The cosplay community is vast, and the hobby has a long history. Brian Ashcraft and Luke Plunkett explore all aspects of cosplay – the global appeal, the past, the processes – in their new book Cosplay World. While Cosplay World should absolutely live on your coffee table so you and any visitors can flip through it and drool over the beautiful photos, this book has more to offer than eye candy. it covers cosplay through the eyes of people within in the community – cosplayers, photographers, and historians. The result is an engaging and educational experience full of photos that might inspire you to get creative.
Cosplay World is organized by various names in the industry / hobby (yes, it’s both). Names like Meagan Marie, Yaya Han, Harrison Krix of Volpin Props, and Peter Kokis are on the list. I read the book straight through, but the format lends itself to skipping around and going through the stories in bite-sized chunks. Ashcraft and Plunkett cover varying topics with each person ranging from bio and background to the ins and outs of making a costume. For example, Meagan Marie details the process of constructing her warrior Wonder Woman costume.
Cosplayers talk about why they started cosplaying, photographers discuss the joy of seeing heroes and villains come to life through cosplay, and business owners talk about selling props and costumes and how the retail side of the hobby has evolved. I enjoyed learning how far back the concept of cosplay reaches, seeing photos of cosplayers from the 1970s, and checking out all the amazing creations in Cosplay World, but my favorite part is that I feel energized after reading it. Seeing the work of so many talented people and learning about the challenges they’ve overcome makes me want to design my next costume as quickly as possible.
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