Creator, Writer, Artist:
After wrapping up one of the biggest animation projects I have ever done, I must say that it is nice to take a break from the frame by frame and get back to the day to day. What better way to get back to do that than with the long awaited comic from independent UK artist, Katherine Hemmings? Being a Cosplayer is a wildly entertaining and beautifully drawn comic of compiled story diaries showcasing experiences that cosplayers everywhere can relate to. As an amateur cosplayer and avid convention goer, when I saw her campaign pop up a few months ago on Kickstarter, I was beyond excited. With the anticipation building over these past few months and sneak peaks on social media, I have been waiting for the right time to sit down and have a chance to take it all in, and now that I’ve gone through it no less than ten times, I must say it exceeded my expectations! If you are a cosplayer, pop culture fan/convention attendee, or just want to read a fantastic comic filled with brilliant short stories, go to her Etsy or her website now and order yourself a copy!
Out of the many elements that make this comic fantastic, the storytelling might be my favorite. With a couple dozen independent tales each featuring characters in cosplay in every walk of life, every story with its own unique personality and connection to a different fandom to match. From tales of the convention floor to the relatable family confusion that comes from cosplaying, whether you are a full-time cosplayer, or just getting started this comic has something for you. Great storytelling is in the details and adds a layer of reliability. There are dozens of little aspects throughout the story that add these extra touches, allowing the reader to get even more invested. A great example of this is in background characters blending into the crowd. At first glance, they go unnoticed but after a second look readers can pick up on the inclusion of dozens of different fandoms and the individuality of the different cosplayers. Spotlighting fandoms that not a lot of people think of just shows how inclusive the cosplay community is, and I admire that this comic showcases that.
Some of the different stories spotlight platforms like TikTok, where fellow cosplayers can connect and create. I think that a lot of the time social media accounts that focus on cosplay are oftentimes overlooked due to the sheer quantity of people in that community. There is also a stigma that non-cosplayers have towards these accounts that automatically label them as less than and ignore the dedication that it takes to make and show off their work. Since the pandemic hit, social platforms are one of the only ways to get together with fellow geeks and fanatics, and again, Being a Cosplayer speaks to the larger idea that anyone, in all walks of life, can cosplay who/whatever they want. Whether you decide to cosplay the most popular character from the newest show everyone is talking about, or an original character that only you know, the great thing about cosplay is that it is a chance to be yourself and showcase your own individually. I hope that even more people come across this comic and not only enjoy it as much as I do, but are able to relate to it from their own experiences.
Of course I am going to highlight the amazing artistic talents that jolt these stories to life. As an artist myself, I adore stylistic characters, and everyone in Being a Cosplayer is so personalized and truly adorable. From Tinker Bell to Dipper Pines, I already have connections to the characters outside of cosplay, so seeing the fandom representation makes it even better. I think having a comic that is exclusively made of short stories can sometimes make it hard for the reader to connect with it, but with every character introduction, I love each one more than the last. Since I’ve been keeping up with the comic for a while, I’ve been able to see the evolution of the stories and character redesigns in the months before the release, and I cannot stress enough how happy they all make me. Her expressive mannerisms of the characters are just another element of what makes this one of my favorite comics of 2020. The illustrations alone are incredible, but after pairing it with stories, it makes for a hysterical look into the life of a cosplayer.
From the illustrations to the storytelling, this comic is nothing short of fantastic. It showcases the parts of the cosplay that people outside of the community overlook. I love supporting independent artists, and I am so happy that I stumbled on this Kickstarter. If you liked this comic, you should check out her other book, Being Ginger, another beautifully illustrated story. 2020 has been a pretty rough year. To say that I miss conventions is an understatement, and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. So if you are looking for a fantastic comic showcasing tales from cosplaying life, I highly encourage you to check out Katherine Hemmings and her shop here.