A little over a month ago, a huge bomb went off in the Star Wars community, as merchandise for the newest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hit stores a whopping three month in advance, an event lovingly called “Force Friday.” Shelves were flooded with action figures, board games, apparel, and even notebooks, all for a film that hadn’t even been released yet. Stranger still, is that Force Friday was a huge success. Crowds of people showed up, waiting in lines and saving spots, all to buy merchandise for characters, vehicles, and worlds they don’t even know much about. In fact, much of what was released hadn’t even been seen until that day. Being both a fascinated scholar and a huge nerd, I realized I’d have to investigate.
Much like Black Friday, stores opened at midnight with freshly stocked shelves and a hoard of shoppers lined up at the doors. Being located in Carlisle, far from urban shopping epicenters, I believed that going after class during the day would be adequate for both finding people to interview as a scholar and stuff to buy as a fan.…Continue Reading
If you’ve been to any comic, manga, or video game convention within the past twenty years, chances are you’ve encountered some convention-goers masquerading as fictional characters in colorful, creative costumes. What you’re seeing are not amateur actors, untimely trick-or-treaters, or delusional folks going through cartoon-based identity crises. These are passionate fans, dedicated to representing their favorite TV, movie, game and comic book characters. These are cosplayers.
Cosplay, coming from the Japanese term, kosupure (コスプレ), is a portmanteau of the words ‘costume’ and ‘play.’ It’s a growing hobby in which fans create and wear costumes in order to show them off at conventions, enter contests, meet fellow fans, and further embrace their interests in the characters they’re portraying. Though originally the majority of cosplay was devoted to anime characters, the hobby has expanded to include characters from a variety of genres including science fiction thrillers, blockbuster action movies, and even occasionally characters that are entirely made up by the cosplayers themselves. Some are incredibly complex, such as the woman with sword and pink hair pictured on the left below, while some, like that handsome devil on the right, are a tad simpler.…Continue Reading