ComicCon is better than Disneyland and Christmas morning combined. It should be marketed as a drug — any form of pure euphoria — as it causes a blissful numbness that lasts the entire weekend, fading into a heavy crash the moment the convention is over. If you look up the definition of happiness, it would be there, lost in a sweaty crowd of nerds at the Javits Center in New York City.
There are an infinite number of reasons why anyone, not just nerds like myself, would be ecstatic there. Panels frequently fly in big-name celebrities, it is arguably the No. 1 people watching destination of all time and, most of all, there is absolutely zero sense of judgment.
Just take a look at the number of hentai booths there. Or the proudly displayed (and proudly bought) dakimakuras – Japanese body pillows, for those unfamiliar with the term. Fans of all genres from anime to comic books and video games can find fellow enthusiasts and more merchandise than a single set of neurons could possibly fathom. However, the best part is seeing not only the giveaways and the panels of your favorite game or show, but being able to see the characters come to life via cosplay.
For those who don’t know, cosplaying is when someone dresses up as a character, comparable to Halloween, but often with intricate handmade costumes and weapons. People can sometimes spend hundreds of hours on their cosplays, crafting original leatherwork or foam-cut swords with airbrushed details. It’s exhausting. And yet, it is also insanely rewarding, because for a weekend, even an amateur cosplayer becomes a celebrity.
An amateur cosplayer ike me. I’ll be the first to admit that my crafting skills are extremely subpar and that, originally, the idea of cosplaying was a foreign, and slightly ridiculous, concept to me. Normal people roaming in capes and tights, and grown adults nonetheless, was a little spooky. By the time I learned about rurries, I was more than a little spooked. And yet, somehow, between now and then, I crafted my own costume with the help of a loyal and like-minded friend and became a full-fledged cosplayer.
At the most recent convention, New York Comic Con, one of the largest comic conventions in the world, I went as Raven from Teen Titans, a longtime personal favorite character of mine. Her costume was a relatively simple blend of clothes purchased from thrift stores, a purple wig, makeup and some slight crafting.
Why cosplay? For starters, it’s fun. For anyone who loves Halloween, it’s another excuse to dress up and pretend to be someone else for a few hours. Sure, there’s no candy involved, but even without it, the same excitement that comes from picking a good design, assembling the costume and having people recognize you is enough of a sweet reward. Suddenly, the moment you leave your normal nerd behind, you literally become the character. The people who loved Raven on screen suddenly love you just as much. All it takes is a cape and tights and you’re a celebrity.
Fans will stop you wherever you are for a picture. It can be posed, or with them, or a quick selfie, but if people see a good costume, they need good pictures. Passersby will call out quick hellos to you, addressing you solely by the character’s name, and you have to do your best to respond likewise. Others will come up and compliment the details of the costume. People said my Raven wig was “the best they had seen,” which I can take no credit for as I ordered it from a Chinese wholesale company. All of the wigs were nearly the exact shade and cut as mine, but I accepted the compliment nonetheless. Sometime kids will hide behind their parent’s backs and shyly wave to you. You are surrounded by adoration. It’s pure power.
Cosplaying is something I recommend for anyone. If you have a favorite character, show, movie or any preferred form of entertainment, participating in cosplay is an extremely fulfilling and nonjudgmental experience. People of all types join in, whether young or old, guy or girl, to dress up as anything regardless of normality, experiencing no backlash at all. In fact, the less conventional types are often more popular to take pictures with, as the bearded man in a full Sailor Moon suit can tell you.
So, if you’re ever caught in a debate between whether or not you should cosplay, take it from me: There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained from saying yes.
Taylor Bond is a sophomore in the College. Taylor Tries Things appears every other Friday.
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