The part I love the most about cosplay is how creative we all can be. 2016 was no different. Many cosplayers stepped up this year to show what they can do with not only well known characters, but many new ones, under rated ones as well as their own creations.
The best part is that cosplayers not only stepped up their creative game but many of them also served in many community service events as well. Others served as mentors in helping people with issues become more acclimated with the cosplay community. What we must remember as cosplayers is that this is supposed to be an inclusive community. It is supposed to be a community that respects people regardless of their background, gender, culture or skin color.
The biggest lesson that we must strive to continue to teach into 2017 is tolerance and acceptance. We must continue to teach that whatever you want to cosplay, DO IT. If you are unsure of yourself, find positive role models who will guide you through. We must also teach that what we do affects the younger generation as well and if they see us in a positive light, they will follow and pass on our knowledge. The cosplay community has to make sure that our environment stays safe and fun so that all can enjoy it.
The entries below showcase a diverse array of people from different backgrounds. Some are just starting out; others have been around for a while. The goal is to show just a slice of what our community looks like and what we do to make this community a better one.
I personally would like to thank everyone that answered the call and hope that what you did in 2016 continues into 2017. This means a lot for all of us.
Harry – Bishop Cosplay
What made cosplay so special for me in 2016 was seeing the smiles on kids faces. One of the events was a ghost tour as The Batman protecting kids and their parents, stayed in full character and had the odd impromptu sidekick.
Twitter – @Gwen_grimm Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrockTarts/
In 2016, while I didn’t get to do a lot of personal cosplaying, I ended up working on a couple of costumes that really challenged my skills. I really feel like 2016 has given me the skills to tackle a couple of projects I’ve been putting off as too hard!
Photograph by PI Creative Cosplay page: Collin Fury Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/Collinfurycosplay/
Instagram: @dgcollins28 2016 has been a great year of embracing myself as a cosplayer. I’ve been able to do more outfits than ever. I enjoy meeting new people and like to share my love for cosplay with people who do the same.
In this past year, I was able to collect well over $10,000 with the 501st Legion that benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas. But my favorite memory is proposing to my now fiancee, who was dressed as the Seventh Sister, at Dallas Fan Expo, with all of our friends in attendance.
Instagram: Jedichickjen Facebook: Zeitlose Kostume https://www.facebook.com/Zeitlosecostuming/
Cosplay in 2016 gave me the opportunity to become more confident, meet more people, and have amazing opportunities to do charity events for kids. I also learned more techniques and I don’t need to hold myself back just because I’m not as good at this as others.
Cosplay opens up so many possibilities, and opportunities. I’ve met some incredible people who are incredibly talented, learned new skills and brought smiles to the uninitiated. It’s empowering and a huge confidence booster when you put on not just the costume, but the persona.
IG: @insyne_vigilante Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/thewebpool
2016 was the year of cosplay party. Also the year of charities and events for myself, The Web-Pool, and Charm City Ghostbusters, my two groups I run with. This photo was from a Bar Crawl, on stage performing.
Facebook: JMS Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/jmsofdc/
I’ve been cosplaying on and off, since 2007. But since 2016 began, I’ve been cosplaying more consistently, attending frequent conventions with friends, and since having been part of a fantastic cosplay group. To me cosplay is an amazing social hobby of self-expression that allows you to use your creativity and imagination in multiple areas, all while socializing with plenty of fun and amazing people.
Cosplay is soecial to me because it pushes my creativity. Turns the what if onto reality. Love seeing people’s face young and old light up when I step out in a costume. Plus it’s helped me make a lot on new friends and gain some fun new skills/experiences.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/craftysorceress/
Photographer: Photosnxs This cosplay was special because I was temporarily unable to walk for some of 2016, and as soon as I could, I worked on this costume, my first wheelchair cosplay. After such a great response at PAX East 2016, I hope this, and in general, cosplay can encourage anyone to be whomever they want to be!
Instagram: Jinx_Guillotine Facebook: Guillotine Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/GuillotineCosplay/
Cosplay 2016 didn’t seem special, but really it was remembering why I’ve been wanting to do it since I was little, and finding that I can make certain things on my own. It was remembering why I love this character, and why I want to mainly cosplay her.
Facebook: Afrogeek Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/afrogeekchick122/
Instagram: @smika122 I took a step outside of my comfort zone and cosplayed characters using my natural hair and not hiding my blackness, which is huge for me! I even stepped up my prop making game by making huge molds and using various resins. The company that makes the products I used know me personally! How wild!
IG: fortnoxprops FB: http://www.Facebook.com/fortnoxprops
I do this for the reactions! Nothing better than seeing people freak over their favorite character standing with them in a picture!
FB: Miss.Tyo – https://www.facebook.com/Miss.TyoDesign/
Instagram @miss.tyo This year was my first year entering cosplay contests, and really going from costumer to cosplayer. I’m so glad to have been welcomed into this positive and supportive community where I can practice my art.
Instagram: qman0206 2016 Cosplay has been special to me because for every character I’ve portrayed, the reaction of the kids are super inspiring! Also, the number of new nerd friends and their support I’ve gained makes me feel a sense of belonging to a very special group of people! I’m truly geeked out!
IG: big_smu FB: https://www.facebook.com/Scorpkingcostuming
When you have the opportunity to bring Sugar to life through Cosplay… it’s a good year. When you get to follow up Sugar with not 1 but 2 pimptastic costumes… it makes for a great year. Pimpin’ ain’t Pimpin’… until you are truly thoroughly Pimpin’!!! and you can take that to the bank… pimpin’!!!
IG and Twitter Goofycaca. Cosplay allows me to get away from my job and create something new and different, expanding my creativity for others to see. It has also facilitated new friendships that might have otherwise gone unrealized.
Instagram name: tkrestonva; Twitter handle: @tkrestonva. Why it’s special: (1) One of a limited number of First Order stormtroopers in the 501st Legion (only 227 TFA stormtroopers out of nearly 4500 total stormtroopers in the Legion) and currently the ONLY one who can do FN-2187 with or without the helmet, and (2) representation … it matters. Especially this year given (a) the fanboy drama surrounding a black stormtrooper, and (b) real world events in our country’s social-political fabric.
PC: Elisabeth Haun Photography Instagram: @princessjcosplay FB Page: Princess J Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/PrincessJessCosplay/
This year I joined HEROIC Inc., a non-profit cosplay organization that attends charity and community events in Utah. I was able to bring smiles and joy to children and families all over the state with this group. It fills me up so much and brings joy to my life.
Facebook Page: MzTiyahCosplay – https://www.facebook.com/MzTiyahCosplay/
Twitter Handle: @tiacpolite What made cosplaying so special for me in 2016 is the same simple reason that has made cosplay so special to me since 2008…I enjoy it. Why do I enjoy it? The friends, the good times and the smiles from children of all ages.
Photo by Dan Arango Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Nerdenheim/
IG – Nerdenheimjen Cosplaying was special for me this year because of the kids. I started doing hospital visits and it is one of the most saddening and rewarding things I’ve ever done.
IG: @babsthebat5826 FB: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.gilbert.948
She was my very first cosplay and I’m excited to take this design and tweak it. I’m excited for all the cosplays I’m planning for 2017 including a new version of M’Gann. It has brought me out of my shell and now I’m also making my own costumes.
IG: @skywardsongcosplay What made cosplay special for me in 2016 was actually taking a step back. In 2015 I blazed through about 13 costumes, but stepping g back and really being picky about my work has helped me progress even further!
Instagram is mjsingingstar16. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/mjsingingstar16
Cosplaying this past year made me push my boundaries a little bit. For example, normally I wouldn’t have done Jessica Rabbit because I’m considered “plus-sized”. However, I’ve gotten so many compliments over her that she’s become my second favorite cosplay. My first one is Harley Quinn.
IG & twitter: blazeeblake Cosplay in 2016 was special for me because it was the first time I ever did it outside of Halloween. I crafted/assembled three costumes for a con and they were decent enough to be recognizable!
Cosplay page: https://www.facebook.com/CasualAssassinDesigns/
Cosplay is special to me, in 2016, because it’s an outlet for me to express my inner black nerd and in doing so, I’ve made many close friends, many of whom I see as family, and have had innumerable experiences and opportunities that I never would have had anywhere else.
Photo by Dan Arango Photography https://www.facebook.com/impressionisticcosplay/
The best part of cosplay, for me, is the joy others feel when they see me dressed as a character. Nothing is better than the feeling I get from visiting sick children, and to see their faces light up when they see someone other than a doctor or nurse.
IG & Twitter: @scificheergirl In 2016, I stepped out of my cosplay comfort zone, interacting with amazing people who I’ve admired for years. I also challenged myself to work more extensively with spandex and foam armor.
Instagram @gregorviney I enjoyed 2016 for the chance to just stomp around and having a blast at local events.
My Facebook is http://www.facebook.com/anthony.pacella.77
In 2016 I finally decided to create the character I have wanted to for years, Wolverine, but had never had the time to do so. I have done cosplay for years and my kids have always loved my suits as do other kids which make it all worthwhile. With this year’s suit I am enjoying it more than ever…so much that I am already working on an upgrade to Wolverine for next year!
I have cosplayed since 2011. I enjoy cosplay mostly for the photography opportunities and interaction with the kids. I’m planning to bring the classic characters back as you see here. I love the feedback I receive from that. “You’re not a Lions Fan, you’re Axel Foley! ”
I’ve been part of some incredible opportunities this year giving gifts from the ‘heart’, making children and adults laugh & smile, and made everlasting memories with so many amazing people. I’m thankful to all the wonderful cosplayers I’ve seen or met that encouraged not only me but countless others; and, whose impact can have lasting effects beyond what one might fathom or even impact future generations.
IG: @dynamitewebber FB: Dynamite Webber Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/dynamitewebbercos/
While I’ve been cosplaying for a long time, 2016 has been special to me because I started doing charity work with the group Hope for Henry. I hope to do a lot more of that in 2017.
#actionordeathcosplay IG: https://instagram.com/barclay93
Photo: RW Stenberg Getting involved with volunteer event with kids does the old heart good. Also being selected for the 2017 #menvscosplay Calendar was awesome!!
In 2016 cosplaying has led to many experiences that made me aware that what I do for enjoyment can lead to a life never imagined. My artistic talent has taken me places and allowed me to meet people I never dreamed of meeting. In 2017, I am taking a step back from cosplaying to work on myself, because I am my own competition, but I will be back.
Facebook page RogueEmpress – https://www.facebook.com/RogueEmpress1/
Instagram @AlleyShop9 I have been cosplaying for over 8 years now. Rogue was my first and favorite. She has been revamped over the years to be my go to cosplay. I have always recognized with her strengths and her struggles. Cosplay is a fun way for me to be creative and play. After all, cosplay has the word ‘play’ in it.
2016 was the first year I felt like I came into my own in cosplay. I did more weird outfits, more mashup characters, more things that were ridiculous because I finally felt like I was comfortable with my skill set and myself – and there was no better way to showcase who I am than with the characters I really resonate with, whether or not they’re sexy or popular.
IG: emilyfoxdottir Cosplay lets me celebrate the unique beauty that we all possess. I love seeing people of all colors of the rainbow coming together for the love of cosplay.
Twitter – @MarcLombardi and @AutumnHeart This was our first actual cosplay from Baltimore back in 2012. In 2017 we plan to embrace cosplay and attend some conventions in costume.
Instagram: @clonistudios Cosplay is special to me because it gives me a creative way to express myself as well as challenge myself to learn new skills that I never thought I could do.
Facebook: MalAnam Cosplay https://www.facebook.com/MalAnamCosplay/
Instagram: @malanamcosplay Photo by: Anthony Brown The two moments that really stand out were both at Awesome Con this year. The first was a little girl that got super excited over my Elsa costume and the second was Georgina Haig getting totally distracted mid sentence by my Princess Leia costume when I got up to get in line to ask a question.
Facebook – Facebook.com/DarkArtsCosplayDesign Twitter @DarkArtsCosplay Cosplay lets me be who I want to be and it gives me a great creative outlet as well. It also gives me an opportunity to meet amazing, like-minded people at cons and online.
I got in to cosplaying from dressing up on Halloween, going to cons, and seeing how much fun people were having. They enjoyed having their pictures taken; it was like being a local celebrity,
Cosplaying in 2016 was extra special because after only 2 years of cosplaying people started seeing me as a mentor. I use cosplay as a way to overcome my anxiety, and now I’m able to help others while helping myself.
Photography by BriLan Imagery Facebook: Spectra – https://www.facebook.com/SpectraCos/
Twitter: Spectra_Cosplay IG: SpectraCos I liked cosplaying this year because it was like a second coming after a semi two year hiatus from it while focusing on school & work
IG and TW: melpoolcosplay FB: MelPool https://www.facebook.com/MelPoolCosplay/
In 2016 I was able to tackle big armor builds for the first time and was able to make an iconic, memorable cosplay that nobody has ever seen before. Photo by Sam Cummins
There has been a Load of things that I am happy about this year, just one of them is that after 40 plus years of Costuming/Cosplaying, I am still having a Blast with it, My Way. If I can Do some Good, Bring a Smile, Make a Day, Ease a Pain, Support a Cause, Inspire a Hero, Comfort a Victim, Entertain a Patient, Help a Beginner, Convert a Bully, or Be an Example, That makes my Year !!!
IG: pau_d2 Twitter: @pauninde Cosplay in 2016 meant finally doing one of my dream cosplays (Lucy) and feeling comfortable with it. It also made me meet wonderful people who have helped me improve as a person and as a cosplayer
website: Parttimeheroprops.pagecloud.com Photographer: Johnny Marvel Photography 2016 was special for me in cosplay, as it was the year I went fulltime with my wife as artists, and have been able to use my cosplay to help us grow. Cosplay for me is a form of artistic release. I relish the challenge of turning comic book concepts into real world items and designs!
@cbrob on Instagram @cody1227 on twitter Ever since I was a kid I loved watching Star Wars and dreaming I was an X-Wing pilot. This year my dream finally came true and when I saw my reflection in a window I felt like a kid again
FB: Davaughn Thomas https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006021195700
IG: @legendofthedaywalker Cosplay in 2016, was special for because for several reasons: 1. I was blessed with the opportunity to constantly challenge myself artistically by taking my craft to higher levels of artistry. 2. Sharing my talents, while meeting and greeting, so many like-minded, gifted individuals. 3. Having my biggest inspiration Mr. WESLEY SNIPES, comment, like and acknowledge my IG account, was the most humblest, honorable experience of 2016, for this Daywalker. Much love to you all, my friends. Peace and blessings. ~L.O.D
Facebook: Www.Facebook.com/NeilAnthonyCosplay IG: Www.instagram.com/enayce I will be forever grateful for the amazing, talented and generous people I met through the cosplay community in 2016. Despite what you see in social media, the community is as diverse as I had hoped it to be and I feel at home here.
Instagram is Zeus Raymond 04, Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Haitianwonderwoman/
Cosplay is special to me in 2016,because I feel like I can add diversity to the cosplay world plus I also love expressing my inner warrior princess.
IG @evil_power_ranger Twitter @evilpowerranger Cosplay lets me meet new people at each con that I go to. Cosplay is a great way to meet friends as well as be the characters you love!
Name: Lux Bovino Instagram: @luxbovino Facebook: Duly Noted Cosplay https://www.facebook.com/Dulynotedcosplay/
As someone who identifies as a plus size person I continued cosplaying to be a role model for all those around me by giving back to kids as their favorite Superheroes or Princesses; it’s so rewarding making people’s day! I cosplay because I truly love capturing the essence of a character and bringing them to life and because I’m a size 16 I want people to know they too are “good enough” at cosplay.
Twitter: @djmadmanny This is my first cosplay. I’d love to have the time and money to be able to sink into it as I enjoyed myself at the various cons that I wore it to this year. I loved it when people wanted to get their picture taken with me, especially the kids 🙂
Instagram: brownelegz 2016 gave me the opportunity to cosplay 2 of my favorite characters. Also, I got to do some charity work to help bring smiles to the faces of some little ones.
Cosplay page: http://www.facebook.com/straightouttacosplay
Twitter: TheCorey291 Cosplay in 2016 was special to me because I was able to not just cosplay at conventions, but was able to make appearances in costume for several charities. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to become famous as their primary motivation, but for me it’s about making people smile and helping them have fun and escape for a bit.
FB: The Sword of Morrígan Cosplay and Design – https://www.facebook.com/SwordOfMorrigan/
This was the year I (more-or-less) ‘perfected’ my Jacob Frye cosplay. I made some others that I had been wanting to do for a long time as well. I think I got a lot better at sewing and making patterns this year.
My FB page is facebook.com/mythril-arts and my Instagram is @mythril_arts. This year cosplay has been about trying my very best to craft costumes that I can be proud of, especially as I’m representing and hopefully inspiring black women cosplayers. Cosplay has been a huge confidence booster as well as a chance for me to express my creative muscles.
Twitter: @TragedyRabbit Cosplaying was special for me in 2016 because I left a high profile genre costuming group and was able to do costumes that spoke to me and characters I loved. I also did seven conventions and got to meet so many other cosplayers and make new friends!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PhillipTheShyCosplayGuy/
Cosplay in 2016 was about me enjoying myself and not getting caught up in the drama that seems to go along with it. Also I enjoyed doing my charity work which brought smiles to kids’ faces. That was what cosplay 2016 was about for me and will be again in 2017.
Instagram: ylvaissotwoyearsago Facebook: Daisy Gardner – https://www.facebook.com/DaisyGardnerCotton/
For me, cosplay in 2016 was about getting more confident and meeting so many amazing people! Next to that, I’ve been learning so many cool new things and right now I’m working on props, something I wouldn’t have expected from myself last year. 2017 will only be better! (Photo credit: Vishu Mahabir – Photographer)
My Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/Katherinator
My Instagram is: katherinator_cosplay Cosplaying in 2016 was extra special to me because it marked the first time I completed a cosplay fully from scratch, my first mascot style costume, and my first time being involved in cosplay photoshoot! It was also the first time that I was interviewed and filmed for TV in cosplay – something that was even difficult for someone like me who works in media as a living!
Facebook Josh Strong Cosplay – https://www.facebook.com/joshstrongcosplay
Instagram thedamnbat531 I’ve been cosplaying now for 6 years. I started doing charity work and hospital visits. I still do those things but started really enjoying the convention circuit. The kids’ faces are always priceless seeing their reactions to their favorite hero or character come to life.
IG: Jesse Fresco Twitter: HardCorpsBshot Cosplay in 2016 was my best year because I met so many new friends. And I got to meet the cast of the Ninjak web series.
Instagram – @somethin.sketchy Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PazuzuStudios/
Clayface has always been my favorite Batman villain since I grew up on the animated series. I prefer the more tragic story of Matt Hagen rather than the more sinister Basil Karlo origins. Cosplaying the character has been special to me because he’s not the textbook definition of evil (like some of Bats’ other rogues) but rather a multi-tiered, deeply layered tragic figure attempting to find his place in the world…who occasionally causes mass destruction and bodily harm to others. Can’t get more fun than that!