Comic Con Cosplay: Photos of the Coolest Costumes

The Red Woman

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Name: Lavinia

Cosplay: Melisandre, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)

"This is actually the first cosplay I'm doing. Last night I was thinking, I hope I don't look stupid! I actually wanted to do Cersei but the costume was very hard to do — it had a lot of embroidery, I couldn't find one that didn't look cheap and I didn't want to do it if it looked bad. But this one, the dress was pretty accurate. 

A lot of people are taking pictures of me and it's kind of overwhelming. I like it because a lot of people are telling me, 'You look great,' and, 'That's a great costume.' So, that's nice."

After the apocalypse

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Names: Joe Bokanoski and Mike Labarge

Cosplay: Post-apocalyptic Red Skull and Captain America (DC Comics)

Live Science: What inspired your cosplay choice?

Mike: The overall look of the new Mad Max movie, that style of the end of the world.

Joe: A lot of the shows that are out now — like "The Walking Dead" and things like that — have that look and that feeling. We wanted to take an ordinary kind of superhero and villain and putting them into that situation, 50 to 60 years after the world has ended.

Live Science: How did you make your costumes?

Joe: There's a lot of flea market stuff, stuff we got from junkyards and scraps. We thought, what would you do in a post-apocalyptic world? 

Mike: This is a catcher's guard, for protection.

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part of doing cosplay?

Mike: This right here.

Joe: Just getting pictures and taking them with kids — they love it a lot. And making people happy, having a good time.

Mike: We suffer and sweat all day long for this.

Joe: It's worth it just to put some smiles on people's faces.

Family time

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Names: Kayla, Mo and Taylor

Cosplay: A "regular" pirate; the Riddler, DC Comics; Ulysses, "Fallout: New Vegas" (Obsidian Entertainment)/Aiden Pearce, "Watch Dogs" (Ubisoft)

Live Science: What inspired your cosplay today?

Taylor: I asked my mom if she could make me the duster, and she did. And when I was here in 2014 I saw a booth that was selling the mask and hat from "Watch Dogs" and I bought that, so now it's like a thing that I do.

Mo: Well, I did the Mad Hatter and the Joker and now it's time for the Riddler.

Kayla: I couldn't find anything else.

Mo: This is the third year we're doing it, the first and second year were really awesome.

Taylor: The first year I convinced them, I happened to see a message from [video and game production company] Rooster Teeth saying we'll be at Comic Con 2013 for a panel, so I said, 'We gotta go!' And we went and it was fun, so I asked if we could go next year, and we did.

Mo: We have fun.

Taylor: We might see a person in the same genre of game that you're dressed in, and you might give each other a compliment and talk about the game.

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Names: Karina Frengle-Eaves and Liv Eaves

Cosplay: Weeping Angels, "Doctor Who (BBC)

Live Science: What inspired your cosplay today?

Liv: It was my idea — I heard that Matt Smith [the Eleventh Doctor] was going to be here. I'm a really big fan.

Karina: There are more people taking my picture than at my wedding. Anytime we stand still, we get a crowd of people surrounding us.

Live Science: What about Weeping Angels appeals to you?

Liv: They can only move when you blink or when you're not looking, and if they touch you then you move back in time, so in the present time you're dead.

Karina: You don't want to blink when you're looking at them and you don't want to look away, so they're kind of scary.

Liv: I like how they're really fast.

Karina: I like how creepy and goth-looking they are.

All our yesterdays

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Names: Rachel Torres, Frank Torres and Vincent Ng Cosplay: "Star Trek" officers, original series (Desilu Productions/Paramount Television)

Rachel: The original series pioneered a lot. [Star Trek character] Uhura was really great — she was a woman of color in television at a time when women of color didn't do much in the public eye.  She had her own personality, she wasn't just eye candy.

And my father's a Trekkie.

Frank: I've been one since the first series — I ran home from school to watch it. My mother said, "You're crazy," but I wouldn't miss it for money.

Rachel: I was doomed to be a dork from the beginning.

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part of doing cosplay?

Rachel: I love putting together a costume — from scratch, ideally. I love the heartache of trying to figure it out and then getting it to work. And it's fun to take the photos and do the photo ops in costume, even if it's a total mashup that doesn't make sense.

Frank: It's fun to walk around seeing everyone enjoying themselves in the costumes.

Rachel: It's a very accepting community. And it's a way to appreciate the fandom of a character.

Live Science: Is there anything you do to get into character before you put the costume on?

Vincent: I would love to say yes and give you an elaborate answer on this one, but Rachel says, "You're gonna wear this," and I say, "OK." That's kind of how this goes.

I do enjoy seeing the community have a passion about something that can bring us together through hard times. Regardless of what's going on in politics or the world, at least we see everyone come together and have a good time here, and that's what it's all about.

Unlikely pair

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Names: Mikey and Betsy

Cosplay: Harley Quinn from "Suicide Squad" (DC Entertainment, Inc.), Bellatrix Lestrange from "Harry Potter" books and movies

Betsy: I really wanted a Harry Potter costume, and she has a fun look and I really wanted to work with leather.

Live Science: Is there anything about these characters that spoke to you personally?

Betsy: She's absolutely insane, so I hope not!

Mikey: Whereas mine is absolutely insane, so I hope so! I've liked the character since the animated series. I just think this is a really neat look, and I wasn't comfortable making it more masculine, I was like, I'm just going to do it. But I relate to the character, I get her relationship to Joker, I understand the obsession, I understand her wild card nature. And I've wanted to do it for years, and finally it was like, I'm going to buckle down and make the pieces I want to make. The jacket and shirt were purchased. The shorts were handmade, the boots were made, the bat, holster and gun were made.

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part of doing cosplay?

Mikey: The whole process of putting it together and seeing it as a final piece. Putting on these boots when I got them, it was the first time I was like, oh, I got this costume now. You're literally wearing someone else's shoes.

Betsy: I really just like the process and challenging myself to try new skills, like working with leather or embroidery, and also the reactions of kids and people that you see. Their faces light up when they see you — either you're their favorite character or something about what you're dressed up as relates to them too and they get so excited. And that's really fun, and the energy just transfers.

Mikey: You also find people in costumes from the same universe as yours that are really excited to talk to people who like the same things they do, and that's neat. I had a really nice chat with a girl and her boyfriend that were doing a Harley and Joker cosplay. We just started talking about different characters we've gone as and even the characters we were today.

It's good to be bad

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Names: Crystal, Christina and Victoria

Cosplay: Hades, "Hercules"; Jafar, "Aladdin"; Dr. Facilier,"The Princess and the Frog" (Disney Animated Classics)

Christina: We're Disney villains — genderbent versions of male villains. I'm Jafar.

Victoria: I'm Dr. Facilier, or the Shadowman.

Crystal: And I am Hades from Hercules.

Christina: We love Disney — one of my favorite movies is "Aladdin" — and we love villains and we haven't seen this [cosplay] too much.

Crystal: And one of my favorite movies is "Hercules."

Victoria: And we all love, love, love, "The Princess and the Frog."

Christina: Lately we've been doing a lot of the good guys and we wanted to switch it up.

Crystal: And also villains have really big personalities.

Victoria: There's so much depth to the characters, trying to understand their motivations and why they turned to villainy.

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part about doing cosplay?

Christina: Feeling like you accomplished something. You put it together on your own.

Victoria: And then people appreciate it.

Crystal: And they know who you are. People are like, "Oh my god, you look so cool — and you did that yourself?" You feel like a celebrity a little bit.

Victoria: Yeah, you feel pretty badass.

Chasing the dragon

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Name: Julio Riboc

Cosplay: King Vegeta, "Dragon Ball Z" (Manga Entertainment, Cartoon Network)

"I've been a 'Dragon Ball Z' nut for years. I love the anime, I love the manga, I love the show. King Vegeta's always been a favorite of mine."

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part about doing cosplay?

"Doing cosplay is fantastic — the look on kids' faces, seeing people go, 'Wow, I've never seen anyone do that character before!' That's just great, seeing other people's enjoyment."

Princess of Power

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Name: Naomi

Cosplay: She-Ra, "Masters of the Universe" (Filmation)

"I have always loved this whole time of dressing up, I can just be whomever I want to be with no judgment. So it's not just a particular character; this is my sixth year and every day I'm somebody different. I just love feeling out of the box."

Live Science: What about this character appealed to you?

"Woman power, plain and simple. Most of my characters are powerful women — She-Ra, Supergirl, Maleficent."

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part about doing cosplay?

"The acceptance. It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like. It's a community — it's like a big family. Once a year I come and I see people I haven't seen but once a year, and it's just great."

The Sanderson sisters

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips/Live Science)

Names: Haileigh Petersen, Smoke and Honey Cosplay, Penny Lane Cosplay

Cosplay: Mary Sanderson, Winifred Sanderson and Sarah Sanderson, "Hocus Pocus" (Buena Vista Pictures)

Penny Lane Cosplay: Kathy Najimy [the original Mary Sanderson] is here today, and we absolutely love the movie. So we're like, we have to do the Sanderson sisters. And it just so happens that I am definitely Sarah Sanderson in real life.

Smoke and Honey Cosplay: We got a picture with her!

Hayleigh: I think especially for our age group it was such an iconic movie growing up, and was such a big part of Halloween. And being near a comic con and it being October, it felt right.

Penny Lane Cosplay: And each of the characters is very much us!

Smoke and Honey Cosplay: We had so much fun running around the con being evil, capes whooshing in the wind.

Live Science: What's the most satisfying part about doing cosplay?

Smoke and Honey Cosplay: When people nerd out over your costume. Including Kathy Najimy!

Hayleigh: And little kids are still watching this movie, and they come up to us and go, "Oh, the Sanderson sisters!" That makes it so much fun.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.  Her book "Rise of the Zombie Bugs: The Surprising Science of Parasitic Mind Control" will be published in spring 2025 by Johns Hopkins University Press.