Cosplay: The Fantasy Hidden Within Reality

Updated: Jul 19, 2019

By Tina Albo:

As a child, I’d often wished that my favorite characters from various mediums would somehow come to life. Back in the mid-nineties, cosplay was rarely talked about or done . . . except by those deemed weird and nerdy. Unless you were within the fences of theme parks like Disneyland or attending a sci-fi movie premiere, you wouldn’t bear witness to the culture craze that has united the creative, the talented, and the playful of the world.

Now, more than twenty-four years later, cosplay has begun to reign supreme. No longer were avid fans restricted to showing their love for a movie or television series with a simple t-shirt or a brain full of trivia. I’m proud to be part of this movement—a veritable force that has people from all walks of life coming together to share their enjoyment of creative genius. Cosplay conventions have popped up everywhere, allowing fans to unite and express their love for their favorite characters.

I’m from Western Canada, in a humble city called Edmonton. While it’s not a huge, bustling metropolis like Toronto or a big tourist destination like Vancouver, my hometown can hold its own . . . not that it was always that way.

I grew up sheltered and struggled to find my place amongst my peers at school. My only real friends were the comic books that I began to collect and the accompanying animated series that further developed my love for these characters and their creators. While other children looked up to public figures and our local professional athletes, I looked up to superheroes and unique characters that one wouldn’t find walking the streets of my fair city.

When I was bullied by other children for my tastes, it was Batman and Spiderman who lifted my spirits and taught me that I didn’t need to depend on anyone other than myself to persevere. All the life lessons I needed to learn came from their exploits.

As I grew into a teenager, my love of comic book superheroes evolved, and I became acquainted with more characters as they were introduced. I began expanding my horizons into television and movies, enjoying as much of them as I could. Before I knew it, I was a functioning adult who was shaped by the adventures I went on with my favorite heroes.

Now, as a mother of an eight-year-old daughter, I’m proud of the person I’ve become. My daughter looks up to me and wants to immerse herself in every comic book and television series that I grew up with. What better way to do that than to enter the world of Cosplay?

It was in the fall of 2016 when we first ventured out in costume, a dynamic duo of sorts. She, loving the Avengers, went as Iron Man. My costume took a lot more consideration, as I wanted to make my debut as a character I could really pull off. I was never into transforming myself to look like the heroines, as I didn’t feel I had the right body to do them justice—I knew I was going to choose a male character in the end. After months of heavy deliberation, I focused my energies on the one villain I could stand behind: Magneto.

The idea came after watching X-Men: Days of Future Past. I had always been a huge fan of the X-Men, but none of the heroes had ever really been compelling enough for me; that was, until I finally saw Magneto himself in the animated television series. When he was brought to the silver screen by Michael Fassbender in this adaptation, I knew I had to step into his shoes if I wanted to rock the Edmonton Expo.