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This is what you see when your TV gets excited.

by Karina Montgomery, contributing writer

Heroes of Cosplay continues to inspire and delight. This week and next they are in New Orleans for Wizard World, a much larger con than has been portrayed on the show usually. Wizard World has two costume competitions, individual and group/skit, and this episode is primarily focused on the individuals. As always, everyone starts work two weeks or less before the competition, which makes me wonder if it’s a condition of participation in the show? The cast always seem rushed and under tons of pressure but they seem to put themselves through a lot of stress due to starting so late.

This week the focus is on the men, since they’re competing first. Next week is the ladies’ group competition. Young braggart Carl is back, though after the fumble with his Mannequin character in Miami, he is obsessively obsessively to redeem himself. His Haunt from Image Comics seems to be almost entirely handmade out of latex, with funky wiggly rubber shoes he cast himself. So far, he seems to prefer a wet-paint kind of texture with his two creations. I hope to see him tackle something more soft or smooth or metallic in the future. Is he full of potential or full of something else?

Miguel is also back, still very confident but he wisely keeps his costume creation well within his skill-sets and time constraints. Miguel chose Shazam from the game Injustice, and true to his mission statement, it fits his mohawked, tattoed real life persona well. The result is kind of a black Assassin’s Flash but it is simple and put together well.

Contestant Jesse enters the stage

That armor was forged in the foundries of my grandfather. Wear it proudly, and it will carry you to victory!

Jesse from Portland returns, meeting his fellow males for the first time. He has finally picked a costume that plays to all his skills. In an earlier episode, his Megaman outfit looked as if Jesse’s confidence was outweighing his actual talent. This episode, he produces his best work to date: Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit. With the fur and armor and leather, Jesse is finally working well within his wheelhouse, and it shows. Details are everything and he’s honing those details.

Last week, Meg, Katie, and Chloe partnered up for a group competition, and it was a genuine pleasure to watch them work together – all art and fun and love and collaboration, and a great concept and execution. This week, Chloe returns to her LA Crab Cat pals Jessica and Holly. I find those two too dysfunctional to really gel with Chloe’s positive spirit, but when she’s in the room, things definitely are smoother.

Yaya Han and contestant pose together.

Jasmin Synn and Lady Loki are looking for trouble.

The three of them are attempting a high concept: Peter Pan as if done by Guillermo del Toro. Yes, chew on that for a while. Holly is a kaiju Hook with a claw and an amazing hat (so far; we’ll see more next week), Jessica is Peter but we see only concept sketches and a bit of draped beginnings for her, and Chloe is Wendy. Chloe’s insecurity about her actual inability to sew is belied by her neat little pleats and tidy design. Will the concept read? I can’t wait to find out.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Riki and Katie (with Yaya’s help) pull Indra into their group to do characters from Soul Caliber. Indra will be Hilde, Katie chooses Sophitia and Riki is making Tira. Katie’s perfectionism starts to slow her work down, and she’s getting more and more concerned about having enough time. From what we see of her concept drawing, I can’t tell which pieces are slowing her down, but she really seems concerned. Considering how much sewing, gluing, and painting goes on in con hotel suites in this show, I can’t imagine what is slowing her down in her head. All the ladies seem to have different views on what makes a skit, but Indra seems the most concerned about making time to do that part.

Yaya Han judges the individual competition and will also host the group/skit competition, so her pressure on herself is higher than ever (as always). She has been asked to be in a steampunk caped hero web series called Archangel being created by Museum Replicas, and got to design her own costume for her villain, Jasmin Synn. Taking some production concept drawings and her formidable talents, she makes it her own with true Yaya style. Meanwhile, she also wants to wear something really complex – including stilts – the second day – can she do it in time? This character is Enira the Banshee Queen from Lineage 2, and it is one intense costume. Has Yaya finally bitten off more than she can chew? Her Jasmin Synn is done and polished – find out next week if she can pull off two incredibly ambitious costumes for one con.

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