A band of traveling vixens are wowing fanboys across the sci-fi convention circuit by bringing some classic genre caricatures to life with a little extra sex appeal -- just to sizzle it a little.

Convention Vixens (ConVixens) is a troupe of young women who share two traits some cynical folk believe rarely go together -- good looks and a love of genre fiction. These professional cosplayers dress as characters inspired by anime, horror, science-fiction, fantasy and other convention-friendly movies and media, traveling to events and interacting (or flat-out flirting) with helpless male fans.

Just as giddy kids at Disneyland can hug and have their photos taken with Mickey Mouse or Buzz Lightyear, dudes at conventions can pose up close and personal with a ConVixen dressed as Lyric (a belly-dancing sorceress), Kaida (a geisha assassin) or Erotic Hypnotic (a superheroine with strangely alluring mental powers) at the weekend-long grown-up events like the recent 2009 Comic Con International.

Fans First, Models Second

This is no mere modeling gig for the women taking part. A ConVixens performer develops her own persona out of an individual love of a chosen genre. As the group's Web site states: "The ConVixens take pride in supporting their love for fandom and, in doing so, putting forth time and effort toward crafting the special and unique characters they have created for themselves."

The group was founded by Louisville-based model Merika Rock, and she's remained closely involved with the development of the group's characters.

"The inspiration behind character backgrounds grew from the interests the girls have in fandom," Rock said. "I used that to select what characters would best fit their personalities."

In other words, these aren't former Hooters waitresses looking to make extra cash by wiggling their backsides in front of nerds. These ladies are fans first and models second. And, of course, they're hot. But, sci-fi and fantasy nerds are too polite to bring that up in person.

ConVixens vs. the Fans

How do convention crowds treat Rock's performers? According to Lyric -- and ConVixens insist on remaining in character for their interviews -- the response has been positive.

"I was worried when I first joined on how the female fans were going to take us," Lyric said. "During our debut at Dragon Con, we got a few catty remarks from a few ladies passing by. But, I honestly think the more we got out there, and the more people saw that we weren't just there to strut around in skimpy costumes -- because we are actually sincere in what we represented, they had a change of heart."

But, it's safe to say the skimpy costumes help to draw at least some attention and few ducats during a convention.

Convixens don't charge for photos taken with them on the floor. They sell art prints and autographed photos at their booth rather than demanding an appearance fee from the convention. So, the more aggressive and flirty the ladies are with the fans, the better they do -- and the more fun they have.

The awed fanboys treat the ConVixens with respect, according to Lyric: "The fanboys might be fanboys but in my experience they're always the smartest guys I meet. I always hope that they come over to our booth to talk to us. They're welcome."

Up, Up and Away

Over the last year, Rock hired a writer to assist in the growth of the characters' back stories: "I am working on both a book series as well as a comic book about the ConVixens. I also collaborated with fantasy artists Larry Elmore and Matt Busch for a collection of ConVixens art prints."

As ConVixens moves into its second year on the convention circuit, Rock plans on adding to her growing attraction with a secondary group to be booked at conventions and events to perform their acts, including a sexy female magician, another belly dancer, a DJ character and others. We're sure the fans won't mind if the team just keeps getting bigger.