If there’s one thing that’s universally true about fan conventions, it’s that there will be cosplay. In the case of San Diego, many people who are packing away this year’s costume as I write are also planning next year’s costume in their heads. Serious cosplayers don’t just raid the local costume shop at Halloween. They painstakingly search through fabrics to get just the right texture and weight to recreate the looks of their favorite heros. It doesn’t even have to be heros, or re-creations for that matter. Cosplayers come up with infinite variations of familiar themes and those are often the most amazing costumes you’ll see.
Although most of the people in costume are adults, there are always a few kids in the mix. I can never decide what’s cuter, a little one who has thought up her own costume and is proudly walking along with her normally dressed family, or the parents and kids that are dressed alike. This year I saw whole families of Klingons, Star Fleet personnel, Stormtoopers and even pirates wandering the vendor hall.
One of my favorite things to do at a con is take pictures of all these people. They’re always happy to stop and pose, and sometimes they even throw in a little attitude. A cocky Han Solo is just so much more fun than one who simply smiles, and you haven’t really lived until you sass Darth Vader and he tries to Force-choke you. It’s as fun for me as it is for them because they like being recognized and I like seeing characters from my favorite television shows, movies and comics come to life.
The one thing that impresses me most is that these people aren’t being paid to add to the convention atmosphere. They’re doing it just because it’s a fun tribute to the things they love. When I snap a photo it’s partly for me, so I can show friends at home and look back and remember the fun of the convention, but they’re also for the cosplayer. It’s not like there’s a tip jar where I can throw them a few dollars as appreciation. The best way I can say thank you is to stop them and snap a picture in recognition of their hard work. So, to all the cosplayers at San Diego this year, thank you. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort. The con is so much more than it could ever be without you!