In 2014, my life changed forever; No, I didn’t get engaged, married, buy a house or start a business. I did something way more fun: I cosplayed for the very first time.
Cosplay, you say?
What exactly is this cosplay thing? Well, it literally means “costume play.” It’s dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character (usually a sci-fi, comic book or anime character).
I used to be one of those people who wondered why someone would go to all that trouble and spend a lot of money to be a character. I was curious about it and I admit, I wanted to try it too.
When I think about it, cosplay is really a logical progression for me. I love, correction, LOVE, Halloween and have been dressing up since I was a kid - in fact, I'm still dressing up, I'm just a bigger kid now.
When Wizard World announced in early 2014 they were bringing a con to Minneapolis just a few months later in May, I thought, I have to do this. But what to go as and how do I put this together?
So how did that first con go? In a word, AWESOME. I've never had more fun. And I've already planned next year's vacation around next year's Wizard World con in May.
So why do I cosplay? Here are my top three reasons.
1. It’s ridiculously fun. You get to dress up as your favorite character and meet people who are dressed as their favorite character. How great is that? Costumes can range from something made out of a cardboard box to a custom designed superhero suit.
2. You’re a star for a day. When I attended my first con, I honestly didn’t know if people would remember Alucard. Before I even walked through the door to nerdvana, someone came up to me and asked: “Alucard, can I get a picture with you?” Oh hell yeah! And inside, I got asked several times to have my photo taken and I was surprised at the number of people who wanted to stand side-by-side or have me point my guns at them – yes, that really was their request.
At one point, there was a semi-circle of attendees aiming their phones at me. It was pretty damn incredible. As my normal self, I’m not an attention seeker; in fact, I’m a very camera-shy introvert. But when I’m in cosplay at a con and if you ask to take my photo, I will be very happy to oblige. And if pointing my guns at a person will make him or her happy, I’m even more happy to oblige.
3. The cosplay community. Cosplayers are some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or your gender, or if your Superman costume is falling apart or you’re an Asian Aquaman, or your body type isn’t exactly like Wonder Woman’s; cosplay is open to anyone and everyone.
For example, Ben Carpenter, an engineering student from Florida created an amazing Mad Max wheelchair cosplay. Read more about him here. He proves you’re only limited by your imagination.
When you cosplay, you join a small community of people who, like yourself, dare to dress up as a beloved character. When you meet other cosplayers dressed in costume or even better, dressed as someone affiliated with your character, there’s an instant camaraderie. And when you’re standing next to those very cool people in a group photo, it’s such a great feeling to know you have something in common with them.
And, even better still, this group has your back: If anyone’s disrespectful to you, or to anyone for that matter, cosplayers will tell them off. While it can happen, that behavior isn’t tolerated at a con.
I used to be one of those people who wondered why someone would go to all that trouble and spend a lot of money to be a character. Now that I’ve done it, I fully understand – and I’m hooked.
If I were a Borg, you could say I’ve been assimilated.
And where else are you going to see Captain Morgan get photobombed by E.T. and Elliott? (left, 2015 Wizard World Con, Minneapolis)
I’m putting together a new cosplay for Crypticon next month and I can’t wait to wear it. I have everything I need, except a pair of pants, and I need to cut and curl a wig I bought.
The devil is in the details when it comes to cosplay.
Cosplay isn’t just about dressing up; it’s also about having fun and being part of a pretty great community.
So if you’re not doing anything better next month, come cosplay with me.