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COSPLAY by Andrew Liptak


A History: The Builders, Fans, and Makers Who Bring Your Favorite Stories to Life

by Andrew Liptak

Pub Date: June 28th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5344-5582-5
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

An entertaining look at a vibrant, “interactive, interpretive, and immersive” pop-culture community.

There was a time when cosplay—dressing up in costumes based on characters from movies, TV shows, comic books, or video games—was seen as a marginal, geeky pastime. In the past couple decades, however, it has gone mainstream, turning into an avenue for enjoyment and escape for vast numbers of people. Liptak, a journalist and proud cosplayer, walks through the history, noting that Jules Verne once held a party where the guests could dress as a character from one of his novels. Modern cosplay began with the first Star Wars movie. Liptak was enthralled with the uniforms of the stormtroopers; when he wanted to make his own, he found out that many other people did, too. This was the beginning of the 501st Legion, the largest Star Wars cosplay group, with more than 15,000 members. The association conducts charity fundraisers and performs other good works, but most of the members like to compare tips to bring their costumes ever closer to the source material. Of course, the internet has allowed cosplay to flourish, and there is a remarkable number of conventions and gatherings around the world, celebrating everything from Star Trek to sexual role play. Liptak notes that the nature of cosplay events has changed in the past few years, with a higher turnover of characters and more anime heroes. The technology for making costumes has also changed, with 3-D printers adding a new dimension. The moviemaking studios were initially wary of cosplaying, pointing to the potential for copyright infringement, but they came to accept and embrace it (as long as it doesn’t affect their merchandise profits). Some cosplayers have turned their hobby into a business, but most just want to enjoy the ride. Liptak renders all of these community-building adventures with aplomb.

A wonderfully fun book showing that the art of having a good time has not been lost.