strange like that

Thoughts on Heroes of Cosplay


I don’t know how it is for non-cosplayers, but I know I have not been able to escape the numerous mind dumps on Facebook about SyFy’s new series, Heroes of Cosplay. You’d think, from the tone of some of these reviews, that the SyFy channel had come into their house, killed their mother, shot their dog, and then ate all their cookies. There is some serious table-flip rage happening.

On the other side, I’ve seen posts adamantly defending it. In fact, some of these have been from folks I know that have been/will be on the show. And some are even from folks I know to be close to those involved with its creation. Some say that the show has gone through a lot of different changes before it became what aired a couple nights ago, and that we don’t know the whole story.

Rage-frothing or on the defense, here’s the bottom line: it’s aired, and it is what it is insofar as what the first episode has shown us. No amount of complaining is going to stop the first season from rolling out, just as no amount of support is going to change the minds of those who despise it.

But really, what is the outcry achieving beyond making the community at large look divided? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but many people outside the world of cosplay already thought we were weird, hyper-competitive crazy people who live in our own reality. I don’t think a show, even one that focused more on the positive and less on competitive, would change the minds of those people. What we do is growing in the mainstream, but it’s still not there yet. And even then, some people will always think of us as fringe, even in the nerd space.

For those who are somewhat regular readers, you know I am supportive of cosplayers feeling confident, comfortable and happy in the hobby they’ve chosen. I continue to stand by that. There is no “right” way to cosplay, just as there is no “wrong” way. There are types you or I may not personally like, but those are our opinions, and will remain our opinions even if a million-bajillion people agree with them.

For example, my opinion is that the show is not for me. Reality television makes me cringe. Even as an avid watcher of Face/Off, I could do without half of the show and generally find myself reading a book when they’re showing anything but the makeups being built and applied. So I’m not really surprised that Heroes of Cosplay just didn’t do it for me. I have friends that are on it, and I think it’s wonderful for them that they were selected and hope that they are happy with the results. I care more about their happiness with it than my own, and they’re the ones ultimately dealing with any positive response as well as any fallout.

Just because the word “cosplay” is in the title of something doesn’t mean that I’ve got to have a vested interest in it, or that it will directly impact me. How I choose cosplay isn’t defined by this show. The most that will likely ever happen to myself or other cosplayers as a result is, if a second season rolls around, we might be prodded by our friends to try out for it. I will be shocked if it has any lasting effects on my life that go deeper than that.

Look, there are things I get nerd rage-faced over all the time. I want to commit heinous crimes whenever someone tells me they like the werewolf design in Harry Potter. It’s okay not to like things. But I also don’t think one bad werewolf design is going to ruin everyone on werewolves for the infinity that is time, just as I don’t think one show on cosplay is going to ruin it for the infinity that is time.

Love it. Hate it. Talk about it. Let’s just keep the magnitude of what it represents in perspective. Until I see some hard evidence that it’s creating a real impact, positive or negative, I’m not going to worry too much about it. I’m too busy having fun cosplaying my way, and I suggest you do the same. Go forth and cosplay!

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