I've been going to NYCC (New York Comic Con) since its creation back in '06. Not every year, because I lived in Japan for a while and also snagging tickets has been increasingly more difficult, but I try to go when I can. I've been to four of the past nine years, and can't believe #10 is coming up in October.

While I know most people prefer to post their reports right after the convention ends for more page views, I needed a two month break. Mostly because I needed some time to think.

Comic Con is typically the one convention I don't cosplay at. I always commuted in by NJ Transit, and the halls, even in its inception, were too crowded (they just didm't have the entire convention center to themselves in ye olden days). Cramped hallways when you're legally blind is hard enough!

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I went to a few of the bar events before the convention, and hit it off with some really cool people this past year though, and even won me some comics, so I figured this would be a better con than most.

That's me in the center, me and my big, ahem, tracts of land, will be a bit important later.

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But then, I got wind of a cosplay contest NYCC was doing and said screw it, I'm going to make something absolutely nuts. I made Rocket. I didn't think I had a ice cube chance in hell that I'd move on. Heck, it was all made by hand because my sewing machine decided it didn't like my fabric choices. Somehow, and I have no idea why, they picked me. Well, at least it would be an interesting experience.

I'd entered in two masquerades before, both at very small (like 1,000 people or so) conventions, and even at those, never won anything or even placed, but the last time I'd done so was in 2009. My skills have long since improved, even if I didn't think so, apparently. (Didn't win anything at NYCC, but did get orders for work on commissions, so I'd call that a huge win in my book)

Oh god so fluffy. The fan/icepacks inside were pretty much the only thing that saved me.

Anyway…

This is where I learned that being in a mascot style costume is totally different from cosplay. Especially if it's a specific character and not, say, an OC furry. I'll list the shorter reasons first, and then go on to the titular topic of gender.

1. Booths give you free stuff.

Seriously. I actually am in an ad for a plushy company. After they saw about twenty people stopping me for my picture near their booth, they asked me to take some photos with their plashes and gave me one too.

2. Comic artists give you free stuff.

That Groot? Andy Lanning, inker and writer of my favorite Guardians of the Galaxy run (from 2008-2010) made that for me. I went to his booth on Friday in costume, looking to buy some of his work and get a copy of Guardians signed, but he was doing a Marvel event. He shared a booth with Todd Nauck (Nightcrawler), so I got an autograph, bought some art, and chatted for a bit. He told me to come back on Saturday- so I did. Lanning was waiting for me, stood up from the booth, and demanded selflies, before handing me Groot from his bag. Those two freaking made my convention.

Seriously. I couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the day, even under that mascot head.

3. Kids think you're real (some do, at least)

I had kids asking me where my gun was. I pitched my voice down as best I could, grunting, "Freaking confiscated." Others tried to pet me or ask for my autograph. It was so adorable.

4. People want high-fives.

Everyone wants high fives. I felt like a rockstar.

5. Scaring all the Star-Lords

My costume has no visible eye holes, but I'm just shy of blind anyway. I'd sneak up behind the Star Lord cosplayers and make stupid gestures at them while their friends laughed behind their backs- until they decide to turn around.

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But really, the most fascinating thing was how people treated me- everyone thought I was a guy. Despite the fact that even with the head (which adds a few inches to me), I barely scrape 5'1".

Reference mother is actual size. My head tops out at Rocket's eyebrows.

I did do a good job of hiding that aforementioned rack, because absolutely nobody even considered I was a girl until I took the head off for breaks or water. Guys would "Bro!" at me when they wanted my attention for a photo, and when I did take the head off in a crowd (screw furry etiquette, I'm a cosplayer, not a furry, and if I need water I am not going to wait until I'm somewhere people can't see, unless there are small kids waiting for a photo) guys would get visibly shocked to see a girl's head underneath. "Holy s**t, you're a girl!" was something I should have been counting, because it happened at least once every time I beheaded myself.

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I don't see why the immediate thought was that I had to be male, or, more specifically, the genuine surprise when people found out I was a woman. A good friend is actually going to be running a proper sociology/psychology experiment with two people of identical height (one an actual guy and one an actual girl) wearing male and female Destiny armor, switching between throughout the day, tailed by researchers to observe reactions and behaviors towards the two when gender is assumed but impossible to actually distinguish.

I know from my own con experience that I was definitely treated differently as Rocket than I have been in face costumes. I'll be going to another convention with two guy friends as Star Lord and Drax, so we are curious to actually record what happens. Granted, it will be anecdotal, but it's a start.

For those of you who cosplay/crossplay/or wear furry (or mascot) costumes, have people's reactions to you changed based on how you're dressed?

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Oh, and because I'm actually proud of how it turned out, here's two better shots of the whole thing.