Heroes and Villains
August 31, 2013 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Comics Alliance's Andy Khouri and Betty Felon (curator of Best Cosplay Ever) review SyFy's Heroes of Cosplay and talk about narratives of reality TV, Yaya Han and credit and authenticity in cosplay.
posted by Artw (22 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Credit, indeed.
posted by cribcage at 9:41 AM on August 31, 2013

I'm not totally mainstream, but it was the longest time to grasp that "cosplay" was not some obscure sexual rule 34 kind of thing but really just a good costume contest.

I saw a few minutes of the show, blatantly contrived drama and lots of amazing costumes poorly photographed for the most part (love that dramatic jerkycam, sigh).
posted by sammyo at 2:15 PM on August 31, 2013

I thought it was a little weird and disappointing that they focused on the competitive aspects of cosplay and not the sheer joy and fannishness of it. As I was reading this article, my other social networks were updating with different cosplay pictures from Dragoncon (like this superman family and this sharknado). They're not likely to be winning any competitions, but they're still pretty awesome. There didn't seem to be a lot of talk about why people do this.

Not to mention the 'should you look like your character' aspects of it. I got a less fannish friend asking twitter if it was actually a popular opinion, and the best I could tell her was that the charges of not looking like a character are almost always because of ethnicity and body type, not (say) different facial structure or height. It's not that I don't hear it, it's that I'm always disappointed when I do.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:03 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

For people who are interested in this sort of thing, here's a tumblr that's featuring interviews from cosplayers about their experiences, and why they choose the costumes they do. There's only a couple featured so far, but it's pretty cool reading.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:10 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

PAX 2013: Cosplay Gallery - Day 1
posted by Artw at 5:23 PM on August 31, 2013

I still have not seen this show, but my friend was im-ing me while she was watching it, and literally the first question I asked was, "is there any black cosplayers?", and it looks like there's not in the main "cast". So here's this; The only cosplay tumblr I read.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:00 PM on August 31, 2013

posted by Artw at 6:04 PM on August 31, 2013

There are a lot of amazing black cosplayers out there that deserve attention, but probably the most famous is Jay Justice. I really love her batgirl and wonder woman.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

having actually met Yaya Han, and not seen this series, I don't quite get it. She was pleasant, charming, and seemed very pleased that I recognized the (at the time) obscure character she was dressed as at the time (Princess Hinoto from X/1999, which was obscure at the time). She struck me as someone who loved her hobby and I was glad to see that she managed to make it into something that gave her a career (even if I was a bit boggled at some things she did).

Can't really see her as queen-bitch....
posted by mephron at 9:27 PM on August 31, 2013

My wife was asked to be one of the "regulars" (for lack of a better word...) on this show way back when, but for various reasons, she declined to participate. Her fear (which seems pretty justified by now) is that the show would focus too much on manufactured drama, instead of the actual costume making (and wearing) process.

The high-level cosplay community is fairly close-knit (if not always 100% friendly) so we know most of the participants on the show. I can tell you a few things about reality, vs. how it's portrayed here on television:
1. The drama is ABSOLUTELY manufactured. Participants have admitted that on occasion they've been straight up fed lines to say by the producers, in order to provide drama, or advance some kind of agenda.

2. Victoria is taking a lot of heat over the fact that her boyfriend Jinyo does just about all the work on her costumes, but doesn't appear to get his fair share of credit. (for many cosplayers, making your own stuff is mandatory, so their arrangement doesn't sit well with a lot of folks) Jinyo, incidentally, is an amazing cosplayer in his own right.

3. Most of the costumes featured on the show were made YEARS ago. For example, Victoria's "Tron" dress (which is actually based on a Betsey Johnson dress) debuted in 2010. Riki's "Rocketeer" costume featured last week, was made in 2011. This is no insult to the cosplayers. It's flat out ridiculous to expect people to come up with an amazing costume in one week, in order to create some kind of "project runway" vibe. Most of these costumes take weeks or months to put together. I don't know why the producers insist on straight up lying about this fact.

4. Most of the regulars on the show are good friends, and the cattiness that seems to come up during competitions is totally manufactured. Also, the contests themselves have apparently been VERY shady affairs, despite the fact that the "heroes" are most definitely not getting preferential treatment, at least in the awards being won.

5. Yaya has both a lot of fans and a lot of detractors, many who question "who decided she is the queen of cosplay?" The fact of the matter is, if she's not the queen, then there is no queen. For better or worse, she's the most recognizable by far, and as she's decided to make an actual career out of it, she might as well grab the crown and dare people to knock it off her head. Complain they might, but so far no pretenders to the throne have emerged.

6. The stressed-out tantrums that most of the cosplayers seem to throw on a regular basis are absolutely real. (trust me...I know)

Bottom line, I hope people who are curious about cosplay can enjoy the show, but please take everything with a grain of salt, and try to enjoy the finished products, instead of the horrendous amount of B.S. the producers have thrown into the mix, via editing, scripting, and straight up dishonesty. All of the regulars on the show have MAD cosplay/propmaking skills, so don't let the "reality" spoil it for you.

(oh, and while I'm at it, I'd better give a shout out to the Mrs., since she's the one who got me involved in all of this!
posted by ShutterBun at 10:49 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

One of the cosplayers, Holly, was also featured in Morgan Spurlock's Comic Con documentary and it's interesting to see how differently she comes over in that as compared to Heroes of Cosplay. In the former she acts professional, obviously on the verge of the big time, a leader of a tight crew who is calm even during the inevitable pre-competition costume failure; in the latter she's basically a basket case who is in a weird drama filled co-dependent relationship with her friend/business partner and goes into panic mode every five mintues. It's one thing to know that these things are so manipulated than to see it obviously laid bare.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:17 AM on September 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've been waiting for an excuse to post this: 1986 Comic Con Mike Grell's Warlord cosplay also captured on video.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:38 AM on September 1, 2013

Yaya has both a lot of fans and a lot of detractors, many who question "who decided she is the queen of cosplay?" The fact of the matter is, if she's not the queen, then there is no queen.

Why would cosplay need a queen anyway?
posted by MartinWisse at 4:42 AM on September 1, 2013

Do these folks have any idea how hot the end of the end of a gun is? Crazy!
posted by sammyo at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2013

Why would cosplay need a queen anyway?

It certainly doesn't need one, but queens (and kings) are inevitable, and they're not voted on.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:16 PM on September 1, 2013

Dredd cosplay.
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on September 1, 2013

More DragonCon cosplay.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on September 2, 2013

I notice they seemed to spend as much time commenting on how the the editing is clearly trying to make up narratives. Is this a common thing when reviewing reality TV shows, and I just am not aware because I don't read much about reality TV shows, or is it just that much more blatant than other shows?
posted by ckape at 2:18 PM on September 2, 2013


(Though I may feel that to a certain extent Duela Dent herself constitutes trying too hard on someone's part.)
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on September 2, 2013

Well it looks like they were

*Puts on sunglasses*

hauled up on the carpet

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM on September 22, 2013

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