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Crossroads residents can dress as favorite character for Victoria Comic Con

By Bianca Montes
Jan. 8, 2014 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 7, 2014 at 7:08 p.m.

Emery Veliz plans to attend this year's first ever Victoria Comic Con as her favorite character from the video game Mortal Kombat, Mileena.

if you go

• WHAT: Victoria Comic Con

• WHEN: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

• WHERE: Victoria Community Center Dome, 2905 E. North St.

• COST: $10 (presale) $15 (at the door); Children 5 and younger are free.

• Cosplay Contest at 1 p.m.

• Tickets available for purchase online at ticketriver.com.

Q&A with Mariedoll

When it comes to cosplay, Houston-based cosplayer Maria Ramos (@xmariedoll) knows the ins and outs of a good costume. The model, singer and avid cosplayer has more than 300,000 likes on Facebook and almost 3,000 followers on Twitter and will judge the costume contest this weekend at Victoria Comic Con. She'll be looking for how creative the construction process was in creating the costume, the overall time it took to create and the overall look and fit.

For those who are not well-versed on the idea of cosplay, what would you tell them about it?

Mariedoll: Know that it's about fun. It's not about bullying or fighting or talking bad about others. It's about a group of people who want to escape to a new world of fantasy and be happy. It's about the creative process and the chance to escape the normal or the usual. You need change in life, and cosplay offers exactly that.

Get Out: What are some tips you can offer our first timers, especially those on a budget?

Mariedoll: I always tell people to look up tutorials online. There are tons of how-tos, and most of them are about how to make things on a budget.

Get Out: What does it feel like when you've transformed into whatever character you're portraying?

Mariedoll: It feels amazing. It's like I'm a whole new person, and I get to pretend I'm someone else. I love to perform, so that's always fun.

Get Out: As a woman, do you find there is a negative stigma attached to cosplay?

Mariedoll: Cosplay is a lot harder on women, I think, because of the stereotypes. For example, the one that all nerdy women are ugly, so if you're pretty, you're only doing it for attention. I think that's ridiculous. Honestly, I don't care what you look like - you should be free to do and be whatever you want.

What's popular NOW?

There is something magical about seeing your favorite characters in the flesh, says Dallas blogger and longtime cosplay fanatic Laura Garcia (@DallasTXFanGirl). Garcia has attended more than 30 comic and animation conventions. Garcia garners major props at conventions for her unique and typically handmade costumes, so we had to ask: What's popular now?

• The most popular cosplay right now are ones that haven't been done before. Typically, the ones that go viral in a sense are the ones that are very relevant to either pop culture or online culture. For example, when "Sharknado" made its television debut, a few days later, a costume of a "Sharknado" was spotted at San Diego Comic Con that made waves through the interwebs.

• Gender-bending cosplay also are extremely popular. This is when a person cosplays a character of the opposite gender. This is most common and popular with females cosplaying male superheroes and villains (like Captain America, The Joker, etc.).

• Another current trend is doing cosplay "mash-ups." This is basically taking one character and mixing it with another to create a totally new character. For example, taking Deadpool and mixing it with Sailor Moon to create a "Sailor Deadpool" cosplay. Yes, this has been done.

Emery Veliz said watching her face transform from a human being to the beautifully destroyed clone Mileena from "Mortal Kombat" is freaky.

Freaky in a good way.

Mileena is vicious.

She is evil.

But she kicks serious butt in the video game, and that is exactly what drew Veliz, 26, of Victoria, to the character.

As the tall, thin and seemingly beautiful Veliz adorned her body with a skin-tight, shiny, pink almost-a-bikini costume, the connection to the character was a bit muffled; but as she outlined Mileena's grotesque mouth and hand glued a set of sharp, stained teeth to her face, everything fell into place.

She was Mileena.

"She is known for having a deranged personality, but she is a very strong fighter," Veliz said. "Some characteristics that could describe myself."

Veliz will unveil her latest costume Saturday at the first ever Victoria Comic Con.

"You can pretty much be anyone you want," she said. "Just getting to be a character from a game you play and show people why you like them - it's just fun."

The convention, which is brought to the area by two 20-something locals who simply wanted a toy store to shop at, is bringing in talent from all over the state, including up-and-coming artists Bonn Adame, Dan Price and Dale Carroll.

Event planners Bryan Hons, 24, and Megan Booth, 21, both of Victoria, say it's insane how well this convention has been received.

As far as how it all came together, Booth said, "It was just one of those nights."

She said the two were sitting around, thinking about how cool it would be if Victoria had a toy store, and next thing she knew, they were planning Victoria's first comic convention.

Within 24 hours, the concept had 500 likes on Facebook. A little more than 2,500 people have now liked the page.

"It was scary," Booth said about putting the convention together. "We're really young, but we did it completely by ourselves, and I think we did a great job."

Chelsea Carroll said she's always enjoyed dressing up in costume.

"My mom told me to watch Cinderella, but I was more interested in Batman," she said.

That is where her love for Harley Quinn began. However, her passion for cosplaying hasn't been well-received in town, she said.

"We've been asked not to go into stores at (Victoria) mall, and my friend was called a demon," Carroll said. "The weird looks used to really bother me, but my friends are really reassuring. You meet a lot of great and awesome people in the cosplay community."

Veliz said for her, it's all about having fun and being who she is, and if someone doesn't support it, so what?

"People here have never seen anything like this before - they need to see it," she said.

"Victoria is ready."

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