Yukoners have a hidden talent. Last August, over 800 people flocked to the territory’s first-ever comic convention, and many of them came in elaborate costumes they made themselves.

Vickybunnangel, professional cosplayer and judge of YukomiCon 2014’s cosplay contests, remarked on the diversity and talent of our local cosplayers.

So what exactly is cosplay? It stands for costume play, the practice of portraying a fictional character in costume, mannerisms and body language.

Creative cosplayers are able to transform into characters from manga, anime, comic books, cartoons, video games, live-action films or television series.

Cosplay originated in Japan, but became a massive part of pop culture in the early ‘90s, when manga and anime went mainstream in the U.S. At today’s comic conventions, you are almost a minority if you are not in character.

Cosplayers often spend lots of time and money creating their costumes. Why? Because cosplay is a creative outlet to become a favourite character, express yourself, have fun, get attention, compete in healthy cosplay competition and derive self-gratification from creating something you love.

It’s a hobby of passion for many cosplayers. I believe that everyone at some point in their lives wants to be someone else for at least one brief moment. Cosplay is a great way to do just that.

Cosplayers have varying degrees of dedication: some put on a store-bought mask and call it a day, while others take months perfecting every aspect of their costumes and really recreate their character in every way.

A large number of cosplayers see it as a type of performance art. For some, cosplay is a career; they’re paid to model for gaming industries, compete in lucrative competitions, and work as designers and special guests at conventions all over North America.

At this year’s YukomiCon, we are lucky to have Andy Rae, a costume designer from British Columbia who has won several cosplay awards for her craftsmanship. Andy specializes in armour construction, and will be teaching a workshop on armour techniques at YukomiCon.

Over the past two years, she has recreated characters from Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad), Sailor Jupiter (Sailor Moon), Holy Paladin (World of Warcraft), to Mo Moxxi (Borderlands) and the Diablo III Barbarian.

In a recent interview with World of Nerd, Andy explained why she cosplays. “Cosplay is like an outlet for me, it’s a way to show my creativity off to the world and challenge myself each time with bigger and harder builds “I feel sometimes like the dayto-day of life can really get me stuck in a rut and cosplay is a way for me to relax from all of that and let my imagination flow!” Get out your sewing machines, glue guns, wigs, and makeup and get ready for the YukomiCon 2015 cosplay contests on Saturday, August 22.

This year’s youth and adult contests will be open to all attendees at no extra cost; contestants under 18 will have a chance to compete for $225 in prize values and trophies, and the adult contest has $300 in cash prizes plus trophies.

We can’t wait to see what Yukon’s creative cosplayers come up with this year.

For details, visit www.yukomicon.com.