The Brisbane Convention Center is swarming with pirates, elves and stormtroopers this weekend as part of the first large-scale OZ Comic-Con since COVID, and it’s brought an influx of new cosplayers.
While the two-day comic book convention gives fans the opportunity to come face-to-face with their favorite movie and TV stars, for many the real draw has been connecting with an inclusive community.
Cosplay – or costume play – involves dressing up as characters from TV shows, movies, video games, books, and more.
JusZ Cosplay, who is OZ Comic-Con’s cosplay emissary, said it helped provide a place where people feel safe and comfortable.
“A lot of people got into cosplay during the lockdowns. People who said, I’ve had all this free time, I’ve always wanted to try, maybe I’ll just try to do something in my living room “, she said. said.
“There’s been a big transition to doing a lot of things online, so we’ve gotten used to ‘going live’ and chatting with people and sharing panels.
“Now that we’re back, it opens doors for people who previously thought they weren’t welcome.
“They finally saw some of the content online and saw that actually I could go do this, it’s a place I could be.”
Oz Comic-Con event manager Zac Fitzroy said the release from COVID restrictions has been a “healthy reset” for cosplayers.
“One thing that people have realized over the past two years is how precious that human connection is and how much they love being able to go out and celebrate the things they love,” he said. .
“All of that has been taken away in the last couple of years, so I think that made him, in some ways, a lot stronger coming out of that period.”
It has also become more accessible.
Skye has been cosplaying for over 10 years.
During this period, the cosplay scene became increasingly inclusive of disabled cosplayers.
“There’s more knowledge about accessibility, spatial awareness, and respect. It’s a very respectful space at conventions,” she said.
“It’s actually really nice to come back and see everyone. Just the vibe you get here is really great.”
This is a sentiment shared by JusZ Cosplay.
“With cosplay, I find that not only has it really helped me expand the people I talk to, but it’s helped me better understand pockets of life that I wouldn’t otherwise interact with. I’ve met people from just about every state, every walk of life.
“I love that it makes me feel like I can connect with everyone and I can be someone who can talk to anyone no matter what.”