What would Forest City Comicon be without cosplay?
Downtown London played host to many familiar faces from the Marvel and DC universes, as well as anime and video game heroes and villains this past weekend.
Cosplay is an essential part of any comic convention. It’s fascinating to see all of the costumes and admire all of the hard work and creativity involved. However, you don’t get to know the inspiration for the outfits until you ask cosplayers themselves.
They are happy to oblige.
The stories behind the costumes include more than just fan love for cosplayers’ favourite characters. Getting the outfit together takes a lot of hunting to find specific pieces, and finding whatever you have at home to fill in the gaps.
Some costumes are easy to put together when you already look like the character. That was the case with Hunter Lawrence, who went to his first comic con as Jon Snow.
“I was told I look like him without the costume,” he said. “So I thought why not?”
It took Lawrence about three months to create his outfit. He even taught himself how to sew by watching YouTube videos.
Other cosplayers go even further beyond the costume, practicing the mannerisms and voices of their characters. Zachary Peebles looked exactly like Captain Jack Sparrow and talked like the Captain himself the whole interview.
Peebles has been practicing the voice, facial expressions, and aesthetics ever since he first saw Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Peebles wanted to be just like Depp, and become an actor.
“It’s strange,” he said. “I’ve been an actor for many years now, and I find I am most myself when I am another character.”
If you were going to see your favourite band in concert, you would wear a t-shirt or an accessory supporting your love of the band. Similarly, cosplayers go to conventions knowing certain celebrities will be there, dressed as different characters from their shows.
Amber Nash – the voice of Pam Poovey from Archer – was at the event, prompting fans Meagan Reid and Rebecca Norman to dress up as characters from the hit cartoon.
“We wanted to impress her with costumes from the show,” Norman said.
Even some of the vendors dressed as their favourite characters.
Laurel Kotewicz, owner of Wire Princess, has been Sailor Moon at the past two Forest City Comicons. She’s been a fan ever since she was young and first donned her Sailor uniform for Halloween. The anime even inspired her fashion designs.
“When I started making all of my crowns and all of my designs, I thought ‘Why not make something inspired by Sailor Moon?’” she said.
However, not everything has to be a carbon copy of the cosplayed character. Matt Williams regenerated his own Doctor Who outfit, wearing a vest, bowtie and suspenders to create his own version of the Doctor.
“Doctor Who can be you,” he said. “Doctor Who can be me. He could be absolutely anybody.”
Crafting the Costume
AJ Jarvis created his Red Skull costume over the course of the year after finding the main piece.
“I found a Red Skull at Shoppers Drug Mart,” he said. “And then based the entire costume around that.”
Katrina Desjardins put her Kiki’s Delivery Service costume together with what she had in her house.
“I had a purple dress, a red bow, and a broom,” she said. “I wanted to throw something together pretty quickly.”
One of the younger cosplayers spent two years building his own Dalek from the Doctor Who series. Lance Stronghill began building his Dalek Omega at just eight years old. He finished building it when he was 10.
“He’s a humanized Dalek,” Stronghill said. “Which means he questions the Dalek empire instead of doing what the emperor says.”
Lots of Encouragement
It’s not about who looks the best or most accurate. Cosplayers are in it for the community. Justin Hoag and Stephan Raposo said cosplay is an opportunity to meet new friends.
“It’s a community where people don’t really judge you,” Raposo said.
As he was speaking, an attendee walked by them and exclaimed: “You look amazing!”
Team Skull cosplayer Andy Coutts encouraged anyone who is unsure about cosplaying to try it.
“Even if you think your costume is bad, it doesn’t matter,” Coutts said. “People are going to love it anyway.”
Alison Marco, who was Fiona the Human from Adventure Time, enjoys cosplaying for the same reason as many others.
“It’s like Halloween, but a lot earlier'” she said. “You get to hang out with a bunch of people you don’t even know, and you get to express yourself”
Interacting with the Community
Advanced cosplayers get plenty of fan recognition for their costumes. Serge Parent turned many heads with his portrayal of Titus from Final Fantasy X.
“I just went up to a vendor playing a game,” he explained. “The vendor said, ‘Man, I remember playing Final Fantasy as Titus, and now Titus is playing my game.’”
Kids also wanted to interact with their favourite characters at the convention, from Pikachu to Gandalf.
“They are absolutely adorable,” said Cameron MacDonald, who was dressed as Poison Ivy. “They always get so excited when you dress up as a character that they recognize.”
Want to cosplay? Go for it!
Why should you limit dressing up like your favourite character at Halloween?
Whether you want to build your costume over a period of time, or whip something together at the last minute, be sure to cosplay for the fifth annual Forest City Comicon!