Comic Creators vs. Cosplayers

3008112-pat_broderickLast Thursday, Pat Broderick, a comic artist best known for his work in the 1980s and who recently returned to DC comics, posted this on his personal Facebook page:

todays heads up. If you’re a Cosplay personality, please don’t send me a friend request. If you’re a convention promoter and you’re building your show around cosplay events and mega multiple media guest don’t invite me….You bring nothing of value to the shows, and if you’re a promoter pushing cosplay as your main attraction you’re not helping the industry or comics market..Thank you..

He is only the most recent example of comic creators blaming cosplayers for the changes in modern comic book conventions. (See the idiotic comments by Tony Harris and artist Dave Dorman’s wife.) I get it. They are frustrated with the convention scene and cosplayers are easy targets. We put ourselves out there, are a little “different”, and hold very little real power at conventions so there is really no risk to them when they bash us. But it really hurts when the people whose work we idolize blame us for everything they dislike about conventions, especially when their accusations are unfounded and inaccurate.

I’d like to break down some of the claims that were made by Mr. Broderick. (Please note that I have copied and pasted his statements directly from his Facebook page, errors included. There are too many errors to [sic] every one.)

Statement #1: “You bring nothing of value to the shows”

What about my money? Is that not good enough? When going to a show, 99% of cosplayers pay their own way like any other fan. We pay for tickets to get into the event, we pay for travel and lodging, and we buy stuff like prints, signatures, and face-time with our favorite artists and celebrities. Raymond Lui, a vendor at conventions added a comment to the Facebook thread:

I sell Japanese toys & collectibles at shows, but I’ve noticed that cosplayers, who one would assume are my target audience, buy the least amount of stuff from me. The regular attendees not in costume are much more reasonable and willing to support the industry

This is my complete collection of Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman run, with most of the variant covers. #cosplayersAREfans

This is a ridiculous claim. Does he think that cosplayers wear their costumes 24/7? It is difficult to wear a costume in crowds, and carrying bags of merchandise makes it even harder. Most cosplayers take off their costumes at some point and walk the convention floor in comfortable clothes to do their shopping. I can be seen walking the floor in jeans and a tee-shirt at every convention I attend. Unless you are taking a cosplay poll of every customer who walks in your booth, there is no way to tell if someone is a cosplayer or not.

We love this industry. We buy comics, autographs, prints, pictures, clothing, and everything else you can think of when we attend conventions. How is that “nothing of value”?

Statement #2: ” cosplay are just selfies in costume, and doing multiple selfies is about the highest expression of narcissium,,,,,

Mr. Broderick posted this as a comment later in his Facebook thread. Frankly, it’s just mean. Is there showmanship and narcissism (notice the correct spelling of that word) involved in cosplay? Of course, but we also cosplay out of love for the characters and to have fun. Most of us will never make any money on it, and we just enjoy bringing the characters to life as best we can. Many of us make appearances at charity events in costume for free! Why is it necessary to attack a group of people for enjoying a hobby? Especially a hobby that celebrates the creative work of comic, anime, and other artists?

Statement #3: “The problem as I see it is the combination of both cosplay and multiple media guest at show.

225px-Batman_the_Animated_Series_logoThis was another comment Mr. Broderick made in the comment thread. What I think Mr. Broderick and many other artists fail to realize is that MANY modern fans were introduced to comic books through other media! I am in my 30s, and I first became a fan of a comic book character through Batman the Animated Series. It’s what made me curious about comic books in the first place, and most people my age have a very similar story. We are fans of comics, but we are also fans of other media, and the TWO THINGS ARE LINKED! Why do you think that comic book movies are the highest grossing films in theatres now? Because we love EVERYTHING related to the characters and we have money to spend! We want to go to events where we can see our favorite Batman artists, Batman voice actors, and Archam Asylum video game designers. Having a variety of media increases the appeal of an event.

Professional cosplay guests are just a smart move on the part of conventions because they cost the convention very little money (if any money at all) and they make fans happy. What fan isn’t excited to see their favorite character come to life? Disneyland figured that out long ago! What’s important to realize is that less than 1% of cosplayers are professionals who get any support or help from the convention. Most of us are just dorky fans paying our own way just like everyone else.

I will say that I agree that comic books are getting less and less space on convention floors, and I don’t like it. There needs to be a balance of media, and while I know that the big studios can afford more space than any individual artist, I hope that conventions will start spreading out the space a little more evenly in the future.

Starfire_HRStatement #4: “To those offended cosplay characters participating in these events, while I admire the efforts and time spent in producing your costumes, well done, but keep in mind that these shows started and continue to be GP rated family friendly events so consider the children who attend with their parents and the uncomfortable position you’re putting the parents in with your designs. ” This comment was part of a larger response that Mr. Broderick posted on Saturday

OUR DESIGNS?? The last time I checked, most cosplayers were bringing the designs of comic/anime artists to life! If the designs are not family appropriate, than how can a comic convention be “family friendly” in the first place? While I do think that cosplayers have a big responsibility to younger fans when they are at a convention, you cannot blame the DESIGNS on us.

Golden Lasso Cosplay Wonder Woman New 52 2Statement #5: “To those who antiquate their time and investment as an equaled effort to the years artist and writers have put into their trade, that’s just wrong and untrue.”

Art is art. I have been sewing and creating costumes for over a decade. If I wanted to, I could sell commissioned work. How is that any different than an artist who is drawing for a living? What you do with pencils, we do with sewing machines. It takes lots and lots of practice. I can’t wait to see what I am capable of making after practicing for 40 years like Mr. Broderick. Is my time and effort equal to his? Not YET, but I’m working on it.


I think the comic industry is undergoing a major transformation. Is it for the better? There is no way to tell, but I understand that it can be scary for people who depend on comics to make their living. Some creators, such as Gail Simone and George Perez, have embraced their cosplaying fans, and their careers are stronger for it. Part of staying relevant in the industry is learning to adapt to the changing convention culture. In an era where most comic collectors are turning to Ebay to completed their collections, conventions are becoming driven by the personalities that are attending and who can draw fans to an event.

You will catch more convention flies with honey than with vinegar, Mr. Broderick.

– – – – – – – –

UPDATE: A few hours after this article was posted, Pat Broderick posted this as part of a longer announcement on his personal Facebook page:

I am now officially announcing that next year I will be sponsoring the first of what I hope to develop into a 4 show convention circuit. And I can assure you that it will be a con devoted to the industry of comics, I will bring creators and collectors together and promote it to fill the halls.
Now I was planning to make this announcement the first of the year, But anyone who has ever worked in advertising knows that with this I can ride the tide of conversation going on right now… Watch the boards starting in January for more announcements and web site direction. It will truly be family friendly and of course I intend to have a spectacular cosplay event.
Pat Broderick…… Game is on…

Sarcasm? A sudden change of mind? I guess we will have to wait and see.

About the author


Kimi (aka GoldenLassoGirl) is known for her cosplays, comic book knowledge, and tabletop gaming podcast/stream. Read more about her at

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  • I think Mr Broderick needs to realize that the “media guests” and “cosplay guests” he maligns are part of what help PAY for smaller fry such as himself to even have a space (let alone any panels!) at such events. They’re what help keep conventions going!

    Like, look – I too wish that comic book writers and artists weren’t kinda sidelined or hard to locate at a lot of events (which they tend to be if they aren’t “Gail Simone/Amanda Connor/Bruce Timm/Adam Hughes” level famous). But like…

    Let me put it this way; there are not many events in my area (especially outside of October!) where I can wear a costume without being seen as kinda weird. Even fewer where I can wear obscure characters/concepts that only fellow nerds/geeks would recognize (e.g. my Halloween costume this year is a Blue Lantern – ain’t nobody gonna recognize that outside my FLCS lol). Conventions give me and people like me a fun place to dress up and show it off around like-minded people!

    But it’s more than that: like, MegaCon for example. MegaCon has had a lot of Superhero/SF/Fantasy/animation TV and film guests – people from Star Trek, Doctor Who, Animaniacs, MCU and more. It also has some fun panels, ranging from writing workshops to art or crafting tutorials, Q&A’s with all sorts of people, etc. It has events like CCG and tabletop gaming, or a Zombie Walk. It has screenings. AND, yes, it has writers and artists including from comic books.

    And like, it’s not cheap to go. I live in Florida, and I still would have to drive for over an hour to get to the con, I’d have to rent a hotel room, pay for gas, pay for food (and these days, pay for the pedicart rides because jesus, ain’t no free parking within close distance and Florida gets HOT)…it costs like, upwards of $200 JUST to go for all three days (especially since I usually go with at least one other person)!

    So…I’ll be honest. I would not spend that much money if it was JUST a couple of artists/writers I was a fan of. Hell, MAYBE I’d go for a whopping one day if it was one of my absolute faves that I hadn’t met before, like Jo Chen or Rebekah Isaacs, but – all three? HAHAHA no.

    But when I can meet my favorite Doctor Who Companions’ actors and get a picture taken with them, AND get autographs from the original Animaniacs voice actors, AND go to a couple of cool panels AND see a neat screening or two, AND see some fun cosplay AND show off my own cosplay AND…meet some comic writers and artists whose work I love too?

    Heck yeah! If I can afford to go, I’m doin’ it! Because that’s a whole WEEKEND of fun stuff to do and cool people to meet. The more people to meet and stuff to do and see that I CAN’T do or see ANYWHERE else, the more incentive I have to shell out money to go!

    Which means the convention gets more money from more people, to support artists like Mr Broderick, too.

    Also I get increasingly frustrated with stuff like this because they seem to imply that women who cosplay (because the pro models Broderick is calling out are generally female, and so are most of the poor suckers stuck with trying to mimic “sexy” skimpy designs because that is how female characters are designed these days) are Not Real Fans.

    Which is what a lot of the people in that thread are doing – “oh people in cosplay don’t buy stuff as much”, read: “they’re not real fans” – and what I’ve seen other jerks in the industry doing, claiming they think women are just “doing it for male attention” and somehow not “real” geeks (as if ANY woman would want to make costumes from scratch and wear them in public just for “male Attention” but even if she did, would she really want said attention if she herself wasn’t a geek/nerd?? Like?? what!??)

    They never seem to target dudes wandering around in store-bought Deadpool or Batman costumes for these comments. But they target women who make their own costumes or happen to look “sexy” in them. HMMM.

    Yeah, not a coincidence I think.

    And that’s why if I ever get successful in the industry, I will ENCOURAGE and be DELIGHTED by cosplayers: they get enough gatekeeping crap as it is. Besides – if you design/write a character and someone loves that design/character enough to cosplay it, that’s pretty much the highest compliment! And an artist who understands AT ALL about how the minds of geeks work, will comprehend that I think.

    (In fact, shout out to the Green Lantern artist – Ethan Van Schiver – who when I told him I’d become obsessed with the franchise thanks to books like the ones he’s worked on, laughed, pointed to my Arisia Rrab-inspired Green Lantern costume, said “obviously!” but was totally cool about it and then proceeded to compliment me on said costume. THAT’s how you respond to cosplay as a creator yo!)

  • Sadly, his is a view shared by artists in different parts of the world. There is a sort of convention in Mexico City called FestoComic. Its focus is solely on artist + content + audience, and they actually encourage their attendees to not dress up because they feel cosplay distracts from what really is important: comics and the consumption of said comics. I call it a “sort of convention” because it is more of a comic book fair within a larger book fair. It has top notch artists and writers as guests and speakers, and it’s basically a bigger artist alley than you’d find at other comic conventions in Mexico City. Also, it is meant to cast a light on the indie scene: they don’t really go for the bigger publishers, but for smaller and local companies carrying lesser known but widely compelling titles. You can always discover a new artist or writer among their catalogue!

    I find its content and panels to be super interesting! But the fact that they *encourage* their attendees to not dress up… it breaks my heart a little. Because I honestly believe that as cosplayers we are honoring characters. We put a huge effort in our costumes and do our best to support the media we love. We read and pass along and get comic books or art books for our fellow readers… why can’t they understand that we are not the enemy, but an ally in a grander battle?

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