Cosplay and FAN EXPO Denver – A Love Affair For All


It’s safe to say one of the greatest aspects of FAN EXPO Denver and other pop-cultural conventions is the carefully crafted and sometimes bizarre cosplays you encounter. This past weekend, the Colorado Convention Center held its annual pop culture convention to the delight of heroes, hunters and force-users galore.

READ: What You Missed at FAN EXPO Denver 2022

There was an array of events and panels to join, but it’s often cosplay that creates the biggest scenes — in the physicality of the costume and the characters that embody them. It’s all about panels, sentimental goods and submerging yourself in an environment typically only found through a two-dimensional lens for a single weekend. That’s why the costumes are always a knockout. The highly anticipated event is a chance for cosplayers of all experience levels to showcase their creativity and their fandoms. It’s a chance to connect to fellow geeks but also compete in a friendly and non-judgemental environment.

It’s this relationship that makes the art of cosplay a special hobby. It’s no different than joining a book club, or a hiking group. It’s a way for individuals to put themselves out there and join a community fit for them. From infants to the elderly, there’s a costume and a fandom for any self-proclaimed nerd. Here’s a look at a few from the weekend.

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The event made sure to give every opportunity to cosplay fans to show off their stuff on the “Cosplay Red Carpet.” Each day and every half hour beginning Friday evening a different fandom was given the chance to meet up and take photographs with other cosplayers of the same fictional universe. Not every single pop-cultural phenomenon had a time frame, but the event provided enough to make most attendees feel included and for those whose fandoms didn’t make the red carpet cut, there were still opportunities to grace the scarlet aisle. From Star Wars to Nintendo and Disney to Harry Potter, universes collided in the best way possible.

Dressing up is as simple as it comes when talking about cosplay, but at FAN EXPO Denver, there are so many resources or panels to better understand the practice itself. If you’ve never done cosplay, it can be quite intimidating. Seeing professional cosplayers who do it for a living, and individuals that look like they could, can be discouraging but guest speakers and longtime cosplayers made sure to welcome any and all fanboys and girls.

Panels spoke about inclusivity in cosplay and the importance of acceptance to all experience levels or how to work with certain materials. Others made clear that even veterans of the hobby can experience anxiety but more importantly they went over techniques and tricks to cope with the debilitating effects of going all out for your favorite shows or stories. 303 Magazine had the liberty of speaking to a few cosplayers about their costumes and the convention. Here are just a few of their comments:

cosplay, cosplayers, Fan Expo Denver, Fan Expo
Tegan Martinez and Aliyah Templeman as Kyoshi Warriors from Avatar the Last Airbender. Photo by 303 Magazine.

303 Magazine: What intrigues you most about cosplay?

Aliya Templeman: I like the aesthetic of taking a cartoon or drawing and trying to turn it into a real live person and make it look as accurate to the reference as possible.

303: Is there anything you think people need to know about cosplay that might not fully understand it?

A.T.: You don’t need a lot of money to do it. You can go to thrift stores or anything and put things together that you like.

Tegan Martinez: I would say never be ashamed of cosplaying anything. Commit to the bit.

Truer words couldn’t embody the spirit of cosplay: “Commit to the bit.” That said, there are some that commit their lives to these roles for the greater good. A few of the cosplayers in attendance represented more than their costumes — their nonprofits.

Two of the nonprofits present came in the form of two of the most well-known heroes in the comic realm — Batman and Captain America. Both of these figures shared their mission of bringing joy to those who need it, whether it be hospitals or charity events, they make it their priority to brighten kids’ days. The two, along with several other speakers hosted the panel “Cosplay for a Cause,” in which they spoke of their responsibilities as prevalent cosplayers. If you or someone you know might be interested in either of these two real heroes, check out their websites here for Colorado Captain and here for Hospital Batman.

It’s not every day you can walk around in a cape, but going to FAN EXPO Denver gives you the confidence to attend similar events with a sense of pride and motivation to be the best Batman, Demon Hunter or Jedi you can be and in turn, be the best you when returning to everyday life.

Photography by Kiddest Metaferia.

1 comment
  1. It’s very unfortunate that “cosplay” contests have replaced Costume Contests at conventions, robbing Costumers of the chance of competing. These works of art are actually called “Costumes”, not “cosplays”. That’s a verb that people have used wrong for so long that it’s beginning to overtake the proper terms.

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