Here at CmdStore, we’ve experienced our fair share of conventions and toy shows. One thing we have learned through our travels is that, although all cosplayers deserve no less than two cookies and one gold star for dressing outlandishly in public, not all cosplayers are created equal. Convention season is upon us, and for this purpose, we have created a handy, quasi-anthropological guide to navigating the social smorgasbord of cosplaying.
(And for the record, to everyone who has had the guts to appear in public and/or at a convention in a costume that they either created or put thought and effort into — we salute you. And love you.)
1. The one who gets really, really into character. Really.
For some few, proud and bold cosplayers, merely dressing as a character they identify with is simply not enough. No, they must be the character for as long as they are wearing the costume to go along with it. We were at the Montreal con recently, and one guy who stuck out was Ace Ventura. And by that, we mean that he was Ace Ventura. As in, he appropriated the voice, lingo, body language, gait and small mannerisms of Jim Carrey in the movie. It was absolutely otherworldly… and a little bit frightening in its accuracy. Nonetheless, these are the wonderful souls who truly make cosplay a performance art.
2. The one who looks uncomfortable in their “sexy” costume.
When choosing to go as a “mainstream” character to your favorite con, one must take care to toe the line between Halloween costume and con-appropriate cosplay, or else risk to come off weirdly cheesy as our Power-Ranger gals above. (Maybe it’s just the poses.) Equally a no-no is picking a bold costume, but not picking the right frame of mind to go along with it. Are you rocking a dominatrix-esque Catwoman suit that you hand-stitched? Good for you! Rock that thing like it was made for you (which it was). Donning skintight tighty-whities to be an out-there Superman? Awesome, man. Strut with pride and avoid the temptation to shrink into your shell! That being said, a special tip of the hat goes to any dude or dudette who attempts such a gutsy costume. Props. We all wish we had your courage.
3. The one who is just plain skeevy.
Unfortunately, with every person who attempts to proudly rock a costume they feel great in, there are some who try to exploit it. They’re known in popular lexicon as “the cosplay creep”. You’ve seen them — maybe they’re dressed up, maybe they’re not. But either way, maybe they’re making the rounds at the con only taking photos of provocative costumes, and trying to do so without asking first in some cases. Maybe they’re crossing the boundaries of personal space without being invited. Or maybe they’re making inappropriate comments and advances towards cosplayers, or — egads — all of the above. Not cool. Although the majority of these downers are generally dudes, people of all gender identities and orientations can suffocate the atmosphere of fun and make others uncomfortable. Don’t be that guy/girl/person! People might be dressed up as fictional characters, but they still deserve to be treated as people.
4. The one whose costume is painfully DIY, but they get an A for effort anyways.
I feel like a little part in all of us can identify with this poor, valiant soul pictured above. Hey, let’s give him some leeway here — maybe he initially tried to be the Diablo Lord of Terror and then frustratedly collapsed in a heap of brown and dark burgundy papier-mâché, angrily realizing that his costume was too ambitious. Maybe he then proceeded to power through all of the red wine he was saving for a dinner party next weekend in a frenzied fury. Maybe afterwards he decided to pore through his Iron Man comics in an attempt to soothe his rage. And then maybe, just maybe, he saw some red scrap fabric, some packing tape and an opportunity. One can never assume, just objectively speculate. Good try, man. Good try.
5. The one who has awesome parents.
That’s right — the kids. Those adorable, mini-size, human figurines that are dressed as either something they love or something their parents do — or, if the stars align, a blend of both! Toddling around the con with a parent or guardian or more in tow, and maybe alongside a pal or sibling, they’re simply irresistible. Ask parents before you snap photos, of course, but if a photographic opportunity arises, you have to take it. They serve as inspiration for our own family units and remind us of the spirit and essence of conventions themselves — they’re just fun.
Happy con-ing, everybody!