San Diego Comic-Con is back with a vengeance after a two-year absence, filling a gap that had remained wide open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many consider Comic-Con the pinnacle of pop culture, and this year will prove the validity of that claim. Indeed, Comic-Con is the place where things happen as people gather to celebrate all things pop culture, from comic books to movies and television and everything in-between.
Part of what makes Comic-Con so legendary is the enthusiasm and anticipation that surrounds it. Fans from around the world come together, showing off their best cosplay in a vibrant and exuberant display of creativity, imagination, and sheer talent. Cosplaying is part of Comic-Con’s very essence, and every attendee knows it. Throughout the years, the famed convention has given us some of the best examples of the art of cosplaying, many of which will surely stand the test of time and become almost as iconic as Comic-Con itself. Read on to see for yourself.
Prolific Mexican director Guillermo del Toro loves working with the gifted yet underrated actor and mime artist Doug Jones. Among the many memorable characters Jones has played throughout the years is The Angel of Death in del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Below, Jones happily poses with a cosplayer dressed as the Angel, giving them his approval in a pretty perfect picture that captures the essence of Comic-Con.
The Gate Nothing is Coming features the original creature, The Gate. Forged in alchemy, The Gate can change into solid, liquid, and gas and “consume all matter into oblivion.” The Gate is an original character, and his presence at Comic-Con highlights how important the event is for up-and-coming artists and writers to introduce or showcase their creations.
Winged characters are always striking, and Velajuel from Summoners War is no exception. The original Fire Archangel from the action RPG is more on the cute side, but this cosplayer’s take on the character considerably ups the badassery. Walking through the hectic Comic-Con crowds might’ve been hard, but it was probably worth it.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say Mystique is the best character in the X-Men franchise. She’s duplicitous, complicated, self-serving, and engaging — a femme fatale if there ever was one. Mystique is also a favorite of cosplayers, even if she’s very hard to pull off. This cosplayer not only manages to nail the iconic blue makeup but makes things better by doing a half-and-half, literally bringing Mystique to life.
The Dragon Ball franchise has been delighting fans for over 30 years, and the anime is still going strong. New characters like the gods Whis, Beerus, and Zeno keep things fresh and fun, reminding fans why the franchise remains so beloved. Here, a quartet of cosplayers captures the whimsy of the DB gods, bringing some welcome anime representation to the Con.
Arguably the most underappreciated antihero in comic books, Spawn is a favorite of cosplayers. The Hellspawn makes numerous appearances throughout Comic-Con history, but this fan stands out because of his uncanny take on the iconic character. One look at this cosplayer, and you might think he actually came back from Hell!
Disney villains are infamous for their queer coding, famous for their iconic designs, and fabulous for their songs, style, and all-around panache. The flamboyant yet sinister Jafar remains one of Disney’s best bad guys, memorable for his snake-like scepter, obnoxious red parrot, and mighty magical powers. This cosplayer perfectly blends Jafar’s creepiness with his undeniable flair, and the result would make the real sorcerer proud.
Venom and Carnage are among Marvel’s most brutally entertaining characters. The duo is often at odds with each other, but their connection is undeniable. As two of Marvel’s most iconic antiheroes, Venom and Carnage are also popular with cosplayers. Case in point, this duo of talented fans chose the two sworn enemies for the special 2021 edition of Comic-Con.
Spirited Away is quite possibly the greatest anime movie of all time. Timeless and celebrated, the film has a collection of characters that would be instantly recognizable anywhere. However, twin sisters Zeniba and Yubaba are especially notorious, and this cosplay proves it. Everything about this is perfect, from the rings to the dresses to the overly-large heads.
Mad Max: Fury Road is arguably the best action film of the new millennium. Pokémon is the most successful franchise in entertainment history. Although these two properties have nothing in common, the talented artist Rannie Rodil brought them together by cosplaying as Immortan Joe and wearing Ash Ketchum’s iconic cap. She also incorporates a Pikachu and some Poké Balls into her costume, and the result is pure and beautiful chaos.
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