Free Comic Book Day 2016

So another annual staple of the Geek calendar has been and gone. What does Free Comic Book Day mean to you? To me, well obviously it’s a welcome opportunity to score some free comics, whether that means a few more gratis pages of franchises and characters I already know and love;  the chance to sample something new (or at least new to me); or just a one-off wildcard, it’s a fun way to expand my comic reading horizons. It’s a day to celebrate comics, yes, but more than that, it’s a day to celebrate the geek community in general and to have a little fun while supporting local businesses. I love going down to my local comic shops on Free Comic Book Day, more for the atmosphere than for the freebies even – since so many other people make a point of doing the same it’s a great way to catch up with old friends and make a few new ones a long the way.

Not just free comics, free cake!

Not just free comics, free cake!

The Guardian newspaper ran a preview feature on 10 of the best places to enjoy Free Comic Book Day in the UK. The event we attended, at Exeter’s Moving Pictures, actually came in at number 8 on the list, so that was pretty exciting (especially given the typically London-centric focus of that particular publication). It was also pleasing that the article mentioned Exeter’s “big cosplay community.” Those three words are all deserving of equal weight: for a fairly small city we are big on cosplay here and there’s definitely a big sense of community spirit, something for which I’ll always be grateful. Saturday was a prime example of this in more ways than one….

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Rodimus and Brainstorm go to Optimus Con, Bristol

The weekend of April 9-10th was Optimus Con, held at the UWE Exhibition and Conference centre in Bristol. B and I went along for the day on the Saturday and had a great time. Our original cos-plans for this event had been to give a second airing to our Borderlands Tannis and Salvador costumes, but that was before I got utterly obsessed with working on our Transformers MTMTE-inspired human(ish) Rodimus and Brainstorm cosplay. These only really needed to be finished in time for TFNation, which isn’t until August, but once I started building and sewing these I got so into the project that I just wanted to work until they were done. So I figured I’d set myself an earlier deadline and get a few wears out of them before the Summer’s big robot party. And hey, what’s an event called Optimus without some good old Transformers representation anyway?

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

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Off to Optimus…

Hi folks! It’s been a while hasn’t it? We had such great plans for this blog at the start of the year and precisely none of it has come to fruition. Apologies for that. The truth is I’ve had a few health problems this year and I just didn’t have the energy to blog for a couple of months so I had to give myself a break. Sometimes in life you just have to admit that you can’t do it all and give yourself permission to take a step back. It’s a healthy thing to do but – if your personality is anything like mine – often a very tough call to make. I’m doing a lot better now, though, and am keen to get typing here again so hopefully our normal geeky service will resume here soon.

I may not have been blogging, but I certainly haven’t been idle in the past couple of months. Rather, it’s been full steam ahead when it comes to cosplay creation. I’ve been working on our humanised Transformers More Than Meets The Eye costumes. These are really for TFNation but I figured it might be fun to finish them well in advance of that gathering and take them out to a few other events too…. starting tomorrow. So if you’re heading to Bristol’s Optimus Con on Saturday then do watch out for B and I as we début our Brainstorm and Rodimus respectively. These cosplays are a bit more stylised than my Slipstream or Arcee costumes but I had a blast making them and I hope they’re true to the much-loved characters if not to every aspect of their design. I’ll be posting photos and also a bit more of a ‘cosbloggy’ write up on the trials and tribulations of #ProjectMTMTE after the event.

But in the meantime, if you’re heading over to Optimus do watch out for us and come and chat if you see us! You never know, I may even award you a Rodimus Star

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Yes I have spent most of the past week brandishing scissors and sticky-back plastic!

Looking back: 2015 and our First Year of Blogging

Greetings! We’ve had a little break for the festive season, but now we’re back and in reflective mode. The end of the year is customarily a time to sum up and reconsider the events and happenings if the past 12 months and that’s doubly the case here on Addaltmode, since not only is it almost 2016, it’s also our one year blog anniversary. We set up the site just before Christmas last year and made our first proper post on New Year’s Day 2015, so we’ve just turned one!

Spot the Transformer!

In this post we’ll be reflecting on some on the highs and lows of the year gone by, both in on this blog, and in pop-culture more generally. We’d love to hear your highlights too, so do let us know in the comments or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Humanised characters? Cosplay ponderings

So what are your thoughts on humanised cosplay? Seen frequently within fandoms such as Pokémon, My Little Pony and – recently – Five Nights at Freddies, this is the phenomenon of creating a human – or at least humanish – version of a non-human character. In the anime scene I believe this often called Gijinka (擬人化), the Japanese term for “humanoid”, “personification”, or“anthropomorphic.”  I have mixed feelings about it. Just my personal opinion, and call me a prude if you will, but I’ll admit I’m not much of a fan of the kind of humanised cosplay that is just a thinly veiled excuse to be wear a swimsuit or parade around in lingerie. I’ve no problem with sexy cosplay where the character themselves is sexy or skimpily dressed in the original designs. But let’s face it, we’re not exactly lacking in choice of characters who fit those criteria, so I’ve never quite understood the need for a furry bikini Chewbacca, or a swimsuit Ivysaur either. But where the point is to re-imagine a character and try to capture their essence rather than just recreate the whole look, I think humanised costumes can be a really interesting and creative form of cosplay.

I am planning to do another reasonably bulky “full rig” Transformer costume for 2016, hopefully building on what I learned while making Slipstream and coming up with something even better. I also recently obtained some Worbla for the first time, so it’ll be interesting to have a go at using this (expect lumpen disaster photos in the not-too distant future). I’ll talk more about the character I’ve chosen and start chronicling my progress here another time. But alongside the big project, I’ve also been pondering having a go at some more “humanised” cosplay. Why? Various reasons really…

I've been sketching and scheming! See below for the results...

I’ve been sketching and scheming! See below for the results…

This post is going to be a bit of a thought dump as well as the chance to share some sketches and plans.

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Devcon Exe: podcasts, poses and purchases

Last weekend was DevCon Exe (the local convention formerly known as ExeCon), this was a two day event held, this time, in the Great Hall at the University of Exeter. The University was a great venue: well lit and with some interesting backdrops for photographs, plus much more spacious than this event’s previous home at St George’s Hall in the city centre, so although it felt like the place was nicely buzzing on the Saturday at least, things never got too cramped and as someone in a costume with wings I was grateful for that!

B had to work on the Saturday and couldn’t make it along, so our original plan had been that I’d go as Slipstream on the first day with some of our friends to lend me a hand getting in to the costume, and then both halves of AddAltMode would make an appearance in our Borderlands gear on the Sunday. For various reasons, the Sunday plans went awry so Tannis and Salvador didn’t get an airing, but Slipstream had a fantastic time there on the Saturday. I’m still slightly awed by how popular Slipstream is and how much love there is for my costume, both from people encountering her for the first time and from folk who were happy to see my Decepticon alt-mode again.

AddAltModeR as Slipstream, photo by We Shoot First

AddAltModeR as Slipstream, photo by We Shoot First

Read on for my highlights of the day and a few great sites and people for you to check out…. Continue reading

Geekily Ever After? AddAltMode’s Top 10 Tips for a Lasting Geek Relationship

This summer B and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. According to UK tradition this apparently was our “woollen” anniversary – although a more appropriate material for us would surely have been plastic seeing as we spent our anniversary weekend at Auto Assembly! Who says romance is dead? Now a Transformers convention may not be too many people’s idea of a romantic date but it’s fitting for us in many ways as our geeky interests and passions have always been an central element in our relationship. Like any partnership, ours has had its ups and downs over the years, but we’re glad to still be going strong after 7 years of marriage and almost 15 together as a couple (yeah, we didn’t exactly rush down the aisle).

PixelHeartWe’re often asked what is the secret behind our successful marriage, and I’m not sure there is one – although friendship, compromise, stubbornness and yes, just sheer luck certainly all have had their roles to play. But even if there’s no magic formula we’ve learned a few things over the years about making a relationship last and we thought we’d share them today. Now, relationship advice isn’t a topic we’d normally cover here on AddAltMode but, as you’ll see, it isn’t a million miles away from our regular programming. This is a geek blog, and over the years we’ve come to realise that the fact that we’re both massive geeks isn’t just a key element in why we get along so well, it also provides a shared language and some handy frames of reference for many of things we’ve learned on our journey together to date…

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Pandora comes to Plymouth: Borderlands Tannis and Salvador Cosplay at DEVCON

Here you go then, the finished results of our Borderlands Tannis and Salvador costumes, which we wore yesterday to day one of the October DEVCON in Plymouth:

Borderlands cosplay by AddAltMode

Borderlands cosplay by AddAltMode

What do you think of the finished result?

Although this was our third DEVCON it felt like a first for me because previously I’ve always gone either as Arcee or Slipstream so this was the first time I had a costume that actually let me see properly and move freely! It was the also the first event for a long time where B had suited up and cosplayed alongside me. My favourite thing about Borderlands is what a great co-op experience the games provide, so it felt right to be sharing the guntastic Pandoran love as part of a pair! B enjoyed being a Gunzerker although by the end of the day his mouth was hurting from continually pulling Salvador’s manic feral grin everytime someone asked for a photo!

Thanks to our pals Sadie and Maysie for taking the photos. More after the break…

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Borderlands Cosplay sneak peeks

Hi there! We’re a bit behind with our posts here this week: blame work and cosplay. I work in the Higher Education sector, so this current period – the start of a new academic year – is always the busiest in my working calendar. Cue plenty of long tiring days, after which I just want to veg out. Unfortunately the start of the new academic year also signals the busiest time in our local convention calendar with quite a few events lined up in the next month. So much as I’d like to veg out, there Aint No Rest For The Wicked if we want to get our Borderlands cosplays ready in time for DEVCON this coming weekend. B is going as Salvador the Gunzerker and I’m going to be Dr. Tannis. We’re pretty much there now, just a little more detailing to finish off. But the projects haven’t left much time for other things, including writing blog posts.

So rather than a full work in progress post for these cosplay projects, here are just some sneak peeks of details from the two costumes…

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