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Cosplay Rises to Mainstream Popularity – It’s influence on pop culture and porn!

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All over the world, faithful fans on superheroes, comic books, movies, anime and manga show their love for their
favorite fictional characters. This love has led to what can only be considered an all encompassing lifestyle where entire conventions are dedicated to this love. These faithfuls take great care and pride in doing what they do, and they have transcended the realm of what may have been considered geekish and nerdy, into now a mainstream cultural phenomenon, lending to the rise of a new kind of celebrity. A new kind of cool emerges.

Welcome to the world of Cosplay.

It’s incredible the momentum thatcosplay has gathered over the past two decades. However, cosplay has been around for longer that you may think, and it is distinct to its cousin practice, costuming. Though the term costuming was a catch all word to describe the practice of dressing up as characters (of any kind), the term cosplay, in it’s modern and current form is surely more distinct. Costuming is, in my opinion, less passionate, and lacks soul.
Costuming can be considered akin to dressing up on Halloween, or for a play or special event. I can hear dedicated costumers yelling at me, but it’s commonly accepted that cosplay is a deeper more meaningful practice.

Being so connected to your favorite character, literally transforms people who practice the art (yes I said art) of cosplay. They deeply embody these characters and it comes out in their willingness to spend hours preparing and creating replica outfits and costumes of these fictional giants.

So let it be known that though the definition of cosplay, which is, the practice of dressing up as fictional characters. It is more than that my friend. It’s damn near religious for those that indulge in the practice, and they could give two fucks what you may think. Their world is big enough where their lifestyle validated and rewarded, celebrating their own set of royal figures. We’ll take a look at some of the more popular cosplayers later on. But first, let’s take a look at how this all began. Where did cosplaying come from, and what’s the history behind it all.

Cosplay History

Vocal.media posted and article 4 years back (at the time of this writing) simply titled, History of Cosplay. In it, they brought readers way back to the early 1900s, where they say was the time of the earliest documented versions of cosplay emerged. Here’s the excerpt. “…the first documented instance of cosplay occurred in 1908 when Mr. and Mrs. William Fell, a Cincinnati, Ohio couple, attended a masquerade ball in costumes depicting Mr. Skygack and Miss Pickles, martians from a newspaper comic that first ran in the Chicago Day Book.” The author, Patricia Sarkar, went on to write, “Before Star Trek, Star Wars or Dr. Who ignited legions of fans to dress up like aliens, sci-fi guru Forrest J. Ackerman donned a cape and tights to portray a pulp-inspired, futuristic entity at New York’s first World Science Convention, in 1939. Ackerman would later become a key figure in the establishment of science fiction fandom.”

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The practice of dressing up in costumes, have of course pre-dated the 1900s, but what’s significant here is how intimately the practice mirrored popular characters in science fiction and fantasy. It’s widely known that cosplayers ‘play’ characters that largely fall within those two genres.

The Artifice author, YsabelGo, from the-artifice.com, wrote this about the origin of cosplay: “Initially dubbed as ‘costuming’, cosplay began in the late 1930s in North America.” She explains that back then, to successfully ‘cosply’, you did not need to dress up like or mimic the character, but simply dress appropriately for the genre. Further in the article she writes, “In Japan, the manga series, Urusei Yatsura, and television series, Mobile Suit Gundam, helped launch the movement, as Japanese college students eagerly dressed as their favorite characters for conventions.” These sentences are important to really stamp the origin, as many think cosplaying started in Japan, but more
evidence points to it originating in North America.

Based on our studies, it wasn’t until the mid 80s that the term ‘Cosplay’ was coined, and has stuck to carry on to a wildly exciting culture.

As the history goes, it wasn’t until 1984 that Nobuyuki Takahashi, founder of Studio Hard, attended the 42nd Worldcon in Los Angeles. A Wikipedia page tells us that “He was impressed with the masquerade and reported on it in My Anime, coining the term kosupure (from which cosplay is derived) in the process.” Ranker.com explained in a similar article about the history of cosplay, “The Japanese translation for masquerade implied aristocracy, and therefore did not describe what he [Takahashi] saw at WorldCon. The word was eventually adapted to “cosplay,”. Takahashi’s report also encouraged Japanese fans to include more costuming in their own conventions. The initial
report also used the terms “costume play” (kosuchuumu purei) and the English “Hero Costume Operation” but
kosupure was the term that caught on.”

And the rest is history. Cosplay has gone on to shape a large part of our society, where grown folks getting dressed up for fun is now seen as something that is so fucking cool. I mean have you seen some of the shit that some people do? Genius!

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Cosplay and Pop Culture

In the early 1900s, you simply had stories and illustrations to inspire you. As magazines and comic books became more popular, the inspiration go more detailed. The with the rise of sci-fi film and TV shows, it shot things into another realm. Early common cosplay inspirations are that of super heroes, Star Trek and Star Wars, Flash Gordon, and so much more. And, with the rise of video games, it propelled the world of cosplay even further, having fans of popular video games like Tomb Raider showing up to conventions as Lara Croft, or as Sailor Moon, Goku from Dragon Ball Z, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy 7, and the list goes on. This is in no way an exhaustive write-up so if I missed Poison Ivy from the DC world, or Ash Ketchum and Misty from Pokemon, please don’t lose your wits.

The rise in the popularity of Cosplay has over time moved into it’s perfect wedged niche in today’s culture, with many people emerging as cosplay royalty (I told you we’ll get to this part). These master cosplayers have such an impact on the community that they have gone on to take their passion of the art and turned it in to a full on business venture. Some making well over 6 figures for their cosplay appearances and paid craftsmanship.

But, who are these cosplay gods (so to speak), and why do the fans love them so much? Continue reading for more.

Cosplay and Adult Themes

The Cosplay phenomenon has spread far and wide, even touching the realms of the adult industry. Fans have sexified so much of pop culture movies and shows, that you can search nearly everything and add porn at the end of it, and your search engine will bring up a shit ton of search results.

Since the late 60s and 70s, porn parodies based on pop culture have been produced. Magazines also saw rise to
costumed dick hunting Amazons, and horny dudes took every opportunity to bone a female space alien. A great
example of this is the cult classic film Flesh Gordon, which was a spoof off the popular sci-fi animated series, live action TV show and movies, and comic books, Flash Gordon. Flesh Gordon, was filled with cheesy dialogue and shit load of boobs and alien mischief.

Another classic example of cross-over into the adult realm is the sci-fi magazine, Heavy Metal. Heavy Metal  magazine was a mature themed magazine filled with articles, ads, photos, nude illustrations and photos, and the main feature, which was usually an illustrated or comic book style entry that would usually span several pages. These stories were generally sci-fi action and drama. A classic motif is the damsel in distress, or the opposite badass powerful hottie that kicks ass.

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One of the most iconic Heavy Metal magazine is that of Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 video game, featuring Julie Strain on the cover. Julie Strain is a tall statuesque beauty, famously known as a b-class actor and adult model with big hair and a curvy physique. She was often playing roles in softcore movies, and was also the artistic inspiration behind the 2000 animated film, Heavy Metal 2000. The F.A.K.K. 2 character, named Julie was also cosplayed by dedicated fans.

Elvira is also another classic character. Played by adult model and actress Cassandra Peterson. Elvira is somewhat of a legendary character as she’s being played by many even up on till today. Other worthy mentions that really speak to the cosplay culture is 2069: A Sex Odyssey, Star Virgin, Galaxina, and others.

Today, production houses like Brazzers, Wood Rocket and parody king Axel Braun has a long list behind his name, from cartoons to video games like the Legend of Zildo, Sonic the Vadgehog and parodies based on the famous Marvel
Cinematic Universe, and DC characters.

Cosplay and the Future

Cosplay is here to stay, and camgirls, and amateur performers and clip artist have embraced this culture. Cam girls such as Elise Laurenne, and CaylinLive are just a few examples. The future of cosplay is ours to define, and all the players are eager to cook up new and innovative means of making sure the culture stays alive. There is more access to certain materials and equipment now, so cosplayers can actually create replica Iron Man suits to the T, and show up
looking like Wonder Woman, and you’d believe the player is actually the rope wielding, bondage inspired,  Amazonian, Diana.

Cosplay, whether you like it or not is going nowhere…not an time soon. So, celebrate those who’ve made it their passion and turned it into something more meaningful. And respect those who choose cosplay
…it’s more than just the costume.

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