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Embodying Values of the Characters We Cosplay

For many cosplayers, picking out the right cosplay means more than finding the most extravagant costume. It may even mean more than being in character while you cosplay. For some, it means embodying the the values of the character we wish to portray. In many cases, when we cosplay a character, we inspire others because it may be someone’s first time seeing their hero fully fleshed out. When done properly, it can leave an indelible mark on those who see this portrayal. So, imagine the surprise and disappointment that many cosplayers felt when Alissa Norris – who cosplays as Supergirl – was seen marching with white supremacists in Charlottesville last month. That’s not to say that we all have to lead perfect lives to the letter, but when you are cosplaying a character that is known worldwide as a symbol of good, on some level you should know enough about that character to emulate the values that they have.

For those that don’t know, Superman was created by two Jewish men in 1938. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a character whose iconic status set the stage for nearly every modern comic character to date. If you ever have a chance to read Action Comics #1, it’s amazing to note that Superman didn’t start off punching huge exotic aliens; he dealt with spousal abusers and money cheats.

20 years later, Otto Binder and Al Plastino created Supergirl in 1959 along with the Legion of Superheroes and Braniac. She adopted many of the qualities that her younger cousin Kal-el had, and even (in the pages of comics), sacrificed her life for the good of the many.

Despite the numerous actors that have portrayed Superman over the years, only 3 actresses have portrayed Supergirl. Also (if you really have paid attention in certain instances), she may even be more powerful than Superman. Despite the differences, she, like her cousin have used their powers benevolently to help the people of Earth; even though if they wanted to, they could rule it.

For myself, Superman and Supergirl personify powerful characters who choose to help the powerless. These characters may have flaws, but despite them being aliens to earth, they are just as human and compassionate. Regardless of who you are, when cosplaying this character, it’s hard to do so without trying to live up to the qualities of being super. Therefore, here’s a look at some other cosplayers who share what it’s like to portray & embody Krytonians as well.

Barbie C.

“My love for Superman runs extremely deep. I have a very large tattoo of him on my back as he is my absolute favorite male superhero. I love what they both represent: truth, justice, strength, integrity, everything that is good and right. I know how terribly ‘apple pie’ that sounds but we could use some of that in our world right about now.”

Kyle C.

“Being Superman is meaningful to me because it makes me to be the best I can be. When I cosplay, other people, child and adult look at me and expect Superman. I must show the best of humanity by being the Man of Steel  who is friendly, kind, and caring.”

Leigh T.

“I cosplay as Supergirl because she is a beacon of hope to all.  She was my favorite hero growing up and dressing up as her is a dream come true. I love seeing the sparkle in a child’s eyes when they see me in one of my Supergirl costumes because to them, I’m the real deal and that hope and inspiration carries on.”

Kevin J.

“Steel is the ultimate Superman because he has no special powers but is still willing to put his life on the line to protect others. I love Steel because he is a Black male with just his talents who becomes a hero for all, including Superman himself, which he saved once. Steel shows that with the right attitude we can all be heroes.”

Susan F.

From Westercon 33 in Los Angeles, 1980; photo by Dik Daniels

“Always, I was Supergirl inside, flying above all the pain and sorrow of the world. I’m nearly three times that age now, but still Supergirl inside.”

Electro B.

“I portray Superman because I feel that he’s a good hero to look up to due to his kindness and respect towards people. One of my main reasons I chose to portray the Val Zod version of him is that he was like me when I was younger, shy, timid and nervous. Just like him, I eventually overcome those obstacles in life and try my best to make a difference in people’s lives whether it’s directly or indirectly.”

Marina D. 

“My husband and I were both fans of our characters (Superman & Wonder Woman) prior to meeting each other. As children we aspired to be strong and kind like the heroes we looked up to. Now as adults we work diligently to make those aspirations stay alive.”

Eric M. 

“Superman of Earth 23  inspires the people of his planet.  He’s the president and he’s a hero that kids can look up to.”

About Harry C. (1110 Articles)
Founder of The Next Issue Podcast and Pop Culture Uncovered, Harry has been reading comics since he could reach a news stand. He is also a cosplayer with his current favorite role as being Bishop, of the X-men. He is a fan of Marvel, Image and DC and is really passionate about making sure that kids get the opportunity to read. This leads him to getting out to places with comics that others no longer need and putting them into the hands of kids who will treasure them. His favorite comic characters are Batman, Spider-man, and Tony Chiu.

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