WonderCon and the Disappearing Leia Bikini

21Apr14

A big reason to go to WonderCon — or any comic book convention — is to people watch. Specifically costume watch. The crowd is a weird mix of exhibitionists and home-body nerds. And for years, decades even, the go-to costume for exhibitionist girls has been Princess Leia in the metal slave bikini.

But this week, I saw one person dressed that way.

Only one.

I’ve been to WonderCon three times, and the two previous times, it seems you saw ten Slave Leias before entering. But now… one? I am in no way advocating that there should be more girls wearing next to nothing (they still handled that with other costumes), but it’s just… strange. Has the popularity of that costume wained? Or in the series? 

A possible explanation may be that I just didn’t see every single person who came in the door, which is certainly true. Another more interesting theory is that CosPlay girls have, this year, gravitated to other realms of sci-fi, fantasy and comic books, since they have (gasp!) been given more than one major character to choose from! Aside from the usual crew of Catwomen and Harley Quins, there were a ton of “Game of Thones” women (I don’t watch the show, but I know that blonde girl with a tiny dragon is somebody). “Frozen” has also worked its way into the Con-Costume circuit, as I saw girls young and old dressed in a variety of Elsas and Annas (to the delight of many — including me!). “Lego Movie” was well represented, and represented by girls/women, with Uni-Kitty leading the way. The outlier costume trend was “Bob’s Burgers,” which to my eyes was only represented by their female characters; I saw no Bobs, no Genes, but did see some Lindas, many Tinas and a LOT of Louises.

The other possible destination for the missing Slave Leias could be the upswing in role-reversal costumes. I saw many Female Dr. Whos, Girl Captain Americas, Lady Han Solos, and a couple women dressed as Boba Fetts (though Mandelorian armor doesn’t lend itself to any kind of gender-bending reveals). I saw a Lady (re: “Sexy”) Joker, which is really weird* to think about. She was with a Lady Penguin and a Lady Riddler (in a smart green business suit and skirt covered in question marks, which was totally badass).

Don’t worry: the near-nudist women still found ways to be nearly nude, with lots of Poison Ivies, Black Canaries and Black Cats hanging about (if you’re a busty girl who likes to show almost all of it, you can always rely on Power Girl!). But… seriously, what happened to all the Slave Girl Leias**? When you commit such time and money as obviously goes into many of these costumes, you want to get a lot of use out of it, right? According to a search I immediately deleted, the average Slave Leia costume costs about $60. Yeah, it probably costs more to make a Halo soldier costume, and that’s my point: you’ve ALREADY GOT your costume. If you really have the body to back it up, then why would you work harder and spend more money on something else? Did they all decide/realize it was passé? Did they ALL go with Black Cat? I saw a more Ravens than I would have normally expected, but not THAT many more.

I keep wondering about this because I can’t tell if it’s a sign of a shift in trends and taste. Maybe “Star Wars” is finally losing its grip on pop culture. It’s no great mystery that the more popular the movie/show/book/game, the more popularly the costumes are represented at Cons like this. I mean, I didn’t see ONE 2013 version of Zod or Jor El, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. Did Slave Leia go the same way?  Did good sense finally win?

Some other thoughts:

1.) What’s the point of the shopping area any more? With the internet around, as I’ve complained plenty of times, you can get all of that stuff and more AND CHEAPER at your own home. So why would anyone in their right mind go to a convention to buy the Avengers’ Heli-Carrier?

2.) I thought (too late) of the COOLEST costume for a convention like this: Rob and Don (aka the “My name is Rob/My name is Don”) mutant gang members from “Dark Knight Returns.” Top it, internet! I dare you! In fact, steal it. I cannot believe I’ve never seen any mutants or Sons of Batman represented at these cons. A quick Google image search for both “…Rob… Don” and “Sons of Batman” gave me just this:

"A" for originality, but...

“A” for originality, but…

The font on the shirt is pretty good.

3.) As I said earlier, there were still some girls there who were basically naked. Like 95% naked anyway. Some I swear were dressed nearly-naked not as any known character, but just to do it. I didn’t recognize every costume represented, but most of the ones I didn’t get were at least ornate enough to lead me to believe they were from SOMETHING. These other girls were just kinda walking around naked. It makes me wonder how close we’ll come to just letting them go ahead and do it.

4.) I’m not the first, nor the last, to make this joke, but it always shocks me how little comic books have to do with the modern comic book convention. A friend’s girlfriend was considering going, but she was worried because she’s more into anime and games. Which is perfect, because if you’re not into comic books, then you’ll LOVE the comic book convention!

5.) Speaking of outliers, by far the most popular — and perfectly strange — booth belonged to Tommy Wiseau, a name I can’t believe I didn’t have to look up. He’s the director, writer and of the terrible “The Room,” a movie which has nothing to do with sci-fi but has EVERYTHING to do with cult followings. I didn’t buy anything from him, but I should because he was apparently selling it for $10, with lots of weird raffles involving basketballs. Every time we happened by his booth, it was crowded. I even saw one of the panelists had a “You’re Tearing Me Apart, Lisa!” jacket. I think he’s doing alright.

6.) In my opinion, the reigning king and still champion nerdiest cos-play is a “Star Trek” costume. The problem is that the original costumes weren’t spectacular to begin with. So no matter how well you replicate it, you’re essentially replicating a crappy costumer. Furthermore, even if you make, say, a “Next Generation” uniform (as I saw a couple times), it’s still just kinda pants and a shirt. Like a unitard. There’s just no way — with all the history AND the production designate — that you can look cool wearing anything from “Star Trek.”

 

*It was weird to me and my friends because while we appreciated the role-reversal, we struggled to come up with the Male Harley Quinn equivalent. Because the Lady Joker, She-Penguin and Girl Riddler all were pretty much dress the same as their male counterparts, with a few twists here and there… but how would a male Harley pull that off? Would he be in tights? Would he be a beefcake in red, white and black panties? Would he be in a smart suit? Would he be smaller than his Ms. J, as is traditionally done, or would he be huge compared to her? Obviously I’m gonna put the lab on this one and get an answer.

 

**Come to think of it, Princess Leia was pretty underrepresented in any costume. I think I saw a total of three Leias at the entire Con: the bikini, a classic white, and a really cool Endor Camo look. If I were a Disney exec, I’d be having some major buyers remo

 

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One Response to “WonderCon and the Disappearing Leia Bikini”

  1. 1 Karen

    I was wearing Princess Leia (slave) costume 🙂


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