After the runways NYC, Milan, Paris, comes the big promenade of New York Comic-Con. Way over on the West Side of Manhattan, fans of not just comic books, the big "fashion" show had nothing to do with trends. Cosplay, the art of dressing up in costume in tribute to your favorite pop culture character has become a huge movement.
Once considered a bunch of super-geeks, cosplay has become an art form in its own right. SYFY Network's "Heroes of Cosplay" starring competitive costume makers and professional cosplay celebrity Yaya Han have elevated the hobby into a lifestyle that prizes originality and craftsmanship. Many of the best examples take a well known character and put their own spin on it, like a Steampunk Iron Man, gender reversed versions of comic book heroes and villains, mash-ups of time periods and fashion styles.
The most popular character by far among women was Batman's Harley Quinn. At one point, I ended up in a corner and four completely different versions of this character had randomly surrounded me. One chose a fetish route, one chose a cute cartoonish one. There was a punk version with tattoos, a child version, a sexy corseted one, etc.
I saw some beautiful makeup jobs (see the Two-Face rendition above) and costumes with mechanized parts.
However, with popularity, inevitably comes the mass commercialization racing to capitalize. Almost every attractive female character with a well crafted costume seems to travel with an entourage (often a grateful male submissive type) who eagerly handed out her card and made sure you got her name right. Big corporations that had nothing to do with the entertainment, comic or video game world had big booths there, but hired model brand ambassadors in costume to draw the male geeks in.
With Halloween on its way, there is no shortage of costume inspiration for the holiday. What comic book character do YOU most relate to?