Hero For A Day – The Lament Of A First Time Cosplayer At New York Comic Con

By Timothy Carson

I've always had this dream that I'd someday be surrounded by a horde of adoring fans, clawing and pushing one another to simply bask in my presence. They'd hang on every word, laugh at all my jokes, and practically faint at the sight of my dashing, debonair smile.

Then reality set in.

It was at the tender age of 13 that I realized I'd probably never be accompanied by my own entourage, seeing as everyone around seemed to develop at a rate comparable to Wolverine's healing factor, while I remained caught somewhere between Robin and Beast Boy – you know, awkward and gangly. I'm already a quarter-of-a-century and I still feel like I'm caught in some perpetually pubescent time-warp. Don't get me wrong, though: Robin and Beast Boy are great characters. But, Robin will forever be darkened by Batman's 6'3" handsomely brooding shadow; and Beast Boy, well, he really can't compete with Starfire's cleavage.

So, when I decided to attend the New York Comic-Con as a cosplayer this year, I found my options limited. I initially thought I'd go as Robin because he is known as "the boy wonder," and I am nothing if not boyish. I shelved that idea when I noticed the detail in his suit, which was panic inducing for someone who had never made a costume before. That's when I decided upon Wiccan; he's like seventeen, and I look seventeen. Perfect. Young Avengers also happens to be one of my favorite comics – the artwork is top notch, the characters are relatable, and, most importantly, there's the sickeningly adorable young gay couple. And whether or not your sexuality leans towards the ladies, the fellas, or somewhere in the gray, we can all agree that Wiccan/Hulkling are super cute. (See what I did there?)

I was banking on their magical romance (God, this is just too easy) to turn me into some kind of cosplay star at the comic-con. I stomped down 105th St Saturday morning like I owned the place; my cape was blowing elegantly in the wind, and I worked that sidewalk like I was competing on America's Next Top Model. People were even staring at me while I waited for the A train to arrive and transport me and all my fierceness to Penn Station. Yeah, I felt pretty fucking awesome.

"Hey! Nice cape, Superman!"

I turned to see some toothless homeless man giving me the thumbs-up. Let me tell you, nothing deflates a good-mood-boner like a drunken hobo incorrectly identifying your costume.

"I thought Superman wore blue?" the girl standing next to me asked her boyfriend, who ironically was built like Mr. Kent.

I suddenly felt like I was back in middle school gym class waiting to be picked last for dodgeball. I realized people were probably staring because they were wondering why the hell this random twelve year old was wearing a cape and combat boots. And, even if they did know it was comic-con weekend, they were most likely in the dark about who exactly I was impersonating.

I guess Wiccan and Hulkling aren't a love story for the ages.

It became my new mission then to find a Hulkling while at the con. Fan girls can't resist a cute gay couple posing together, and someone would inevitable recognize us. (Right?) Also, he'd meet me and become instantly infatuated by my witty charm. He'd then carry me off into the sunset and we would make sweet, sweet superhero love together.

I didn't take into account, though, that there is a whole lot of walking involved at the New York Comic-Con, and I suddenly became very aware of the seams that held my very thin suit together. I had to ask myself the question: what would I do if my suit exploded everywhere? I'd have to fashion some sort of loincloth from my cape and remnants of fabric, and then absolutely no one would recognize me.

More importantly – I may or may not have been wearing underwear. I like to live dangerously.

I found pretty much everyone associated with Wiccan's character, minus a few exceptions – like a green skinned, buff blonde boy by the name of Teddy.

I found Dr. Strange:

Dr. Strange

I found Loki:

I found my mom:

Scarlet Witch

I even found the Little Mermaid:


Alas, no Hulkling, though. As the day drew to a close and evening blanketed the city, I walked away from my first time cosplaying having been recognized a handful of times. It wasn't the horde I was expecting, or hoping. I wouldn't even call it a group or congregation. I then settled in at a bar with the rest of the Bleeding Cool crew, and was unknowingly entered in the costume contest there. Spoiler alert: I didn't win. Barf did. Screw you, John Candy. Anyways, on my way out I was stopped by a long-haired British fellow, and no – it wasn't Rich Johnston.

"Thank you for representing a side of comics not typically shown," he said to me.

I wasn't really sure how to respond, or even what to say in that moment. I simply smiled and humbly accepted the compliment, thanking him in the process for recognizing my costume. I then busted out of that bar with renewed vigor, fending off the brisk night air of New York City with my energized steps. I may have not amassed a crowd of adoring fans. I may not have been recognized by everyone. But, at least for one day, I was a hero. Even if it was for just one person.

Timothy Carson prefers pencil to pen, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and referring to himself in the third person.  Tim is a recent graduate of Westfield State University. He studied English and knows his alphabet. He would like to do his parents proud by not having to resort to prostitution in order to pay the rent.

About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.

twitter   facebook square