Innovative and Inclusive: San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay

Cosplay is as much a part of San Diego Comic-Con as, well.. comic books. The annual “celebration of the popular arts” attracts nearly a quarter of a million people both inside the convention center and in the surrounding “Gaslamp” district. Quite a few brave the summer heat and put on costumes inspired by their favorite fandom. Marvel and DC superheroes rub elbows with video game icons and television characters. And, then there are the mashups, genderbent and just plain unique creations from the wearer’s imagination.

This year, it seemed like there were fewer cosplayers, but that may be mistaken. Deadpool was still very popular with various incarnations strolling about, but there were noticeably fewer Joker and Harley Quinn impressions. While the variations on that theme have often been clever and very well done over the years, it often felt as if one could not go 50 feet without running into a green-haired maniac and his domino-clad squeeze.

While other outlets and channels may be content to focus on the professionals and the obvious eye candy for their coverage, this article is going to take a look at the individuals who stood out for being different. The broadening of pop culture characters has allowed more people to find an impression that appeals to them. Moana, Black Panther and Steven Universe, for example have shown that representation matters – and it is being embraced.

And, for folks who could not necessarily get around the convention under their own power, many cleverly incorporated their transport into their cosplay with fun and fantastic results.

Star Wars

The galaxy far, far away is still a popular source of inspiration. It has only grown since The Force Awakens was released. The principle characters have gotten older (haven’t we all) and a more diverse group of heroes has joined the cause. In 2016, hundreds of little girls, and their older sisters, dressed as Rey as they swarmed through the exhibit halls alongside pint-sized Luke Skywalker Jedis. Now, a fan doesn’t have to look like “generic cantina alien #3” to be recognized as a character. Finn, Rose and Poe inspire a new generation just as Han, Luke and Leia did. And speaking of the original heroes, “mature” fans don’t have to try to look like the 20-something incarnation, but can successfully pull off their appearance in the later films.

Star Trek

There was a noticeable lack of Klingons, but they may have been cloaked and were missed. DS9, TOS and the earlier movies had their fans, however. If there were Star Trek: Discovery impressions, this writer missed them.

 

Heroes and Villains

Once again, superheroes dominated the floor with Black Panther being a particularly popular source of inspiration.

Disney

With nearly 90 years of entertainment, it’s not a surprise that The Mouse would inspire its own set of fans separate from Marvel and Lucasfilm. A number of Disney princesses were out and about, as were those inspired by theme park rides and, of course, the heroes and villains of all ages.

Other Films

Of course, there is more to cinema than just Disney properties – even if it does feel that way sometimes. Some fans went for the true classics, including Mad Max, Yellow Submarine, Beetlejuice and Judge Dredd.

It’s a big Steven Universe

The animated show has proven to be very popular with multiple impressions of Steven and his friends out and about. The number of those inspired – both young and young at heart earns them a separate recognition.

Other Television

Game of Thrones, Handmaids Tale, Dragon Ball Z and other shows proved fertile ground for friends and families alike.

Pop Culture

It is a “celebration of the popular arts”, after all.

Marvelous Mashups

And when you want to be just a little more different and have some fun…

We hope you enjoyed our selection of photographs from San Diego Comic-Con 2018. If you see yourself in one of the pictures, claim your cred!

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