The first San Diego Comic Con — currently the largest of its kind in the U.S. — began in 1970 with a whopping total of 145 attendees.
By 2010, that number would exceed 130,000, and with an increased accessibility no longer exclusive to capes and cowls, conventions from San Diego to New York have since expanded to nearly every corner of popular culture. Yet whether you go for the games, the comics, the films, or TV fanfare, one attraction remains the highlight of the convention circuit for many: the cosplay.
A yearlong costume contest on crack for the uninitiated, the vast community that's only getting bigger is made up of casuals and professionals alike who pour their literal blood, sweat, and tears into the craft.
And while the culture industry has found it easy to hyper-sexualize, and others may write it off as plainly juvenile, cosplay's most endearing qualities cannot be overlooked: That our eccentric interests and fanaticisms are what bring us — self-identifying nerds or outcasts, at that — together.
Reporting from the show floor at this year's New York Comic Con this past weekend, I arrived at the Jacob Javits Center dressed in a cosplay of my own (my second go as Scott Pilgrim) with my barely-cutting-it-for-camera-quality iPhone in tow to capture just how diverse an otherwise minority obsession has become.
Because whether you believe it or not, it's not just a hobby that enables us to become anyone — it simply is for everyone. Here's why.