Creative costumes and comic culture

12th annual Lilac City Comicon


EWU journalism student Erica Halbert as Nissa from “Magic: The Gathering”| Erica Bullock for The Easterner

By Erica Bullock, Contributor

Lilac City Comicon held its 12th annual event this past weekend. Fans of comic book characters, cartoons and creative costumes gathered at the Spokane Convention Center to shop, meet special guests such as Lou Ferrigno, play games and more.

Sunday was the second day at the region’s largest comicon and hundreds of guests- many in costumes-were seen walking along the colorful, art-filled aisles taking in their surroundings. People posing for selfies could be seen in every direction.

The shopping was plentiful, people were buying everything from posters, to toys, to costume accessories and caricatures of themselves. Pausing to linger at the many booths was made possible every few steps while the crowd slowed to make way for another group taking a photograph.

Costumes included many different versions of Deadpool, a variety of characters from Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” and “Adventure Time” shows, witches, GhostBusters, The Little Mermaid and numerous others.

Jade Ehrenstrasser, a student at Spokane Community College, was dressed, and painted, from head-to-toe in pink. She said she spent three months completing her character’s look. Pink Diamond, from “Steven Universe,” is Ehrenstrasser’s favorite character because of the similarities in the character’s behavior and her own. “I see this character in myself,” she said.

Ruby Riser as Pearl, left, and Jade Ehrenstrasser as Pink Diamond, right. The cosplayers were inspired by their favorite characters from Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” | Erica Bullock for The Easterner

Ehrenstrasser was at comicon with her friend Ruby Rieser, a student at West Valley High School, who was dressed as another character from “Steven Universe.” “I made the spear from PVC pipe, dowel, foam, a lot of glue and tears,” she said holding her character’s signature weapon.

Rieser said she has three other versions of this character including an 1980s version, a punk rock version and a regular version. She said the costume designing can be hard sometimes because sewing, “totally wrecks my fingers.”

EWU journalism student Erica Halbert went to comicon as Nissa, a character from “Magic: The Gathering” card game. It took about three months, with help from her mom, to make her olive-green creation.

“I was in 30 pounds of steel yesterday, a full plate mail type thing. This is my comfortable costume,” Halbert said.

Ryan Barquist-Tafoya, another Eastern student, came as Cloud Strife from “Final Fantasy VII,” complete with a replica Buster Sword made of foam and a wooden dowel.

“It’s light and can be easily carried about, while being ridiculously huge,” Barquist-Tafoya said.

He said he felt rushed to complete his look but pulled it off by repurposing items he already had, such as painting the suspenders he wore. Barquist-Tafoya said that he likes to participate in the costume contests and while there was one for adults on Saturday, “We just missed the deadline for that.”

The family-friendly event concluded with a costume contest for dozens of children, who got to introduce themselves on stage to the cheering crowd. Two students from Glover Middle School, Callie Williams, dressed as Finn the Human from “Adventure Time” and Chantae Williams, who came as Maia Roberts, a werewolf from “Shadowhunters,” a series of books and a television show said they just wanted to enjoy themselves and walk around instead.

Callie said she relates to Finn’s good heart and clumsiness. “He tries to do stuff right, even though he kind of messes up in between sometimes,” she said.

Chantae said she was inspired by Maia’s perseverance, “through a lot of dark times and really bad stuff but, gets through it and is really awesome and super determined.”

“We’ve just really been having a lot of fun this weekend,” Callie said.