A thing I learned from cosplaying
By Eric Gallosti
Getting into cosplay is weird, but… the good kind of “weird”.
Don’t matter at what age you do it.
There’s this moment in which you think “You know what would be fun?”, and it just begins. And you enter this awesome world, and it’s all great. But dealing with other people’s opinion might be the hardest part.
I started cosplaying when I was 13; here in Italy, where I am from, back in 2012, “cosplaying” was not the huge phenomena that is now known all over the globe. It was spreading and getting bigger, of course, but at the time you still needed to be part of the “geek community” to really get to know this particular thing. And I was.
One day, on Facebook, I came across this awesome group of the “so-called” cosplayers who had this passion in common: the love for Spider-Man, my all-time favourite superhero. Seeing all these beautiful costumes, brought to life from a comic page, was just fascinating. And I thought… “You know what would be fun?”
So I ordered my first “suit”, a Spider-Man 2099 cosplay costume, one of the most cool-looking Spider-Man’s variations appeared in the comics over the years. Nothing fancy, nothing accurate, just a regular blue shiny spandex suit bought off Ebay. But, to me, it looked like I was given the real costume from the comic world. And so I attended my first “Con”, Torino Comics, which still at this day is nothing particularly big or important, but that will always hold a place in my heart. You never forget your first love, as they say.
From that moment on I continued developing my crafting skills, my knowledge on where to find the best pieces for my suit and my passion about this world. But, as I said before, you still have to deal with the people “from the outside”. And, especially when you’re as young as I was when I started to post the first pics of my costumes on social network, you have to face the fact the other persons may not always understand you.
And, you know, kids can be cruel. Not only I was the one who “didn’t want to grow out of that kids’ stuff”, but, now, I was also the guy who liked to dress as one of those superheroes. So you have to deal with them, trying to make them understand that there’s nothing SO strange about it and that you just want to show the respect you have for a story or a character that is important to you, and that you enjoy taking part of this great play along with a great community who shares the same passions as you do. If you can make them understand it, that’s great. If not, that’s great anyway. Who cares? But this is a lesson I learned only a few years later.
I remember one time I was walking down the street with one friend of mine and a bunch of kids (that I didn’t even know personally!) walked by. One of them shouted “So, where have you left your Spider-Man costume?”, and the other kids laughed along. My friend looked at me and said: “Don’t mind them, they’re just a bunch of a**holes…”. And I did not, at all! That fact didn’t bring me down, because as soon as the fact that I didn’t know any of them nor I hadn’t added any of them as “friends” on the Internet came to my mind, I realized that they spent time lurking on my social network profiles, looking at my cosplay photos, while I probably was crafting one piece for my next costume or I was with my friends, having a great time, doing all the “nerd stuff” they teased me for. And, I think, that was the moment in which I realized I never have to worry about anyone’s opinion, as long as I enjoy doing what I like the most.
And this is, pretty much, what my “cosplay experience” taught me. I now have cosplayed three times as Spider-Man and one time as Green Arrow, and I have always had a blast. I met so many wonderful people along the journey and I had the most awesome experiences. Getting to know people from a simple “Hey, can we take a picture together?” during a con and seeing how that simple moment may turn out to be the start of a great friendship.
This is what “cosplay” represents to me: don’t matter if your cosplay is a giant metal armor or a crappy cosplay suit bought on the Internet. Don’t matter if you’re 15 or 50. And, most importantly, don’t matter if the people who don’t understand your passions think you’re just a nerd. Because, maybe, we are. But if being “just nerds” means taking part of such an amazing community, screw it: I am proud to call myself a cosplayer.
Article by @Eric Gallosti