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Monday, September 21, 2009


Joseph Michael Linsner's CRY FOR DAWN comics first turned up in 1989 and revolved around Dawn, the goddess of birth and rebirth and the deity worshiped by witches. Talk about a ready-made chick-friendly concept, right?

The goddess Dawn in her most commonly-seen aspect.

Well, over the years the character struck a chord with female readers and continues to resonate, so Dragon Con's costume contest was a natch for contestants who wanted to represent as a character whose very concept opens her up to limitless interpretations.

My buddy Amanda had finagled her way into being one of the show's judges and I asked if I could tag along and photograph the proceedings. A.C. was totally amenable ("Amandable?") to the idea and told me to meet her at her hotel room to pick her up. I had a few hours to kill until then, so I hit the bar and drank way too much tequila and beer, becoming acquainted with a nice con-goer named Eeyore and offering him the chance to go behind the scenes side and marvel at a bevy of beauties in awesome homemade outfits. It may have been potentially girly as hell, but we kicked down more liquor to help us get into the proper "Barbie on mushrooms" state of mind. When the time came, the two of us picked up A.C. and made our way down to where the contest was being held.

Backstage at the contest. That's Eeyore in the foreground.

The backstage area was packed with women of all shapes and looks, ranging in age from their late teens through their early thirties, and all of them were caught up in the buzz of getting to strut their stuff in front of an audience of like-minded geeks. Amanda left me and Eeyore to our own devices and took her place with the show's judges, and Eeyore and I scoped out the backstage area for an optimal photo location. I made sure not to infringe upon the space of any of the professional photographers chronicling the event and made my way through the pulchritudinous tumult, meeting and greeting and explaining that any photos taken might end up accompanying my article for THE BEAT. With my press pass prominently dangling from my neck, the ladies were put at ease and welcomed me as a tequilaed-up legitimate journalist rather than a tequilaed-up lecher out to snap photos that would later to be put to unsavory and Onanistc use. (Eeyore also acquitted himself admirably as a point man and traffic controller.) The truth of the matter is that I was there mostly to chronicle it just for the sheer fun of doing it, and the the BEAT thing was just my way in. As the evening progressed and the tequila in my system emboldened me, I ran back and forth between the backstage area and the frontlines in front of the stage to make the most of the opportunity. Anyway, that's the setup, and what follows are shots of the contestants and some commentary here and there.

Friendly contestants give a thumbs-up to estrogenic geekery.

The lady to the right — who identified herself as Shelli Da'Neal — was a riot. She was a student in Japan and studies tiger-style kung fu (for real!). Being a martial arts enthusiast myself, I asked her to show me her footwork and in no time there was much discussion amongst myself, her, and a couple of other attendees, including a guy who teaches mantis kung fu while studying Capoeira. Needless to say, I was in my element.

Gotta love the broomstick!

When HEE HAW meets comics fandom: the hillbilly version of Linsner's creation, "Ding Dang Dawn." She got out onstage to stunned silence and danced a gurk-gurk jig that made many in attendance (myself included) laugh our asses off.

Here's my vote for the best Dawn of the lot. While the character is totally open to re-interpretation, she looked like she walked right off a comic book cover. And she was a total sweetheart!

The incredible Yaya Han, professional model, cosplayer and costume designer. While not my favorite of the contestants, she was by far the best-executed and should have won first prize on craftsmanship alone.

A contestant does some last-minute primping.

The judges, including Dawn creator Joseph Linsner, get started (that's A.C. 2nd from the left).

Our emcee, Anthony "C-3PO" Daniels. This guy was hilarious and should host the Oscars instead of that tired-assed Billy Crystal..


Here's my favorite again, this time vamping for the judges.

The enthusiastic audience.

I don't know why, but I simply love this. Maybe it's my Zatanna fetish speaking...

The tiger kung fu lady works it.

Why do I have the urge to crank up The Crazy World of Arthur Brown?

A very charming Dawn who was described as "your dream prom date." As my buddy John Bligh would say, she was a doll.

The ultimate fashion accessory: a severed human head.

The simplicity of this Dawn was very appealing, and I particularly like her wings.

While the judges dickered over who would win, Anthony Daniels worked the crowd while imbibing a tall boy of lager kindly provided by a fan. Among other attendees of interest, he encountered this very fetching Marie Antoinette, complete with cake.

Note the tall boy in his left hand.

And the $1000 prize goes to...

...this lady. She was cute and rocked a nice outfit, but the prize should have gone to my favorite or Yaya. I guess the judges dug her chains (which adorned her wrists, but are not clearly visible in this shot).

Undaunted by her loss, a magnificent Yaya Han obscures her fellow runners-up.

Yer Bunche, A.C. and Anthony Daniels.

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