Collecting comics, and working in a comic book shop, for as long as I have, I’ve come to know a lot of artists.
These men and women can take a blank page and in the matter of moments, create something that can, as the kids say, give you all the feelz.
I’ve also had the privilege to go a lot of comic conventions.
Recently there has been a….. problem…. with some people that think cosplay, a word I hate by the way, or costumers, have been taking over conventions and taking away customers from artists.
Most believe cosplayers are simply attention whores who take away the attention artists need, to get customers to their tables, to buy their art or to advertise an upcoming book, so they can keep doing their art all the while also being able to put food on the table.
There’s no doubt cosplayers are the reason conventions get media attention. They are the frosting on the cake people see first.
The glitter on the strippers bra.
The fabulous photo on the book jacket when it could easily be another Twilight story inside.
I will also tell you, the media is dumb.
Now I say that with full confidence because I worked in the media.
The reason is, they don’t have to be smart about your convention.
They are no different than asking your grandmother to cover a convention.
They don’t have time to discover someones art or read stories. They have about 20 minutes to get about 3 minutes of footage so they can move onto something “serious” and then they can show their boss how flexible they can be and they should have gotten the anchor job, not that slut Megan who everyone knows dated the boss while his wife was gone and Heaven knows Steve won’t say anything so here she is covering some stupid comic book convention!!!
So should cosplay be welcomed into conventions?
Yes and no.
I’m no fan of the Attention Whoring costume.
“Oh, look! I’m Supergirl in a bra! ”
” Look at me! I’m Batgirl in a Robin swimsuit! Mashup!! ”
I’m the guy who says, “Yes, yes. You have boobies. Now excuse me, I want a picture of that guy dressed as a Dharma worker from LOST or” Running victim #2″
I want this guy in the sequel
Now, there IS a difference between Attention Whoring and creative license.
I mean, let’s face it. Comic book women are drawn in skimpy costumes. Always have been. Always will be.
We could also argue all day about Lilo from Fifth Element and her bandaid suit.
The problem is, there are people who simply come to get their photo taken.
I’ve personally seen people crying because, and I quote, “Only a couple of people have taken my photo today.”
In this “selfie” generation, there will always be people that will absolutely die if their picture isn’t posted every four hours on some kind of social media.
Because that takes away from the people who treat it like art.
And at should be shown off. Whether it’s a drawing, a story or paper mache hat, if you’re proud of it, cool!
And it is art.
The very definition of art is creating something from nothing.
Just like the artist who draws something on a blank piece of paper, I’ve seen people stand in front of a shelf at Home Depot and take parts that are not meant to be together, not only put them together, but make something phenomenal.
I’ve seen magical staffs created with pvc pipe and I’ve seen wings made from window shades.
I’ll also take this time to plug my award winning life size Groot I made from pvc pipe, craft foam and hot glue.
I think every genre has its people who ruin whatever you’re into. There will always be that guy who draws something inappropriate to get more attention.
They’ll always be that writer who created a story only to sell books and not do something creative.
So do cosplayers have just as much right to be at a convention than artists and writers?
Yes, but I also think they should be held to the same standard as most talent.
You wouldn’t want an artist standing in front of you during a photo shoot just as they wouldn’t want you standing in front of their table they had to pay for to sell things.
So as costume making takes the limelight for a while, just understand, this is all new.
It’s the hot, new thing which almost anyone can do now thanks to instructional videos and books.
Almost anyone can create movie quality costumes in their garage now while only a handful of people can draw and write something you or someone else would buy.
While writing and drawing is like a business card, costume making is like wearing your resume.
People buy art. They can watch the artist create or buy what they’ve done, but people can only see what you do when you cosplay. No one buys your costume right then and there while you’re wearing it and you don’t go around giving them samples of it.
And if you do, well that’s just gross.
You are literally showing off your talent without giving anything away.
It’s a new generation of art and something we all need to get used to.
But then, art is different for everyone and that’s what truly makes a convention great.
You don’t have to agree with everything that’s there, just enjoy what you like because as the years come, there will be more and more things to like.