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Considering Cosplay

May 12, 2016

STARLA GATSON 

Staff Reporter | sjg021@latech.edu

 

Andy Tripp, cosplaying as Scorpion from “Mortal Kombat,” and Becky Tripp, cosplaying as Kitana from “Mortal Kombat,” won the Clints Comics award for best cosplay. Photo by Devin Dronett

Andy Tripp, cosplaying as Scorpion from “Mortal Kombat,” and Becky Tripp, cosplaying as Kitana from “Mortal Kombat,” won the Clints Comics award for best cosplay. Photo by Devin Dronett

 

Many people have preferred outlets for self-expression, and for a few of Louisiana Tech’s students, expressing themselves often means taking on an entirely different persona.

 

 

These students, known as cosplayers, dress up in costumes to portray characters from television shows, video games or comic book series.

 

 

“Cosplay is a portmanteau of the words costume and role play,” said Savannah Woods, a senior sociology major. “Some people really go into the role-playing aspect, but for some people, it’s just for show.”

 

 

Woods said her interest in cosplay began during her high school years when she started collecting comic books and further developed when she started attending cosplay conventions in college.

 

 

“I’ve always considered myself really nerdy,” Woods said. “I like dressing up in costume and making things, so cosplay was a perfect fit. It combines all of my loves.”

 

 

Woods said cosplay has given her not only a means of expression, but also a sense of belonging within the cosplay community.

 

 

“I’ve always felt kind of out of place,” she said. “And I dove into the world of comics as a way of feeling accepted. Those ideas of differences making you special really drew me into the world of comics, and the next step was portraying the characters that I loved so much.”

 

 

While Woods favors the freedom of expression she has gained through the craft, James Ortis said for him, cosplay is about bringing joy to others.

 

Leon Evans, cosplaying as Link from “The Legend of Zelda,” wins first in kids cosplay contest. Photo by Devin Dronett.

Leon Evans, cosplaying as Link from “The Legend of Zelda,” wins first in kids cosplay contest. Photo by Devin Dronett.

Ortis said he began cosplaying to share his favorite characters with those around him.

 

 

“My favorite thing about cosplay is bringing a smile to people’s faces,” said Ortis, a senior with a double major in computer science and cyber engineering. “There are definitely a lot of people out there who really care a lot about certain characters. When they see it brought to life, they’re really excited because for a moment, they can believe that character is real. That’s something really special.”

 

 

Ortis said the portrayal of different characters gives him an opportunity to view situations through unique perspectives.

 

 

“It’s fun for a time to act like someone you’re not,” he said. “I imagine it’s the same kind of thrill method actors get. It’s a situation where you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and I think that’s a very valuable experience for everyone.”

 

 

Randi Hoff, a sophomore computer science major, said she has been cosplaying for three years and enjoys the activity for a variety of reasons.

 

 

“Sometimes it’s the challenge of figuring out how to construct a complicated prop or outfit that’s most entertaining,” she said. “Other times, it’s getting to be a part of a cosplaying group with friends and taking a bunch of pictures in character. Meeting other people who enjoy the same hobbies never hurts either.”

 

 

Hoff said she would like to see more Tech students give cosplay a chance.

Robert Grant, cosplaying as Deadpool, and Shane Dison, cosplaying as Iron Man, pose together. Photo by Devin Dronett

Robert Grant, cosplaying as Deadpool, and Shane Dison, cosplaying as Iron Man, pose together. Photo by Devin Dronett

 

 

“I think the student community here probably knows a little about cosplay, but I think it’s associated with anime pretty exclusively,” she said. “I would love to see students here learn more about or participate in cosplay, even if it’s just to try it out.”

 

 

Woods said she believes the increase of small cosplay conventions in North Louisiana, such as the Downtown River Market’s “Geeks Along the River” convention in Monroe, will bring a new appreciation for the craft and its community.

 

 

“I’ve made a lot of friends through cosplay, and it brings people together,” she said. “When I first started, I was really intimidated, but once you get to a convention and are surrounded by people who are just like you, you realize that the things that would have held you back really don’t matter. It’s a super accepting community.”

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