Scroll to Info & Navigation

Cosplayers get the shaft at New York Comic Con

(Crowd of people attempting to enter the Blue Exorcist panel)

New York Comic Con has been growing with each year and after the complete cannibalism of New York Anime Fest, Comic Con seems to be more and more commercialized while forgetting about the fans who buy the tickets and support the brand. This year Anime was put on the back burner - with only a handful of panels (Viz, Kodansha, Vertical, Funimation, NIS) directed toward the audience that once had their own convention to attend. To add insult to injury, Reed Exhibitions decided that New York Comic Con didn’t need a Masquerade. It is common knowledge that large scale conventions host a grand contest where skilled costumers from all over the country show off their work and compete for various prizes that result in great monetary gain, vacations to foreign countries, paid trips to other conventions, or a simple “Best Craftsmanship” award. Apparently us East-Coasters didn’t need any of that because Comic Con had a better idea in mind. Two hall contests hosted on a temporary stage built for basic purposes. 

For those who are uncertain of the difference - a hall contest is a contest held in a large hall that is open to the public. Anyone can pass through for various reasons - bathroom break, snack break, etc. This contest is usually held on a small stage before an audience and the winner is determined by popularity - whoever has the most shouts(regardless of how poorly made the costume might be) wins a prize which is usually a plushy, a bag of books, etc. The person walks on stage and walks off. There is no music, there is no skit.

A masquerade is often held in an auditorium, stadium, or theater complex. The immense audience has little to no influence on the winners of the contest. The prizes are usually given out in levels - grand prize, first place, best craftsmanship, best skit, and so on. Contestants must apply formally beforehand, usually a month or two before the convention. They need to submit a portfolio of previous costumes and the costume entering the contest must be debuted AT the masquerade. Anyone who wears their masquerade costume out in the hall before the event is automatically disqualified. Usually these masquerades will also require that the costume be made at home - nothing can be purchased or made by someone who is not participating in your group.

Big difference, right? So why did New York Comic Con cancel their masquerade? While we’re all still wondering that… let us take a look at what some fans are thinking:

When I approached the Variant Stage in Hall 1B at NYCC, disappointment welled up inside of me when I saw the impossibility of entering a real contest. I encountered people who were also sharing my feelings.


The Daily Hey Now: Did you just try to enter the costume contest?

Jessica S: Yes I did.

The Daily Hey Now:Still an hour left and it’s booked… because it’s the first come first serve for the first 30 people. Is this your first Comic Con?

Jessica S:Yes it is.

The Daily Hey Now:So you wouldn’t know about the masquerade that was held every year?

Jessica S: No I don’t.

The Daily Hey Now: Well, originally, New York Comic Con had a masquerade and it was in the Special Events Room on the main stage with large projector screens. Unlike this little stage right here. How do you feel about that kind of event being cancelled?

Jessica S: That’s pretty stupid. You’re going to make me mad now.

The Daily Hey Now:I know. I was pretty upset to hear that it was cancelled… and you can’t even get into this contest because look at all of these people that showed up.

Jessica S:And the best is that they told us to come at Six O’clock and we decided to come half an hour before and it was booked.

The Daily Hey Now: Precisely. So are you enjoying Comic Con so far aside from this contest?

Jessica S:Aside from this… but this was what I was here for so…


The Daily Hey Now:Is this your first year at New York Comic Con?

Laura (Cosplaying as Enchantress from Thor): No this is my second year. 

The Daily Hey Now: Did you know about the masquerade that NYCC used to host every year?


The Daily Hey Now:Are you disappointed that it is being replaced with this?

Laura:Yes. I am very disappointed that it is being replaced with this because this is like first come first serve first 20-30 people which is kind of ridiculous because people used to have to apply before hand and everyone was really serious and was able to do it. Now, it’s whoever is here at the right time - that is who lines up and that seems really unfair to me.

The Daily Hey Now:I am very disappointed in it my self, especially because there used to be judges, and the grand prize was a trip to Japan.

Laura:Yeah! Which is way better than what do they get now? A book of Manga? That’s about it. It seems as if they are not supporting the cosplayers as much anymore. It’s become so commercial here that its like we wanna sell this product, promote this thing. Those who cosplay and are really into this, you’re in the background.

The Daily Hey Now:Like what happened to New York Anime Fest after it was folded into NYCC.

Laura:Exactly. We used to go to Otakon every year and they have things for the fans, a rave, a manga room, a karaoke room. All sorts of stuff. Here, there is almost nothing for the actual cosplayer anymore – the person who is truly a fan.

The Daily Hey Now:What do you think NYCC could do to change that?

Laura:I think they can focus more on supplying things for the fans. Right now there is so much autographing and you have to sign up so early, that most people get here and there is really nothing left to do. There are some panels but they’re so full that no one can get in. I really think they need to focus on taking a room and saying “this is for the fans, no promotion.” Comic book room: free discussion about comic books. Something not promoting anything but there to let fans talk about their hobbies. 


So what do you think about this? Is it possible Reed Pop will feel the mumblings and grumblings of the masses who thought New York Comic Con was a complete bust this year? Or will they invite more dated wrestlers and Playboy Playmates to take up table space instead of thinking about events that allow fans to show off their talent, knowledge, and most importantly - their love of everything pop culture.

Here is to hoping New York Comic Con remembers the fans in 2013.