Outer Banks Cosplay On Display At Tidewater Comicon [Interviews / Photo Gallery]
The annual Tidewater Comicon returned to Virginia Beach, VA in May with an epic lineup of celebrity guests and comic book royalty that descended onto the Virginia Beach Convention Center for what has quickly become the largest event of its kind in this region.
Special guests attending the event included one of the original Ghostbusters, Ernie Hudson, as well as Flash Gordon (1980) icon Sam Jones (Ted, Ted 2), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers star Karan Ashley, and voice actor Steve Blum, who Stars Wars fans will recognize as the voice of Zeb in the current Rebels TV series, among his countless other notable characters.
We also caught up with some local members of the Outer Banks Halloween Society, as our friend Laureta Linett of Grandy rocked a wicked Riddler outfit on Day 1 and a splashy Ursula from The Little Mermaid on Day 2, while Brad Biddle, formerly of Kill Devil Hills, attended both days of Tidewater Comicon in his 8-foot “OBX Megatron” Decepticon Transformer costume.
Brad actually won first place in our own Halloween Parade of Costumes best male adult category last year, and Laureta placed third in the best female adult category in 2015 as well. We spoke to them about the art of cosplay and what drives them to pull out all the stops in creating their outfits for events like Tidewater Comicon.
Read on for our interviews with Outer Banks cosplayers Brad Biddle and Laureta Linett, and then be sure our check out our additional interviews with pro cosplayers Ani Mia and Jillian Ryan at Halloween Daily News, as well as our photo gallery below!
OBXE: How did you first get into cosplay/costuming?
Brad: It really all started with Halloween and having a child that I could enjoy the holiday with. That’s when I created the Mechwarrior costume which featured my 3 month old son as the operator (of me in the costume). I got amazing feedback from people so I starting looking into costume contests and other events. This is when I found the Outer Banks Parade of Costumes and Mad Monster Party (in Charlotte, NC). It was at that point when I decided I was going to go big and make an epic costume.
Laureta: That’s an easy one. I’ve never worn a store-bought Halloween costume my entire life. My mom was in theater when she was younger and always made our costumes. I just started cosplaying last year after going to my first convention in Raleigh.
OBXE: What is the attraction of “cosplay” for you?
Brad: Cosplay is actually fairly new to me. I wasn’t really exposed to it until I went to the Outer Banks Parade of Costumes. Then I was thrown into the “cosplay” fire at NekoCon in Hampton Roads. That’s when I realized this was something I could really enjoy. Cosplayers are a great group of very talented, artistic, craftsman who take great pride in their cosplay. They also have a lot of appreciation for each other’s work.
Laureta: Halloween has always been a favorite holiday because you can be anything or anyone you want. Cosplay gives you that opportunity to have that same freedom all the time, not just once a year.
OBXE: You both traveled from the Outer Banks to be at Tidewater Comicon. So what is it about this event, and others like it, that makes you want to be there? (for anyone who has never attended a comicon)
Brad: Most of the time I don’t get to fully experience these types of events. I usually walk in for an hour or so, scope out the event and get a lay of the land. Then I gear up and get into Megatron mode. From a Megatron stand point, these events are like a whirlwind of chaos. It takes me about an hour to get through the entrance. Once inside, I get pulled in every direction. Pictures here, selfies there, but I love every second of it. Every smile, compliment, and picture taken of me, just drives home the reason why I do these events. I do it because it makes people happy.
Laureta: Tidewater Comicon (in 2015) was only the second convention I had ever gone to and the first time I had cosplayed. Imagine going to a place were everything you loved as a kid was brought to life and no one would judge you for what you like. Be it anime or comics or anything else, that is what I love about Tidewater Comicon, you feel like part of a family when you are there.
OBXE: How did you come up with and decide on your costumes, and how long did it take you to build them?
Brad: First and foremost, I’m a huge Transformers fan. I love everything about them. So when I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, the first thing I wanted to see was the Transformers. They have a 10-foot Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron. Let just say, they’re amazing. So after that, I had my sights set on Megatron. I wanted to make something anyone could appreciate, Transformers fan or not, young or old. So I started my working on it in January 2015. Ten months and $250 later, Megatron was complete. I constantly have to repair scuffed paint and damages, so he’s never actually done. I hope to complete some minor upgrades to Megatron this summer.
Laureta: Well my Ursula costume started out as a Halloween costume in 2003 and I’ve slowly been upgrading it and making it better over the last year. Changing the makeup adding accessories and just re-working it in general to make it a cleaner and more professional looking costume. The second one I wore was a Steampunk and Victorian inspired Riddler from the Batman universe. I love villains and with all the Harley Quinns and Jokers around, I figured he (The Riddler) needed some love. I made the costume in about a month with some help from my mom. And I love the way it turned out.
OBXE: What is your favorite thing about cosplay culture that you have experienced so far?
Brad: My favorite thing about the cosplay culture is everyone respects everything and everyone. Whether you dress like an animal or wear an 8-foot Megatron costume, cosplayers appreciate and respect all the costumes. I think that’s the best thing about it. And the cosplay is just outright amazing.
Laureta: I love everything about cosplay. Whether you like Pokemon or ponies, there is a place and space for you to express yourself and share new ideas without judgement.
OBX Entertainment was this event with our partner site Halloween Daily News , and we captured some of the amazing sights from the event, which you can view highlights from in our photo gallery below, and then click here to see even more photos!
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