Cosplay is a world where the only limits are imagination. On film, for example, Marvel’s sexy Black Cat is hard to cast in a family-oriented superhero story, and there are hard practical limits on how many movies you can make about so many different characters from the Marvel Comics archives. Cosplay characters, on the other hand, can range right from G-rated to NSFW. They can bring to life comic book faves that don’t get their fair share of screen time in the movies. And they can pose alternate versions of familiar characters that you’ve never even thought of.
A great cosplayer starts as an ever-greater fan of Marvel Comics and other sources of inspiration. From devoted amateurs to professional costumers and make-up artists who work in film and TV, our list of Marvel cosplay excellence features a wide range of cosplayers. They include convention circuit faves along with up-and-comers, all of whom have combined their fandom with their art.
Do movie makers ever get any ideas from cosplayer talents? We think they should, and when you see the kind of creativity these cosplayers display when portraying their favorite Marvel characters, we think you’ll agree.
15 Crystal Graziano As Ms. Marvel
Crystal Graziano got started in cosplay after seeing Final Fantasy VII cosplayers at SDCC a few years ago. It inspired her to try, and she's been rocking the cosplay world ever since with her hot and highly detailed versions of her own fave characters from the worlds of anime, manga, gaming, comics, and movies. In the comics, Ms. Marvel is a role that's been taken by a number of characters, including Carol Danvers and, most recently, Kamala Khan. Crystal adds a new twist -- Moonstone, the anti-heroine who's also sometimes a supervillain. Moonstone takes on the Ms. Marvel persona as one of Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers in the Dark Reign series (2008-09). On social media, Crystal posted that she loved the idea of cosplaying a villain who was essentially cosplaying a hero!
14 Hekady Borafluch as Elektra
Spanish cosplayer Hekady Borafluch describes herself as a geek and gamer, and says she began cosplaying in 2009 as what she thought of as a side project. Lucky for us, it’s come to take up more and more of her time. She calls herself a "small, sweet person," but we think her cosplay of assassin Elektra is sexy with a believably dangerous edge. After all, those blades of hers don’t have to be large to cut, just very sharp. Elektra is a favorite among Marvel comic book fans, but on screen, we’d have to say that she hasn't yet had her due. French actress Élodie Yung (who, we note, is also slight of build) gives her a credible version on the Netflix series Daredevil, but her story is worthy of its own treatment, we feel -- especially if she looks anything like Hekady’s cosplay.
13 Miracole As Psylocke
As a character, Psylocke has had bit parts in X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, and 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, but not the treatment this kick-ass character really warrants. In the comic book world, she’s been around since 1976. Psylocke has telepathic powers in the body of a female Japanese ninja, combining that martial-arts expertise and supernatural insight in a sexy costume with that shiny purple hair. Self-described "model, professional Film/TV Costumer, makeup artist and uber nerd" Miracole Burns lives and works out of Atlanta, Georgia. She's done makeup for TV, including AMC's The Walking Dead and movies like X-Men First Class and Fast Five, and her professionalism certainly shows in her cosplay, too. We love her dynamic take on the powerful X-Men character.
12 Jessica Nigri As Black Cat
Black Cat or Felicia Hardy has had a love/hate relationship with Spider-Man over the years in the comic book world. They've been allies, enemies, and even lovers. Through it all, her sexy costumes were naturally a fan favorite, although not without controversy, on occasion. Jessica Nigri's version of the Spidey's former girlfriend ramps up the already sexy quotient of the reformed burglar's costume to white hot. Jessica Nigri is often called the Queen of Cosplay, and it’s photo shoots like this that have garnered all the attention – and rightfully so. From the hair and makeup to the background, this pic is sizzling. We're still waiting to see whether Felicia Hardy will appear in any future Spider-Man or even Sony Spider-Verse movies, but in the meantime, we can enjoy the efforts of cosplayers like Jessica.
11 Lexi Farron Strife As Mystique
There are a few logistical problems with cosplaying Mystique. If you’re just doing a photoshoot or staying indoors, body paint is the way to go for authenticity. If you’re out in the public eye, certain additions to the costume may be necessary. Lexi Farron Strife is a French cosplayer and model who's been a cosplayer since attending her first Japan Expo back in 2004. Her name is a reference to her favorite Final Fantasy character -- Cloud Strife -- but she dabbles in characters of all kinds from the worlds of anime and comics. She credits her super-cool dad with helping her make her costumes, especially the armor. We're guessing Dad didn't have much to do with her sexy and minimalist take on the shape-shifting X-Men character, though.
10 Alodia Gosiengfiao As Black Widow
Alodia Gosiengfiao is a bona fide celebrity in her native Philippines, where she's a cosplayer, actress, model, and singer. She’s appeared in TV and films and has a following of 6 million on Facebook and over 660k on Instagram. She began cosplaying in 2003 at the age of 15 and hasn't looked back since, with a repertoire that now includes more than 40 characters from anime, movies, and video games. She’s been voted into the 100 Sexiest Women list by FHM Philippines several years in a row. We'll just add that she looks fantastic in the slick, skin-tight Black Widow gear, her attitude matching the badass latex vibe.
9 Nadkya Sonika As Cyclops
Nadkya Sonika has an impressive resume beyond her obvious cosplay expertise. She's a fitness model, industrial designer, host of a TV show called GamerTag, and more in her native Mexico. She's also a social-media star, with more than 310k followers on Facebook alone. She makes her own costumes from scratch and is a fixture on the convention circuit. You can find her streaming on Twitch TV and working as a Community Manager for Spanish-speaking fans of CD PROJEKT RED. You can put Nadya into a male character's costume, but we don't think she looks like a guy at all in her Cyclops cosplay. Nadya calls herself an "addicted cosplay maniac," but we're not advising any treatment.
8 GillyKins as Invisible Woman
Cosplayer GillyKins fills out the stretchy blue uniform of Susan Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four, really nicely. GillyKins describes herself as a "Costuming, Gaming, Comic Book Readings, Cooking and Caffeinated nerd from Toronto" who's been a nerd since birth. Her addiction began with Batman, she claims, but that hasn't prevented her from taking on a variety of roles, including the Marvel superhero team member. In interviews, she's said that comics are her main inspiration and really considers the characters she takes on cosplaying. GillyKins has won awards for her costume-making and is ranked as a Master Costumer.
7 Jinglebooboo As Red Sonja
Red Sonja, also known as the She-Devil with a Sword, has been a Marvel heroine since 1973. She got a live-action treatment in a campy 1985 movie starring Brigitte Nielsen and then a 2016 animated feature Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues with Misty Lee voicing the role. There was supposedly another Red Sonja feature in development with Rose McGowan starring, but there's been no news since 2015. She's certainly a character worthy of exploring as Colorado-based cosplayer Jinglebooboo has done in a sizzling photo series. The costume was made from scratch, and we have to say we're impressed with her rendition of the sexy and athletic She-Devil with a Sword.
6 Vert-Vixen Aka Alicia Cosplay As Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch, at least the comic book version of the character, is made for cosplay. We haven't yet seen Elizabeth Olsen in the all-red outfit donned by the character in the comic books – and we want to talk to someone about that, actually – so we have to get our fill of live-action representation from cosplayers. We're just glad that people like Vert-Vixen have taken on this important task. She's a professional costume designer and maker with several original designs to her credit, including her elaborately detailed Scarlet Witch costume. Not only is she an expert seamstress, but she also crafts armor and other molded pieces into her cosplays, with a few awards to her credit. The world of fandom thanks her for her dedication.
5 Belle Chere As Captain Marvel
Describing herself as "part-time costumer, part-time theatre techie, full-time geek," Belle Chere has been cosplaying since 2005. On Facebook and other social media, she has over 315K followers who've come to love her for her authentic renditions of their fave characters. We think she fills out the skin-tight confines of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers to perfection, with props for the realistic background to add to the effect. In addition to her own cosplaying activities, she's involved in cosplay workshops and industry panel discussions at the many conventions she attends and sometimes shares her tips and costume-making processes on Twitch TV.
4 Kurosone Suicide As Storm
You could critique Marvel movies in general for a lack of superheroines, but X-Men is the exception to that rule with Storm and other strong roles. The ideal superheroine combines sexy and strong, and there are few better examples of the perfect balance of those traits than in this badass version of Ororo Monroe, aka Storm by Suicide Kurosune. Model Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell is Kurosune, a former Suicide Girl who now occasionally cosplays as well as runs social media and blogs on NoirCaesar, a website that combines passions for Japanimation and hip-hop culture. Kurosune is a gaming and manga fan and a Pokemon Master. We're loving her sexy and stylish take on the X-Men fave.
3 Kwon Yuri As Captain America
The great thing about cosplay is that you're limited only by your imagination as to how you want to spin even the most celebrated and well-established characters. Take Kwon Yuri's gender-bending spin on Captain America. Now, we don't have anything against Steve Rogers, but... Kwon Yuri belongs to a South Korean girl group called "Girls Generation" or "SNSD." Her nickname is Black Pearl, and she's the lead dancer of the group and also serves as a backup vocalist. With a busy career of recording and performances, along with current enrolment in university, we're glad she finds the time for cosplay every now and then.
2 Lua Stardust As Gamora
Lua Stardust is an alternative model and cosplayer, and she Tweeted this pic of her rendition of Gamora earlier this year. We love her authentic and sexy version of the Guardians of the Galaxy heroine. The New Jersey native takes on a variety of roles from the worlds of comics, anime, and gaming and has been cosplaying since 2012. Lua's Tweet mentioned that she wore the costume to a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 back in May, and we're sure it turned heads. Gamora's more than a costume; it's an attitude. She may be on the side of good now, but she has a very dark past and can be ruthless and violent when the occasion calls for it. We think Lua's got the attitude and the look down.
1 Stacey Rebecca As Mary-Jane Watson
Stacey Rebecca, aka Stacey of Gotham, is actually based in London, UK, and she describes herself as a model, nerd, and cosplayer, in that order. She's got a huge Facebook and Instagram following, and we love that she cosplays a variety of characters. Mary Jane Watson can be a challenge in that, other than red hair, there isn't always much that identifies her as a character. She's meant, after all, to be that quintessential girl next door. Stacey went for authenticity via returning to the source -- comic books. She recreated this shot from the cover of Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #601 by cover artist Jeff Scott Campbell. Published in August of 2009, it's the issue that introduced the "All-New, All-Deadly: DARK MARY-JANE." She may have turned evil, but we love the look.
Sources: TheGamer; TMZ; comicbookmovie.com