Yesterday I was asked what was the greatest thing I saw this weekend at New York Comic Con. I thought about my answer for a second. I wasn’t sure. I rattled off some brilliant moments where I met creators and artists I admire like Ramón Perez and Janet Lee, a panel all about the writing process from three of the great writers of the moment (Brian K. Vaughn, Jonathan Hickman and Grant Morrison), and another panel where I was shown the complete process of bringing a comic book to life From Concept to Page. They were all great moments, without a doubt. However, in the middle of rattling off the list I remembered: BumbleBee!
You can not even begin to discuss a comic book convention without delving into the topic of cosplay. Fans spend days, weeks, months and, some, even years perfecting their look for each convention. They pick a character they adore and work toward transforming themselves into that being for the world stage. This year I saw two fans embrace the challenge to become “more than meets the eye” as the Transformer BumbleBee. Each costume is dramatically different and has its own impact, so I’d like to present them each to you to decide which BumbleBee cosplay wins out in a head to head competition!
By mid-afternoon on the weekend of New York Comic Con any floor of Jacob Javitz Center is dense with slowly moving throngs of people. You see nothing but humanity in every direction. Sometimes that gets boring, so you might find yourself looking up, over the crowd, toward the ceiling, just for a change of pace. When I did that on Saturday, I couldn’t believe what I saw!
It was BumbleBee and he was HUGE! Hilariously, he was on his way up to the exhibitor floor. In order to make that trip, he had to take an escalator. Everyone in the lobby stopped and waited to see exactly how this was going to happen.
It wasn’t easy. About ten escalator steps slid past as the Transformer slowly aligned himself to the tight space between the two railings. When he finally stepped up and began to move we all started to cheer! It was an amazing feat unique to the experience of NYCC!
This cosplayer’s dedication paid off – not only in his/her quest to get up the escalator, but also in the construction of their costume. Take a look at the beauty of this cosplay close up.
In a word, this cosplay is impressive. However, one day later, on NYCC’s “Kid’s Day” I found myself overwhelmingly impressed by yet another (much smaller) BumbleBee.
Calvin, My Cosplay Hero
I was waiting for Elmo and Gordon from Sesame Street to show up on the Variant Stage when a boy named Calvin bumbled by me in his very own BumbleBee cosplay. I caught up to him and asked to take a picture of him. Calvin was awesome, he turned around and gave me an energetic Transformers pose.
When I leaned in to say “Thank you,” Calvin wasn’t ready to let me go. He said, “I can transform!” I was sure I heard him incorrectly, so I asked him to repeat himself. By that point his dad, Kevin, was cued into our conversation and suggested Calvin demonstrate. Here’s Calvin the car:
Did you SEE that? After I shot this video, a lot more people started to notice him. The crowds formed and Calvin found himself center stage:
How Did He DO That?
I talked to Calvin’s dad, Kevin, about how this costume came to be. He said that Calvin had a store-bought BumbleBee costume two years ago for Halloween. At the time, Calvin was disappointed that he could not transform (like every person who has ever donned such a costume!) and expressed this to his father. Ever since, they worked together to make Calvin’s dream come true. The costume is made mostly of cardboard covered with colored duct tape. Calvin’s feet are made of foam and his “wheels” are actually black plastic take-out dishes! Kevin said that he worked with his son on weekends, ever since August, to come up with the best design. One important detail Calvin insisted upon was that head pop up out of the costume, just like the Transformers toys!
In my eyes, both of these costumes are winners, but I’m wondering what you think. If we had a cosplay contest of BumbleBee versus BumbleBee, who would you cast your vote for? Do you think the high-rise, hi tech BumbleBee deserves the title of “Best Bumble”? Or, does Calvin’s ability to truly transform help him walk away with the prize? Let us know in the comments below!