The Variant is a collective of writers, artists, cosplayers, photographers and most of all, fans of the comic book culture that strives to take an exclusive look into the world of Comics, Cosplay and Conventions.
We write our own stories and articles.
We take our own pictures.
We re-post nothing from other sites.
The content you see on our website is all 100% original and can’t be found anywhere else on the internet.
In a world where rehashed ideas are the standard, we instead choose to give a “Variant” outlook at the fandoms, comics, cons and cosplayers you all know and love.
Comics – The Variant was started from a lifelong love all all things Comic Book. The owner RJ Marchese is a published comics writer who took his love of that medium and wanted to give back to it in a way that most other online comic book themed or review sites didn’t. While surfing the interwebs he saw that most sites of this kind just took the same exact stories, articles and reviews, and either reposted them or reworded and then reposted them. He also briefly worked for one of those sites who told him to do exactly that. He quit in two weeks. In a world where original ideas are at a minimum, The Variant strives to be that different idea in a sea of mediocrity.
Cosplay – While The Variant’s motto has always been “Comics, Cosplay and Conventions” Cosplay has definitely risen to the top of our offerings. When RJ met co-owner Tomisina Lynn, who was both a cosplayer and an insanely talented photographer, that level skyrocketed making The Variant one of the premier Cosplay and Cosplay Photography groups in the world. At last count we had over 75k cosplay photos residing on this very website and adding more almost daily. Tomisina is hands-down one of the most talented photographers on the east coast if not further. Her intense knowledge of the medium, keen attention to detail and ability to learn on the go makes her the best acquisition in the history of The Variant. Her photo booth is one of The Variant’s most sought after offerings and makes any convention just that much more fun and is an event in and of itself.
Conventions – Where would we even be without Conventions? Comic Cons, Anime Cons, Horror Cons, Pop-Culture Cons; The Variant works with them all! For every convention we do, we meet with the owners and work with them to see how we can make their show stand out from every other show out there. We offer a series of interactive events whether it’s a Cosplay Photo Booth, Cosplay Repair Station, Cosplay Contest facilitation or pretty much anything the conventions ask us to do. We provide FREE Cosplay Photography to all convention attendees. We have an incredible staff of professional Cosplayers who attend every show. We provide social media marketing for the conventions we attend before, during and after each event. We create media custom tailored to each convention. We make your conventions SHINE!
The Variant was founded in 2015 and is co-owned and operated by RJ Marchese and Tomisina Lynn. For the past 8 years The Variant has worked with dozens of conventions all over the East Coast and throughout the continental United States. We have worked with conventions in NC, SC, FL, IL, OH, PA, and TX. Some of our most notable showings have been at C2E2, PAX South, Colossalcon, Colosslacon East, Anime Texas, Animazement, Florida Supercon, Raleigh Supercon, NC Comic Con, Fayetteville Comic Con and so many more!!
We LOVE Conventions!!!
How do you get The Variant to come to your convention?
The Variant schedules our conventions on a first come first serve basis. That does NOT mean we won’t double book if we can swing it, so if you want us, come get us!! Currently booking conventions for 2024 & 2025.
“We’re spotlighting talent in the cosplay community!! Every month The Variant showcases cosplayers who display talent, creativity and a positive voice within the cosplay community.”
If you’ve ever seen one of our monthly Cosplay Spotlight features, that blurb is above every one. The Cosplay Spotlight feature is arguably our most popular offering. We work with each cosplayer that we feature to essentially “put themselves on a plate”. They pick out their best cosplays. They write their own bios. Everything in each spotlight highlights what those cosplayers want the world to see or know about them. We take the photos and facilitate building those parts into a feature that brings the best aspects of each cosplayer to the front and allows them show off what they love to do.
The Variant features cosplayers of every race, gender, religion and body type. We do not discriminate as we are in the business of image and while we believe that everyone’s image is important, we strive to make sure the cosplayers feel that their image is as important to us as it is to themselves.
Every Cosplayer given a Cosplay Spotlight is also given opportunities to work at conventions with us. They are provided convention passes and prints of themselves to sell and keep the proceeds from those prints. For our larger conventions some are provided with housing, food and travel as well as opportunities to make money working at the booth. If we make money they can too.
Every Spotlight is promoted on social media throughout the month they are designated for and afterwards, usually on a continual rotating basis. With a roster of over 100 cosplayers we push them all whenever we can and try to maximize followers and engagement for all of them in the best ways possible.
Every convention The Variant attends gets a full complement of Cosplay photography as well as media coverage. Every photo taken of every cosplayer in the photo booth is provided at no cost to the cosplayers. If they would like to purchase the photos on-site we offer both print and digital packages that are a convenient and affordable solution. The Variant website currently hosts over 75,000 photos of cosplayers and convention coverage, arguably the largest collection in the world of publicly shared cosplay photography.
The Variant currently has over 20,000 followers across all forms of social media. When we are working with any convention or event we use that reach to help promote the convention as well as have any cosplayers attending with us do the same. When we all work together, the numbers grow exponentially to maximize convention or event attendees and to help every show reach its full potential.
When it comes to cosplayers The Variant has met and worked with some of the best and brightest in the world. As such we have brought some of them on-staff in order to offer conventions our ability to facilitate quality and professionally run Cosplay Contests and Cosplay Repair Booths. Our Cosplay Judges are fully qualified and knowledgeable costumers, crafters, and seamstresses with varying degrees in their fields that help them create a fun and fair interactive contest experience. Our Cosplay Repair booths are staffed by cosplayers that work on or with our judging team so the same qualifications apply. They can fix just about anything you bring them.
Tomisina Lynn is a professional photographer based out of Durham, North Carolina. She has always had a passion for photography. One look at her work shows her natural ability to capture the perfect image every time. As the photography guru behind Tomisina Lynn Portrait Photography it was a no-brainer to bring the best photog in the state to join the best team in comics, cosplay and conventions.
RJ Marchese is a self-published author and life-long comic book fan who is determined to take his love of that medium from reader to writer. He’s a married father of two who enjoys occasionally cosplaying as a mercenary unicorn and taking photographs of action figures doing ridiculous things. His current industry influences include but are not limited to Kelly Sue DeConnick, Chip Zdarsky, Rick Remender and Gail Simone. RJ, a New Jersey transplant to North Carolina, can generally be found loitering around comic book stores in the area or surrounded by stacks of comic back issues that seem to keep exponentially multiplying. No, really. They’re taking over………