Comics, Cosplay, Conventions & Community!

Triad Anime Con is held annually in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “It currently is a three-day event that features a variety of entertainment in a diverse, multi-function, crowd-friendly environment. One ticket price gives you access to all Concerts, Live Acts, and Performers to industry and media guests, DJs, artists, and vendors. Fans from all over the world make plans to attend yearly.” 


I attended Triad for the first time last year, and only on Saturday. I had a lot of fun though, and I was super charmed by the environment the convention created. It was cozy. I remember being nervous about the new cosplay I was wearing, but it was all for naught. Even with a smaller crowd, I was still stopped and complemented so much. My friends and I had wanted to go to more cons in the NC area, and now we knew we’d have to come back to this one. 


We started planning for Triad 2024 sometime in the summer. This time, we’d either stay with friends or get a hotel, and go for the entire weekend. I was stoked. Due to my full time job, I have to be particular about the weekends I take off so sometimes I have to sacrifice conventions I’d really like to go to. Luckily, Triad lined up perfectly.


Even though it’s smaller, Triad has had some awesome guests in the past, including J Michael Tatum, Johnny Yong Bosch, Caitlin Glass, Elizabeth Maxwell, Laugh out Loud, Carolina Manga Library, and many more. This year they had Landon McDonald, Jeff Plunk, Tyson Rinehart, and Ryan Bartley. While I never had a chance to meet or chat with anybody, anytime I saw them at their tables, they were happily engaging with the crowds. As a big fan of voice work, guests are often a huge draw for me. It’s always nice that conventions offer a place to tell someone you admire them, and to hear them talk about their work and their passions. 


I would also like to applaud Triad for having a decently wide variety of panels and events, despite still being a smaller convention and aimed towards anime. In the spirit of the name, anime and anime-inspired things are certainly at the forefront of the events, but there’s a little bit of everything. All the anime panels offered so many different types of interactions. Horror in Anime and Manga, LGBTQ Representation, Talking About Dubs, trivia games, and discussing fanfiction were all on the schedule. They also had quite a few panels dedicated to teaching people about cosplay skills, which I always love. They’re a great resource, and I appreciate and admire people who run them.


With all that, let’s talk about my experience at Triad Anime Con 2024!




Friday— the first day of a con! For Triad, I was staying with friends at their apartment. We aimed to wake up around 8 that morning, and get to the convention at 11. I always love getting ready for a convention in a small space with multiple people; everyone scurrying around each other, finding a place to sit, sharing anything somebody might have forgotten. I hadn’t had a chance to test out any of my cosplays before the weekend so every day was going to be new for me in some way. While Husk was familiar, I had so much new stuff to consider. The straps to my wings dug into my underarms so badly that I relished every time my friends and I took a sitting break because it meant I could take them off. Cosplay is pain indeed. 

The first night of Triad was happening in tandem with another event at the convention center— a heavily Christian event. There’s nothing wrong with that— it just provided a layer of comedy to coming in and out of the convention space. It was especially fun for the insane amount of Hazbin Hotel cosplayers. Imagine that you’re an unsuspecting youth minister, and you get into an elevator with somebody dressed as The Devil. Luckily, anybody I talked to who interacted with the other group said they were simply just interested in what was going on. Though, as anybody who has ever been to a convention would know, there were Christian protestors. They showed up on Saturday. Seriously, I don’t understand what they wish to accomplish protesting an anime convention.

First days of conventions are always sort of a mixed bag. Nothing is happening for a few hours, and then suddenly a lot is happening. My Friday was spent checking in with The Variant, catching up with my friends, and then being at a Hazbin Hotel meetup. My wings sort of made it hard to move around crowded spaces, so I mostly avoided the Dealer’s Hall that day. We had considered going to the formal, but it was happening at the same time as my friend’s meetup. I was sad to miss it after having so much fun at Ichibancon’s, but the meetup was fun and low key. 

The people working at Triad were nice when I interacted with them, but I will say that the actual security of the convention center felt lacking. There was never anybody checking anything. This was just a bit concerning to me. I know it’s a smaller convention, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be properly secured. Badge checks happened at appropriate places, but there should probably at least be a bag check required at the door.

A staple of Triad weekend was the Jimmy John’s around the corner. I really enjoyed the cashier who pointed out another Husk to me on the street and said “look, it’s you!” That’s the kind of energy I want from service workers who have to deal with con-goers.




Saturdays of conventions are, of course, always the most packed day. This was the day I busted out Lucifer and my little eggs, and that most of my friends would leave halfway through the day to change into a second cosplay. I was immediately showered with so much love, and I had a blast giving out my Easter Eggs. Speaking of Easter eggs, there was a Springtrap cosplayer walking around with an “Easter Bunny” sign on handing out eggs that were actually Five Nights at Freddy’s trivia questions. I really enjoy this level of commitment to the bit. I also got my question right for the record. Five Nights at Freddy’s cosplays are some of my all-time favorites. I love the unique ways people will do it, and I love when people just straight up walk around in big robotic suits. I wanted to ask a Freddy I saw to chase me down the hallway, but thought that would be weird. They just looked so cool. 

Saturday was my day to check out the dealers and artists, my photoshoot day, the cosplay contest, and the long awaited Uno Round 2 with my friends. It was going to be a big day for sure. 

Even before I started writing convention coverage, I loved checking out the cosplay contests. I love seeing everyone’s hard work, even when I have no clue what character they’re doing. Something else that happened this time around was me feeling the itch to participate in some sort of con performance. I’ve talked about doing them a few times, but now it’s really high on my priority list. I owe that desire so much to the awesome cosplayers who performed at Triad. It was the obvious joy they were feeling that was so infectious. I am never short of amazed by the things cosplayers are capable of. 

I truly can’t commend the participants of that contest enough. I saw some remarkable things, and in my eyes— everyone who put themselves out there to be a part of it are winners. I was stuck in a seat in the back, half of my view obscured by a pole, but I was still mesmerized. 

However, this is also a moment where I was annoyed by certain people around me. The convention staff was very clear about not using seats to hold props or bags to ensure as many people could be seated as possible, but some people were blatantly ignoring this. Granted, the staff could have been stricter about enforcing things, but is it really that hard to follow simple rules? 

I do need to thank the lost and found department. While cosplaying on Saturday, I decided to wear a ring of mine that I love. It’s unfortunately a bit loose on me now, but I figured it would be safe on top of my glove. I figured wrong. When going to retrieve something from my bag, I realized I had lost my ring at some point. I was completely devastated. My friends insisted that I check con-ops before becoming totally resigned. When I had a minute to myself during the Hazbin Hotel meetup that day, I decided to go pick up some art I wanted and check the lost and found. I cannot thank the worker at con-ops enough. They asked me to describe my ring in specific detail, and then procured it out of a lockbox. I was so relieved I could have cried my face paint off. They said they could tell it was special, and that someone would definitely come looking for it. Just like with cosplay, it’s often the little things that stick with you most about people. Even though it was that person’s job, they wanted to ensure the ring was restored to the rightful person and kept it safe. I’m glad Triad has that kind of person working in their operations.

The biggest point of excitement for me on Saturday was that I was scheduled to do my first solo cosplay photoshoot! Well, first solo photoshoot that I paid a photographer to do. I’d done duo shoots before, or photo exchanges, or had friends kindly take awesome shots of me, but this was the first time I reached out to somebody new to have a shoot. I worked with the wonderfully sweet Cindy, or @cjcosplayphotos over on Instagram, and I’m incredibly excited to get back the pictures. It was a low key shoot, and even though Cindy didn’t know the character, they did some research and let me do my own thing a lot as well. It was definitely a highlight of my weekend.

Saturday did eventually become overwhelming for me despite the low volume and lax vibes. Con-ops came in to save the day again with plenty of make-up wipes, and I was able to shuck off some of my cosplay to get down to just a button up and pants. Once I was less restricted, I was able to enjoy myself again. 

Also the long awaited rematch of Con Uno commenced. My friends and I gathered together in a circle on the top floor of the convention center, and broke out the cards. Uno is always intense, but add in tipsy cosplayers and things get… wild. We even had strangers come ask to join in. No better way to make friends than by making them seethingly angry at you for that Draw 4 card.

Following a glorious win on my part, and two wins for another friend of mine, it was time to call it a night. Only, we also ran into a car issue when one of my friends locked her keys in her car. Triple A was called, and a few of us tried to keep ourselves warm and entertained in the parking garage while we waited. Eventually it was clear this would have to be a tomorrow issue. We worked out a game plan, stuffed our faces with Cookout, and headed home. 




Ah, the Sunday of a convention. Half the con-goers have given up on cosplay and are rocking sweats, people are racing to get to the vendor hall one last time, the flea market is happening and there’s a line out the door and down the hallway. I was super excited to show off my super cute Sailor Chibi Moon cosplay, but I was dreading the “see you laters.”

If only that was my biggest strife that day. While we were walking around the vendor hall, somebody had a medical emergency close by. People couldn’t help but gawk and stare, even when the con staff was ushering them away. Luckily, the person was okay but when things like that happen, there’s always tension and anxiety lingering in the air. The staff seemed to do a wonderful job helping, but people are destined to be spectators. This trend continued later on in the afternoon as well. I understand curiosity, and I understand being worried, but there are some questionable boundary issues when people act like that. I think oftentimes those kinds of situations are what turn people off from conventions. While they are wonderful celebrations of fandom, community, media, and art— they can also be places of high stress and feelings of suffocation and overstimulation. It’s important to remember that everyone is there to have fun, and we have to treat each other with respect and grace.

When I ended up having my minor breakdown on Sunday, I was lucky that I had friends who gave me space when I needed it and then gave me comfort when I was ready. So even though my con didn’t end on the best note, I still felt safe in that space. Sunday may always be a short day, but it isn’t always an uneventful one.


It’s clear the people running Triad care a lot, and I’m excited to continue attending and see how it grows and changes. As the cosplay community gets bigger and bigger— these smaller, mid-city conventions will provide a place for people to come together, have fun, and express themselves. Having a place where I can just show off my hard work, connect with all sorts of people about shared interests, and feel carefree with my friends is the kind of thing I’d always dreamed about. I’m so happy I have it now, and I’m even happier The Variant has given me a place to share these experiences. 

Remember to follow me @sonnyaliencosplay on Instagram and Tik-Tok for more cosplay and convention content! 

See you all at Animazment!




Sonny Alien Cosplay