Eartha Kitt was also on the scene.
During that era, Catwoman played by controversial singer/performer Eartha Kitt in 1967 http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/a-23-2009-06-04-voa1-83142292/130031.html burst into general American TV audiences’ awareness in scintillating sexiness in the weekly comic book inspired Batman series.
Eartha Kitt as Bat Woman
Halle Berry sexily re-caped the role in the 2004 film “Cat Woman”.
Most of the Cat woman cosplayers at Comic-Con :San Diego that I encountered were based on Halle Barry’s film role.
Two cosplayers as Cat Woman.
Several Michael Jackson Cosplayer were at Comic-Con:San Diego 2016. In my opinion, Jackson’s “Thriller” despite its musical video genre busting, sparked a renewed interest in film interpretations of African American sci-fy horror.
One had to be in the arear surrounding downtown San Diego’s Convention Center to enjoy the vibes. T.V. coverage did not capture the flavah for me. Despite enjoying media staged events at home, fora few nights, I had to return to the event just for the vibe. I’m glad I did. I interacted with and photographed a few more cosplayers.
African American super heroes were very visible in the crowd.
African American Gamer cosplayers were also a huge part of this year’s event.
Lastly, but not least, with a nod to early Hip Hop(the past) and to “Star Wars,”(the future), one of the Saturday evening side street photo op sessions, they were amazing, like mini-flash mob groupings all along various blocked off streets where no traffic could mess with the flow, featured a mobile red storm trooper with boombox, bling chain around hid neck, dance moves, and interactive crowd photo ops.
Comic-Con International: San Diego had really fun African American cosplayers in the house!