Let me start off by saying how grateful and appreciative I am to DC Comics and WB Pictures for even hosting an amazing contest like this and for giving me the opportunity not only to win the Katana group of the Suicide Squad Up! Cosplay Contest, but to have an once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget and gain a #squadfam is such an amazing feeling. And to bring my daughter along the ride just made it even better. So thank you guys for being such awesome host and for this wonderful blessing!
This was my first time ever traveling to San Diego Comic Con, so I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous and anxious to know what our agenda was and to finally meet the rest of the 10 finalists as we all formed the ‘Suicide Squad’. The night before, I was still making final tweaks to my costume, going over the drawings with more paint pens and making sure everything looked great and fit perfectly. Once we landed in San Diego, we checked into the hotel and made our way over to Comic Con to claim our badges and walk around a little bit. The amount of people at the San Diego Convention Center was insane. Thousands upon thousands of fan boys, girls and kids were walking around. The whole area was massive and swarmed with people, toys, comics, cosplayers, video games, artists and more. Booths like DC, Mattel, WB, The Walking Dead, Marvel, and etc. covered so much ground and all the way up to the ceilings. The environmental graphics were phenomenal. There was so much to look at, that I can see why this was a four day event. You couldn’t cover the whole place in one day. Me and my daughter walked around and scoped out some of the comic books that she wanted, while I was trying to cover as much ground as we could. My main mission was to snag the exclusive Mattel DC Superhero Girls Katana doll only sold at San Diego Comic Con. And I got her! The unboxing of the doll will be coming soon on the blog.
That night we headed back to the hotel to attend the reception that DC had hosted for the Suicide Squad Up! Cosplay Winners. This was first meet and greet with the rest of the winners, as well as we were also interviewed by DC All Access to capture our whole experience. From the event, I found out 3 more contest winners were from Texas as well. How cool is that! We got to mix and mingle and get to know each other over some drinks and light appetizers. It was such a great first time meeting the rest of the squad members and hear how and why they entered the contest, and how most everyone were first timers to SDCC like me. At the end DC told us more about our weekend itinerary and surprised each of us with our own goodie bag full of DC Comics Swag and Suicide Squad merchandise. My highlight of the night was to pull the official Suicide Squad Katana Statue out the bag – I’ve been wanting that statue ever since I saw it online and at SDCC floor, but was told it wasn’t for sell yet. So to actually be holding it in my hands, I couldn’t have been more happier!
I woke up with so much anticipation, that I realized it was 4:30 am! I think the nervousness kicked in and was thinking about how the day was about to go. I tossed and turned until about 7:30am where I got up to start temporary dying my hair to black. Laying out all my gear on the bed, DC All Access wanted to film all of us getting ready for some more footage of our behind the scenes turning into our characters. After putting everything in order; tying the red sash around my waist, putting on the jacket, adding the red sash on my back, putting the metal onto on my gloves, and tying my combat boots; I took one last look into the mirror and was happy how everything turned out. My daughter was so excited and was ready to see everyone else in their SS character form. We finally got to squad up where we all were so excited to see how everyone’s cosplay turned out in real life vs. the pictures we've seen throughout the contest. So many talented people with their DIY skills and how they piece-by-piece together their costumes, I was overwhelmed with the amount of creativity of the squad. It's crazy with the little amount of snips from the movie trailer we had to go off of, everyone had amazingly matched their SS characters. We finally formed the Suicide Squad live and in front of hundreds of people. They began pulling out their cameras asking if they can take our pictures and so excited to see us. This was just the beginning of the day. The Squad, DC All Access camera men, and DC representatives finally made our way over to the San Diego Convention Center where we had to go through weapons check before walking in. The amount of love from fans who wanted to take our pictures and videos was so amazing. And to continually hear, “You guys did an amazing job, OMG it’s actually the whole squad, can I take a picture with you guys?”, really was an awesome feeling. We made a stop over at Mattel booth inside their Belle Reve, where we took a lot more pictures for fans. From there we headed to the DC booth, where we were officially introduced by the hosts of DC All Access on stage as the official winners of the Suicide Squad Up! Cosplay contest. What a moment for me to look in the crowd and to see my daughter just look so happy and proud of her mommy and taking pictures. We also attended a costume designer party where some of the best movie costume designers were there. They were so nice and very impressed with our squad's DIY skills. After we made all of appearances, I ended up rushing back to my room because I lost my arm band while we were walking around and felt that I was missing a crucial part of my costume. I got back to the hotel and went to the downstairs store and lucky they had a white scarf for sale. Our Slipknot, Robert let me borrow his glue gun to help secure my new band. Thank you! I ended up cutting up the scarf, ironing it, drawing the red circle with a red paint pen, and finishing it off by gluing the velcro that I had to the ends of the band. Oh the life of a cosplayer.
Woke up around 7am to re-dye my hair color and gear back up as Katana. We ended up teaming up again with the rest of our SS family and headed back over to the convention center. Of course we made plenty of stops to take more pictures and videos for the fans. We walked around for alittle bit until they started escorting us up to the HALL H. Yes I repeat HALL H! For those who aren't aware of what that is, its where they preview all the new trailers that are coming out, cast members from different movies are interviewed on the panels, and where 6,500 people camp and wait outside forever to snag seats inside for this once in a lifetime moment to witness it all. From the new Wonder Woman trailer to Justice League new trailer this was definitely the place to be. Will Smith had personally invited us to join them on stage and congratulate us on winning the contest. Like the WILL SMITH. We walked in while the new SS trailer was being previewed and than the lights turned on and Will Smith announced us to the crowd as the official winners of the contest. We all ran onstage to meet our actual cast member. Karen Fukuhara scooted out to the side to find me and I ran up to her and gave her the biggest hug. She is so sweet and kind and wanted to make sure we took pictures together. I was so focused on her that I didn't realized i walked past Conan O’Brien, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and the rest of the squad. I can’t wait to see her debut for the first time on the big screen. We were all in a dazed afterwards because it was such a surreal moment with all us being on the stage with the cast of the SS movie in HALL H. I will never forget that moment ever. From there we got invited to the Suicide Squad x Samsung Belle Reve event held at the Hard Rock Hotel. We got to make shirts, tattoos, and hang out with the cast again. So awesome! After everything we did our final DC All Access interviews on how the whole experience went and we were officially done. We ended the night at the exclusive cast party back at the Belle Reve, where we got to hang out with each in our regular clothes, take pictures and just enjoy the moment.
Overall this was an amazing experience. Never would of thought i would get to experience San Diego Comic Con the way I did and never really considered myself as a cosplayer, but with the push and motivation from my best friend, I am so happy that I entered into the contest. I couldn’t thank DC Comics & WB Pictures again for being such wonderful hosts and for hand selecting the squad. I will say not only did I gain new friends, but gain a #squadfam.
They are truly genuine good people and down to earth, so be sure to follow each one of them on their Instagram page: Killer Croc (@titan_cosplay), Rick Flag (@jayperiod), El Diablo (@geerzi), Joker (brosephdavid), Harley Quinn (@heidimaetrix), Enchantress (@charlyjoakers), Amanda Waller (@cheyenneyoutube), SlipKnot (@Robthehulk), Deadshot (@banzai_wolf_burger) and Captain Boomerang (@rickymiddlesworth)
Check out the gallery below to see more images from San Diego Comic Con 2016. Enjoy! -xo Mel