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Tuesday, July 28, 2015 

The Mary Sue's double-standard on cosplay

I noticed some paradoxes on The Mary Sue in regards to costume partying at conventions. Last December, they attacked veteran artist Pat Broderick because he's unhappy with cosplay. Here's what they say he talked about:
In the comments section of the original post, Broderick goes on to say that (all sic) “cosplay are just selfies in costume, and doing multiple selfies is about the highest expression of narcissium,,,,,” and doesn’t undertstand “why the hell anyone pay for an signiture on a photo with a cosplay character…..” Broderick also cites the same reasoning as Dorman did behind her rant; that though con attendance is up, “this has not made its way to both [dealers and artists].” Broderick suggests that cons “completly seperate the media and cospaly guest into their own seperate shows…”

Other industry pros were quick to jump on the anti-cosplay bandwagon. Raymond Lui, owner of the NY-based Muteki Sales (an anime and tokusatsu dealer who, by the way, had their self-proclaimed “best showing” at NYCC in 2012, with tons of cosplayers in attendance) shared a story about a cosplayer in his booth who said they wanted to cosplay Doctor Strange because of excitement over the upcoming film, but didn’t know much about the actual comic book character. Lui kicked the attendee out of his booth. Artist and writer Mike Wolfer (who most recently Kickstarted “a 96-page, black and white, erotic horror graphic novel”) said that he will “ignore con invites that proclaim, ‘HUGE COSPLAY CONTEST (oh, yeah… and Stan Lee).'”
And according to writer Mark Ellis, he's irritated by:
overweight women in Power Girl and Slave Girl Leia costumes posing, posturing and demanding $20 to take a photo of them. A guy I know just said, “You’re standing around in public looking like a fool…shove your $20″ and took pictures anyway.
I think the point the Mary Sue writer is missing could be: what if Broderick and company are angry at how these costume parties are being staged by people who neither know nor care about the source material, and are turning it into a profiteering scam? What if they see as something akin to licensed merchandise that takes away attention from all zygotes they worked so hard to perfect years before and have no interest in reading the original material? Their complaints may not be fully justified, but there does seem to be something here they're missing.
Making elaborate costumes for cosplay, like official con cosplay guests do, takes an enormous amount of time, talent, and effort. [...]
If the man (yes, of course they have men working for them too) is saying the costumes are hand-made, I'm sure some are, but all of them? I can't buy that. I'm sure there's some companies out there who make at least half the outfits worn at conventions.
Okay, I lied; I do have one idea about this artistic hierarchy. Cosplay is an industry largely dominated by women; it opens up the world of comics—a world which has overwhelmingly felt exclusionary to girls and women—in a whole new way. It allows not only a small subset of women to make money off of their love of comics (something self-proclaimed comic fan Broderick has been doing for decades), but it also allows a large number of female comic book fans who might otherwise feel shut out of the industry to proudly proclaim their love for certain characters or comics. Strange that so many people have taken issue with something that often involves women taking control of their own image, bodies, and sexuality, and commodifying it without male permission or control. So strange.
And since we get to this part, so strange a site that once attacked J. Scott Campbell, Erik Larsen and a few others for complaining about how DC/Marvel were pandering to SJWs took the opposite path here when it comes to cosplayers. So if we refer to the site as one voice, it's bad if mainstream publishes hot costumes for women and doesn't cater to an absurd vocal minority by drawing practical outfits, but okay when cosplayers put on very unpractical outfits? I don't see the logic here. Plus, if we point to the positive, doesn't that prove the cosplayers don't have a problem with the original hot costume designs at all? Those who wear Power Girl outfits with the cleavage obviously don't.

Having said that, it doesn't sound right to make money off of wearing costumes for photos at a convention when you're not a professional. Do these cosplayers have a permit to make money off of photos? If not, then it could be illegal activity, to which the convention staff can object. The article writer shouldn't be encouraging potential lawbreaking.

Later on, they wrote an otherwise accepting take on a cosplay convention that paid tribute to J. Scott Campbell's cover illustrations for Swords of Sorrow:
Gail Simone’s Dynamite series Swords of Sorrow is getting rave reviews, but it did hit a snag earlier this year when a cover by J. Scott Campbell was revealed for issue one. Your mileage may vary on his style, but many fans saw this as an odd move considering the buzz surrounding the all-female writers crossover event and the blatant reference to the Milo Manara Spider-Woman variant cover. However, fans love these characters and epic cosplay has occurred—just not exactly as the artist depicted them.
That doesn't mean the fans they supposedly speak of have serious issues with Campbell's artwork. Otherwise, would they love the characters? Probably not. And, one of the commentors, a woman, said:
I never saw an issue between j.scott campbells cover and the contents of the comic or the fact that the writers were females.
He draws girls doing poses normal girls cant do. So what, the writers write stories about girls doing things normal girls cant do. They wear clothes into battle no woman fighter would wear. They have powers no human could possibly have, and even the artists that may get "approval" from...whomever thinks they should give it...draw the ladies looking way better than they would after epic fights and long journeys. Its a comic book, not a manual on how to be a woman.
Yeah, so I think it's about time this overly fussy site let it all go. Besides, the Manara cover ultimately went to press, and they're clearly too embarrassed to admit their attempts to lambast Marvel for the wrong reasons didn't work. And again, what fans are they talking about? They didn't seem to give any meaty examples. Funny how this site's writers are so sensitive about beautiful imagery, but not about Mary Jane Watson's continued misuse by Marvel staff. If they can make such a ruckus over artists like Campbell and Manara, surely they could complain about the misuse of Mary Jane and Dan Slott's poor writing, but they don't, because writing quality/talent was never their true interest, was it? That's the Mary Sue for you. A site that's all about petty topics, and not about substance.

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Again, multiple conflicting editors/writers on a site equals overall content that is schizophrenic in nature.

The problem with sites like this, and reporting in general, is that they have a tendency to forget that they only report news, not make it. Case in point:
http://robertmacquarrie1.deviantart.com/journal/Oh-Give-it-a-rest-A-Fanboy-Rant-524533554

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