Brittni Young/Staff Writer
Science Fiction, Anime, Horror and video game fans from across Texas and other states such as Mississippi gathered in line in the early morning of October 7 for the opening of the Seventh Annual Realms Con Convention.
When the clock struck 10, staff member Miranda Fuqua– in costume as Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye from the Anime series “Full Metal Alchemist”– welcomed the Realms Con-goers to the 2011 convention with a wave of her white glove.
Fans cheered as they made their way into the convention dressed in their extravagant and uniquely designed costumes.
Vendors were set up on the first and second floors of the American Bank Center showcasing and selling their artistic pieces from paintings, to jewelry, swords, Anime merchandise and snacks from the other side of the world.
The Steampunk Community – a new and rising subculture inspired by the Science Fiction of the Victorian era and post-Apocalyptic steam of the Industrial Revolution – made their appearance among the vendors. The group included the Airship Isabella, a group of artists, performers and various talents such as leather working, character acting, and prop building.
Captain Whitaker, and fellow mates of the Airship Isabella shared their knowledge of the Steampunk community through their Steampunk and Dieselpunk 101 panels. For those who were itching to join this community, the performers shared tips in their do-it-yourself Steampunk modification and set building, where participants learned to make their own Science Fiction battle gear some of which was on display and for sale at the group’s table.
The gear on display included Matilda, Whitaker’s prize possession, an amazing piece of art made from various pieces, and also numerous pairs of goggles-a popular accessory that the Steampunk community uses to protect their eyes while working on their gear. For more information on Airship Isabella and the Steampunk community, you can visit them at www.airshipisabella.com or “Like” them on Facebook.
Elle Martin, a con-goer, showed off her fierce and cute side dressed as a furry wolf girl named Kokopelli from her self-made manga, “Wolf Tail.”
Guests laughed and cried as Concept Galaxy gave their entertaining performance as characters from the Anime “Full Metal Alchemist” and involved audience members, sending them on a scavenger hunt throughout Realms Con’s three days.
Michael and Blanca Goans were among the vendors ready to share their special talent of special effects and costuming. A storm trooper helmet, nearly identical to the helmets of the famous characters in the epic “Star Wars” series, were on display at their table alongside a furry Ewok helmet.
The heads of the costumes were a part of the couple’s “Star Wars”-themed wedding where all their groomsmen were dressed as the classic storm troopers, the costumes made from blood, swea, and the force of the Goans newlyweds.
Also showcasing his talent for creativity was Corpus Christi resident Kage Silverhook, a jewelry maker from the Steampunk Community. “The Steampunk community is more than just dressing up; it is a community. We’re like a family where we are accepted and loved.”
Austin Rogers, known as Redbeard, a comic artist, gave con-goers the chance to become a zombie while they enjoyed the convention. The comic artist took pictures of guests who were interested in being transformed into a nightmarish zombie. While the guests walked around the amazing convention, Redbeard sketched up ghoulish picture of the guest as a zombie, or if flesh-gnawing zombies were not the person’s cup of tea, there was also an option to be transformed into a werewolf or vampire.
Leah Rutherford, a model for Realms Con’s first fashion show, shared her experience modeling the dark fabulous pieces designed and sewn by Melissa Diaz, an illustrator, fashion designer and model. “Getting to wear the beautiful costume made me feel so awesome. It was my first runway show, so I loved the atmosphere with all the lights and music. The work they do at ‘O So Wrong, O So Right’ is just beautiful,” Rutherford.
Models showed their vibrant personalities through the costumes as they came strutting down the fantasy forest-themed runway, giving dramatic poses for the audience to take in the full detail of the designs.
Diaz said her inspiration for her clothes is pulled from Japanese rock bands like Dir En Grey. “My designs are more like princesses – not Disney princess but more of the dark Tim Burton princess,” she said. Melissa’s designs and her illustrations can be found at: www.osoconcept.com, www.preciousmiseries.com and www.gro-wings.com.
Abney Park’s lead singer Captain Robert and the harmonizing vocals of Jody Ellen sent an energetic crowd into a wild rave of dancing and jumping, showing how Steampunk could rock the floors of the American Bank Center.
The singers’ voices were accompanied by shredding notes from the guitar and violin played by Nathaniel Johnstone, the classical keys of the keyboard played by Kristina Erickson, guitarist Dan Cederman and bassist Josh Goering. The crowd chanted for an encore when the Steampunkers left the stage and Abney Park delivered more than an encore for their loyal fans in both performances on Friday and Saturday.
Con-goers graced the stage with their various cos-play costumes ranging from the original “Transformers” show to characters from the horror movie “Silent Hill.” Seven lucky winners took home awards for the seven categories.
Best Novice went to Stefanie Hussain for her costume as Suigentou from “Rozen Maiden,” Best Journeyman went to Lindsey Apanowicz as Totoro from the show “My Neighbor Totoro” and Marcus Rodriguez took home Best Master for his Spartan 981 costume from the Xbox game “Halo: Reach.”
The Best Group Award went to, Trey & Team Sea Slug as Jet, Faye, and Ein from the Anime show “Cowboy Bebop,” Ashley Robertson won best skit with her character Lucy Heartfilia from “Fairy Tail,” Best in Show went to Matt and Chris as Vault Dweller and Brotherhood from the video game “Fallout” and Best Prop was won by Seth Shrader with his replica of Cloud Strife’s broadsword from “Final Fantasy 7.”
The skies cried as Realms Con came to a close Sunday and fans and special guests gathered around to celebrate the closing of the convention. “Freak is a badge of honor. It means you can think for yourself,” said Whittaker.
If you missed the chance to experience the fun and excitement of the many realms of Realms Con, you can experience it all first-hand October 12-14, 2012.