December 6, 2014

"I had to boot him out of my booth."

"I had a cosplayer pass by my booth all excited about the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, and wanting to dress like him, but the cosplayer had no idea what Strange does, if he's a real doctor, and when I remarked that he was created by Steve Ditko, the man who made Spider-Man, the cosplayer asked me if Strange was related to Spider-Man."

Said a comics shop owner, quoted in a UK Telegraph article about objections to costumed fans at comic book conventions.

20 comments:

Quaestor said...

Cosplay is such a fraud. It costs $220 to attend a major ComicCon venue, not including concessions. The hook is cosplayers who look like this. The reality is more like this.

Wilbur said...

I had never heard of Cosplay until this article. It seems like harmless, if not inexpensive, fluff.

The fact that it upsets the "artists" in this field is more revealing of them. If you find the nerds contemptible, man you're in the wrong business.

Laslo Spatula said...

Wear a colorful sweater and its Cosbyplay. For the ladies.

I am Laslo.

Christopher said...

I do have to agree somewhat with the dislike of cosplayers, although for different reasons.

Having attended a handful of conventions I've noticed there seem to be three types of cosplayers (not counting the people getting paid to dress up):

1) People looking for an excuse to wear a costume
2) Attention seekers
3) Exhibitionists

Now I don't mind the first group, they make up the bulk of the costumed crowd and they act like normal attendees.

It's the other two groups that annoy/creep the hell out of me.

The attention seekers insist on making spectacles of themselves. They'll put on impromptu skits in the middle of the walkway and insert themselves into unrelated events.

As for the exhibitionists, well they like to walk around wearing the skimpiest costumes they can think up (so lots of Starfires and Psylockes). They don't care that there are families around, and they certainly don't care that they haven't been to the gym in three years.

Lauderdale Vet said...

Doctor Strange was actually the primary comic I collected as a kid. I’m looking forward to the movie and glad they chose Cummerbatch over Depp.

In the article it was the prospective cosplayer who didn't know about Doctor Strange, but when I was in the Navy I visited NYC during fleet week. Of course I had to go lay eyes upon 177A Bleecker street and was amused to find a comic book shop approximately there. I told them that Doctor Strange supposedly lived in their building, but they didn't know about it. "I wondered who that guy in the cape was", they joked.

Ha.

Ann Althouse said...

It seems to me the complaint about the cosplay people needs to rest on a foundation that the convention has some greater value apart from these attention seekers that is getting lost. But what's the point of a convention? It's not a somber, scholarly or spiritual assembly that can be spoiled by people having fun. I don't get the attitude of the artists here, and I'm willing to believe and would like to believe that comics books are a worthy art form.

Christopher said...

In regards to the people in the industry I think that a number of them secretly hate their fans and jobs. They view them as lowbrow and resent the fact that they're not involved in a higher status field. I think their contempt for cosplay stems from the fact that it reminds them of this.

It's hard to ignore the nature of your fan base when they walk up to you in bright spandex.

They're like the sports writer who keeps trying to discuss social issues or politics.

Quaestor said...

Ever notice that female superheroes are less super than magical? The typical super-chick flies and shoots some kind of power from her finger tips, whereas your garden-variety ├╝ber-dude leaps around and bashes stuff with his fists.

Given that the hands aren't the most obvious feature of female form as interpreted by today's comic artists, why haven't they hit on the more "developed" parts as force beam projectors, whatever? Seems like the logical next step to me.

Christopher said...

Quaestor,

I'm sure there's probably an entire sub-genre of manga that addresses that particular power.

Babaluigi said...

As a family, we went to Dragon Con in Atlanta about 11 years ago. It was a blast...some of the costumes were very elaborate, and some of them consisted of a black miniskirt and x-shaped pasties made of black electrician's tape... The whole thing seems harmless and everyone is of the mind to live out a fantasy and the whole vibe is great. Yes, there were many out-of-shape people displaying their charms in skin-tight or barely there costumes, but there were many beautiful bodies on display.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a costumer, and I haven't attended a convention masquerade since the days when it was called "costuming" rather than "cosplay" (which I believe is an imported Japanese word with English roots, kosupurei). But it strikes me as harmless.

Some years ago, I copy edited a book on the Athenian pottery industry, which pointed out that the great majority of archeological finds come from Etruscan sites. I suppose most of the Etruscan buyers didn't really know about the Twelve Labors, but thought that dude with a huge bow and wearing a lion skin looked cool; and the Athenian potters probably bitched about their barbaric ignorance, too.

Of course in modern art theory speak we call that "appropriation," and it's thought to be a great evil when Americans do it to non-European cultures. I suppose the same argument could apply to young women costuming as characters from comics they don't read.

Anonymous said...

Madison will be hosting a large ComicCon soon. If Althouse and Meade were to wear costumes to such an event, what could we expect to see the couple dressed up as?

Mary Beth said...

My daughter and I have gone to SDCC several times. She usually has a cosplay outfit planned for each day. It's a great way to find other fans of the comic/TV show/anime/whatever that has the character that you're dressing as.

My main problem with cosplayers is that people want to take photos of them inside the main convention hall. There's over 130,000 attendees and the aisles are already clogged. It's a pain trying to maneuver around them. So I guess my problem isn't really with cosplayers, but with the photographers.

Ann Althouse said...

"Madison will be hosting a large ComicCon soon. If Althouse and Meade were to wear costumes to such an event, what could we expect to see the couple dressed up as?"

I thought: Nancy and Sluggo. But Meade said Snuffy Smith and Loweezy.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Madison will be hosting a large ComicCon soon. If Althouse and Meade were to wear costumes to such an event, what could we expect to see the couple dressed up as?

Mad Hatter and March Hare?

Mary Beth said...

Link and Zelda.
Stannis and Melisandre.
Or, walk around with a gold exclamation point over your head and see how many people stop you and ask for a quest. (I'm guessing a lot.)

Quaestor said...

I thought: Nancy and Sluggo. But Meade said Snuffy Smith and Loweezy.

Since you seem to be trending to -- how shall I phrase this? -- the more quaint characters, might I suggest Maggie and Jiggs? Dagwood and Blondie? Hi and Lois? Rex Morgan and Mary Worth? Beetle Bailey and Sergeant Snorkel?

Now that I've had my fun, in all seriousness I suggest Dr. Girlfriend (in early career garb, viz. the see-thru mini-dress) and Phantom Limb. If Meade can contrive a convincing PL, he'll win the convention's grand prize without a doubt.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

"I don't get the attitude of the artists here, and I'm willing to believe and would like to believe that comics books are a worthy art form."

It's the latest twist on an old story: the conventions have changed, and have largely left these artists behind. Once upon a time, they were smaller, and were mostly about fans meeting artists and writers (and aspiring artists and writers trying to meet editors and other pros). The artists were the stars then, because fans can watch you draw and see the work come together. Watching a writer just isn't the same.

Today the cons -- especially the bigger ones -- are more about TV and movies, with the cosplayers also having a much expanded presence. It's not just artists complaining: comic book vendors are starting to give up on San Diego (the original Comic Con) because booth prices are going up so quickly at the same time comic sales are going down. People are there to see movie and TV stars, sneak peaks at film trailers, and cosplayers. (Costuming can be a real art at these cons.) If they buy anything, it's likely to be action figures, games, and props, not comics.

So these artists are essentially lamenting the passing of an age when they were the stars. Some of them are gracious about it, and some really get a kick out of someone turning their visions into costumes; but some still long for the days when it was about them more than others.

Anonymous said...

Pat Broderick, the artist complaining in the linked article, is mostly an outlier. He probably will not be attending many conventions in the future after this.

Costuming has been a part of fan conventions for a long time. It's just getting more and more attention lately. Fore sure, there is more accommodation for cosplayers, and more of them these days. But it's all in good fun.

Fun is the point of cosplay. It may not "help the industry" as Broderick puts it. But that isn't the point of conventions. They are not trade shows where the fans are there just to be consumers.

Anonymous said...

"Today the cons -- especially the bigger ones -- are more about TV and movies"

Eh, that's more San Diego Comic-Con International. It's been co-opted by Hollywood to a degree, becoming more of a pop-culture convention. Most conventions are still about comics first and foremost.