This article 1st appeared in The Prices Do DC 04.24.2014
Even superheroes don’t always succeed. Last weekend, organizers of Awesome Con issued a call for costumed crusaders to head to the Capitol Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol Building to join together to break the Guinness World Record for the largest group of people dressed as comic book characters ever assembled in one place at one time.
The record was 1,531, set earlier in China. But the challenge failed as only 237 costumed comic fans showed up. Or did it? Did the good guys really lose?
Maybe not. At least if you look through the eyes of 2 young fans who trekked from Virginia to take in the attempt. Matt Zimmerman, 11, and his 10-year-old friend Kyle Scott. They didn’t care about records. They just wanted to see superheroes up close. And they did. A total of 231 in all.
Matt’s favorite comic book legend is Spiderman. For Scott, it’s Rocket Raccoon. So what did they think of the event?
“Having a lot of people dressed up seemed funny, so we wanted to come,” Zimmerman said. So after seeing enough Spidermen in all shapes, sizes, and ages to play a football game, what did Zimmerman think?
“I’ll dress up next year,” he said.
And then there was the case of 52-year-old Harry Faulkner (“just like the novelist,” he will tell you). Faulkner could be spotted astride the pedi-cab he drives, hoping to entice a fare. He was dressed as Superman.
Faulkner said he initially thought about coming to the event as The Flash, but rejected that idea.”Pedi-cabs aren’t that fast,” he said. “It’s more about strength than it is about speed.”
When last seen, Faulkner was pedaling his way down Pennsylvania Avenue, transporting a costumed family to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where the actual comic book convention was being held.
And then there was Green Lantern (for the sake of full disclosure, my favorite comic book superhero of all-time.) Of course, the Green Lantern has to have a secret identity. In this case, when he wasn’t on active In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight. Let Those Who Worship Evil’s Might, Beware My Power – Green Lantern’s Light mode, he was Joe Sutliff, a comic book creator from nearby Virginia.
So, like me, Green Lantern was obviously Sutliff’s favorite character, right? Well, actually no. Sutliff was exhibiting at Awesome Con and only decided to enter the record-attempt event at the last minute. He found a Green Lantern t-shirt at Target and fashioned the rest of his costume from things he had at home.
Like most avid comic enthusiasts, Sutliff discovered his passion at an early age. For him, it was the Superman he found at age 7. “I had an older cousin who was a collector and he dropped a pile on me and that was the end of it,” he said.
The fact that Sutliff would be spending 3 days with about 20,000 other comic book devotees spoke to his enthusiasm. “My mother will be turning in her grave, but I’m going to be at Awesome Con on Easter instead of church,” he said.
And in his guise as Green Lantern, Sutliff had an important message he wanted to impart. Pointing to the circle of rope that encased all the superheroes, he said, “All the people outside the rope might be laughing, but all the people inside the rope believe in truth and justice and fighting evil. And wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone believed in that.”