Cosplay has been gaining popularity year after year, flooding the geekdom with expertly-crafted costumes that can take months, or even years, to design and assemble. Cosplay has become inextricably linked with the thousands of gorgeous and creative women who meticulously dress like their favorite comic book, video game, and movie characters.
But, although we usually imagine women when we think of the fashion design and modeling associated with cosplay, the art is becoming a favorite hobby (and even profession) of men around the world too.
And why not? Traditionally, massive conventions like Comic Con (and nerd culture in general) was largely a man’s world. It might seem like a sexist stereotype, but at one time, a girl may not have been found within one hundred miles of a comic book store or a showing of the latest Star Wars movie. Nerd culture has become much more inclusive since then, as women embrace their inner artist and reign supreme among some of the best cosplayers and most popular 'Con attendees in the world.
Now, as men put their artistic and creative abilities to the test by making exact replicas of Boba Fett, Scorpion, and Prince of Persia costumes, cosplay women have some worthy competition. Best of all, many of these men are collaborating with their fellow female Cosplayers to create some of the most realistic costumes and scenes in the industry.
16 Roland’s Forge
Roland’s Forge has been creating costumes and accessories since at least 2008. He’s a graduate of UNCG’s sculpture department and originally got into Cosplay to strengthen his portfolio for a future job in prop making. Although Cosplay may not be more than a hobby for Roland’s Forge, he has created incredibly realistic costumes like the villainous Jafar from Disney’s Aladdin. His version of Jafar was recognized by the popular Cosplay America fan page on Facebook when they spotted him at Anime Los Angeles earlier this month. A big part of a convincing costume is having the right model, and Roland’s Forge easily pulls off Jafar with his tall and slender figure.
Jeff Siegert is a multi-talented artist, costume designer, and music producer from the United States. He impresses Metal Gear fans with his incredibly detailed costumes of Raidan. Despite his general inactivity on Facebook and lack of updates from time to time, he continues to work on costume projects and collaborate with graphic artists to create stunning photographs which feature his work.
14 Elffi Cosplay
The best in cosplay reaches as far as Finland, where Elffi takes every opportunity to show off his latest creations. In addition to being a well-known cosplayer, Elffi is also an artist and model.
He creates and wears costumes ranging from Yasuo of League of Legends to the aptly named The Duct Taped Man. His cosplay persona is frivolous and fun; he doesn't take himself too seriously but still designs beautiful, realistic costumes.
13 Justin Acharacter
Justin Acharacter was an artist who loved nothing more than bringing gaming characters into real life with amazing Cosplay. On his Facebook page, he wrote: “I like to make my costumes look like they have just stepped out of a comic book or movie.” He definitely succeeded. Through characters from Borderlands to The Dark Knight, Acharacter transformed himself into a real-life fiction.
In late November 2014, Justin sadly passed away aged 42 from a fatal heart attack.
12 Carlos Blanchard
Carlos Blanchard works with Rage Custom Creations to make the highest quality custom props, costumes, and graphic design products. Hailing from the United States, Blanchard has made a name for himself in the Cosplay community as a dedicated costume designer and graphic artist. He's known especially for his work on the Medieval Batman and Facehugger Corset, two costumes that earned him and his company the respect of international Cosplayers.
Keep your eyes open on the streets for Knightmage, the newest superhero (and Cosplay artist) on the block. Knightmage is about more than crafting amazing costumes and bringing superheroes to life. He’s also about giving back to the community and spreading good will through Cosplay. On January 14th, Knight Mage was able to raise and donate money to over 10 different charities in the community. When he’s not giving back, he’s perfecting his costumes of Black Widow, Venom, and Moon Knight.
10 Something Wicked Cosplay
Hailing from Australia, Something Wicked Cosplay collaborates with the best artists he can find to create stunning costumes of The Joker, Robin, Spider-Man, and even the Ghostbusters. More than costumes, he and his collaborators recreate incredibly detailed scenes from some of the best superhero movies such as like Batman and Spiderman, truly bringing that grand world to life, and having fun doing it.
9 Kelan Ord
Kelen Ord is a self-proclaimed geek and proud of it (parts of his apartment are decked out in Star Wars memorabilia that would make any superfan drool).
One of his greatest creations is a creation based on Boba Fett from the Star Wars movies, considered one of the best Star Wars-inspired costumes in the Cosplay community. He’s constantly working on new props like laser blasters and light sabers He is also a member of the Mandalorin Mercs Costuming Club.
8 Junkers Cosplay
Junkers Cosplay is based in San Diego, which becomes the epicenter of cosplay every year when thousands attend Comic Con, one of the biggest comic book/movie/video game conventions in the world.
Junkers studies engineering at the University of San Diego, but puts everything he has into crafting one-of-a-kind costumes and props, like Rain and Demicain. He and his partners also model their costumes, showing off their abs and comic-book character physiques.
7 Captain Cosplay
Captain Cosplay is a professional cosplay artist who specializes in one character: Captain America, the ultra-strong, Nazi-killing superhero from World War 2.
He lives in New York City and spends his time making sure his costumes are as genuine as possible. He also works hard at props and scenic elements to make the costumes and characters really stand out.
6 Harley’s Joker
Before Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger transformed the look and personality of The Joker in The Dark Knight trilogy, there was only the original. Harley’s Joker is Anthony Misiano, “a geek with an evil grin and a lot of drive to create”, according to his Facebook page.
Obviously, his favorite character is the traditional Joker, the one with the purple pin-striped suit, green hair, white makeup and the biggest (and most dubious) smile. His costume and portrayal of The Joker is so convincing, it’s hard to tell him apart from the one in the comics and movies. His girlfriend Alyssa, known by her cosplay name Joker's Harley, is fast becoming almost as popular as Misiano with over 96,000 Facebook followers.
5 Leon Chiro Cosplay Art
Leon Chiro is an Italian Cosplay artist who has built up a solid fan base over the years. He's known for combining characters in mash-up costumes, and creating amazing versions of costumes from Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia. It’s easy for Chiro to design his costumes and build props with such a dedicated passion and, as we must admit, his very muscular figure. When he’s not Cosplaying, Chiro is a model and Physiotherapy student.
4 Mark Meer
Not only does Mark Meer design and make amazing costumes, he also acts as a voice-over artist for video games like Mass Effect and Bioware. One day he’s lending his voice to Commander Shepard; the next he might actually be Commander Shepard. Meer hails from Edmonton, Canada, where he runs his own television show, Tiny Plastic Men on which he and guests knowledgeably discuss just about any and every action-figure character under the sun.
3 Steven K. Smith Props
Steven K. Smith Props makes his living as a premier cosplay artist and prop maker in Kansas City, Missouri. He has been obsessed with video games for years and began to take games to a whole new level by crafting characters’ costumes, most notably Borderlands Psycho Bandit masks and Buzz Axes. He specializes in mask building, an intensive art form that requires a high level of patience and skill.
D-Piddy modestly describes his forays in the Cosplay world: “I dress up as fictional characters and make YouTube videos.” But with over 100,000 Likes on his official Facebook fan page, his work on character costumes might have more to it than mere dress up. D-Piddy is a comic book geek, movie buff, and gamer who has been making costumes since at least 2012. His favourite character is Deadpool. One look at his computer desk as seen from pictures on his Facebook fan page will stop you from ever questioning his deep love for the character. D-Pippy can be seen at events like Anime Los Angeles and ConComics Guadalajara hugging other characters, break dancing, and making hilarious Youtube videos. Above all, D-Piddy doesn’t take Cosplay too seriously and never forgets have fun.
It seems that Danquish can do just about anything in the cosplay world, but he especially shines with characters like Scorpion and Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat. He started cosplaying 4 years ago, but has excelled at the art and proudly proclaims he lives his life "one cosplay con at a time".
He loves to show off his creations at cosplay and comic book conventions any time he can, including DragonCon. His cosplay art is so revered, a fan of SubZero was inspired to get a tattoo based on Danquish’s version of the character.
All information sourced from cosplayers' public Facebook pages