Celebrities weren’t the only ones getting a lot of attention at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo on Saturday.
Cosplayers, dressed up as their favorite characters, sometimes take years to perfect their outfits. And while the origins of their costumes might not be apparent, their efforts were not lost on the crowds.
Halle Stolk and Ethan Andrews attended the event as Waffle Woman and Powdered Toast Man from the 1990’s animated series Ren & Stimpy.
“Even if people don’t recognize us they seem to want to take photos with us anyway,” Stolk said. “Because – come on – we look pretty cool.”
“People need to learn the Ren & Stimpy show,” Andrews added.
Whether known or not, cosplayers often put lots of time and special attention into their costumes.Halle Stolk (left) and Ethan Andrews attended the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo as characters from from the 1990’s animated series Ren & Stimpy. (John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton)
“All of the embroidery down the front and down the sleeves and down the dress is all hand done,” said craftsmanship cosplayer Austyn Larkam.
Dressed as Sylph, a character from a Japanese Manga magazine, her outfit included a nine-pound wig and wings decorated with LED lights, took three years, 11 months and 22 days to make.
Despite that, she said it’s not the time spent or the details on a garment that make cosplay special.
“Cosplay is just wearing a costume and playing in it,” Larkam said. “Whether that means you go and thrift something, you meticulously hand make something, you go and you buy a costume – we just want to dress up and have fun and embody these characters that we love so dearly.”
David Huculiak, whose speciality is 3D printing and body armour work, said it’s the details on his Doctor Strange costume that get the most attention – like his holographic LED fan or magnetic cape.
“You can just throw it on, pull up the collar and it’s just like in the movie where the cape flies and lands on him and does it on its own,” he said.
David Huculiak says his holographic LED fan was a fan favorite at the 2023 Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo. (John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton)For some, like Tony My, this year’s cosplay meant a lifestyle change.
Dressed as the 1995 version of Wolverine, My’s said his look required work on more than just assembling his outfit.
“Everything was thought out for months, and then it was for me to get into physical shape,” he said.
For Derek King, dressed Saturday as the Predator, dressing up is a way to engage with the characters and their worlds in different ways.
“It’s something else to just actually live it other than it is to just see it on a shelf or read about it and fantasize,” he said.
“It’s like Disney World for geeks.”
Austyn Larkam’s (left) donned a costume Saturday at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo that took more than three years to make. (John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton) For Larkham, the best part of cosplay is the characters she’s met from around the world and the community she’s found in costumes.
“I have friends all over the world in cosplay,” she added. “It’s such an amazing way to meet new people, learn new skills. I have life-long friends that I have built through cosplay.”
The Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo expo runs until Sunday.