I am not a cosplayer, but I love seeing the creativity and passion of those who are. This summer, I’ve been to two conventions: Star Wars Celebration and the MCM Comic Con in Manchester. Both, of course, were jam-packed with people dressed as their favourite characters – everyone from Batman to Ben Kenobi via Leia, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor – and I loved every second of them.
There were plenty of characters I didn’t recognise too (mostly from video games and anime, of which I’m not an aficionado), but it’s not recognising the costumes that matters; it’s appreciating the passion and dedication that goes into creating the,. Cosplayers put hours and hours into crafting their wonderful creations, and some are so elaborate it’s difficult to understand how their makers aren’t employed by major Hollywood film studios as costume designers.
That said, while the accurate costumes are incredible, it’s actually the ones that take some creative licence that impress me the most. When I was at the Manchester Comic Con, I saw a woman dressed as a vintage female Captain America. Her costume wasn’t armour or a military jumpsuit, but rather something a civilian would have worn in the 40s if they wanted to pay tribute to Cap – a blue blouse, a red skirt, and a cardigan to pull it all together. It was clever and very similar to the excellent Disneybounding concept fans do when they go to a Disney Park. I considered asking her for a picture, but being shy and not wanting to disturb her, I ultimately decided against it.
I’m very keen to build my confidence over the next few months, and as part of that, I’ve decided to go to Comic Cons in Birmingham and London. At the former, I’ll be joined by a cosplaying friend, and have decided I’m going to do some light cosplay myself. I’ll be Elliott from E.T.. It’s a relatively simple costume to put together (red hoodie, little bicycle basket, and a plush E.T.) and while it won’t draw too much attention, it’s a point of conversation, which will help bring me out of my shell. Exactly what I need really.
Hopefully that will lead to some conversations about cosplaying itself and I’ll have the courage to compliment people on their skills. It’ll probably only be a few mumbled ‘hey that’s really cools’, but hey, it’s a start.