The World of Cosplay
Costumes are making a comeback, and this time it’s not just for Halloween. Cosplay artists are making their way into the mainstream and are doing it in character. According to FanExpo, one of Toronto’s largest cosplay conventions, over 125,000 people attend the event each year.
Alexa Morgan, 22, is an avid cosplay artist. She has spent the past four years cosplaying and began to cosplay at conventions like FanExpo and ComicCon since 2016. Dressing up as a fictional character is not a new thing for Morgan. She began this hobby as a birthday party entertainer, dressing up as Disney characters for children’s parties. Her first cosplay character was Ariel from the Disney princess movie the Little Mermaid.
“I got into cosplay because I was originally a birthday party entertainer. So I used to dress up as Disney princess and generic characters and attend birthday parties. It created a lot of joy for me and I wanted to create more joy,” says Morgan
Being fairly new to the convention cosplay scene, Morgan has a fairly large following on social media. Many of the followers consist of fans of her cosplay work and other cosplay artists both in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and outside of the GTA.
A look into Alexa's cosplay
“My social media has always been me showing my artsy stuff. So when cosplay became a big part of my life, essentially all I post these days are all these cosplay stuff,” says Morgan.
When it comes to deciding what character to cosplay next, the decision is not hard for Morgan as she chooses “characters that [she] wanted to emulate as a child.”
Cosplay costumes, according to Morgan can be a mix of hand-made pieces and store bought pieces. Morgan herself likes to outsource material from both when creating the look of a character she is cosplaying. Morgan’s cosplay outfits are sourced from comics, movies, and television shows.
However, she never really likes to stick to just one specific look as she says, “I like doing my own version on most things.”
To this day, Morgan’s favourite cosplay character that she has done is “snow white because [she] loves doing her voice and seeing the smile on all the children’s faces.”
Alexa Morgan: The Process of Becoming Pixie
Trevor Lyn, 52, has only been cosplaying for approximately three years, since he started in 2016. Lyn works as a supervisor for UPS, and cosplays as a hobby. His inspiration stemmed from his son, who is an active Spiderman cosplayer himself.
“My son got me into it really, he was cosplaying as Spiderman. And I went to FanExpo and I saw him having all sorts of fun and I wanted to try it,” says Lyn.
Lyn began his cosplay journey dressing up as Marvel’s Deadpool.
“With me and Deadpool, the movie had just come out so it was very popular. I knew nothing about cosplay but I liked Deadpool,” says Lyn.
Over the years, Lyn’s Deadpool costume has evolved. According to Lyn, he “started out as Deadpool with one of those red morphe suits.” From this material, he created the look of the character and used it as his costume at conventions. Now, his costume resembles the movie’s design a lot better.
Although Lyn started as Deadpool, he has also cosplayed as other characters such as Batman, Captain America, Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Hook.
“I don’t pick a character that I really have to think about. Deadpool is sarcastic and I’m sarcastic,” says Lyn.
The Deadpool Mobile
Not only does Lyn dress up as Deadpool, he has completely designed his Ford Flex to be, what he calls, the “Deadpool mobile.”
“When I bought the car, I bought I used. It started out as a Ford Flex,” says Lyn, “When I started cosplaying I said ‘Deadpool needs a car.’”
Most of the detail on Lyn’s vehicle is done by himself, minus the technical work in which he calls in professionals. “All the detail work, I try to do as much as I can by myself,” says Lyn. His hard work doesn’t go unnoticed since his car has granted him several invitations to many conventions.
“I was asked by ToyCon to have [my car] featured,” says Lyn.
He has taken the Deadpool mobile to the conventions he attends and has been invited down to the United States a couple of times, so his car could be featured at other cosplay conventions.
Daron "Elfie" MacQueen
Daron MacQueen, better known as Elfie amongst her fellow cosplayers, has been a part of the cosplay scene since the spring of 2011. MacQueen works as a university library assistant and participates in cosplay as a hobby.
“I’d always been interested in costumes, so I used to for Halloween and stuff do my own costumes and original characters,” MacQueen says. “I actually got involved because a friend of a friend, was starting up what’s now a fairly popular Facebook and website, Geek X girls, and she was looking for people to do events and do photos and it just sounded like fun.”
Balancing her hobby of cosplay and working full didn’t happen with ease. Finding a balance for MacQueen comes with placing one title over the other.
“It’s hard sometimes, I’ll admits that my production of costumes has gone down since I started working full time, as opposed to being a student.,” says MacQueen. “Cosplay takes a back seat, since it’s a hobby and not my main source of income.”
MacQueen has noticed a rise in cosplays popularity as she’s “had people make comments about [her] being a cosplayer. People that [she] expected didn’t even know the word, let alone be able to identify it.”
“I think it’s moved from being a geek subculture thing, to being its own culture that is showing up in shows like the Big Bang Theory where everyone knows what it is,” says MacQueen.
When it comes to conventions like FanExpo, MacQueen believes that this is a place where cosplayer can be in costume where it’s “socially acceptable.” However, for MacQueen, these conventions are not just about being able to dress up in costume.
“For me going to conventions is almost like a social activity,” says MacQueen, “I’m just socializing with other cosplayers and having an opportunity to dress up where it’s completely socially acceptable.”
MacQueen’s current favourite cosplay she has done is Disney princess Merida, whose costume she made in two days, spending eight hours each day.
Alexa Morgan: “The community has been great and is super supportive. I only became a part of the community part of it around this time last year. They’ve been nothing but supportive, friendly and encouraging”
Trevor Lyn: “With anything you got the bad as well as the good. The group that I hang around with, we’re very inclusive, we encourage people to be part of [the community].”
Daron MacQueen: “The community is kind of disjointed to me. I don’t think there really is one big large cosplay community. There seems to be a very in group behaviour. They are supportive of their group and their type of thing, but when you get outside of that they’re not as supportive, they’re more judgemental.”
FanExpo and ComicCon
The next cosplay event will be Toronto ComicCon and will be hosted at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Mar. 13-15 2020.