Some personal news that I can now announce: I’m writing a book about the history of cosplay!
I’ve been calling the project Cosplay: A History, (something that might change), and it should be out by Summer 2021. Syfy has the details here.
But as fascinating as the current state of cosplay is, Liptak is also interested in exploring where it came from by researching the history of halloween costumes, Hollywood designers, and old costume masquerades from the earliest conventions. Cosplay: A History is a deep-dive examination into the dynamic story of cosplay and how it has grown to become a world-wide phenomenon.
Seth Fishman sold the book to Joe Monti at Saga Press, which I’m extremely excited about. Saga has published some really great books in the last couple of years (Seriously, I’m sharing the same space with people like Kameron Hurley, Rebecca Roanhorse, Ken Liu, Elizabeth Bear, Theodora Goss, and more — to say that I’m feeling imposter syndrome is an understatement.)
I’ve spoken with Joe a bunch of times over the years, and the topic of cosplay came up more than once. Those conversations dovetailed with a growing interest in Cosplay. I’ve dressed up in armor with the 501st Legion for more than a decade now, but I’ve begun thinking and writing about how people come together in larger communities over a shared interest in suiting up as their favorite heroes. I’ve written about costuming for outlets like io9 and The Verge, spoken about it on Vermont Public Radio and at Norwich University. In particular, I’ve gotten really interested in how the movement formed, and how it’s changed over time as new franchises pop up and as makers have begun to use new techniques to make costumes.
This book will be an attempt to expand on some of the writing that i’ve done over the years, looking the roots of cosplay and how costuming became this big, global phenomenon, how internet culture has helped shape it, and what it means for the future of entertainment. It’ll include interviews with folks about their involvement in the space, along with photographs of people I chat with along the way.
Obviously, there’ll be some nerding out about the 501st Legion, but also things like 3D printing, the rise of Comic-Con, and historical reenacting. I’m also hoping to talk about the wide range of costumes that are out there, from the marquee superheroes to the obscure characters that show up in the background of the Mos Eisley Cantina.
What I’m hoping to ultimately cover in this project is the relationship that people have with stories, and how costuming brings them closer to the characters and worlds they love, and how it allows them to interact with the text in unique ways.
I’ll be working on the book this summer and fall, and I’ll likely have a bunch of updates and anecdotes as I do so. The best way to stay up to date will be to sign up for my newsletter, but I’ll probably be posting up pictures to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter while I’m at conventions or generally researching it. I’d also like to hear from cosplayers from all eras — I’ll be setting up a way to get in touch about that.