Though a great many of you reading this will know what that means, there are perhaps some that don’t. Cosplay is shorthand for “costume play”. What it generally refers to is the group of people who wear costumes that are the likeness of a character that appears in such mediums as film, television, comics, video games, et cetera. Most notably, these are the people that attend fan conventions in costume.
So, why are we talking about this? Well, unless you’re completely removed from most of pop culture, you’ll know that the San Diego Comic Con is coming up this July. It counts as one of the biggest fan conventions in the world. In the time leading up to it throwing open its geeky doors, I’m going to lead you through the world of cosplay. What is it, how to do it, what to consider, and more.
The history of cosplay is easily found on sites such as Wikipedia, so I’ll spare you a lengthy regurgitation. Suffice to say that it’s been a presence at fan conventions for at least fifty years, and seems to be growing in popularity. Fans dress up for any number of reasons, but more often than not, it’s for the love of a character.
Beyond donning the costume of a beloved character, most cosplayers also assume their personality when interacting with others. It’s almost a piece of performance art for many in the community. In fact, the passion of cosplayers is similar, if not the same, to the passion anyone who’s ever created fan art has felt; be it a drawing, story, or craft item.
Cosplayers start out in a variety of ways. As an example, I offer up a little bit of personal history. It should be said that I honestly never intended to become a cosplayer. I’ve always loved wearing costumes, but that love was mostly regulated to Halloween. Ironically though, that’s how my days as a cosplayer began.
A few years ago, I was having my annual debate about what to be for Halloween. What I really wanted to do was be Poison Ivy from the Batman comics, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. After some encouragement from my husband, I went on my merry way to the craft store and started plotting out the costume. Long story short, I made it and wore it for the holiday. A few months later, a fellow costume enthusiast asked me to come be Poison Ivy as part of a group attending Comic Con. It was all downhill from there.
Since then I’ve put together a modest half dozen costumes and several variations of my signature Poison Ivy getup. It’s challenging work sometimes, but it’s fun and worth it.
Next week, we’ll go further into how to get started in cosplay and what to think about when picking a character to portray. In the meantime, be sure to post your questions and comments below.
(*Photo Credit: LJinto. Character Being Portrayed: Bloody Mary.)