SOME GUY WHO HASN’T MADE A COMIC IN 20 YEARS WANTS ALL COSPLAYERS TO STAY AWAY FROM HIM

(AND HE’LL BE DOING NEW WORK OF DC COMICS!)

AMBER LOVE 05-DEC-2014 I’m pretty sure that I understand a lot of the grief of creators who think cosplayers are dominating comic book conventions. I, as a cosplayer and writer, also think the top billing should go to the creators and publishers who make the products we love. I don’t think you can dismiss cosplayers believing we are non-paying fans because let me explain something — cosplayers spend anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars on a costume.

They aren’t going to turn their noses up at your $5 comic unless they really aren’t interested in your fucking comic.

Also, it’s really hard to carry even one bag while wearing a costume. Some of us don’t have any pockets for even our phones! We do our shopping when we get changed; maybe you don’t think cosplayers are spending money, but we are often spending it while not in costume.

HOW TO BE HUMILIATED BY CREATORS

I have been on the humiliating end of two very famous creators regarding being a fan and what’s interesting is that both times, were at the same New York Comic Con:

* The first time I waited patiently (2008), while in my Power Girl costume, to say hello to Mike Mignola. My brother was overseas in the military and was a huge MM fan. He’s the one who told me the Hellboy movie wouldn’t scare because, I’m such a patsy I thought it would based on the commercials. I wanted to do something special for him so I saw MM at the booth but not signing. He was talking to an elegantly dressed woman and I was close enough to hear but didn’t want to interrupt. I made eye contact in that “Hi, I’m here whenever you have just a second kind of way.” He goes on talking to this woman and tells her that he hates when fans come up to him. Now it’s been so long I can’t remember if he said “dressed up fans” or just “fans” but either way is particularly mortifying and horrendous to say to the people who consume what you make a living from. He saw me standing there and I opened my mouth, “Never mind, I’ll leave you alone.” Suddenly it was “No, no, wait, what can I do for you?” I wanted to say, “You can fuck right off and I’ll tell my brother someone he idolizes is an asshole,” but I didn’t. I quickly stated why I was there and that I would love a picture with him to send in the next package. He smiled and took the photo with me, both of us with completely artificial smiles on our faces. It was humiliating. Yet, I’ve seen Riddle pose in her Hellgirl costume with him.

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* The second embarrassment (2009) by a creator was when I was attending a writers’ panel. Besides costuming, I love to write and podcast. I was interested in learning how to write comics and though that particular panel had half novelists on there, one of them was one of my icons Amber Benson. I wanted to see her, to hear what she had to say about writing novels and if the Fates allowed, meet her, which I did. I sat in the front row because I was taking notes and didn’t want to miss a single thing. I did this dressed as Power Girl. At that panel was also Peter David, famed Star Trek writer and creator of Fallen Angel. There I sat in the front row while PAD talked candidly about how he has no respect for the bodacious, big-busted women in comics wearing very little clothing. I was mortified. I was new to comics and new to conventions only having gone to a few at that point. My husband of the time was the one to teach me about Power Girl because he thought I’d be able to relate to her as a girl who had ginormous boobs as a kid and suffered a lifetime of either wearing baggy clothes and looking pregnant or being accused of “using my assets” to sexually harass male coworkers. I was happy I was taught about Power Girl. But there I was mortified in that front row. The blood draining to my toes. I wanted to faint or run but my body was parked in that seat. I wouldn’t get up and run out because first of all, I was shaking too badly, and second of all, I was there to see Amber Benson and fuck anyone that would keep me from that experience. Karma is a bitch though — I later appeared in an issue of PAD’s Fallen Angel. :p

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As I said, I don’t like when comic conventions are honestly masquerade balls disguised as comic conventions. Bigger shows can balance all of it. They have video games, crafts, creators, and yes, costuming and TV celebrities. Things like Wizard World conventions, anime cons like Katsucon and Anime Next, put all their emphasis on anyone who isn’t a comic book creator. If you’re lucky, you’ll find maybe a handful of names in some “featured guest” list. Guys like the Romitas, Neal Adams, or another heavy hitter – rarely a woman besides Gail Simone. Those medium size shows have all but nudged out the creators. If it were the fault of cosplayers, why would the shows do it? They are offering costume contest prizes around $1,000! Why wouldn’t cosplayers and armor fabricators flock to that?

My theory, speaking as someone who has been on both sides of the table, is that those creators who vehemently oppose costuming as part of the art culture of comics are jealous. They are jealous that there aren’t 30 versions of their character running around like Deadpool. I’m not a Rob Leifeld fan but I can attest to how gracious he is with fans. He says as long as possible to sign every last thing. He poses for all the pictures. He’s kind to his fans. Maybe not to someone else’s since I couldn’t even get him to look up from the table when I wanted to tell him something, but I wasn’t dressed as Deadpool.

So, Dear Cosplay-Hating Creators – why are you so eager to turn away such a large portion of the fanbase that does fuel the comic book, gaming, and television economy? If you made a franchise that incorporates everything like The Walking Dead, I’m pretty sure your success would not be part of this equation, right?

JUST A FEW CREATORS WHO ACTUALLY LOVE FANS:

I guess, they can’t all be happy as GEORGE PEREZ drawing on my butt! And I didn’t even get into how much money cosplayers have helped the comics community raise for charities all over the world!

Here’s a cartoon from Kath Leth of Kate or Die!

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4 comments on “Dear Cosplay-Hating Creators… learn from people like Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, & the countless other creators who “get it””

  1. I suspected you’d have a clever/insightful take on this, and indeed, you did.

    And that photo with Seth Green is the tops! (‘Course I’ve always liked your Firestar…)

    • Thanks. I don’t begrudge the man too much for not liking how cosplay has become a main attraction. People feel that way about the TV/Movie celebrities and the wrestlers too. It’s fine for him to have standards of what shows he’ll do. The problem is how he lashed out about it tactlessly. Also, he’ll find there aren’t any decent shows where cosplay isn’t a huge part. As I said, I don’t like seeing cosplay names above creators but I’m fine if shows want to have them as guests and contest judges. Booth space is quite expensive. Very few people are in the top status of guests that have their hotel rooms paid for. There’s no consistency from show to show what their label of “guest” even means. Sometimes it only means the artist doesn’t have to pay for a table.

      So, he can dislike whatever he wants but it won’t help him be productive at shows. Chris Flick just wrote a post for Web Comics Alliance explaining how he embraced this change; he offers discounts to cosplayers on sketch cards of who they are dressed as.

  2. Cosplay hate is just baffling to me. I hope this next comment doesn’t come across as trivializing the craft and art form, but cosplayers add such a fun, carnival-like atmosphere to a con I just can’t understand how anyone, creator or fan, can hate it. They take NOTHING away from the comic fans who want to meet creators and they add so much to the con experience.

  3. Old post, I know – I apologize for the post-omancy. Anyway:

    Sad fact is, creators are just people, with the same personality flaws as any other person. Unfortunately, many of them are also socially awkward – it’s part of the reason they’re creating in the industry they’re in. They’re just misfit-y geeks like us who happen to have achieved a level of notoriety. Unfortunately, improved social graces seldom come with that increased status. (If anything, I think social graces may go in the other direction…)

    And Peter David’s a dick of the first order. His lousy treatment of my fiancee when she tried to engage with him as a fan (as he sat alone and ignored at his table – big surprise) was one of the reasons that the one and only con we’ve been to was such a nightmare. He later dissed the entire party we were with at a dinner, and several of the others mentioned having had similar experiences with him. (This was one of the several occurrences at that con that ultimately led to me blowing up at the organizers on the last day while one of the guests was signing photos for us. After that experience, the desire to attend upcoming cons passes as quickly as it came.)

    Creators should remember two simple rules:

    1) Be thankful for your fans – without them, yes, you’d still be a creator. But only for your mom.

    2) Don’t be a dick.

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