Cosplay: A blossoming community and artform

Novick modeling in cosplay outside of her home.

Photo by Circée Novick.

Novick modeling in cosplay outside of her home.

Maddy Schilling, Culture Editor

With the growing popularity of the internet comes an inherent growth in the accessibility of media culture; from video games, to YouTube channels, to comic book universes, to television streaming sites, the generation of today is experiencing a surge in new and exciting ways to share their mutual interests. Though it has existed as a hobby since 1990, a certain type of expression has made its presence known globally in just the past few years: the art of cosplay.

Indeed, cosplay continues to draw interest from global communities as the artform itself has grown. Cosplayers like twenty-one-year-old Jessica Nigri from New Zealand, for instance, have accumulated hundreds of thousands of followers on social media websites like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and DeviantArt with their intricate interpretations of characters spanning from the Marvel Universe to the anime world. This rapid development has spawned hundreds of cosplay-themed conventions.

To answer questions regarding the definition, community, and misconceptions of the artform, the Noctiluca sat down with Appleton North sophomore and cosplayer Circée Novick.

Noctiluca: Before we get started, what exactly is cosplay?

Novick: Cosplay is a mix of the words “costume” and “play,” but I think the easiest way to describe it is simply dressing up as a character.

Noctiluca: Why is it important to you?

Novick: It’s important to me for some of the same reasons that theater is. It allows you to be someone else for a while. Except that unlike theater, where you’re kind of stuck in whatever part you get, in cosplay you can choose whomever you want; you can be your favorite character and you can be strong or sneaky or cute or whatever you think embodies that character. An added bonus is that you’ll probably meet other people who are interested in a lot of the same things you are.

Noctiluca: Are there any favorite cosplays of yours?

Novick: Honestly most of my previous cosplays have been trash and I hadn’t put much effort into them, but most recently I cosplayed Delirium from The Sandman at Fall Ball.

Noctiluca: Have you found that there are certain stereotypes and misconceptions regarding the cosplay community?

Novick: I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that cosplayers are huge losers who have no friends or social life and that only nerds are into it. I think a lot of people who don’t really know anything about cosplay might have a mental image of some kid in a cheap polyester Halloween costume, and while there are “bad” cosplays, that’s not what it is. Many cosplayers invest incredible amounts of time, effort, skill and money into their costumes.
In the area, there’s Kitsune Kon. It’s not huge but it’s nearby in Green Bay and it’s pretty cheap, twenty to thirty dollars depending on when you buy the tickets. On a national level, some of the most popular conventions are Anime Expo, Otakon, Comic con, Anime Central and many others.

Noctiluca: In seeing such a wide variety of people who cosplay, is it something you would recommend to others?

Novick: I would definitely recommend cosplay if it’s something you’re interested in. There are so many options in terms of characters to cosplay and there’s bound to be something you’re interested in.

With box office smashes like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Deadpool and the impending Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice films flooding theaters, a new wave of moviegoers are being introduced to the cosplay scene with the introduction of fresh, popular characters in the media; the opportunity to be a cosplayer is becoming increasingly more attainable and, to the pleasure of Novick and countless others, more acceptable to the mainstream.