Posted in association withÂ Mermaids Millions
The term cosplay was coined in 1984 by Nobuyuki from Studio Hard at the World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. While the idea was nothing new, the term has taken off and the amount of cosplay enthusiasts has grown dramatically since the early nineties, even leaking into mainstream culture. Every year Japan runs a cosplay convention called Comiket, drawing in hundreds of thousands of people who love to dress up as their favorite anime, J-pop and video game heroes. The potential is limitless; anything goes, whether it’s Abraham Lincoln or GlaDOS.
This year an estimated 130,000 attended San Diego Comic Con, their maximum capacity. Although it is primarily comic-focused, Comic Con like many current day conventions encompasses all elements of geek culture, and then some. While many will dress as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman, there is so much room for creativity that just as standard, you will almost definitely see steampunk and gender reversal versions of well-known characters. As an unspoken rule, anything goes; conventions tend to attract a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, drawn together through the fandom.
For some cosplayers, it can be an expensive and time-consuming hobby. People spend thousands of dollars making their costumes with fairly serious attention, including fantasy weapon replicas and full costumes. It’s common practice to pose for photos, with some even making their hobby into a full-time job; professional mermaids for instance work at children’s parties and swim on camera with functioning tales made from monofins wrapped in wet-suit materials. If you’re not a professional or haven’t been lucky enough to win at mermaid millions while indulging your mermillion obsession and need to go with something a little cheaper, costumes can be made at home out of cardboard and duct tape: money isn’t important at a con and while expensively made costumes will draw attention, it’s more about creativity and dedication than flash.
Most people just wear the costumes, but some players aim to take on the persona of their character. Heroes have provided role-models for many young people and for a weekend it can be great fun to forget their normal lives and try something more exciting. Not everyone has the time or creative skill to create a costume, but any hints at geek culture are generally appreciated at conventions; wearing a subtle fan t-shirt, or adapting logos and themes from costumes into jewelry and other accessories may not get you as much notice as a full costume but will earn you a few knowing nods.