The idea of wearing a fully put together costume to a convention for the first time is terrifying.
At least it is to this not-a-cosplayer.
So when I finally decided to give cosplaying a try, there was never a question about which convention would be my practice round. Baltimore Comic Con isn’t the biggest, or most costume oriented, or even closest convention, but it is the friendliest comic convention I’ve attended, no question. And I knew that even if my home-made costume wasn’t perfect, I wouldn’t have to worry about the negativity that occasionally shows up in the cosplay community.
Saturday morning, I pulled up the courage to open the door to my hotel room, walk through the building and across the roof to the convention center, and entered the crowd. And you know what? No one looked at me like I was doing anything wrong. I was dressed up as one of my favourite characters, just like hundreds of other people. And the realisation that I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb gave me the freedom to have some fun. I started talking to other people in costume, trading ideas (a few of which will show up the next time I wear this one), and eventually had the chance to meet one of the artists who had drawn the costume in the comics.
And so the day went on. The costume was a very effective ice breaker, a definite plus for this natural introvert. I slowly stopped being so self-conscious and got to really enjoy myself. I even felt myself sliding into the character’s mentality once in a while.
Then the biggest surprise happened. Someone asked to take my picture. I’ve taken a lot of pictures over the past years, but not once did I consider that someone might want to take mine. I posed, picture snapped, and the photographer said, “I love your costume!” It was in that moment that I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to attending cons just as me. One day in costume, one day in comfy clothes sounds just about perfect to me.
At the end of the day, I found myself surprisingly reluctant to transform back into my regular Geek Girl persona. I’d gotten a little hooked on being Hawkeye.
And I’m pretty sure it’s because Baltimore Comic Con was the first place I wore it. New York Comic Con would have been too big. Wizard World Philadelphia, too… Philadelphia. Baltimore was perfect. It was a safe place to give cosplaying a real chance. It completely changed how I experienced the convention.
Next year, let’s do it again!
Part 3 – As a Fan