COVID-19 pandemic has left cosplayers unmotivated to dress up for conventions

By: Elisha Corsiga

In-person fan conventions are slowly coming back, but cosplayers are struggling to find a reason to return.

Winnipeg Comiccon took place in person from Oct. 29-31 at the RBC Convention Centre. The event was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Other conventions like Winterfest were held virtually to accommodate public health orders. 

Seeing cosplayers in character is integral to the convention experience. From elaborate foam props that take months to build to articles of clothing carefully sewn by hand, many cosplayers invest a lot of time, money, and love into their costumes. 

Cancelled conventions has challenged some cosplayers to even start a piece.

“Because there aren’t any conventions, there isn’t a huge impetus for me to cosplay,” said June Pagé, a Digital Media Design student at Red River College Polytechnic.

Pagé has been going to conventions since 2008, her first one being the Central Canada Comic Con, also known as C4. But Pagé said she didn’t struggle finding things to do during the pandemic, thanking her many hobbies.

“It’s been okay. I just sort of transitioned to other things and when conventions come back, I’ll just transition back [to cosplaying].”

June Pagé cosplays as Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle./ELISHA CORSIGA

One of the things about conventions Pagé said she misses most is connecting with other cosplayers.

“I do miss being able to go out and seeing people also dressed up, and having this really fun weekend with everyone.”

For Khali McDowell, another Digital Media Design student at RRC Polytech, their plans for a fun weekend dissipated when Aikon postponed their 20th-anniversary celebration back in July.

McDowell and their friends planned specific cosplays for each day of Aikon’s three-day event, and another friend from Nova Scotia was supposed to fly in. 

“It was something we were all excited about because everyone wanted to get into cosplay and then it [the pandemic] just kind of destroyed the idea of us ever cosplaying again,” said McDowell.

They had been planning this group cosplay for a year.

RRC Polytech Digital Media Design student Em Shibou-Savoie is on the fence about going to Winnipeg Comiccon. On top of not having a costume prepared, she also has family members who are immunocompromised.

“It may be best if I cry over everyone’s cosplays later seeing all the pictures posted, saying ‘wish it was me,’” said Shibou-Savoie.

Although she may not be able to go to a convention and cosplay this year, Shibou-Savoie said she is optimistic. 

“There’s tons of time to show off works at a convention in the future.”