Comic Con Stockholm 2014

TL;DR at the bottom

I had my doubts about this event before it even started. I was very excited when they announced that ComicCon would come to Sweden, but then everything went silent. There was no information what so ever and the ticket release day were getting closer. Since I didn’t want to buy “the pig in the bag”, I decided to only go on the Sunday when the WCS-qualifier would be and maybe not even then.

About one week before the event, Samuel (main organizer for NärCon, who held in the cosplay competitions) contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a judge for both the solo competition on the Thursday, and the WCS-qualifier on the Sunday. Of course I wanted to! Now everything went from maybe only visiting a few hours on the Sunday, to being there for the whole event. This meant I had to find a place to sleep. A friend offered me to sleep at her place, and thus everything was set for ComicCon Gamex.


Thursday
I get to my friend’s place and help her get into cosplay. She was going to compete in the solo competition, but didn’t know I was a judge and I didn’t reveal it. She has two cats, I’m not a cat person, and the cat smell made me a little sick.

We get to the event an hour before the competition. My first impression: This is just like any other expo, where it the ComicCon part? I found my way to the R2Builders and talk with them and get some very helpful tips for building my own R2 (turns out I’ve done everything wrong and there is a much easier way).

The stage was really small, and it couldn’t fit everyone in the audience. I don’t mind so much as this was the solo-competition, but apparently the WCS-qualifier was supposed to be on that stage as well. Why not use the big stage in the “VIP-hall”? It got plenty of room for the audience, and the stage is big enough for the skits. As I write this (Thursday evening) I’ve got the news that they will indeed move the WCS-qualifier to the “VIP-hall”-stage.

The prejudging started and Cherry (my co-judge) and I walked around among the cosplayers and tried to interview as many as possible. We had plenty of time to talk to everyone we could find.

Some prices was obvious to give, other where a lot more difficult. Cherry and I discussed the Best Craftsmanship and Best Cosplay quite a lot; it stood between 3 persons for those two prices. We wanted more prices to give, but sadly we couldn’t.

After the competition I went to eat, and set out to find somewhere else to sleep (I could not stand the cats). Sadly none of my other friends had any space left, so I walked into the Scandic Hotel that was just next door to the event. They had a free room for me, so I took it. Now I can’t understand why I didn’t go to Scandic in the first place, I love Scandic.

I relaxed some in my hotel room before setting out to eat again (still hungry), I met Magda who apparently also stays at the same hotel, and after my second meal I hung out with her and her friends.

Solo competition results:
Best prop: Christopher Wayan Bolin as Freezing Psycho from Borderlands 2
Best character: Joel Eklund as Bofur from The Hobbit
Best idea: Hannah Abbas as Gnar from League of Legends
Best craftsmanship: Emma-Charlotta Granath as Princess Celestia Gijinka from MLP:FIM
Unofficial runner-up best cosplay: Rebecca Labeeb as High Elf Vampire Lord from Skyrim
Best cosplay: Beatrice Krüger as Patchouli Knowledge from Touhou Project


Friday
Why am I so nervous about WCS?

Since I didn’t really have time for it yesterday, today I walked around in the expo hall. I found some things that I bought (the first time ever that I buy anything at a convention). I bought Hyrule Historia, and the Catching Fire Mockingjay Pin.

Not much happened this day. I had seen everything in the expo in under an hour. I’m not a gamer so I skipped all game stalls, and after that there wasn’t much else for me to see. I tried to find people I know, it was difficult, but I managed to find people often enough to not get too lonely.

And another thing! The fire alarm went off in the hotel this morning. Just an exercise, but still.

There is an official after party tonight, but I don’t feel like going. I’m not the partying kind. I’ll see if I can spend the evening with friends at the hotel instead.

I heard from Linnéa (Mitternacht) that she recommended me as a judge, which makes me feel both happy and honored.


Saturday
Nothing interesting happened today. The halls where insanely crowded, so I did my best to stay away. I got the feeling that the organizers weren’t ready for such a crowd. The pathways between the stalls were too small, the floor planning could be better (don’t place a natural queue-former like the wardrobe and ATM at the top of the only escalators used to enter the event).

I looked at the How to build your R2D2 panel and got really pepp to continue on my own R2.

In the afternoon I went on a side trip and traveled to Västerås where I saw 123 Schtunk.


Sunday
Woke up early to start prejudging for the WCS-qualifier. At the prejudging we also had a representative for WCS present. He was really professional and discrete. He was judging us as we were judging the cosplayers. The Finnish judges were a bit surprised (almost aggressive at first) that the cosplays where in pieces, but I think they later realized that this was a superior way to judge craftsmanship.

From the questions they asked, I got the feeling that the Finnish judges hadn’t read either the judging guidelines or the cosplay documentation for each group.

Apparently the WCS-qualifier was so popular that the queue was so long that it completely locked down the entire event.

I was really nervous going up on stage and talk during the introduction; I did not enjoy it at all. But there were some nice words from Kim (host and cosplay organizer) about me, and the audience cheered more than I expected.

To be honest, I expected the overall quality of the cosplays and performances to be higher, but I do think we got the right winner, and all the other judges agreed. We also agreed about the craftsmanship honorable mention, but there were some controversy about the performance honorable mention.

Working with the Finnish judges were quite difficult, they were strict, short worded, and impossible to discuss with. It was as if they had forgotten that cosplay is an assessment sport (“bedömningssport”) where there are different ways to judge something, and not a “you need to do this to win”-sport. They even claimed that one of the performances where “to violent”. Come on!! Haven’t you seen the performances at WCS? What did you do during your time there?!? Almost all performances at WCS are violent!

I’m leaving ComicConSthlm with a sour taste in my mouth. In the future: please don’t select judges based on wins, select them based on their ability to judge.

WCS prices:
1st place: Tennyo Slorafoss and Linn Eriksson as Sheik and Impa from Hyrule Warriors
Honorable Mention Craftsmanship: Emma-Chalotta Granath and Moa Jagenheim as Alice and Alice from Alice: Madness Returns
Honorable Mention Performance: Anne Arvidsson and Tomaz Niewiarowski as Yoko and Kamina from Tengen Toppan Gurren Lagann

My favorite Craftsmanship: Tennyo and Linn
My favorite Performance: Emma-Charlotta and Moa
My favorite Props: Emma-Charlotta and Moa


TL;DR and final thoughts
ComicCon Gamex felt just like any other expo: A lot of people, and nothing interesting to buy.

Why have the cosplay competitions on the small stage? Don’t they realize how popular cosplay is? Good thing they came to their senses and gave the WCS-qualifier the big stage.

It feels weird for the event to close so early (I’m used to 24/7 events, or events that closes at 01:00, not events that closes at 18:00). What am I supposed to do the rest of the evening? It made me realize how good NärCon actually is.

In the future: please don’t select judges based on wins, select them based on their ability to judge.