“Cosplay” is a portmanteau of the words “costume and “play.” Generally when someone decides to engage in some form of cosplay for an event, like a comic con, for example, it’s their way of not only paying homage to one of their favorite movie, anime, comic book or TV series characters, it’s how they may also choose to engage in a specific type of pop culture performance art.
“Cosplayers” as they are commonly known, are not only models who are showcasing a replica costume, they are also channeling the character they admire as well.
Cosplayers can be any gender or race as well as either amateur or professional artists within their respective communities.
No one is 100% certain as to the correct origins of the words, “cosplay” or “cosplayer.” However, it has been speculated over the years and many have suggested that the origins of the words come from the Japanese word: kosupure.
Entering the American lexicon in 1984, it’s been suggested that Nobuyuki Takahashi of Studio Hard coined it originally after attending the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. After noticing crazed, costumed fans at the Worldcon in the early-1980s, he coined the word kosupure as a way to satisfy his disenchantment with traditional Japanese language’s description of what he’d experienced.
The coinage reflects a common Japanese method of abbreviation in which the first two moras of a pair of words are used to form an independent compound: 'costume' becomes kosu (コス) and 'play' becomes pure (プレ).
Movie cosplay is among the most rapidly growing means of reveling in your appreciation for a particular movie property or character. While the practice has been around for years on the pop culture convention circuit, cosplay has garnered more and more notice throughout the years as a result of events like San Diego Comic Con.
Dressing up for comic con has become not only a fun way to pay homage to your favorite pop culture characters, but it’s also become a way in which fans can get noticed across social media.
Cosplay is the simple act of dressing up like an existing character. Popular examples include Darth Vader from Star Wars, Deadpool (from the X-Men subsection of the Marvel Universe), Harley Quinn and the Joker from the Batman franchise, and Neo from the Matrix.
A wide variety of movie, comic book, cartoon, and video game characters regularly make the rounds from one fan convention and expo to the next. Many events even celebrate their cosplayers with parades, contests, and photo ops as well.
If you're wondering why anyone would care about other people dressing up like movie characters, well, it all comes down to an appreciation for the passion. You have to really love a particular franchise to spend your time replicating a costume from it. The sheer creativity on display in many cosplays is also unreal. The screen accuracy of some of the costumes is shocking.
Putting together a DIY cosplay costume offers any fan an insane range of options when it comes to deciding on what character you’d like to dress up as for Halloween, let alone comic con.
Everyone (and everything) from the alien in Predator to Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? have been lovingly recreated. If it was in a popular movie at any time from the 1950s-2000s, you can bet someone has devoted a costume to it, and you can bet that someone somewhere in the world will be dressing up in it.
Ultimately, it's really no different than people creating a well made Halloween costume. The more creative, clever, or expertly executed a costume, the more people tend to appreciate it.
The novelty alone is worth a cursory social media share or two. When people post their favorite costumes from the latest Halloween, they're tapping into the same exact feeling that people who love cosplay are experiencing.
There's nothing "weird" about it at all. Cosplay has merely created another means for people to express their love of something, and that's nothing but a good thing!
If you want a crash course in all things cosplay, all it really takes is looking your favorite character up on Youtube and doing a basic search with the word “cosplay” included.
Something like "San Diego Comic Con cosplay" is sure to turn up thousands upon thousands of results. Once you begin seeing just how much effort is put into the recreation of each costume - all the way down to fulfilling the right attitude for the characters in many cases - it should become immediately clear why cosplay has taken the world by storm.
The best part: Cosplay comes down to creating a DIY look or sourcing the pieces you need to put together your ultimate Halloween or comic con cosplay costume. A search on the internet will yield you just about everything that you might need to put together a DIY cosplay outfit. And if there’s something that you can’t find–you just make it yourself out of things around the house or things one might be able to purchase at their local arts and crafts store.
Star Wars Cosplay
A franchise that has a great deal of Halloween and cosplay connected with it all throughout the year is Star Wars.
Regardless of whether you're trying to assemble a Star Wars cosplay male costume or a Star Wars cosplay, female costume, or a kids Star Wars cosplay outfit, there is no shortage of ideas or inspiration online.
When it comes to bringing your favorite character to life for comic con, Star Wars is a great place for anyone to start out with an interest in cosplay. Intermediate cosplayers can even find full plans online on how to make Star Wars Stormtrooper cosplay armor, even the gold bikini that is associated with the Star Wars cosplay Leia character.
Just as there is just “good cosplay,” there is also “bad cosplay.” Bad cosplay would be any costume assembled or purchased that doesn’t actually represent the character of choice correctly or with enough effort. Cosplay is supposed to represent one’s love and passion for a character in pop culture history, and if you’re not putting in enough effort to make your character come to life, then you probably shouldn’t be engaged in cosplay in the first place.