As many of you may (or may not!) know, I have a habitual urge to attend WAY TOO MANY conventions every year. Before I even started writing about geek culture, comic books, and the like, I was a cosplay photographer. I traveled around with a professional cosplay group based out of Boise, Idaho and I would take incessant photos of everything they did – even if they weren't in costume. Through this venue, I met many many talented cosplayers in the Pacific Northwest, and cosplay photography went from a hobby to something I was known for. I've been shooting it pseudo professionally now for about two years, and it's something I don't think I can ever tire of. The work that people put into their costumes, and the passion they have for embodying a fictional character, is unparalleled by most other geek subcultures I have experienced. Not to mention there is something absolutely surreal about seeing your favourite character brought to life, walking and talking right in front of you.
In 2010, I had the privilege to travel to even more conventions than usual. Partly because of my cosplay work, partly because of iFanboy, and partly because I am dating a comic book artist… but whatever the reason, I ended up at upwards of 15 conventions in 2010. So many cosplayers passed in front of my lens, most good but some utterly dismal, but naturally it is the fantastic ones that stuck out the most in my memory.
This list is for the top ten comics cosplays of 2010: unique and perfectly executed embodiments of characters; ideas that I have never seen anyone do before; etc. Though I may not have experienced some of these cosplayers personally (I will make a note if this is the case), each and every one of them is exemplary and mind blowing.
10. Krypto the Super Dog – New York Comic Con 2010
I had just arrived at NYCC on the "first" day, and no one was there yet. The cosplayers were scarce and many booths were barely set up yet, and as I was strolling to the front of the convention center to go get myself an early dinner my adorable animal senses began to tingle. I turned to look for the source of this sudden awareness, as I was missing my dog terribly, and lo and behold: Krypto the Super Dog, tail wagging and all smiles, prepared to shower my face in delightful kisses.
Although this Krypto may not be the "proper" breed, she (yes, Krypto was a she) still absolutely made my day (and my weekend!). Perhaps one of the most adorable and original cosplays I have ever seen; human OR animal.
9. Mystique, cosplayed by Kearstin Fay Nicholson
(Photo credit: Rich Johannsen)
I first encountered Kearstin at C2E2 in Chicago, where she was dressed like Jean Gray. I was struck by how beautiful (and tall!) she was, and snapped a few pictures of her. She tracked me down via iFanboy, and we became "intranet pals lol". She's an insanely talented cosplayer (and model!), and she is one of those incredible costumers who puts so much effort into their cosplay it's as if they have stepped off of the pages of the comics into real life.
I wish I had seen her Mystique cosplay in person, but alas I have only experienced it through the glories of the internet. However, it is probably one of the most incredible and accurate Mystique cosplays I have ever seen, and therefore it deserves a spot on this list.
8. Classy Lanterns – San Diego Comic Con 2010
(Photo credit: Chanh Tang)
Okay, so maybe adding the Classy Lanterns to this list is a little bit self serving. Why? Because I was one of them. However, I was one of several talented and fantastic ladies, and I figure they deserve way more credit than I do.
When I initially was asked to participate in a "super secret cosplay" for SDCC by Jill Pantozzi (the Nerdy Bird, of Has Boobs Reads Comics), I was intrigued and excited. She always seems to have great ideas, and this was certainly no exception to the rule. Her idea was to have a lady from every Lantern Corps colour spectrum. We would then choose a solid cocktail dress in our assigned/preferred colour, and wear pendants with the insignia on it. I was the Blue Lantern. We had every colour except for Black and White, and although at first it didn't register with people what we were, we were ambushed at the DC booth and stood for pictures for about an hour and a half.
The best part of this particular cosplay group is that all the ladies I cosplayed with are all also staples in the comic book community – bloggers, internet personalities, etc. They were all super into it and knew what they were talking about, and roving the convention floor with them was like having the clique in high school I never had.
7. Classic Joker – New York Comic Con 2010
Admittedly, I think the majority of us are probably fed up with Joker cosplayers at this point. It's a pretty easy cosplay, and it seems that most people just have to cosplay him at least ONCE (Hell, I've even done a girl version for the premiere of the Dark Knight). He's up there with the ranks of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn in "totally over done".
However, once in a great while I will come across a Joker cosplayer that so totally blows me out of the water I am racing behind them to ask for a photograph and stammering my admiration. This cosplayer (whose name is Jim Kehring) was a perfect example of this. The entire costume is absolutely perfect – from his face paint, the tiniest details, and even his facial structure. After seeing him, any other Joker cosplayer has their competition cut out for them.
6. Wormwood & Phoebe Phoenix – C2E2 2010
I absolutely love seeing obscure or lesser known characters being cosplayed. The die hard fans usually freak out when they recognize the cosplayers, and a lot of the time it's more of an indie thing so the creator sees his characters brought to life.
I saw Angelique and Paul cosplaying these characters from Ben Templesmith's Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse at C2E2 in Chicago. I actually had not read the comic yet (I have since remedied that), but still knew enough to recognize who they were. I had seen other Wormwood cosplayers in the past, but Paul's makeup was so spot on that I couldn't help but be impressed.
5. Doctor Doom – Emerald City Comic-Con 2010
There are a number of characters I would love to see cosplayed more often, but due to their difficulty levels etc they are very rarely attempted by anyone but the most ambitious. Doctor Doom is one of those characters; beloved and interesting but hardly ever makes an appearance "IRL".
I ran into this fantastic Doctor Doom cosplayer on my way out on the last day of Emerald City Comic Con in my home of Seattle. I was in a hungover, exhausted daze and nearly missed him but I am so glad that I didn't. He was even with a red skull Captain America. His armor was made out of perfectly crafted cardboard.
4. The Huntress – Heroes-con 2010
I was talking with talented artist Dean Trippe when this incredible Huntress cosplayer first caught my arm. I tugged on his sleeve and pointed, proclaiming: "look at that cosplay!!". I was completely in awe. Dean informed me that the cosplayer was his friend Riki, a woman notorious for pulling out some incredible cosplay. Since Heroes-con, I've seen her cosplay a spot-on Loki and a Black Cat that could make men (and women!) weak in the knees. However, I feel that her Huntress cosplay is the most indicative of the care and precision she puts into her costume making… the armor is AMAZING!
3. Dazzler – Heroes-con 2010
I suppose it was its close-ish proximity to Atlanta (which is notorious for having crazy amazing cosplayers), but Heroes-con, despite being a smaller convention, kind of blew me away with the quality of some of its cosplayers. It was really hard to not select all of them and throw away this list entirely, changing it to "the top 10 cosplayers of Heroes-con", but I refrained.
Dazzler is probably one of my favourite comic book characters. She was like the original Lady Gaga, way ahead of her time in crazy makeup, shiny and sparkly get-ups, and her signature roller skates. I encountered Suzann's Dazzler and just about had a heart attack. She was absolutely in character, all bubbly and diva, and her costume was perfection. Suzann also cosplays many other impressive characters, including different incarnations of Dazzler and some fantastic Zatannas.
2. Black Manta – New York Comic Con 2010
I'm having a hard time even finding words to express how much I love this costume, because I feel the photograph speaks for itself. I have never seen a Black Manta cosplay before, and I think if I ever encounter a repeat performance there's no way it can be as awesome as this one. He even had a voice box, which scared the crap out of my friend when he spoke to her while she was posing with him.
1. Mojo – C2E2 2010
Drum roll, please!
When I saw this Mojo cosplayer, I thought it was a statue. "There's NO way that can be a cosplay", I thought, observing from my vantage point at the iFanboy/Graphic.ly booth. But suddenly it moved, and I sprang into action, galloping over to take photographs of this incredible feat of skill and "what the hell were you thinking actually wearing this to a convention". I'm very curious as to how the person inside of this costume actually felt/moved/breathed, but if he was going for something memorable, well… congratulations awesome Mojo cosplayer, you're internet famous!
I'm expecting everyone to start thinking of the cosplay they are going to throw together in 2011, so I can write an article about YOU at the end of THIS year.
Molly McIsaac quite obviously points her camera at anything and everything, goes to way too many conventions, and oozes geek from her pores. You can follow her on twitter.