I am a huge advocate for Cos-Play. Always have been, ever since I was a child going to my first Star Trek convention with my mother.
I remember seeing all the Klingons, and Starfleet uniforms and aliens... It was like a fantasy world. All these characters that I watched for so long on T.V. and in the movies; here they were. Made flesh! Then, later on in life I attended Pittsburgh Comic-con.
Spider-Man, Captain America, Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, G.I. Joe, Battlestar Gallactica, and so much more! I was in heaven! Posing for pictures, shaking hands and greeting people. The Cos-Players were few back then, but spectacular.
Now a'days, Cos-Play is a life style. One that takes time, patience, dedication, and passion. I myself Cos-Play as characters I love. "Jayne Cobb" from "Firefly", a "Cobra Viper" from "G.I. Joe" and more. Now, as a Father, I get to see my son have the same reactions as a child that I once had when you attend a convention and get to see your favorite heroes and villains made real.
Super Mario in Steam Punk representation, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, the Joker, my sons eyes light up like it's Christmas morning. Attending Steel City Comic-Con, my son is in paradise. Politely asking to have his picture taken with all of the Cos-Players he could find that are the Avatars of his heroes; "Spider-Man! Spider-Man! May I please have my picture taken with you?" his voice is filled with so much excitement that he is near spontaneous combustion.
At Steel City Comic-con, all of the cos-players are top notch and filled to the brim with class. Sadly, I have attended other conventions where I have seen not so nice Cos-Players. Kurt, and rude. Crass and ignorant, these people are forgetting a simple common sense lesson. When you decide to dress as your favorite, character from fiction, a video game, a comic book... you're dressing as everyone else's favorite as well. Especially a young child's.
A hero, a villain, a phenomenal costume job... If your demeanor and attitude emanates in the negative, and a young child picks up on this? If you are rude towards someone that has a love of that character...?
That is all that child is going to remember. "...Spider-Man was mean to me..."
Congratulations, you just killed Spider-Man for that kid. That child will more than likely begin to dislike that character from then on.
Nothing like this happened to my son at Steel City Comic-Con this weekend. It just got me thinking as a Dad and a Cos-Player. When I portray a character, I always adopt the persona and embrace it. I act that character out and embrace the fans that ask for pictures and/or shout out their verbal praise. In my head I am saying, "they're fans of this? Heck yea! I'm a fan too!" It makes me happy to know that someone else loves something that I do so much.
Whether you Cos-Play for the fun, the challenge, or even the prize money; I have to give courteous warning. You're not just Cos-Playing for you. You're Cos-Playing for all of the fans. I have seen Cos-Play performers that are mean. Their costumes maybe top notch, but their attitudes weren't. "With Great Cos-Play, Comes Great Responsibility."
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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