A long, multicolored scarf. A brown floppy hat. A sonic screwdriver. A red velvet coat. A Tardis key, made to exacting replica specs. That was most of my pre-comic-con costume checklist as I transformed myself into Tom Baker's Doctor for the Albuquerque Comic Expo, better known as "ACE."
ACE took place from June 27 to the 29 in downtown Albuquerque. Headliners included Joel Hodgson from "Mystery Science Theater 3000," RJ Mitte from the Albuquerque-filmed "Breaking Bad," and Lou Ferrigno, best known for playing the green-hued Incredible Hulk on the 1970s and 1980s TV show.
While big cons like the San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon tend to get all the glory, smaller local cons feed the fandom and are accessible to people who might never make the trek to one of the big boys. It took all of 3 miles for me to get from my house to the show floor, where I was greeted by a massive room filled with booths selling everything from stuffed Pokemon figures to lightsabers and local, independent comic books.
Where else but at a con are you likely to sit down and listen to the Incredible Hulk decribe his fitness philosophy for 30 minutes? In case you're wondering, "It's all about clean habits," Ferrigno says. That means eating well and no drinking or drugs, including steroids. Hard work also comes into it. "I've been busting my ass for 50 years to have this body," he told the crowd at a panel on fitness.
Of course, one of the biggest draws is the cosplay. I marveled at the work that went into Pyramid Head and Big Daddy costumes. I darted out of the path of an oncoming wampa. I got called in to pose with other cosplayers at a full-size Tardis replica. It's the joy of discovery, recognition, and shared fandoms that keeps every minute of a con interesting.
Check out this gallery of costumes and sights from ACE and see how Albuquerque gets its geek on: