Dressing up at Conventions. I am totally for it, even if I do not particularly like the term “cosplay”. Recently Aberdeen held its 2nd Comic Convention and social media was full of pictures of the various efforts at dressing up. There were some great costumes and some average ones but it did not matter because everyone involved was doing what they wanted to do. This is what being a fan is. The ability to embrace your inner geek (nerd, princess whatever you want to call it) and enjoy what you enjoy.
For instance, I do not get Harry Potter (Or Gotham, Agents of Sheild, etc) but I know there are a lot of people who do like those fandoms. My not getting them does not make me want to stop those who do from enjoying themselves. Just don’t push it on me (a bit like religion or politics) and enjoy yourselves.
However I was not always so open and accepting. Mainly because I was, you know, growing up and learning all the time. It was a bit like my personal established Continuity was being rebooted every few years and the old me was cast away and forgotten about.
I have struggled with parts of the concept of cosplay. To me, dressing up should be fun and all costumes should be home made. Seeing these beautiful costumes that have been bought is nice and all but are quickly forgotten as soon as you see someone who has poured their heart and soul into something that they have cobbled together. That to me is a true fan (of course that is just my opinion). The other bit of cosplay I dislike is….well….the “skits” that some fans put on. Again that is my personal view as I know there are people who like that and that is fine.
It has been 25 ish years since I was at a comic convention (22 ish since I was at a Dr Who one). I went to my first ever one down in that London. I don’t think I had ever been there before and I went with my eyes ready to be opened. Boy were they. I had noticed on the information leading up to the con, that if you entered the costume parade, you got your convention fee refunded. That was all I needed. That year I dressed up as Robin the boy wonder, my costume made from the finest cheapest materials I could find in charity shops. I think I even had green washing up gloves. As a naive 18 yr old I was in awe of the costumes around me in the dressing room (the winner was a guy who was the Fantastic Four – him and 3 dressed up rubber dolls – to be fair he deserved it) and I ended up involved in a Skit of sorts. One of the other contestants had a Batman costume. Now my memory of this may well be wrong but I remember thinking that it was perfect. The host of the parade (the wonderful Hass) was dressed as the penguin and the plan was I went on, got interviewed by Hass, then attacked and Batman would stride on to save me. A picture of that event made it into Zones (A british reprint mag at the time) and my only sadness at that, was that they did not know my name and I went uncredited!!!
Still I have made it into a comic and that makes me happy. I have also been in a music video, so I am slowly invading your consciousness a little bit at a time.
Over the next couple of years I went as various characters to the costume parades (Both at UKCAC and GLACAC). Jay Garrick Flash, Middenface McNulty and Green Lantern.
It was London that I dressed as Green Lantern. Green Tshirt, white gloves, green boxer shorts, black thick tights, I looked ….well…like I had made it myself. However I did dye a pair of white sandshoes, and they looked good with my green socks (I think they may have even been the same colour!) My proudest achievement though was that I had found green luminescent paint. I painted a ring on my glove, painted my domino mask with it and painted the Green Lantern Symbol onto my T-Shirt. I thought that they could lower the lights before I went on and the glow would look cool.
So I was standing at the side of the stage feeling a little bit down. My costume was awful but I did not really mind that. It was part of the fun of the parade. I remember a Glasgow con, a guy went as Buster Gonad with two Pillows attached to his jeans…genius idea. He may have even won. No I felt a bit sad that the effect I had planned would never be seen (hey I was 19/20 …I am just surprised I never wrote a poem about it).
At that low point, a young child in the queue asked me which Green Lantern I was. Maybe it was being in London on my own, maybe it was just tiredness, maybe it was defensiveness. Whatever it was, I turned and sneered at him,
“The Scottish One”.
Not my proudest moment.