Fairs & Festivals

Art As Play: Cosplay At Wizard World Philadelphia

Last week, I talked about this strange phenomenon where certain art forms are treated as the epitome of culture, while other forms are marked as lowbrow or frivolous. Although they are clearly social and political aspects at play when it comes to who determines what's culture and what's not, I've decided to set that aside and spend the summer blogging about everything I participate in that qualifies as art in my eyes. And this past weekend, the Wizard World Philadelphia comic convention gave me my first dose of art in its many incarnations.

Now, one can argue that "nerd" or "geek" culture is the new pop culture, and I think there's some validity to that. I've happily called myself a nerd since I was 8 years old, and trust me, it wasn't considered something to be proud of. That world has certainly changed, and the abundance of sci-fi and comic conventions around the country -- and the globe -- is proof of that. I attended my first sci-fi convention when I was 13 years old, and never have I seen it so popular as it is today.

But one facet of geekdom that I've never participated in over 25 years of con attendance is cosplay. The closest I ever got to dressing up like a character from one of my favorite genre obsessions is wearing a little Star Trek communicator pin on my shirt. (I ruined quite a few shirts before I realized that that wasn't a good idea.) So a part of me is in love and in awe of all the great cosplay I see at conventions because I know, simply by the nature of not doing it, how much time, dedication and skill it takes to create a truly great replica or mashup of a costume based on a character you love.

Some may not call it an art, but it's certainly an imitation of art, and I think that deserves its due. I saw one gentleman dressed as Jon Bernthal's the Punisher from the second season of Daredevil that was so spot on, everyone around me had to do a double-take to make sure he wasn't Bernthal's stunt double. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to snag a photo of his costume, but I did manage to take a few pictures of some of the cooler and creative cosplayers that roamed the Dealer's Room and halls of the Philadelphia Convention Center.

There's definitely an art to mimicry and I think these lovely ladies and gentlemen deserve a round of applause.

Wednesday nights on the CW. :-P
A vendor dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland
There were many Captain Americas in the crowd, but his one of the best.
The DC Lego universe was well represented.
His Logan/Wolverine costume was simple, but the hair, tank top and swagger sold it perfectly.
And he was rather popular with the fans. I wonder why...
Just think about how much effort and time went into putting this costume together... and purely for the sake of having a good time and entertaining others. How can that be considered less than art?
I haven't even seen the film Maleficent, but based on movie trailers and posters, I know this is a brilliant cosplay of her and Diaval.
This poor person couldn't go more than 3 feet without being stopped for pictures. That's what happens when you dress as one of the favorite characters from Pokemon.
I'm told this lovely couple dressed up as difference characters from a musical every day of the 4-day convention. Friday, they cosplayed My Fair Lady. This day, it was The Music Man.
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