Cosplay is a family affair at Comic-Con approaches

Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 12:05:30-04

Baltimore Comic-Con is just two weeks away, and for a lot of fans, that means crunch time.

Cosplay enthusiasts and amateurs alike will descend on Baltimore the weekend of Sept. 2-4, all ready to show off their costumes.

For many, cosplay is a family affair.

Dad and daughter

Sam Gras got his start cosplaying at New York Comic-Con in 2012. Since then, he’s been creating and wearing costumes with his daughter.

“Whenever I choose a costume, I try to choose something she’d be interested in—something we’d like together,” Gras said.

How long it takes and how expensive it is to build a costume depends on what type it is, Gras said. While building a costume from scratch could take a long time, Gras said some costumes could be “knocked out” in two weeks—even if it’s not always easy for him.

“Being a dad and building the costumes don’t always go hand-in-hand,” Gras said, though he always try to incorporate his daughter into the costume building.

This year, he’s going as Lex Luthor, a villain from Superman, and his daughter is going as Supergirl. The two started cosplaying years ago—she as Robin and he as Batman.

And even though he and Robin’s mom have divorced, she’s occasionally involved in the cosplay process.

While Gras is working on boots and belts for the costume, Robin’s mom is sewing the costume.

“It helps her know that her mom and her dad both love her, even though we’re divorced,” Gras said.

Gras has a cosplay page here.

Husband and wife

Harry and Gina Crosland live in Largo, Maryland, and have been cosplaying since 2009.

“My wife is not as big of a geek as I am,” Crosland said. “She’s along for the ride.”

For the Croslands, cosplay isn’t just about getting dressed up. It’s about the community.

“We’re not just going for the costumes,” Crosland said. “We go [to conventions] and see old friends and meet new people.”

Harry Crosland’s biggest piece of advice for people new to the cosplay world was to go with a character you like, and “roll with it.”

Sister, Sister

Josephine Valois is a Towson University student who started cosplaying with her younger sister in 2010.

“I didn't know what to expect and I honestly thought it sounded totally bizarre, but I went and instantly became intrigued by it,” Valois said. “I felt so out of place because everyone was dressed up in costumes and I was wearing normal clothes.”

Valois said she’s spent anywhere from a few weeks to over three months creating different costumes—it all depends on the complexity. Builds with armor, she said, “can cost thousands of dollars, simply because all the materials needed are so costly.”

“Definitely research everything before starting a cosplay,” she said. “There are so many tutorials on YouTube that teach you how to create cosplay armor, weapons, sew a pleated skirt--basically anything you can think of there's a tutorial for it online.”

And, like the Croslands, she was quick to point out the benefits of being part of the community.

“You won't know how to do everything instantly, and you'll get frustrated, but you'll improve over time,” she said. “It doesn't hurt to make cosplay friends that can share different techniques with you.”

The Valois sisters have a cosplay page here.

Baltimore Comic-Con runs from Sept. 2-4. You can learn more on the convention website.

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