KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The day has finally come for Todd Hanley and Rebecca Roden to show off their costumes at Planet Comicon 2018.
“Oh man, I probably put about a year's worth of thought into this and about a year's worth of shopping around,” said Hanley, who drove to KC from Oklahoma.
“We both ended up ordering pieces just from all over the world," Roden said. "We didn't make anything ourselves. Probably had a budget of about $1,000 combined.”
Each costume at Planet Comicon 2018 has a story as complex as some of the comic books being sold at the event.
“I’m missing my Jaba, but I’m Princess Leia," said Chris Dionne. "My wife doesn’t know I’m wearing her costume. She’s currently overseas in the Air Force, so it’ll be a while before she finds out. So we’ll deal with that then."
“The paint takes about an hour and a half and the rest of the costume took about two years to do between the fabrics, sourcing the fabrics and the headpiece,” said Amber Sotelo, who traveled from Michigan to attend Planet Comicon.
Samantha Ankrum said she spent more than $100 on her costume but knows it doesn’t take long for the conflict of the story to show itself.
“My hands are giant fists, and everyone wants to fist bump me, and of course the first things that pop off are my fingers,” she said.
That’s when a few superheroes around Planet Comicon swoop in to save the day.
“So far today, I think we've helped 20 to 25 people, and we're only a couple of hours in.” said Lisy Chance of Figments and Filaments. “We’ve been at times helping five or six people at a time and well over 100 people per day. A lot of people have things with hot glue. Just need to stick something back on. Just need to stick on just a little piece here or there. It’s mostly not like huge things, but it’s the little things that make their cosplay just perfect for the rest of the day.”
Chance and Anthony Pierce are among the heroes putting costumes back together. Perhaps the best part is they're performing this service for free.
“It's really rough when you have a broken part on your costume because it basically means you can't participate in the fun for the day.” Pierce said, “It’s just a matter of helping each other out. When we get to the point of something broken, something malfunctioning -- even if it’s just somebody off the street -- if they come to us, we’ll gladly help them out because nothing ruins your Con like a problem with your costume."
“We had someone, as soon as the doors opened today, come in and say, 'You're my first stop. This happened in the car on the way over.' It`s really a good feeling and people are really glad to have us here,” Chance said.
Their work is proof that not all superheroes wear capes.
“It's really nice because a lot of cosplayers can work really, really hard, but you don`t know what's going to happen to your cosplay until you get here," Ankrum said. "People are going to bump you. You're going to pose. It's going to hit something. It's going to break. And having people here to be able to fix it can make or break a convention."
And cosplayers are thankful for their help.
“I appreciate it. It's nice to have that facility to be there to help,” Hanley said.