The 16-year-old Carmel High School sophomore, who has attended Gen Con with her father since she was 2 years old, said that crafting full-length sleeves from metal loops to attach to her armored costume was her largest project to date.
Armor-making began for McDaniels with a workshop at a previous Con, where she made a teddy bear–sized jerkin and worked her way up from there.
“It starts with one ring,” McDaniels demonstrated, lifting one hoop away from the others, “And you just squeeze them all together, and eventually it turns into something.”
McDaniels was looking forward to sightseeing in the Indiana Convention Center, as well as board games and Live Action Role Playing.
“I feel like I fit in here, because everyone here is like me,” McDaniels said. “I just like all of the activities.”
In the convention center’s main hallway, groups gathered in the section designated for cosplayers.
“It’s like, ‘Hey, you’re in cosplay, I like that cosplay, let’s talk,’” said O’Donnell, who dressed as Roddy “Hot Rod” Piper from World Champion Wrestling on Thursday. “Like, ‘Make up poses with me!’”
O’Donnell joined Avi Goltz, a raptor-bedecked Owen Grady from “Jurassic World”; Tannim Woodall, who cosplayed as the vigilante Arsenal from “Arrow”; and Broc Johnson, as a Sith lord, in the hallway for part of the afternoon.
“I’ve watched the show from the beginning, and as soon as they introduced the character as Arsenal, I was hooked,” Woodall said. “I combined a couple of concepts (of the character) for this.”
The five agreed that their choices of fictional counterparts could come from identifying with the character or from something as simple as similar senses of humor.
“I usually pick [characters] based on connection,” O’Donnell said. “Something stands out to me.”
Kaity Bequette, an Urbana, Illinois, native, created her Harley Quinn costume after set photos from the upcoming Warner Bros. movie hit the Internet. To emulate the studio’s glitzy take on the DC antiheroine, Bequette glued sequins and satin onto existing pieces.
“The shoes are different, because the ones she wears in the movie are like $300,” Bequette said. “But most of this is at least an attempt at what she has.”
Bequette debuted DC cosplay at Denver’s Comic Con, but she had more elaborate plans for the rest of the weekend in Indy. She met a group of people through gaming in Illinois who all created X-Men costumes for a group cosplay, for which Bequette put together a Dark Phoenix outfit.
“There’s a really great marriage between a lot of weird hobbies,” Bequette said.