A brief history of cosplay, explained in 5 historical conventions

Andrew Liptak is a chronicler of geek culture, and all around good dude. In addition to his regular Transfer Orbit newsletter — one of my favorite round-up resources for all things sci-fi/fantasy publishing and movie news — he's also written a fantastic new book titled Cosplay: A History: The Builders, Fans, and Makers Who Bring Your Favorite Stories to Life:

In recent years, cosplay—the practice of dressing up in costume as a character—has exploded, becoming a mainstream cultural phenomenon. But what are the circumstances that made its rise possible?

Andrew Liptak—a member of the legendary 501st Legion, an international fan-based organization dedicated to the dark side of Star Wars—delves into the origins and culture of cosplay to answer this question. Cosplay: A History looks at the practice's ever-growing fandom and conventions, its roots in 15th-century costuming, the relationship between franchises and the cosplayers they inspire, and the technology that brings even the most intricate details in these costumes to life.

Cosplay veterans and newcomers alike will find much to relish in this rich and comprehensive history.

I'm still working my way through my advance copy of the book (I've had a weird few months), but it's a beautiful compendium full of photographs and a wide range of detailed interviews — truly, the most comprehensive history of the craft that I could imagine.

Ahead of the book's release, Liptak made the short video above (and this accompanying article) detailing a very abbreviated history of the most important fan conventions that helped establish the culture of cosplay. It's a pretty cool look at the roots and development of a fascinating subculture.

6 essential conventions to understand the history of cosplay [Andrew Liptak / Transfer Orbit]

Cosplay: A History: The Builders, Fans, and Makers Who Bring Your Favorite Stories to Life [Andrew Liptak]