The Giving Grinch Cosplay Charity Event

Thanksgiving weekend usually ends the same way for me. I’ve usually eaten enough that I feel like I bear in need of hibernation. This year was a little different. With my wife and J being out of town, I decided to check out The Giving Grinch Cosplay Charity event going on at Mod A Go Go in Downtown Salt Lake City.

The Giving Grinch is a year round charity that collects non-perishable foods, blankets, clothes, toys, etc. for families who may be without around the holidays. This year marked the first, of what organizers hope to be many, Cosplay event. The Cosplay Charity event was created by Geek Girls Corp members Amber Dahl and Collin Farmer. Saturday’s event wasn’t just about getting the standard donation items, The Giving Grinch has been raising funds to send a family to the most magical place in the world via GoFundMe, and Saturday’s event was capped by telling the family about the trip. Cosplayers from H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc., The Legacy Initiative, the Umbrella Corps- Utah Hive, and others dressed as Disney/Marvel/DC/Nintendo/Resident Evil characters ready to help take in donations and take pics with any and everyone that walked by.

The event itself was amazing. Besides all the amazing cosplayers, there were vendors with amazing merchandise, there were face painters for the kids (and adults), there was a silent auction that had some amazing items donated by individuals and by the wonderful people at FantasyCon. Walking throughout the event Saturday, you could really feel the spirit of charity flowing through every person that was in attendance. Everyone involved with this charity and event truly cares about their fellow human beings. It was enough to make me tear up a few times throughout the night.

A few of the moments that almost brought out the water works was seeing the youngest daughter of the family (mentioned above) interacting with the Disney Princess cosplayers. She wasn’t interacting with the cosplayers as people in princess costumes, but as though the cosplayers were the princesses themselves. My favorite moment was seeing an Elsa cosplayer singing ‘Let It Go’ to the young girl and that little girl was loving every second of it.

As we go through out the rest of this holiday season, let us remember those who are not in the best situations and let us do all that we can to show love to our fellow human beings. Sometimes it may not seem like it, but we are in this together. As you are doing your shopping I ask that you think of those around you and think of ways that you can help make their holiday brighter this year.

For more information about the Giving Grinch Cosplay GoFundMe fundraiser and to help send a much deserving family to the most magical place on Earth, check out Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy whatever you may be celebrating.   


Using Comicbooks to Improve Your Child’s Literacy

(A post that I originally wrote for Salt Lake Comic Con – check out the original post by clicking here)

Can reading comicbooks to your children improve literacy? I think it can. Short children’s books can sometimes be intimidating, but many children already love the characters and stories in comics, so this world will pull them into the world of reading. Also, the format used in comicbooks is really easy for kids to follow. Here are a few ideas that might help grow your child’s love of reading and possibly improve their literacy skills:

1. Find your child’s favorite characters in easy-to-read books.
Easy-to-read books usually have more pictures and fewer words, are shorter and have storylines that will keep your child interested. The only downside is that your child might like these books so much that you might end up having to read them multiple times a day.

2. Read the comics inside the official magazines of your child’s favorite cartoon.
The comics in these magazines follow characters that your child already knows and loves. These comics are also super short and funny, not unlike the comics you find in your Sunday morning paper, making it easy for your child to stay engaged.

3. Find comics with your child’s favorite cartoon characters.
This goes along the lines of number two. Your child will already know and love these characters and will be engaged in the storylines. These comics usually have bigger panels and simpler stories. If your child is familiar with the characters from their TV shows, they might even try to do some of the voices with you.

4. Find artists/storytellers that appeal to your child.
In my opinion, there are no better comics to start your children off with than the amazing work from Aw Yeah Comics, especially “Tiny Titans,” “Superman Family Adventures” and “Itty Bitty Hellboy.” These comics follow characters that you and your child love. The story lines are fun for both you and your child, the artwork is colorful and child-friendly and there are even some fun “translate what the alien is saying” activities that help your child identify letters of the alphabet.

5. Let your child pick out his/her own comics from the “All Ages” section of your comic shop.
By letting your child pick out their own comics, they are telling you what they want to read and they will be more likely to sit with you and read along. These will be their comics and nothing makes a new comicbook fan happier than having books of their own.

Reading is what it all comes down to. Reading with your child a little each day is the key to improving your child’s literacy and their love for reading. Before my son came along, I could have gone the rest of my life without reading. But once I found something that we both love, reading time is now something that we both look forward too. It doesn’t really matter what you read to your child, as long as you read. In my opinion, comicbooks are the best way to open your child’s mind to a new, never-ending universe.


Nerdy Holiday Shopping

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc, who are trying to nerdify the children in your family, this post is for you.  This year J and I have put together a small aStore with some of our favorite clothes, toys and games that we found on Amazon. These gift ideas will help nerd out all the kids in your family. Our store has Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and Star Trek clothes, toys and video games. Click Here if you want to look through our store, and if you are not finding what you are looking for, you can get to amazon by clicking the “powered by” button. Happy Shopping!!!!


Star Wars Rebels

Yesterday (Sept. 27) J and I attended a special screening of the Star Wars Rebels series premiere episode thanks to the amazing people over at Big Shiny Robot. Star Wars Rebels follows the story of Ezra, a young man fighting against the empire in his own way. He sees a group of rebels interrupt a shipment of Empire crates and in the confusion, Ezra takes one of the crates from the rebels. It’s hard for me to write anything else because I don’t want to spoil anything for everyone. I think this will be an amazing series that the whole Star Wars loving family will enjoy. If you have Disney xD on your cable or satellite subscription, you might be able to watch the episode on the Watch Disney xD app. If you can’t watch it on the app, Star Wars Rebels premieres October 13th (check your local listings for premiere time). You can also celebrate the premiere by adding Star Wars Rebels stickers to your photos with the Disney Photo Finish app.

banner photo

From Boy to Raccoon: How I Turned J into Rocket

Building a costume for your children can be tough work. It can be more economical than purchasing an outfit, but it is harder. Especially if you have never sewed in your life. I had the idea to build a Rocket Raccoon outfit for my son when a local convention said that there would be a Guardians of the Galaxy photo booth at the con.

photo op

When you build a comic book character costume for your child, you have to decide which version to use. Many characters have multiple comic versions plus there’s movie and television versions as well. Once I figured out which version looked easiest for my skill level, I started looking for the separate pieces at all the surrounding thrift shops.

The first thing I needed was a jacket, and after searching for a navy colored peacoat for half a day, I decided to just make something that looked like Rocket’s coat. I bought a navy colored turtleneck, some red t-shirts, and some gold buttons.

My first step was to cut out a square outline. I used Heat ‘n Bond to attach the square outline to the turtleneck, and after it was secure I sewed around the edges to keep it secure. The next step was sewing the buttons onto the turtleneck. After the buttons, I had to cut into the trim of the shirt to make it look more like a jacket. I saw that Rocket had red trim around the bottom of his coat, so I had to cut the trim off of a red t-shirt and sew it onto the trim of the turtleneck to give it that Rocket look.

Rocket Shirt

Next on my list was the pants. Simple enough all I had to do was find a pair of 3T navy colored sweat pants. I found a pair at the first store I went to. After purchasing the pants J and I went out to a local frontier shop and bought a raccoon tail. Once we got home I sewed the tail to the butt of J’s pants.  I tried to make it look lively by gluing a wire into the tail, but the glue wouldn’t stick. I eventually sewed the tail in a way that made it look lively. For shoes he just wore a pair of sandals, and we were done with our first attempt at Rocket.

pants with tail

The day before the convention J and I were in the kid’s section at Barnes and Nobel and I saw a Guardians of the Galaxy book that came with a Rocket Raccoon paper mask and I thought it would be perfect for the con. All together our first attempt at Rocket had only cost me $9.

Rocket 1

We went to the con and people loved J’s little outfit. We got our GotG picture and met some amazing people. While at the con we ran into a guy dressed as Deadpool (J loves Deadpool) and we got a picture with him too. Fast forward a few month and we run into this guy again except he is dressed as Spider-Man for a video shoot. After the video shoot we finally introduced ourselves and we talked about J’s outfit. He said that he wanted to add onto what I had started.

Rocket and Deadpool

A few weeks later Kannon (Deadpool/Spiderman) and I started messaging each other about the outfit. We talked about getting the new Rocket mask that Hasbro released and furring it up, about making little furry feet and getting some red gloves. We met in person so Kannon could get measurements, and then I handed over J’s costume pants so Kannon could match fur and we went our separate ways so he could work on J’s outfit. A few weeks later, Kannon and I met up at a pre registration event for Salt Lake Comic Con and he showed us what he had been up to with J’s outfit. He furred up the mask and made it more of a helmet, made a bigger more lively tail, brought some red gloves, and made some furry shoes. And for that he only charged me $30 so in all I spent under $40 for an amazing Rocket Raccoon outfit.

Here is Kannon’s account of everything he did to help make J’s costume one of the best Rocket costumes I have ever seen:

I started by buying the Rocket Raccoon mask from Toys-R-Us. I then looked up all the reference photos of Rocket that I could for the pattern of the fur. I went with a blend of the movie Rocket, and the classic comic one. I then got some white and brown faux fur pieces from Joann’s. Using scissors, hot glue, and the reference photos, I cut and glued the fur onto the face, making sure the mouth and ears still moved. I added a flap under the chin and on the back of the head, to cover the whole head. The feet were a child’s pair of dress shoes, with a Velcro strap. I cut and glued the fur onto them, keeping the strap free to make them easy to put on. The tail was a wire coat hanger, bent into a curl, then covered in a full piece of the fabric. I then used fabric paint to do the black stripes, then sewed it onto the pants. The gloves were a kid’s pair I found at [the local thrift shop], turned inside out.”

Rocket 2

I am so happy with how everything turned out. People were stopping J every 5 to 10 feet at Salt Lake Comic Con to ask for his picture and he was loving the attention. It’s hard to believe that something that started as a 7 day project turned into something this amazing, and for so little money. So before you go and buy your child a costume for Halloween or comic book conventions, why not look into making the costume yourself?

J in costume

©Walt Disney Animation Studios

Big Hero 6 Trailer Released!!!

Today Walt Disney Animation Studios released trailer #2 for Big Hero 6. If the teaser trailer wasn’t enough to get you excited about this movie, then you will want to watch this trailer. This film looks like one that parents, kids, and grandparents will enjoy. I’m thinking that Big Hero 6 will give Frozen a run for it’s money. What do you think? Can any new projects beat out the popularity of Frozen? Could it be Big Hero 6? Big Hero 6 opens on November 7th.