Adam Savage makes things and builds experiments, and he uses costumes to add humor, color and clarity to the stories he tells. Tracing his lifelong love of costumes — from a childhood space helmet made of an ice cream tub to a No-Face costume he wore to Comic-Con — Savage explores the world of cosplay and the meaning it creates for its community. “We’re connecting with something important inside of us,” he says. “The costumes are how we reveal ourselves to each other.”

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28 COMMENTS

  1. My favorite Studio Ghibli film of all time!! And as a cosplayer with a group who will agree, it's a tedious process getting an elaborate cosplay put on. I've done body paint for Starfire and She-Hulk (just my face, arms and chest), wore cosmetic contacts that itch and sting after a while (always carry drops with you, people, you'll thank me later), and had to often cut my hair to fit comfortably in the wigs.

    Despite the process and discomfort, every painstaking thing is 100% worth it when you step into that con and see that amazing melting pot of people. I started cosplaying about six years ago just for fun, but now I have friends who look forward to seeing me and my group as our characters because we emulate them so well. At Pensacon two years ago, it was hot and I was dressed as a hard-edged Starfire of my own style (see profile pic) without the paint this time, and these two little black girls were with their dad were ECSTATIC to see me. I got into character for them with the voice and mannerisms and they were so happy and their dad took a picture of us together…

    That made me happy because these girls didn't see a 27-year old (it was also my birthday that day) part-time retail worker who was uncomfortable under the sun. They saw Starfire in the flesh. They saw one of their favorite characters smile at them, let them hold my starbolt props and tell them they have a shining power inside of them much brighter than mine. I never had this growing up. Sure I loved comics, movies, manga, anime and the like, but I didn't even know what cosplay was until I was in high school. You meet so many incredible people at cons, and everyone is so friendly because we're all here for the reason: to experience a magical place that we don't get to see everyday, and it's because of cosplay that I met the love of my life (a Redhood and Deadpool cosplayer) who I will marry someday, and I love cosplay all the more because I would never have met him otherwise.

    Cosplayers help make people's day better just by being a character they love. It's a wonderful memory for the kids and the kids at heart. To be our favorite characters, to work through the discomforts of wearing a costume worthy of the payoff, to BECOME that character and entertain onlookers with photos and conversation, to brighten make that one person who's had a rough patch smile, THAT is what it means to me to be a cosplayer. Whether you bought your costume, assembled pieces yourself, or sculpted it from the ground up, whether your costume is made of EVA foam and LED lights or construction paper and Elmer's glue, there is no wrong way to cosplay.

    I know I'm late to this party and I'm sorry this post got long! Thank you, Adam Savage, for shining a light on this amazing life for the people who don't quite know ^_^

  2. Cosplayers, you have to remember this one key element if you've never been to Comic-Con in San Diego. This is a convention in JULY where the average temperature in San Diego during that time of year is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit; so, it would be wise not to have a 1) completely covering costume or 2) a costume that has heavy or mutliple layers, unless you're desperate for a) everyone to smell your stink or 2) losing about 20 pounds in sweat.

  3. Sweating to death, having the most uncomfortable clothes and armor, not being able to move the next couple of days and LOVING IT LIKE NOTHING ELSE ON THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD😍😍😍😍❤️❤️❤️

  4. ive never done cosplay as such. we have our danish version of halloween and ive dressed up for that years years ago now.
    I dont have many friends and i dont like many people and i dont like to stand out to much to be noticed, and i have always laughed abit of people that went into cosplay and dressed up like that.
    but i have always wanted to do it myself. never done it because im not creative enough to make it but i so much wanna try it just once.
    when episode 7 of star wars came out, my friends and i was hyped about it. and to make it funny i went all in. Darth Maul Mask. Grim reaper coat as his armor/drress and a childrens lightsaber with sound. and i had it on beside the mask while he had dinner and i walked fully dressed down through town to the cinema in it. scared a few people and had an awersome evening.
    i wish i had the courage to do that again. or to just join in on roleplaying games which we have in denmark. dressed up like knights and go on fictive adventures. and as the years have gone i have gotten a huge respect for these people. they stand out, but they love what they are doing.

  5. Anyone wearing a costume or a disguise instantly becomes part of that character, it's inevitable and it's SOOOOOOOO much fun PLUS it allows us to take a break from our sometimes boring selves for a while… we should all do that once in a while, I do. Thank you Adam, I am totally moved by your presentation.

  6. I've never cosplayed,

    But I love to see peoples cosplays so much, they make me happy.
    Never give up on your hobbies and passions as long as it's not harming you or anyone else.

  7. I didn’t start cosplaying until about 2015, but similar to Adam I have always been mesmerized and in love with the idea of creating costumes and becoming a character. For a kid who was super shy and didn’t know how to make friends, it was intriguing to imagine myself in another world where I could be another character and look just like them. Since 2008 it’s been my dream to cosplay Amy Rose from the Sonic the Hedgehog series (I know, so cringe) but I finally broke down and began ordering the supplies I need to make this costume a reality and the process of researching what I’ll need and what I want to do has been so emotional. Little 10 year old me is so excited.

    Cosplay is a magical experience, it has changed my life for the better. It helped me cope when I dropped out of online high school after having no social interaction or friends at all for over a year. It helped me cope with my depression and mental illnesses. It’s the reason I have almost all of the friends that I have now, and even how I met my fiancé!

    It might be silly to some people, but it is such a genuinely fun escape from the scary reality that we live in. It allows you to be someone with magic or with cool armor or whatever you want to be.

    Cosplay is magic and I just!!! Love hearing people talk about it!!!!!

  8. I cosplay slenderman, I walk on stilts making me very tall, I would get some people taking a photo but shying away rather than pose with me. Later I sore a cartoon with slenderman offering "Free hugs" so the next time I held this sign up with the words " FREE HUGS " and people would laugh and rush up to hug me … I was both in character and not !?!?

  9. One of the best feelings ever was going to comic con experience in Sao Paulo as Finn from adventure time (with two of my friends as Princess Bubblegum and Marcelline) and having kids recognize us and ask us about Jake.

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