As I was gearing up for the 2018 Tokyo Comic Con (see this post), I became more and more interested in costuming, or the term I prefer, cosplay. I have several costumes either completed or on the way: Michael Myers (from Rob Zombie's Halloween); a Hufflepuff student/Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter; and several Star Trek costumes, First Contact officer, Captain Kirk from Star Trek Into Darkness, a formal tunic from Insurrection, and an Enterprise NX-01 officer jumpsuit on the way. None of these costumes are handmade; I have neither the skill or the inclination to do them so, this has been an expensive hobby for me so far.
The crown jewel in my collection would be a Batman suit. I am currently working on getting one and the decisions involved have made me evaluate the choices in picking a costume. My dilemma is choosing between the Batsuits from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. I'm sure most people would say choose another Batsuit entirely or at least pick the one from the less awful movie. But the Schumacher movies are my favorite Batman movies (the reasons of which could be a whole other post), but the decision process has made me think of the involvement in deciding a costume beyond the fact that "it looks cool."
When you choose a costume, you're displaying a part of yourself. You're displaying to the world that the qualities that character represents are in a some way a reflection of you. If you're Superman, I can make a good guess you value truth and justice. But it can also mean the type of characters you like watching in entertainment, the moral and good guys who always do their best. Picking a villain is the same thing, not in showing that you are a bad person, but as a way to express your inner darkness safely. For me, I chose that version of Michael Myers because he's a beast, a pure killing animal. Wearing it, it's a way to think about letting ago, not being always in control, and just imagining myself letting loose.
Back to Batman, I'm finding it such a difficult decision because I'm going beyond just which suit looks cool, although there is that too. The Kilmer suit is sexy, and the yellow emblem is nice change from the non-colored/monochromatic versions that have become very popular lately. On the other hand, it's quite similar to the very popular Keaton Batsuit. The Batman 89 suit is not one I want to do and I really don't want to do one similar to it. The Clooney Batsuit is sleek and stylish although it has more design bits that I don't like, for example the cape clasps and the bat symbols on the boots. On the other hand, as one of the least popular Batsuits, I would standout in a convention, which is something every cosplayer wants to do. I have never seen a Clooney Batsuit at a convention, either in Tokyo or Atlanta.
But as I mentioned earlier, I would be representing the world and values of the movie in which that suit came from. Do I want the campiness of the Clooney Batsuit, because that's what people will think of when they see it. When con-goers see a costume, they are also remembering the movie it came from. It says something about what the wearer likes. "He's wearing a costume from that? He must like bad movies."
As a creator myself (being an author), I'm also aware of the creator's thoughts of their projects. Joel Schumacher said he's not the most proud of his work on Batman & Robin, although he did the best he could. Should behind-the-scenes information also come into the decision-making process when it comes to costumes? On the other hand, will the average con-goer or fan even know what when on behind the scenes?
Maybe I'm overthinking it. Maybe being a cosplayer is just as simple as saying "I like that costume" or "it just looks cool."
Thanks for reading.