Emerald City Comicon 2012: The Broad Spectrum of Cosplay

by Randall Cleveland

Ah, Comicon! The annual ritual of geeks, nerds, and dweebs dressing up proudly as their favorite heroes, villains, and anti-heroes and come together en masse so various internet websites can take pictures of them and post them online for ridicule. But this isn't about that. I mean, it's probably why you came here so feel free to ignore this and peruse the pictures, but I'm not here to mock costumes. I'm here to talk about the kaleidoscope of personalities at Comicon.

There are several degrees of costume on display at events like these. The most notable are the professional-grade, "I-spent-the-entire-year-since-last-Comicon" types of outfits. The ones that inspire Ooohs and Aaaahs and crowds of onlookers snapping photographs. Suits like Spiderman here:



I don't know if that's homemade, it looks a little too good. But even if it's not, it looks like it took a significant financial investment. Another great example of the hard work folks put in is Hawkman: 

Hawk Man and a Nerd

You can't tell in that photo, but those wings actually work. I mean, they don't work as in lifting him off the ground, but they spread to a huge, 15-foot span with the pull of some fishing line. That's dedication! Ditto for Buzz Lightyear and Guy Gardner here. Attention to detail and a dedication to pulling off the look. That's what makes a successful costume: 

Green Lantern and Buzz Lightyear

These guys get it: 

Futurama Gang

The next tier are the costumes that are well done mainly because the choices are simple. Finn from Adventure Time is a great example: blue shorts, blue shirt, funny hat, done. 

Adventure Time

Katniss from The Hunger Games was another popular choice, simply because all you need is a grungy jacket, some boots from REI, and a toy bow and arrow. Pow. Costume. It works, but it loses some charm when you see your eighth lookalike at the con. As we move across the spectrum, we encounter the half and halfs: costumes that due to budgetary or time constraints are still being assembled piecemeal. Take these bounty hunters: very solid costumes, nice attention to detail. But check out the second Boba from the left: are those jeans? I have no doubt he's in the process of finding or affording materials to upgrade his lower half by next year's con.

Bounty Hunters with prisoner

And then there are the obviously-home-brewed types. The folks that inspire an "Awww, good try!" Not everyone has the skills of a costume designer. Maybe some of them are doing it for laughs. The point is they're not going to let their passion for comics be held back by a lack of materials or money. Ghetto Sonic here's a great example of a costume where I couldn't tell if the guy was trying his hardest or didn't give a damn.

Ghetto Sonic

An entirely different category are the "sexy" costumes. Plenty of people like to bash the women who wear them as attention-starved or whatever, but you can't really blame them. When you want to dress like your favorite hero and your favorite hero happens to be a woman, the male-dominated comics industry has most likely decided she fights crime in stilletos with her boobs hanging out. It ain't the cosplayer's fault.

For more Comicon cosplay, check out our Flickr feed. And stay tuned for our in depth look at just what it takes to man a booth at Comicon!