(NOTE: double-click on the photos to embiggen.)
THE SHOW BEFORE THE SHOW.
Just before the contest: the cosplayers, many of whom were exhausted after a day of walking the floor in full gear, begin to arrive and hang out in the hallway in front of Room B on the convention center's ground level.
I was rather surprised to see only this lone Power Girl over the course of the con. Usually these shows are good for at least three.
Our hilarious host, Jarrett Crippen, winner of the reality TV series WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO? No lie, this guy was the funniest emcee I've ever seen.
Tank Girl takes the stage. Remember the days when this character was an ubiquitous presence at cons? (Wow, I'm seriously dating myself...)
..and takes a considerable amount of chiding for not showing up with a bow (which he said he forgot).
An exceptional Joker takes the stage. I shot this one this way so you can get a good look at his cane.
The Joker presents the panel with a surprise package that ticked very loudly. No. really.
...and the suit was also equipped with a hydration system for the wearer. I cannot imagine how hot that suit must have been to be stuck in four hours on end.
The demonic faun takes the stage. Sure her basically naked boobs were distracting, but I love how the juxtaposition of pretty fairytale-like creature and nasty-looking monster worked to create a very disturbing aspect for the character.
An outstanding Cobra Commander, who showed up with his very young sons (who were in the audience) decked out as Cobra-style cub scouts.
He kept bellowing his name and made not a goddamned lick of sense. I thought he was fucking brilliant.
The black-suit Spidey's outfit left little to the imagination, so of course he had to stuff his package right into the judge's face.
Gotham represents, with my favorite Harley Quinn and that very toothsome Poison Ivy. (Catwoman's no slouch either.)
This kid was one of the aforementioned Cobra scouts, and his off-the-cuff "kid logic" comments were hilarious. And, yes, the woman doing the exasperated double-face-palm was his mother.
Apparently a booth model who showed up as Storm and attempted to correct the host by telling him "No, I'm Storm, not Ororo." Needless to say, that gaffe was not well-received by the audience.
Deadpool showed up to shoot Wolvie in the head, only to have Hawkeye arrive and plant an arrow in Deadpool's face.
As things began to briefly lag, from out of nowhere sprang SOUTH PARK's Terrence and Phillip, who hilariously stormed the stage, ran around the judges and host and executed some of their signature fart humor before just as abruptly running away.
"Team Awesome," consisting of a geisha and some sort of distaff manifestation of GG Allin. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
As the proceedings broke for the judges to determine the winners, I spotted this guy in a marvelously bizarre t-shirt depicting Admiral Ackbar as a Ghostbuster. "It's a trap!" Get it?
The winners circle: the Joker (Best Male Villain), Boster Gold (Honorable Mention; she got robbed, if you ask me), Female Ash (Honorable Mention).
Best Team was taken by these two fantasy characters whose names elude me at the moment.