Miami Beach

Comic convention to attract fans dressed as favorite characters

Krystal Perez, 21, has been creating a “cosplay” costume to wear as one of her favorite characters, Irisviel, from the Japanese graphic novel Fate/Zero by Gen Urobuchi.

She worked on her costume for three days, and spent $80 between labor and fabric to get ready for Florida’s eighth annual Supercon convention, which opens Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center, bringing together thousands of fans of comic books, anime, video games and cosplay, or costume play.

Perez is ready to show off her costume. “To plan my costume out doesn’t take long,” said Perez. “What takes long is deciding how to go about creating it. . . .”

“I really love cosplays and conventions, so I get really excited for it,” said Perez. “I even got my friends enthusiastic and passionate about it.”

Supercon attracts throngs of cosplayers from South Florida and beyond.

“I’ve competed twice at Florida Supercon,” said Jennifer Amador, 22. “The first time was as Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw, the second was as Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon.”

Starting from scratch, it took Amador three weeks to complete her Starling costume. Sailor Mercury was simpler, she said, and took her only three days.

Amador said she has been a cosplayer for more than eight years. It’s an outlet, she says, to show her love for a fantasy world that has become a lifestyle for her.

“Cosplaying means being able to express myself and showcase my talents that I’m very proud of,” said Amador. “It’s a way to be myself without getting the strange and awkward looks.”

Lorena Lopez, 21, a cosplayer since 2009, said she has made some money creating costumes for those who want them to be professionally crafted.

“It’s called Lolo’s Wardrobe,” said Lopez. “People will find their ideas somewhere on the Internet, and I’ll price the commissioning based on the materials needed.”

Lopez has her Lolo’s Wardrobe page on Facebook, where she posts photos of her latest works for potential clients to see. These include costumes based on characters from popular video games, such as League of Legends and the Final Fantasy series.

Recently, she has also created Korean Pop music, or K-Pop, costumes.

“K-Pop has these very different sorts of outfits that I’ve never done before,” said Lopez. “I figured I’d decide to tackle one of those costumes and see how it could be done. They don’t take long, only two days.”

Cosplay’s popularity has grown over the years. Its fans participate in competitions, create Facebook groups and arrange meet-ups and photo shoots.

One group in particular on Facebook is Florida Cosplay Org, an organization that supports all forms of art, animation and costume-creation.

“My page is used for showing works and to display the art of cosplay of teens and adults,” said Sara Comettant, 47, leader of the Facebook group. “It’s not just for geeks and nerds — it’s for the art in it.”

Comettant, who also goes by her artist name, Princess Sara, said she started cosplaying in her early 20s.

After seeing the art value in it, she started the Facebook group to spread the word.

“The goal is to change the mentality of people who don’t appreciate the art work that goes into the lifestyle,” Comettant said.