Did you know that an instance of cosplay back in 1910 led to a man being arrested for “public masquerading”? What made that costume different from the usual fancy dress was that it was designed to resemble a well-known pop culture character, instead of animals or literary characters. In 1939, the first costumed characters showed up at a science fiction convention. We didn’t yet have the term “cosplay,” or even “sci-fi” for that matter, but the hobby itself is a lot older than you thought.
These are things you’ll learn in the new book Cosplay World by Brian Ashcraft and Luke Plunkett of Kotaku. Ashcraft and Plunkett talked to writers, historians, photographers, and costume builders about the history and culture of cosplay, but the book is also packed with profiles and pictures of top cosplayers from around the world. Neatorama is proud to present an excerpt, featuring cosplayer Julian Checkley.
(Image credit: Julian Checkley)
‘I’ve been cosplaying almost all my life, ever since I made my first Darth Vader costume at the age of seven,’ says cosplayer Julian Checkley. ‘It was one of those papier mâché jobs plastered onto a balloon, and I had to steal my grandfather’s sunglasses so I could pop the lenses out and glue them on to complete the helmet eyepieces.’
This boyhood love of papier mâché developed, and Checkley decided to pursue an education and a career in making costumes.
(Image credit: Kamil Krawczak)
But he may have thought he’d made a mistake when he found himself studying hair and make-up alongside fashion industry hopefuls in London. A job in TV creating monster suits and special effects would soon follow, however, where he would not just learn how to develop visual effects and make fantastical creatures, but gain experience performing inside them as well.