July 26th, 2012
03:22 PM ET

Hidden beneath the costumes

Every summer, thousands upon thousands of people pack their suitcases to head to San Diego, California, for Comic-Con.

Sometimes that's a challenge: Many of those suitcases contain a costume packed underneath their daytime clothing (or, perhaps the costume IS their daytime clothing).

Convention costumes can be an all-year endeavor  - some attendees have a different costume for every day of the con. And even as cosplayers walk the show floor, they may already be thinking of how to assemble the fantastic costumes they will wear next year.

Why do people cosplay? Well, it's simple. Everyone needs a hobby. And yet, it seems like there can be so many other explanations. Like, it's fun (and yes, it is). Or, there's the theory that cosplayers are just attention junkies (and yes, sometimes, we are). But just like every other human habit, there's something a bit more complex beneath the surface.

It's my experience that when a cosplayer puts on a costume, we capture a moment. In costume, we are all children again. We are joyful, open, excited, able to let go of responsibility. We also wear what makes us happy. By becoming a character that we love for a day, we transcend our own reality and enter one that we often dream of inhabiting.

Yes, it's wish fulfillment, real-life role play. We lose and find ourselves in those costumes. We stand in a sea of other people who are drawn to the same things that we are. We fit in, and at the same time, we don't. But we want to.

Underneath our costumes, we dare to reveal ourselves to the world, bit by bit. By wearing a mask, we reveal who we really are.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Gopal

    I enjoy your discussions, never been a big pocasdt guy, but I like to take notes and think of new topics for my own site based on your pocasdts. Visiting your blogroll makes me wonder why more heroic-mode Paladins aren't on the net blogging .really quite a shocker to me with the community.Considering next week are some big nerfs, if your looking for some heroic tips, I tend to focus on that aspect! Head on over and say hello

    September 15, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  2. Panic Attack Treatmenr

    “I wish I had a kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula and Superman away”. Jack Handy (American Writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1991-2003).

    September 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  3. Mikel

    What many people do not realize. Cosplay is one of the most mainstream things out there. The biggest group of cosplayers is football fans. Ever go to a game and see all of them wearing their jerseys. That is cosplay at its simplest. Puts a whole new spin on the idea.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  4. Superman#1

    Thanks for including my photo in your article, it was a great to be there with all the other cosplayers! I just got back from Australia where I started cosplaying on a dare. I could not wait for Comic Con this year to do it in the USA.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  5. reithena

    Good article. I hope you add some from this past weekend at Otakon :D

    July 29, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  6. geekgirldythia

    Love the Harley Quinn outfit! #4

    July 28, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Can

      To me Cosplay combines a love for drnesisg up, pretending to be someone else, creativity run wild, video games, and anime. Cosplay brings all of these together and Cosplay events bring others who love several/all of these things together to have fun Cosplaying.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Vera

    Something needs to be straightened out here... people, especcially the young ones and reporters who don't know better, are spreading the confusion. Making ones own costume is called COSTUMING. Just wearing a costume is not cosplay. The activity of role playing is called Cosplay, but most people wearing their own costumes that they constructed themselves is COSTUMING. Please stop calling us all "cosplayers".

    July 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  8. binarymutant

    nothing wrong with #2 & #5, they put an interesting touch on their characters

    July 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  9. wrenthefaceless

    #2 & #5 are the reasons for the 3 previous articles on this website.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm |