Avoid This Cosplay: 10 Costumes to Ditch for the 2014 Convention Circuit

GameStop, Inc.

 

As Phoenix Comicon, Comic Con International: San Diego, New York City Comic Con and Dragon Con peer over the costumed horizon, cosplayers across the nation are dusting off their Boba Fett guns and priming their spandex for another year of photographs and championing their favorite characters. For the uninitiated, cosplay is the act of dressing up like your favorite character from a movies, tv shows, book, comics and/or manga. With shows like Heroes of Cosplay on the (poorly rebranded) SyFy Network and many people now making cosplay a career, the convention floor has become less like a gathering of friends and more a fierce competition of entering a pleather-and-plastic cosplay Thunderdome.

If you are looking for internet fame or merely to stand out this year at your favorite fan convention, here are the top 10 costumes to leave in the closet for 2014:

 

10. Na’vi from James Cameron’s Avatar

20th Century Fox

James Cameron’s Avatar

In 2009, the internet exploded with a new costume fascination as James Cameron’s Avatar highlighted the dangers of human and military interactions on the environment of a fantastical and allegorical alien planet. Five years later the Avatar fan-love of the Na’vi, the semi-nude blue-skinned dwellers of the planet Pandora, simply will not die.

A nearly nude blue body suit and five hours of makeup is just the beginning for those wearing the Na’vi costume. Ear extensions, contacts and false teeth make the Na’Vi cosplay the Bataan Death March of costume preparation. Na’vi cosplayers are dedicated and willing to spend that much time and effort on a costume seemingly for nothing. In a culture known for abandoning the current latest and greatest for the next thing, the Na’Vi has lost its allure and now seems more like an outfit designed with gluttons for punishment in mind.

At the 2014 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA two separate entries to the Masquerade Competition were Na’vi and neither earned so much as an honorable mention or a head nod. The dedication of these cosplayers is admirable, but unfortunately they will spend a good chunk of the convention hearing small children asking “Hey mommy, what’s that blue thing?”

9. Wolverine

20th Century Fox

X-Men Origins

Wolverine is one of the most overdone costumes of all time in the world of cosplay. Every possible combination of outfit and attitude for Wolverine has been played out on the convention floor. Unfortunately, the new movie X-Men: Days of Future Past is sparking yet another surge of popularity to the grumpy regenerative claw-wielder on the convention floor. Standard leather jacket to blue and yellow spandex suit, bone or adamantium claws, Wolverine is seemingly everywhere when it comes to cosplay.

If you need even more proof that your argument to play this famous character is invalid, even Hugh Jackman has cosplayed as Wolverine and failed. At the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, Hugh Jackman walked the Dealer’s Floor in the full Wolverine costume. In his X-Men panel discussion later in the day Jackman surprised the crowd when he told them that he was told by one convention attendee he was too tall, and another that the costume was “not bad.” If even Hugh Jackman is getting flack for his Wolverine attire, it might be time to leave the spandex back at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

 

8.  Black Widow

Disney and Marvel

The Avengers

Natasha Romanov is beautiful, deadly, and able to talk her way out of almost any situation. Born in Stalingrad, Russia, Black Widow defected from the Soviet Union and joining S.H.I.E.L.D. for love, or revenge, or…well, you know how often Marvel changes the story. The only thing that truly stays consistent for the femme-fatale is her form-fitting outfits and sassy attitude. As the Avengers franchise launched, Black Widow has discovered an explosion of popularity in the cosplay arena; black latex, vinyl, leather or spandex suits are cropping up all over the floor and all emblazoned with the trademark red hour glass of her character.

This year the popularity of the costume has turned comic conventions into a nest of pseudo-assassins. Fake guns and terrible red wigs are now in every nook and cranny of the the more popular nerd gatherings. It’s difficult to make this cosplay stick without a long time at the gym and a Victoria’s Secret models’ diet. It has been done well, but even actress Scarlett Johansen has made comments about the difficulty of looking good in a form-fitting catsuit. The costume is not something that can be easily slapped together or sewn at home in a timely manner either. Unfortunately with a wealth of Widows this year, reserve this one for a year you can devote to the gym.

7.  Deadpool

Marvel

Deadpool from Marvel

Who could hate the alter ego of alliteratively-named mercenary Wade Wilson? Deadpool is the taco-loving, “Merc with a Mouth” and has perfected the art of sarcasm, while killing anyone who stands in the way of his murderous profits. Loud-mouthed cosplayers have found a sanctuary for their sarcasm hiding behind snide comments by taking on Deadpool’s black and red guise. The costume offers both anonymity and inclusion in the cosplay world by giving the wearer an outfit that covers the entire body, from head-to-toe.

Unfortunately, Deadpool is everywhere in the costume world and often portrayed poorly. As with the Black Widow cosplay, spandex is a harsh and restrictive mistress; without a body created by serious time at the gym or strong shapewear the red suit can turn a minimal stomach bulge into a sizeable one. Cosplayers are slowly realizing that the iconic skintight spandex costume has overwhelmed the floor in the past few years and are now adding a variety of props to the costume to spark variety. Tuxedo jackets and tutus are a cute way to change it up, but the Deadpool look is far too overdone for 2014. You can risk it with a varietal of Deadpool, but I recommend choosing something with less spandex this season.

6. Harley Quinn and The Joker

Batman the Animated Series

Batman the Animated Series

Harley Quinn and the Joker are one of the most cosplayed couple-costumes in nerd history. The murderous lovebirds have captured the hearts and attentions of nerds the world over and no place is it more obvious than a major comic book convention.

Unlike many Batman characters, this incarnation of Harley Quinn has not been around since the days of Bob Kane. Harley Quinn appeared on screen September 11, 1992 in Batman: The Animated Series. The Joker’s lady friend soon developed an insanely close fan following and began showing up in the Batman comic books in 1993. Sexy, murderous and absolutely out of her mind, the popularity of this therapist turned killer has spread to the point where one cannot walk a convention floor without nearly running into her giant mallet or being whipped in the face with her trademark blonde pigtails.

Of course, Harley Quinn would not exist without the madness of the Joker. The purple suit-wearing villain is as popular and iconic as Batman himself. The Clown Prince of Crime, Joker has found even more popularity after Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the insane mastermind in 2008’s The Dark Night. Video games, comics and cartoons offer variations on the classic costume, but in the end there are always far too many Jokers of any type at major comic conventions.

I love couples cosplaying together, but 2014 is the year to leave this costume to the criminally insane.

5. Daenerys Targaryen

HBO's Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series has gained an extremely loyal following thanks to HBO’s popular adaptation Game of Thrones. Few characters on the hit television show are as popular as the dragon-rearing Daenerys Targaryen.  Willowy, blonde, and the badass “Mother of Dragons,” the Khaleesi of the Dothraki tribe is not a woman to be trifled with. Her popularity has gone from a few readers enjoying a book to an entire weekly audience of television viewers drooling over her latest adventure.

Last year in the United States, 146 newborn girls were given the royal name of Khaleesi. One-hundred, forty-six girls named Khaleesi may seem like a lot of babies, but it doesn’t compare to the number of young (and not so young) women who are opting to play the Stormborn. The costume ranges from a blue dress and matching cape to the more traditional Dothraki attire of fake animal hides. Most of the outfit choices depend how far into the book or television show the cosplayer has ventured into. Daenerys Targaryen has captured the attention of costumers everywhere, and has lost its unique nature to a slew of bad long blonde wigs. Cosplayers trying to stand out on the convention floor this year should back away from the dragons for now or risk getting burned.

4. Elsa from Disney’s Frozen

Disney's Frozen

Disney’s Frozen

If the early convention costumes of the season have been an indicator, Disney’s Frozen is more popular for adult costumes than the animation subdivision of Walt Disney Pictures could have ever imagined. A frightened Snow Queen with ice powers she cannot control, Elsa is known for her haunting ice crystal blue dress and white blonde hair. Parents of small children across the world will recognize the now famous sparkling costume and the obnoxiously popular Idina Menzel near operatic “Let it Go.”

At the 2014 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA it was nearly impossible to walk the floor without running into at least one woman or child portraying the Disney Snow Queen every few minutes. Dark blue and light blue sequins lined bodices topped off with either bad blonde wigs or really bleached blond hair with loads of hairspray have taken over conventions across the world. What started off as one or two costumers with a good sewing machine has become a veritable Elsa Army.

This is not about the cute 3-year-old girls dressing up in tiaras and blue tulle; small children can still rock a Disney Princess costume without ridicule or comment. This is about the large number of adult women taking yet another Disney character into overdrive in the costume world. By next year this fan following should slow down to an icy trickle. For 2014 do what the song says, ladies; LET. IT. GO!!!

3. The Cast of Adventure Time

Cartoon Network's Adventure Time

Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time

Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time is colorful American children’s program featuring moments of obvious adult humor and occasionally inappropriate sight gags. It has recently developed an international following now that the first two seasons are readily available to view with the online streaming service Netflix. The main character, Finn the Human, is a young adventurer from the Land of Ooo. Armed with a cheerful nature and a save-the-day mentality, Finn is a natural draw for the young man who wants to cosplay but also wants to put as little effort and money as possible into the creation of a costume. Finn’s outfit is a white hat with bunny ears, a blue shirt and pair of blue pants.  Make a simple trip to your closet, grab a green backpack and you’re done.

While there is only one human in the Land of Ooo, there are often 100 or more Finn’s at San Diego Comic Con International. Now, with a female addition to the show, the similarly dress Fiona offers a female counterpart to add even more blue to the costume traffic congestion. The cheap and easy nature of the costumes has led to an overzealous cosplay following that now chokes conventions in a sea of blue shirts and green backpacks. It is now possible to get hit in the face by the backpacks of hundreds of young folks in costume instead of just the overlarge swag bags given at conventions. This year leave the bunny hat and backpack at home, as school’s out for summer.

 

2. ANY Incarnation of The Doctor from Doctor Who

BBC's Doctor Who

BBC’s Doctor Who

If you’ve  been to a comic book or movie convention in the past five years you have no doubt seen the creepy guy wrapped in a scarf that is far too long and multicolored to a fault. Often accompanying him are a man in a long brown trench coat wearing black glasses or a young gangly man wearing a tweed jacket and bow tie. Call the fashion police because this Time Lord has out lived his time on the cosplay circuit.

Doctor Who has one of the most extensive and fiercely loyal fan bases on the planet. Without arguing the semantics, there are about 13 Doctor variants to choose from for this cosplay and all of these Time Lords have been portrayed to death. Some cosplayers are already portraying Peter Capaldi’s Doctor before the episodes have even finished filming in Cardiff.

At this point, The Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary special has come and gone, England has cleaned up its celebrations and BBC has gone back to focusing on cutting the Doctor Who budget again. There are far too many people portraying the wandering Time Lord, and  the over-saturation of scarves, bow ties and fez has become a point of mockery and no longer a celebration of love for a long standing character. Hang up the jacket and put the fez on a hat rack until this trek through the time vortex has ended.

1. Slave Leia

Star Wars

Star Wars

If there’s one costume that needs to be thrown into a Sarlacc pit and never recovered, it would be the BDSM inspired chains of the Slave Leia costume. The Star Wars franchise has provided the convention floor with a wealth of more original costumes, but unfortunately none are as popular as the Slave Leia ensemble.

The costume is ridiculously hard to wear properly or safely. Horror stories are abound where someone accidentally stepped on the cloth portions of the metal bikini, leaving cosplayers bare from the waist down. These stories do not even begin to number of occasions where the bikini top coming undone somehow.

Running a simple Google search for Slave Leia will reveal photo after photo of large groupings of Leia’s gathering together in their chains and bikini tops after a convention. It is not only the women that are overwhelming conventions with the Slave Leia cosplay; men are dominating the scene in the scantly clad costume at conventions in droves, displaying an over abundance of chest hair and belly fat to the world. At this point, it would be safer to take out the Darth Maul costume you buried in the closet four years ago and wear that.

If you do choose to wear this most popular of cosplays, may the force be with you and the integrity of your costume’s materials.

 

Fear not cosplayers, there are still a couple months before the major cons.  If you aren’t vying for the next spot on Heroes of Cosplay or trying to sell a calendar  you will likely still get your fair share of attendees asking for your photo if you choose to rep on of the above costumes. Internet fame favors the bold and unusual. Have fun, stay classy, and don’t be Slave Leia.

Anytime Costumes

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