“Just selfies in costume” says comic book artist Pat Broderick, who has banned promoters from inviting him to events involving the fancy dress craze
Fancy dress pop culture fans or “cosplayers” have become a staple at conventions, but one comic book writer has had enough saying they “bring nothing of value” to the industry.
Pat Broderick, an artist whose work includes Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight for Marvel, and Batman Year Three for DC, has returned to the industry after 20 years, and the website Bleeding Cool reports that he does not like what he sees.
Writing on his Facebook page Broderick said: “Today’s heads up. If you’re a cosplay personality, please don’t send me a friend request. If you’re a convention promoter and you’re building your show around cosplay events and mega multiple media guests don’t invite me.
“You bring nothing of value to the shows, and if you’re a promoter pushing cosplay as your main attraction you’re not helping the industry or comics market. Thank you.”
In a later comment he added: “Cosplay are just selfies in costume, and doing multiple selfies is about the highest expression of narcissism.”
Cosplay, which gets its name from “costume play” has evolved from fancy dress into a multi-million dollar industry with fans putting hours of work into outfits that can be formidably detailed.
A film about British cosplayers, Cosplayers UK: The Movie, was released in 2011. Cosplayers attend comics, pop culture and video games events as well as cosplay-specific occasions. The Yorkshire Cosplay Con is expanding to a larger venue for 2015 after 2000 people visited in 2014.
Broderick’s comments drew support from other members of the comics industry who said that promoting cosplay over comics was a problem.
Mike Wolfer, a writer and artist who has worked with Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis and Alan Moore, wrote: “I ignore con invites that proclaim, ‘HUGE COSPLAY CONTEST (oh, yeah… and [Spider-Man creator] Stan Lee)’.”
Comic conventions by their very nature are places for comics fans to get close to their favourite book creators, but Broderick’s supporters said that, in their experience of cosplayers, the look of the costume was often more important than knowing the character.
Raymond Lui, a comics shop owner from New York, deadpanned that he had to ask a cosplayer to leave his booth at a recent convention on learning that the costumed fan had no idea who a character he wanted to play was.
“I had a cosplayer pass by my booth all excited about the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, and wanting to dress like him, but the cosplayer had no idea what Strange does, if he’s a real doctor, and when I remarked that he was created by Steve Ditko, the man who made Spider-Man, the cosplayer asked me if Strange was related to Spider-Man,” he wrote. “I had to boot him out of my booth.”
Cosplayers were unsurprisingly put out by the comments, with one in particular pointing out that cosplay offers more than a craving for having one’s picture taken.
Rob Corsair, a self-declared comics fan of some 20 years’ standing, said: “I could tell you that for the last eight years the main thrust of my cosplay had been (on average) around 30 non convention-related appearances per year at children’s hospitals, charity events, retirement homes and foster child birthday parties. But you people wouldn’t listen.”