Cosplay from the Dawn of Time

September 1st, 2014Posted by Nancy

Or at least the 1970s.  During my early convention-going years, I did do the costume thing a few times, mostly as an excuse to dress up.   I didn’t have nearly the talent for it that today’s crop of cosplayers does but I did enjoy myself.  So here, in honour of FanExpo and for whatever dubious entertainment value it offers, is my costuming “greatest hits”.

In the summer of 1977, my two best friends and I dressed up as various characters from our shared stories and took pictures of ourselves in the local ravine and in my basement.   I’m not entirely sure who I was supposed to be but I imagine I thought I was very sophisticated.  I certainly was young.

Rhiannon 1977 001

For Ad Astra 1980, the same friends and I dressed as “Droogettes”.  We borrowed the much-abused dummy from the official Droog gang and for our performance proceeded to beat it up while singing “Hey Big Spender”.


Probably at the same convention, I did a costume based on Tanith Lee’s short story “Winter White”.   Conveniently, there was someone dressed as Sabella as well, so we were able to do the following photo.

Winter White and Sabella 001

Skip ahead many years and I’m serving as photographer and purse-holder for a group of talented young cosplayers.  Since I couldn’t go to Anime North without SOME sort of costume, I managed to put together (with help from a friend, who possessed a Mad Hatter hat and a very extensive wig drawer) a version of the Hatter.   Her own costume is much more impressive than mine.

Catarina & Hatter 1

For Anime North, I took my House of Pomegranates Victorian bathing dress, added a Pirate hat, the stripey socks and my Wicked Witch of the West boots and off I went.  The dress, boots and stripey socks are my current  “Hallowe’en at the office” attire.

NB fan expo

I lack the patience, fine motor skills and sewing ability to really create beautiful costumes, though I do secretly enjoy writing about clothing in my own books.  Sidonie in A Terrible Beauty had a very satisfying wardrobe of dresses and necklaces and the Faerie Court in Cold Hillside gave me an opportunity to raid a number of cultures for sartorial splendor.  I don’t think I’ll be pulling off costumes based on these any day soon but it would be an absolutely thrill to see someone cosplay a character from my books.

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