Muscle Mania

While wandering the hall outside Marietta in the nether regions of the Hyatt on Thursday at 5PM, this reporter stumbled across a gathering of muscle adorned people with intriguing costumes. Their goal: to win a spot in the Muscle Nerd Showdown to be held later in the evening. While waiting for their turn in the pre-judging portion of the contest, a few attendees graciously agreed to talk with the Daily Dragon about themselves and their costumes.

Photo by Debbie Yutko

Jake and Amanda (aka Squishy) have always loved dressing up and being creative. Jake’s scanty accoutrements included the black hood and the disconcerting white eyes of his character, Scorpion from Mortal Combat. Amanda designed her own Gijinka, which is a humanoid version of a Pokémon character. She’s portraying a dragonish Pokémon named Rayquaza.

Photo by Debbie Yutko

Ramses and Jaan, chatting as they waited for their names to be called, were happy to describe their characters. Ramses is Baki Hanma from the anime Baki, and Jaan is Ryu from Street Fighter 6. Ramses started cosplaying in 2022, and ever since, he’s been working hard to improve his physique so he can better portray his chosen character. Jaan came to Dragon Con on a whim and for the first time last year. After one full day, he was hooked. He immediately bought a five-day pass for this year. In fact, he enjoyed it so much that he decided he had to come in costume. He chose the character of Ryu from his favorite video game.

Brant and Rose were both in costume, but only Brant was entering the competition this year. He’s embodying Ogun Montgomery in his flaming ink from the anime Fire Force. Brant has always been interested in bodybuilding and in being strong and healthy. When he first came to Dragon Con a couple years ago, he heard about the Muscle Nerds competition and thought it was a perfect fit. This is his first year competing, but he’s hoping to improve each year. Although Rose didn’t enter the contest, she came along to cheer him on. She’s cosplaying as Raven from Teen Titans. This is her first Dragon Con as an adult, having attended before during high school.

Photo by Debbie Yutko

It takes bravery, creativity, and hard work to enter this contest. Regardless of the outcome, everyone looks like winners. Best of luck, and enjoy the con!

Author of the article

Debbie Yutko lives near Atlanta with her husband and two cats. When she isn’t gardening, rescuing homeless kittens, or cramming math formulas into teenagers’ brains, she can be found stringing words together at her computer and dreaming of adventures in far-off lands. She is a lifelong reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy and a veteran of Dragon Con, where she enjoys attending panels and working with the talented staff of the Daily Dragon.