If you’ve ever walked through the double doors of a comic convention, or watched shows like last year’s “Heroes of Cosplay” on SyFy, you have a basic working knowledge of what it looks like to be involved in the popular and ever-growing subculture of cosplay. In a marriage of the words costume and play, “cosplay” is the art of bringing characters to life through costume wear and even mimicking character traits and speech. To outsiders, this could be easily confused with other dress-up events like Halloween, but what sets cosplay apart is it’s uncanny ability to go beyond the mask into a world where characters come alive.
If you’ve never considered whether this art form is for you, consider the fact that in comics, movies, video games, or anime there is at least one character that stands out to you. This character could be someone that emulates a trait you wish you possessed, or sports a look that you’d never feel confident enough to try. Cosplay allows regular every day people to don the mask of a hero, point the wand of a villain, or zip up the thigh high boots of a vixen to become the character that you admire.
A look into Heroes of Cosplay:
If you’ve already decided that cosplay is definitely something you must try (which it is), the first task is to make a list of characters that you’d like to become. My list started with Daenerys (Game of Thrones), Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man), Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter), Babydoll (Sucker Punch), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Each of these characters were chosen for what they meant to me, or something I wish I could be in my daily life (because honestly, who wouldn’t want to be the chosen one or a khaleesi). Once you’ve made your list of characters, it’s time to decide what wardrobe your character will wear and whether you’ll be purchasing or fabricating the costume, or a little bit of both. If you’re not sure, check out some popular cosplay/costume websites to see what they have available or visit your local craft store for fabric and embellishments.
The next big task is tuning in to your favorite show, reading your favorite comic, or playing your favorite video game to watch the speech and mannerisms of your character. Cosplay is about becoming someone, not just dressing up, so you’ll want to study them and practice enough to feel confident. If you’re ever unsure, there are multitudes of online cosplay communities where you can ask questions, tips, or showcase your creation!
Aside from conventions, cosplay can also have a place in everyday life as well. If, for example, you’ve chosen Batman, you could use your cosplay powers for good and visit a children’s hospital or local school. Children hearing well wishes or words of encouragement from their favorite character or hero can make a difference and inspire others. Check out Superheroes For Kids for touching footage of their mission. The possibilities are not only endless with cosplay, but rewarding and fun as well. When asked why people engage in cosplay, what will you say?
So go forth and cosplay!