If you happened to be on campus the weekend of March 26 you might have noticed some interesting characters take over the campus: vampires in the dining halls, zombies near the Melville Library or perhaps pirates near Roth Pond.
If you had gone into the gym you would’ve seen an even stranger sight. Here anime and comic book characters came to life.
You might have seen Batman and the Joker discussing whether or not to buy a vintage video game – or even a man with a four-foot homemade scythe tied to his arm, buying a fish fossil.
If you saw any of that, you were not suffering from post-midterm stress. It was actually because I-CON, the Northeast’s largest convention of science fiction and fantasy, returned to the Stony Brook campus for its 29th annual convention.
This year marks I-CON’s return to Stony Brook after it was held at the Brentwood Campus of Suffolk Community College.
Throughout the weekend people of all ages converged on the West Campus for panels, autograph signings, performances and more.
This year, the guests of honor included Dr. John H. Marburger, III, former Stony Brook University president along with Sarah Douglas (Ursa in “Superman I and II”); ; Charisma Carpenter (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “The Expendables”); Tony Todd (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “24”) and Ronald D. Moore (Emmy award winner, creator/writer/producer of Caprica).
The Pritchard Gym was turned into a vendor’s hall where everything from custom vampire’s teeth to fossils were sold.
The Student Activity Center was used for registration while buildings such as Javits and Harriman Hall were used for panels like “I’m dating a voice actor!” workshops like “Social Media: a Security Workshop” and question-and-answer sessions with the guest speakers.
Charisma Carpenter revealed that she hasn’t let her 7-year-old watch Buffy yet. Moore talked about the difficulty of writing for and producing sci-fi shows which often go over budget and time.
Cosplay, when fans dress up as their favorite anime, manga, comic or fantasy characters, was also on display at I-CON. The costumes ranged from Carol from “Where the Wild Things Are,” to Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin from “Ouran High School Host Club.”
Candice Morreale, 24, is a returning attendee who spent $80 on her costume.
“I missed Halloween this year ’cause of work,” Morreale said. “So I make it up at I-CON.”
This year, Kevin Clayton’s first trip to I-CON. He was looking forward to how people would react to his costume– a white wig, a black robe with clouds and a triple-bladed red scythe.
He wasn’t disappointed.
“My costume had a great reaction,” Clayton said. “I had 60 plus pictures taken of me, countless compliments, and I’ve appeared in several YouTube videos.”
Clayton also had an interesting interaction with a fellow I-CON-goer. A girl hugged him and bit the blade of his scythe, not before saying, “I’ve always wanted to do this to the real Hidan,” the character Clayton dressed up as.
Thankfully Clayton had previously attended the “How to Avoid Rabid Fanboys and Fangirls” panel. They tell you exactly what to do if you get attacked by a fan.
“The fan runs to you, screams, hugs you, and then tries to take you down. That is actually how it happens. They emphasized getting free and running, yes running, to the nearest crowded place with security. This is exactly what I did.”
There were several organizations that associate themselves with and follow the rules of science fiction, tv shows and movies.
There was a Star Trek fan club, which travels to other events all over the tri-state area. There were fantasy and history organizations as well as medieval groups that welcome everyone.
Also present was Empire City Garrison, which is a part of the 501st Legion of Imperial Stormtroopers otherwise known as the “Fighting 501st.”
They describe themselves as New York’s premiere professional costuming club celebrating the might and glory of the Empire as depicted in the Star Wars films. The 501st legion travels around going to festivals and “are available as volunteers to serve the charitable needs of the greater New York area when called upon.”
Empire City Garrison has professional-looking Imperial Stormtrooper, commander, and Darth Vader outfits and voices to match.
Their outfits are entirely homemade, and although they are not sponsored by Lucasfilms, the Fighting 501st are Lucasfilm’s ideal Imperial costuming group. To join the Empire City Garrison Star Wars fans are only required to have a good time at events and be 18 years or older. The Star Wars characters that the members chose to dress up as must be from an officially licensed media such as the movies or games.
If the Dark Side isn’t for you there is the Long island Jedi. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to provide an environment where members can learn the art of the lightsaber.
In all seriousness they provide a means of giving back to the community through education, performance and charitable events. Unlike the Jedi, they don’t care if you have midi-clorians or not. They are looking for anyone who might be interested: actors, martial artists, costumers and performers who share a love for the galaxy’s most elegant weapon – the lightsaber.
Some of their activities include – lightsaber training classes, fight scene choreography, live performances, demos, costuming, charity events.
After a weekend of vampires, superheroes and anime characters taking over the campus, it was all quiet on Stony Brook’s West campus as Spring Break commenced.