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In Before Scalzi!

(at least, if I type fast enough)

So yet again, the blog-o-sphere has exploded—twice in a week, no less!—with geeks (male) telling women that they are not nerdy enough or not hot or too hot or…I don’t know, it all blurs together after awhile, honestly. The word “hot” definitely features, and “cosplay.” As usual, it seems to come down to how-dare-there-be-women-cosplayers-who-do-not-meet-my-arbitrary-standards-of-fandom, in whatever flavor you happen to want.

So, y’know. The usual.

One of them was a comic creator who seemed somewhat upset that there were cosplayers who were taking attention away from fine upstanding comic creators who might have made the characters they were cosplaying. That seemed to be the gist. There was a lot of yelling in caps, at any rate.

You can find his rant easily enough—I’d suggest “geek misogyny” put into google, but sadly, that may turn up a few million results. Still, I have faith.


I am nobody special and do not expect most angry geek males of this stripe to listen to me, but on this one little topic,  I do have something to say.

As some of you might know, I am a comic book creator. Artist. Writer. That kinda thing.

Did an obscure little comic called Digger. Don’t expect anyone to have heard of it. Do a hybrid comic called Dragonbreath. Bit wider audience, but mostly under twelve. In geek circles, I am obscure.

(Before you leap to my defense here, oh audience, it’s okay. I know YOU know who I am. But I don’t do superhero comics, so I don’t actually expect mainstream comics to know I exist, and really, I’m okay with that.)

But just in case…

I hereby grant, in perpetuity, the right to all cosplayers of any age, body type, or gender—or lack thereof—to cosplay as anything I have ever created, including the Biting Pear if you can figure out how.* Doesn’t matter if you’re hot, or not hot, or maybe hot if you like that sort or maybe it’s none of my goddamn business if you’re hot because who the hell died and made me the arbiter of hotness? Hell, I’m still trying to find a bra with the nice t-shirt back where the little front snap doesn’t break after a dozen washings. (Okay, that has nothing to do with male geek rage, but seriously, if you know one, comment.)

In fact, I grant you right-of-cosplay even if you’ve never read the comics or seen more than one of my paintings and know nothing about any of them and just think one of the characters would make an awesome costume. Apparently this is a mortal sin in some eyes, but for me, I think it’s fantastic. Go forth and cosplay! Knock yourself out! I’d love to see photos.

Now sure, this is maybe easy for me to say, because if you want to cosplay as Digger, you’re gonna need a LOT of fake fur and some serious know-how, and if you manage to cosplay as the Statue of Ganesh, I will load you down with so much swag you’ll need a hand-truck leaving the table, because that is an engineering feat for the ages.

But there’s a few others characters of mine that do commit the sin of having human skin. Murai. Jhalm. Sings-to-Trees. Those odd little fellows in the robes with the checkerboard hems. And if I ever see a Celadon Toadstool cosplayer, I will take an unbelievable number of photos and hug you even if I get green bodypaint all over my clothes.

If you ever get the urge to cosplay as any of them, do it with my blessing. I don’t care if you’ve been in fandom for forty years or if you once caught a Dr. Who marathon while you were stuck on the couch sick and think a midichlorian has something to do with swimming pools. (Pretty sure we all envy you your innocence on that one, actually.) I don’t even care if you’re doing it because you are the BIGGEST FAN EVER** or because you really do think that you look dead sexy in wombat fur and you want in on all that hypothetical…hot…wombat…lovin’….

Well, moving on. More power to you either way, sez I.

I am not going to sit down and administer a standardized test to people to make sure that they are the Right Sort to cosplay as something I created. Love is love. Appreciation is appreciation. I do not require you to read my entire back catalog and know my blood type in order to think one of my characters looks damn cool/sexy/fun to be.

Frankly, if you’re cosplaying, it’s not about me. You’re a cosplayer. That’s your expression of fandom. You can do things. With the sewing and the glue and the whatnot. Sometimes wigs. (Wigs! It boggles the mind.)

Me, I can’t sew a stitch, so as far as I’m concerned, that is black magic.

And if you choose to use your astonishing black magic sewing powers to express admiration for something I created, I would have to be both an ingrate and an astonishing jackass to tell you that you weren’t a true enough geek to do it.

And if anybody ever tries to yell at you for dressing as one of my characters, you tell ‘em I personally said it was fine. And then flip your hyena ears or wombat tail or orc battleaxe in their direction and go off and be awesome.

Thank you.

That is all.


*Subject to all usual disclaimers about the making of money off copyrighted properties, etc, for legal purposes.. Also, please don’t knock over a bank dressed as Wendell the iguana. My agent will say all the words. She will say some of them twice. 

**Post currently held, to the best of my knowledge, by a small boy in Virginia. I apologized to his mother several times for this.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

Funny you should mention...

I've done Biting Pear cosplay in Second Life. Discovered someone had created the Pear and figured out how to wear it as an avatar. I made sure to wear a group title of "I <3 Ursula Vernon" when I did so as a means of noting your creation of same, since it became separated from your name on the road to LOLWUT. The biggest challenge to RL cosplay of the Pear to me boils down to movement. I made the Pear hop with an animation overrider in SL. RL? You're stuck walking.

And to get to the real point of your essay, well done.

Re: Funny you should mention...

The movement's really the bear on that one. I saw a lot of awesome Spore versions, and the hop is really about the only option.


Of course, we're not going to change most of these asshats' minds about anything, but knowing what kind of moronic vitriol they're prone to spewing sure tells us who not to pay the slightest attention to ever again, doesn't it?

Doesn't mean I don't want to smack them upside the head, repeatedly, however.

I don't cosplay, but I do make costumes. I'm so tempted by Single Cell Samurai. Or possibly a bacteria assassin...

Edited at 2012-11-13 11:05 pm (UTC)

This was a magnificent post all through, but I just have to comment on one bit in particular:

I hereby grant, in perpetuity, the right to all cosplayers of any age, body type, or gender—or lack thereof—to cosplay as anything I have ever created, including the Biting Pear if you can figure out how.

You just made my day with the bit in bold. :) Thank you!

Up to this point, I have been completely unaware of your work. And as of this moment, I am only *slightly* aware of your work, which is obviously a condition to be remedied.

I am, however, thanks to this post and its attendant comment thread, aware that out in the universe, existing and everything, is the character Single Cell Samurai.

And I cannot stop smiling.

I've managed to extract a promise from a friend that, should I ever figure out how to cosplay the Statue of Ganesh and we're at the same con, she'll wheel me in front of your booth.

Because I'm pretty sure that a wagon will be necessary.

Totally siccing my epic cosplayer on the Statue engineering issues. Until then, I'll totally shave my head and be Jhalm's menacing understudy at a con soon.

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I'm pretty sure anyone who cosplayed the biting pear would be hot. And I don't mean sexy, I mean continue bringing this person cold beverages and pray that the costume has some method for disposing of them later.

*laugh!* I think maybe something like one of those Fruit-of-the-Loom commercials back in the day would work. And it would be hot, but you'd have your head free.

Now that the idea is in my head, I kind of desperately want to do a Celadon cosplay...

Same, so very very much same. Plus: I have the physique, minus: I'd have to wear a wig (the grow-time from mohawk to long hair is much longer than is feasible).

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I'm thinking black stretchy gauze, and internal puppetry sticks for getting elongated.

I already had huge respect for you; this cements your place as one of the Sensible People To Respect Forever.

I can't say I'm fond of seeing people in my own sort of "more than merely clinically obese" sort of body shape playing skinny/buff people, but I absolutely respect their right to do so if that's their favorite or they're making a statement, or whatever their reason is for wanting to portray particular characters.

So more applause for a pretty succinct and unambiguous "Stuff you, elitists" and the POSITIVE view of all fandom's rights and your appreciation of us admirers.

Thank you again.

And ditto on "I <3 Ursula Vernon"

If I ever fursuit, like in the history of ever, it shall now *have* to be as a wombat. Just cuz.

Hell, I’m still trying to find a bra with the nice t-shirt back where the little front snap doesn’t break after a dozen washings.

According to a recent Twitter conversation I had, apparently these are more common in Canada than the US. So something to look for next time you're north of the border.

The Cacique brand used to have a surprisingly durable racer-back front-close bra I loved. In cotton and poly versions. *sob*

Now, the line has a flimsier-looking reversible version ( http://cacique.lanebryant.com/solid-animal-print-reversible-plunge-bra/p152801/index.pro?selectedColor=Animal%20Print%20 ) and a possibly-promising racer-back sports bra ( http://cacique.lanebryant.com/microfiber-front-closure-molded-sports-bra/p65248/index.pro ).

Edited at 2012-11-14 02:04 am (UTC)

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(also I think you look adorable)