Beautiful Cosplay Coffee Table Book

Cosplay-19-thumb-550x375.jpg Photo: Shannon Cottrell/LA Weekly, Ejen Chuang and friends at Cosplay in America Release party Cosplay in America is a gorgeous tribute to the people who attend anime conventions. Photographer Ejen Chuang spent a year traveling to cons shooting cosplayers. He published the coffee table-style book on his own and is now traveling again, this time set up in the artist alley at various conventions with his labor of love. I had a chance to look through the book at the Cosplay in America release party in Los Angeles a few months ago. The layout is slick and the photos are lovely. Chuang did what I hope more people will do in the future, portrayed cosplay as art. Here's a wonderful video interview Chuang conducted with a Porco Rosso cosplayer. Links: • Cosplay in America website • Cosplay in America: AmazonCosplay in America Release Party


  1. I am so glad to see American cosplayers getting their s— together, feeding their creativity and putting out some really outstanding stuff that’s up there with the best of the Japanese tradition.

    One of my jobs in a previous life brought me into contact with a lot of Japanese cosplay. They were dedicated and passionate people who put tons of hard work and creativity into their hand-made costumes. They not only reflect their inner fandom, but are also appropriate to the subject. (ie: No 250 lb men dressed as Sailor Moon.) A Cosplay event had the hyper-reality of Disney if Disney had licenses to every character anyone every thought was awesome.

    Then I’d come back to America and be saddened by the cheap, slipshod costumes and the people wearing them who had no sense for the character or the world, just the trivia. (There was the time where a drunken overweight guy in his 30’s dressed as Naruto tried to start a fight over the manga vs the anime….) It was clearly the realm of the uber-dorks

    But in the last year or two it’s really taken off. Uber-dorks are left behind and a whole new crop of ‘normal’ but smart and creative folks are finding a lot of fun in the theater arts. The costumes, makeup, hair, and propmaking skills are phenomenal. It’s really refreshing and I can’t wait to see more.

  2. I’m always happy to see cosplayers get their due, but nothing compares with learning about it online. This video, for example.

    Embed video in the coffee table book and you’ll really make me squee. iPads will replace coffee table books, actually.

  3. coffee table book? the picture above looks like it was taken with a mobile phone. it’s simply shite.

  4. Bit of a conceptual fail to have close up portraits of the cosplayers, when their pants are probably also part of the costumes. If this book was created under high pressure, like they had to pull people into a room during ComicCon and had only 5 minutes to get a portrait, it’s a good effort — but the result doesn’t seem to compare favorably to the thousands of flickr photos of cons, or the costumers’ own online portfolions, which usually have better settings than a dull grey backdrop. It also doesn’t look like the book is divided into types of costumes or anything.

    1. I don’t know. Too often you get the distance full-body shots. It was somewhat refreshing to see full-frame photos of the people behind the costumes. That said, I think a mix would have been good.

  5. Or to put it another way: If someone put the portfolios of WintersKnight and Gotham Public Works into a book, I’d buy it.

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