Comic Con goers must invest time and energy into cosplay

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Comic Con is a time for fans to dress up as their favorite characters and show off their costume-making talent. Curious about how much time goes into these costumes, I interviewed 56 costumed attendees at the Salt Palace Convention Center this weekend. The people behind the costumes ranged from first-time Con goers to professional costume designers. The characters themselves originated from comic books, anime, cartoons, television shows, books and podcasts.


I asked people in costume what character they were dressed as, whether they made or bought their costume, how much money they spent and how many hours went into creating the costume. Of the 56 people I interviewed, 21 made their costumes, 17 bought them and 18 people bought a costume and then altered it or created substantial additions. Not everyone remembered the cost and time that went into their costumes, but those who responded provided shocking results. The most expensive costume was an exceptionally well-done Qui-Gon Jinn from “Star Wars,” crafted with collector items at the approximate cost of $1,500. On the other end of the spectrum, one individual created a recognizable Jack Frost from “Rise of the Guardians” and managed to spend about $5 for the materials to create his costume. In the end, of the 45 individuals who disclosed the amount of money spent on their costume, the average price was $153.

Not only do these incredible costumes cost money, but they can also take hours of hard work. Some delightful costumes were crafted mostly from makeup, such as Gluttony from “7 Faces of Dr. Lao,” and took about an hour to create. Others were completely hand-crafted, full-body costumes such as post-apocalyptic Ash Ketchum from a twist on Pokémon, and a Dalek from “Doctor Who.” Both of these costumes took about 50 hours to craft. One of the individuals I interviewed was a model for a professional costume designer who was displaying her work at Comic Con. His costume of Elric from the book series Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock took 200 hours to complete. Based on the 33 people who reported the hours spent on their costume, the average time was 28 hours.

Some Con goers were more excited than others about their costumes. While several people merely answered the questions I asked, others were willing to elaborate on their experiences with the costume.

“It takes a lot of work,” said Megan Foster, cosplaying as a gender-bent Professor Sycamore from Pokémon, then elaborating by describing the effort she expended to prepare her wig.

Others struggled to create characters from source material that lacked any visual interpretation, such as books or podcasts. Elizabeth Carver, dressed as Vin from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, explained, “There was just not a lot to go on.” She found the ideas for her costume from the illustrations on the cover and the character descriptions throughout the book.

Most people chose their costume because they loved the character or related to them in some way. However, others did not have much time to create their costumes and used whatever they could find in their house. There were a few people who went to the Con dressed as couples, and every now and then I encountered a large group that coordinated their costumes.

Comic Con is a great way to spend the weekend, and watching people in costume is just as fun as dressing up. You can become your favorite character for a day, or have a chance to take a picture with your favorite character. Original costumes are wonderfully designed and sometimes more exciting than seeing the actors and actresses themselves.

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