My rough/1st draft status just ticked over that mental milestone of 100,000 words so I was able to take a couple of days out to attend this year’s Armageddon expo in Auckland. Basically ComicCon as well as we do it over this way. I worked it last year with a great bunch of people at a stall promoting NZ Fantasy but this year I was a little selfish and just wanted to indulge and go as one of the punters. Ok, so I didn’t have a new book to promote this time around and I had a cool costume so I wanted to try cosplaying for the first time ever.


Going in costume, in this case Oliver Queen from the TV show Arrow, was a very different experience than just walking in as your casual Friday getup. Just walking around was great, a real feeling of confidence and for once not feeling intimidated by all the other awesome cosplay costumes roaming the stalls. To be fair I did cheat and order my costume online from overseas, custom fitted but not custom made like some of the insanely talented people who at least some of whom are clearly working in the wrong industy. The only downside was that despite two months of looking I couldn’t find a decent prop bow to take in, I do have a real one from back in the day but as it’s actually real and potentially lethal I didn’t think it would make it past security, let alone survive the massed crowds pressed into the convention centre.


What was great though was every time you did get jostled in that crowd. People, being the good-natured sorts they are, turn to apologise and then do a double take when they stare under a dark green hood into a blinder mask and black eye grease. Usually followed by the wide grin of recognition. I only got called out once for not having the bow, by some guy in loin cloth leading a half dozen slaves and costumes. And there was this other guy who seemed to be constantly apologising for something and kept wanting me to tell him he’d failed the city. Please? Pretty please? Oh right, that’s a thing Ollie does.


Posing for photos was so much fun. On the first day it was just little kids with their parents. Then it was selfies with girls , then couples, groups, other cosplayers, even the big, macho sports-mad types you don’t expect to see at things like this. It takes all types and it’s great because I suck at taking photos and hate selfies for the most part so at least someone took them for once.


There weren’t so many authors there this time, I counted only two, sadly, and fewer of the smaller stands showing niches products, costume and jewellery and the like. Good front of the comic and artists part though. Just a few too many chain stores for me, stuff I could get from a mall, not something I’m looking for in a yearly convention, though from the queues they seemed to be doing alright.


So what was the highlight for me? The walk through Horror Alley? Where people paw and grab at you in the dark? Celebrity panels? Lou Diamond Phillips was great but I don’t think many would get away with that version of the Phillipines national anthem.


No, it had to be the archery tag. A paintball arena setup with padded arrows. I’m standing there watching people lob what is essentially tennis balls on sticks at each other and get asked the inevitable by a bystander.

‘Have you done that, because not even joking, that would be awesome!’

I admit that I have done before leaving I make sure to correct that. Paying the requisite fee and lining up with the other cannon fodder. I mean players. Who all turned around from the guy explaining how such a confangled contraption as a bow works and where the pointy end goes (its actually on the string, because what would normally be the pointy end is now padded)  and stared at me.

‘Uh…who’s team is Green Arrow going to be on?’


It always amazes me how people can’t disassociate fact from fiction. Because I’m dressed like the Arrow I must be able to shoot like him, right? Well, actually I did used to take archery lessons and I’m ok, but more important was the fear factor, almost none of the other players were willing to shoot at me! I stood out in the open almost the entire match, and even when you know how to shoot, half the arrows were missing their fletchings there was rain, wind, you name it. And the bows we had were pretty good for knocking padded arrows out of the air. But the best part was just drawing and aiming at someone across the field and having them panic and duck into cover. Because, they’re about to be shot by the Arrow.


The next time you go to a convention, go in costume. It’s just so much fun 😉

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