DC's Awesome Con shoots for new cosplay world record

Organizers of Washington, D.C.'s Awesome Con hope they can pack the National Mall today with enough costumed heroes (and villains) to set a new world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as comic book characters.

The current record, as certified by Guinness World Records, was set in April 2011 at the opening ceremony of International Animation CCJOY LAND in China. The magical number? 1,530 people. “I know we can break that record and mark Washington, D.C., as the capital city of cosplay,” Ben Penrod, co-founder of Awesome Con, said in a statement.

In an effort to do just that, Awesome Con and the Museum of Science Fiction sent out the call for cosplayers to gather at noon at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool, where the Guinness adjudicator will undertake the official count.

Assembling more than 1,530 costumed characters in one location at the same time sounds like a difficult undertaking, to be sure, but that's only the first step in breaking the world record. Guinness has some pretty strict guidelines, including a pre-approved character list that, with only a handful of exceptions -- Ninja Turtles, Sailor Moon, Bloodshot, The Crow, Hellboy, Dick Tracy and Roxie Richter -- is limited to DC Comics and Marvel properties.

Which of those made the list is interesting, too, as Wolverine, Winter Soldier, Superman and Wonder Woman appear alongside the likes of Adam Warlock, Amadeus Cho, Vril Dox and Elseworlds Superwoman.

The Washington Post's Michael Cavna doesn't think the record will be broken today, because "I have my doubts that D.C. is yet that geeky." I'll defer to him on the matter of the capital's geek quotient; the nationwide scarcity of Vril Dox cosplayers is my chief concern.

Awesome Con kicks off today at 3 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with a guest lineup that includes George Perez, Steve Niles, Dan Parent, Tom Feister, Justin Jordan, Jamal Igle, Nathan Edmondson, Leila del Luca, Carla Speed McNeil and Joe Keatinge.

(Illustration by Sam Bosma)

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