I love cosplay, but only as an observer, not as a participant. In seven years of covering New York Comic-Con, I’ve taken thousands of pictures of elaborate costumes and opined on what I think makes a great costume, but I’ve never attended in costume myself. Maybe I’m trying to keep some journalistic distance from the subject I’m covering. Or maybe I’m still too embarrassed from landing on this list of “15 Terminator Costumes That Absolutely Blow.”
Either way, I’ve always been fascinated by this phenomenon, so this year, we tried to suss out some of the reasons why these super fans go to great lengths to construct some seriously impressive aesthetic and technical achievements. In particular, we addressed the seemingly paradoxical idea that cosplayers can be truer, more authentic versions of themselves when dressed up as fictional characters. Spoiler alert: it’s not paradoxical at all. Watch the video to find out why, and leave a comment with your thoughts on why people cosplay, particularly if you’re a cosplayer!