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From Ajc.com


Fans don their sci-finery for annual invasion of city

By Rodney Ho

Saturday 30 August 2003, by Webmaster

JPEG - 19.3 kb
Dragon Con Cosplay
Brian Wolfe of Orlando (center front), with a group of Orcs and Urak-Hai characters from the "Lord of the Rings" movies, made his face a conglomeration of different characters including the Emperor from the Star Wars series, the Mayor of Whoville in "The Grinch" and the vampires in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Amid the wreckage of a Hyatt Regency hotel room littered with bits of wire, discarded leather and fake hair, Corey Sosner as Lurtz of "The Lord of the Rings" primps in front of a mirror and guzzles a bottle of what’s labeled "stage blood."

"Ha, ha, ha!" he laughs, mouth open, the blood oozing down his chin, onto the carpet. "I want some Storm Troopers dead! Crush them . . . dead!"

The rest of his gang of evil Orcs and Uruk-Hai chortle as they head down to the lobby for more mayhem — or more correctly, photo ops at this year’s edition of DragonCon, the sci-fi confab extravaganza that invades downtown Atlanta each Labor Day weekend. About 20,000 attendees have descended upon the city, many dressed in their favorite sci-fi related characters.

Sosner, 26, a New York actor whose credits include small roles in the soap "All My Children" and the TNT TV movie "Race Against Time," was dressed to the hilt Friday afternoon, bow and arrow, leather armor, evil yellow and red contact lenses and foam-latex mask with a white-painted hand on his face. (According to LOTR, corrupt wizard Saruman created Lurtz with the painted hand as his signature.)

On the way down in the elevator, Julie Duran, 20, of Fort Benning ("I’m dressed just as a freak," she explains) squeezes next to Sosner, who proceeds to plant a smeary red bloody kiss on her exposed back. It drips down. She smiles.

When the seven "Rings" characters hit the ground floor, they are quickly engulfed by admiring fans as if they’re Ben and Jen at a movie opening. They gamely pose, swords held high, growls firmly in place.

Cyndee Lizana, 33, of Atlanta, dressed as anime character Sailor Moon, sprints over to get her photo taken with them. "Ahh . . . female flesh!" Sosner gurgles over her. Lizana grins.

For Sosner, who calls the "Lord of the Rings" series the best cinematic films in the past 20 years, this weekend is a time to goof around and socialize. He’s not there to attend the seminars such as "Star Wars: History and Evaluation of the Jedi Costume," chase down B-list legends such as David "Kung Fu" Carradine and George "Star Trek" Takei or celebrate the 25th anniversary of TV show "Battlestar Galactica." At past DragonCons, Sosner has tried to sell costumes he makes at a booth but didn’t garner many sales.

"Everyone here already has costumes," he noted.

The leader of the "LOTR" crew, Brian Wolfe, is a bit mellower than Sosner but no less dedicated. As a full-time professional makeup artist at Orlando’s Universal Studios, he prides himself on creating realistically evil faces. As an Orc, he says he is not constrained by any one model. "Orcs are like humans," he said. "They can be of any size and shape."

Wolfe’s face, he says, is a conglomeration of other costumes from past conventions. His cleft chin is shaped like the Emperor from the "Star Wars" series; his piglike nose comes from the Mayor of Whoville of Dr. Seuss’ "The Grinch"; his forehead is a steal from the vampires in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"People from far away think it’s a mask, but the foam latex enables me to convey so much more in terms of facial expressions."

At past DragonCons, the 35-year-old father of one has been Pestilence from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a member of heavy metal group Slipknot and Darth Maul of "Star Wars."

"I love playing bad guys," Wolfe explained. "Good guys are boring. Who wants to walk around wearing brown robes and beards? I want people to freak out. I want children to cry and women to scream."

Indeed, Rhannon Birchfield, a freckle-faced 8-year-old from Newnan dressed as a Jawa from "Star Wars," tentatively approaches Sasner and Wolfe. Sasner growls at her and she scurries away. "I think they’re pretty cool," she said, trying to keep a brave face. Then added, "A little scary."

Sasner’s brother Shawn, also dressed as a Uruk-Hai, is hungry. "Let’s get smoothies," he suggests. "Rasberry protein." Then realizing he’s supposed to be a bit more, well, evil, adds, "No, make that a blood-clot smoothie!"