Conventions are a big deal. Cosplayers at conventions are a bigger one.[dropcap]F[/dropcap]rom the small fan run, not-for-profits to the larger expos, a con is where the action is. One of the biggest draws after the celebrities is the cosplayers. Walk through any convention and you see them. Young and old alike, the costumed superheroes of our community are out in force. And it really does make for a great time. Take them away and it would feel, a bit weird, okay really weird, almost soulless.
Cosplayers are a culture unto themselves just as much as they are a part of the fandom. Most of them work a lot of hours to look the way they do and take a great deal of pride in their work. Yea, that would seem a no brainer, but what about the fact that they use their costumes to raise money for charities or do awareness raising campaigns for free? As members of the fandom, we know the work that goes into the costumes, we know about the love they pour into it, we do the same for our own passions. What we forget about is that every con relies on them as extra entertainment, that usually pay to be there.
Hundreds of hours, three months, all summer. Time commitments are massive for cosplayers. That’s just the construction side. Sourcing the parts, watching the shows for details and the countless experiments to get it “just right”, might seem a bit overkill. Then you see something like this.
It is down right wild. Fan Expo Vancouver draws the very best from the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. Being a film city, we have a lot of folks from the special effects industry who come out to strut their stuff. What did Fan Expo give them? A headache. From a poor peace-bonding process to a last-minute Masquerade that was more than a bit misleading to no area set aside for photo opportunities, the cosplayers were taken for granted. It could be chalked up to growing pains; Fan Expo has gotten really big really fast. It could also be passed off as last-minute planning as the Masquerade organizers were brought on late in the game. Take those two elements and add to them a massive turnout of really good cosplayers and you have a perfect storm.
What really stands out is how passionate and self-supporting the cosplay community is. They have come together and made a space that gives them all some recognition. The competitors at the Masquerade, really brought their A game. Even if the event wasn’t ready for them, they still put on a show.
It is without a doubt that most of these amazing talents will come back next year, but that has more to do with their passion and love of the fandom than their love of the fandom’s organizational skills. So the next time you see a costume clad convention goer, thank them for all their efforts. They make these events what they are.