Each one brought a comic book, video game, or manga character to life.
Thousands of cosplayers embodied comic book, video game, and manga characters at Montreal Comiccon 2022. The annual convention from July 8 to 10 saw pop culture fans come together at the Palais des Congrès to build community with other like-minded people, stock up on new art and reading material, and meet some of the famed writers and actors behind their favourite content.
Many also dressed up in intricate, handmade costumes to enjoy the event. Some were new characters, while others revamped versions of the costumes they had prepared just before the pandemic hit. Here were some of the most eye-catching cosplays and the stories behind their outfits:
Okoye from MCU's Black Panther
This impressive cosplay of Wakandan warrior Okoye by Laura Julien was turning heads at the entrance to the convention. She handmade each part of the outfit, from the shoulder armour and beaded tunic to the spear and detailing on the pants. "I've been cosplaying for about six years, but this is the most elaborate look I've done so far," she told MTL Blog.
Julien rocked a simpler version of the look in 2019, before the pandemic turned Comiccon into a virtual affair for two years. She said she spent the time away from the convention perfecting her look. "It feels good to be back with this cosplay, seeing everyone, and getting to be this character again," said Julien.
Getting the fit and shape of the shoulder pads was the most time-consuming element of the costume, she said, although it was the bald cap that proved one of the most challenging (and amazing) parts of the look on the day!
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) from Star Trek: OS
Cosplay of the USS Enterprise.
Trekkies are known for their creativity when it comes to emulating characters from the franchise, but Jennifer Noble-Landry went several steps further by cosplaying the whole ship. "I really love the original series and I wanted to show the silver lady herself! I knew she had to be shown as a goddess with a corset, full skirt, and headpiece," she said.
Every part of the look was handcrafted by Noble-Landry, from the silver saucer-shaped hull to the light-up rockets (or nacelles) in the back. The veteran cosplayer chose the outfit to celebrate her 10th year at Comiccon. "It would've been 12 years, if not for COVID, but this year, it's so nice to be back among people, and especially our own people!" said Noble-Landry, waving toward her friends decked out in Trek gear.
Beedle & Link from The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Cosplays of Beedle and Link from Breath of the Wild.
It's not uncommon to run into travelling merchant Beedle when playing The Legend of Zelda. Accompanied by Link in full stealth armour, this pair really brought the Breath of the Wild installment to life. Samuel Lacasse and Sharon Nadon made each of their costumes from scratch, and they said it took about six months to get all the detailing right!
"Beedle is a universally-recognized character and Zelda is a franchise that has reached so many people. There's something about the game that really sticks with you," Lacasse told MTL Blog. Both he and Nadon have enjoyed playing the game and wanted to embody the characters. "Breath of the Wild is one of the games that has grown Zelda's popularity, so we're paying tribute," said Nadon.
Their looks resonated with the Comiccon crowd. "I think we've taken about 300 photos today… and this backpack is kind of heavy!" said Lacasse laughing. The massive piece, that even plays music from the game, is the largest item he has ever put together for a costume. Meanwhile, it's the first time Nadon has tried cosplaying, and she's clearly off to a strong start!
Bumblebee from Transformers
Beloved Transformers Autobot Bumblebee is a robotic life form from another planet, and who better to play him in Montreal than a fellow out-of-towner. Cosplay pro Alden Burke drove to Comiccon from Halifax (presumably in a '67 Volkswagen Beetle) to meet new people and share his epic handmade costume. "Bumblebee doesn't typically leave Nova Scotia because I can't put him on an airplane," Burke told MTL Blog.
The towering costume is made up of dozens of pieces that Burke constructed from EV foam floor mats. The material is light and allows for mobility on such a large character. Meanwhile, the legs incorporate 11-pound stilts and the chest portion contains battery packs that illuminate the headlights and also play character sound effects.
Burke met a few fellow Bumblebee cosplayers through social media ahead of the convention and they were spotted hanging out together by the rest area. It's those connections that he was hoping to make. "Chances are next year we'll all meet up again or they'll come to Halifax! Cosplayers are a different breed, we're always willing to help each other, and this atmosphere allows us to let out our geeky sides!" he said.
Shinigami from Death Note
Swooping through the Comiccon exhibition hall, near the café (presumably eyeing apples on the counter), cosplayer Marilou embodied the Shinigami, or Japanese death god, who plays a critical role in the Death Note. "I chose Ryuk because he's my favourite character from the manga series and I wanted to show how funny he is," she said.
Marilou made every part of her costume, including the black-feathered shoulders and tooth detailing around the neck of the tunic. Her massive leather wings came from an independent creator on Etsy.
Pyramid Head from Silent Hill
Pyramid Head cosplayer.
This massive cosplay of the fictional monster from the Silent Hill video games was terrifying in person, but in the best way. Charlemagne-based weapons-maker Dominique Germain wandered around the convention delighting fans of the psychological horror with his bloodied butcher's smock covering stilts and realistic headpiece signed by Jodelle Ferland, the girl who starred in the Silent Hill films and who attended Comiccon in 2019.
"When I created this costume, I realized it was dark but that's what inspired me," said Germain, who is a big fan of the franchise. He shared that he lost his partner a few years back and it took away his desire to cosplay. The horror series character that serves as a symbol of repressed guilt seemed like a way to try to regain his former passion.
Columbia Pictures Logo
Cosplay of the Columbia Pictures production logo.
It may have been awe at the creativity of the cosplay or perhaps the feeling that a movie was about to start that caused the hush when this costume was unveiled in the Comiccon main atrium. Harmony Beaudoin-Pelletier struck her best Statue of Liberty pose, holding up an illuminated torch in front of rolling clouds replicating the Columbia Pictures opening shot. The backdrop of the cosplay was held up by Emma Desjarlais, who may have been hidden behind Beaudoin-Pelletier's floor-length toga, but who was more than happy to support her friend's vision.
"Everyone is so supportive. I may be behind this banner but I can hear everything. I love the joy when people come around the corner and see us and say 'this is so amazing!'" said Desjarlais.
Both cosplayers have been attending Comiccon for nearly a decade. Beaudoin-Pelletier said she was inspired to create the costume after watching a movie. "I was searching for someone I could cosplay who is more commonly known, but that I could put my own personal spin," she said.
"Comiccon is such a creative place, from the cosplay to the artist alley. It amazes me to see so many people coming together and being authentically themselves. They're showing a part of themselves they might not be able to otherwise," said Desjarlais.
Reinhardt from Overwatch
Cosplay of Reinhardt.
Towering several feet above other convention-goers was Overwatch hero Reinhardt replete with a facial scar and rocket on his back. Cosplayer Gabriel Jodoin had the attitude and stance of the larger-than-life character.
"Three years ago, before COVID, I made a 10-foot [Transformer's] Bumblebee but this costume had to be more mobile, light, and proportional," said Jodoin, who makes between one and two costumes a year.
Reinhardt's power armour was made entirely out of EV foam. That's the same material used to soften a gym floor. "It's light and easy to work with and it makes the costume more comfortable to wear," he said. Jodoin has stepped up his costume-making game in just a few years, so it remains to be seen what he comes up with next!
Cosplay of two Mandalorian warriors.
Striking a pose in custom Mandalorian armour, Viviane Auberson-Lavoie and Adriana Torres created both of their characters from scratch to fit into the Star Wars universe. "I came up with the idea for mine during the pandemic when I was on a military base and feeling pretty bored," said Torres. She and Auberson-Lavoie are best friends so they devised a storyline featuring Mandalorian sisters who fight as gladiators. Both costumes show weathering from battle with Roman-inspired elements, like leather belts and spears.
"We want to get with the Mando Mercs, a club that authorizes characters in the Star Wars universe. They could become part of canon. You have to go through all kinds of exams and make sure everything is screen-accurate," said Torres. The characters are a work-in-progress that took a year to learn working with the armour material. "It can take up to five years to have a working piece of armour," she said.
"Being in the costume feels powerful. It's us but more cool and brave. We're sisters in our hearts and when we wear this we get to really be sisters," said Auberson-Lavoie.
Both plan to keep developing their armour to make it look even more realistic and said they can't wait to showcase the improvements next year.