Cards on the table, pretty much every kid of a certain age (usually the ones brought up in the ’90s) who picked up a comic book noticed that the women drawn in them tended to have certain… features that set them apart from the women of the real world. Depending on who was drawing them, they could be contenders for America’s Next Top Model or Stan Lee’s Superhumans. Most of the time, they were just drawn to look like impossible ideals. But what some folks call “impossible,” others take as a challenge; hence, the creation of the cosplay community! With cosplay being bigger than ever and its practicioners getting better and better at emulating their heroes, we thought it would be fun to do a little comparison and see who rocked their given looks better, the character or the women dressing up like them.
There are literally thousands of examples of cosplayers for each of these characters, of course, but we went for the best of the best (at least in our humble opinion). All photos used in this list are copyright their respective owners (models and photographers) and are not the property of CBR or its affiliates. Now that the legal mumbo-jumbo is out of the way, please enjoy our (purely scientific) look at whowore it better!
25. MONIKA LEE – ROGUE
Rogue has been around since her first appearance in The Avengers King Size Annual #10, written by Chris Claremont with pencils by Al Milgrom, Michael Golden and Claremont in 1981. She began as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but has been a member of the X-Men for years. Currently, she is a member of both the X-Men and the Avengers Unity Squad. She isn’t often a target of cosplayers, but when someone heeds the call, they tend to go all out.
Monika Lee is an award-winning cosplayer who was a cast member of Heroes of Cosplay. This lady takes the craft quite seriously and has been dressing up since the age of 13 in 2006. She can be found attending cons throughout the year all over North America and describes herself as a “cosplayer, gamer and person who likes eating food.”
24. MARIE-CLAUDE BOURBONNAIS – MS. MARVEL
Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #13, written by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas with pencils by Gene Colan and John Romita in 1968. Since that time, the character has evolved into one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe. The look most cosplayers go with is the one that accompanied the character’s return to a solo series with Ms. Marvel #1, written by Brian Reed and penciled by Roberto De La Torre in 2006.
Our choice for the best cosplayer to take on the look of Ms. Marvel had to go to Marie-Claude Bourbonnais and the picture should explain our choice. Could anyone look more like the character? Bourbonnais is a Canadian glamour model and cosplayer whose style and skill have both helped make her an ideal candidate to cosplay all manner of character. She makes appearances at most major North American cons throughout the year.
23. WINDOFTHESTARS – SONGBIRD
Songbird made her first appearance all the way back in 1979 with the publication of Marvel Two-In-One #54, written by Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald with pencils by John Byrne and George Pérez. Songbird is one of the founding members of the Thunderbolts and, while she isn’t a bad guy these days, she did begin as a villain called Screaming Mimi with the Grapplers and the Masters of Evil. Unlike other members of the Thunderbolts, she has remained a constant member of the team.
Mel Hoppe goes by WindoftheStars when she is out cosplaying, which she has been doing since 2004. She has handcrafted more than 100 costumes depicting everyone from comics, video games and anime you can think of. She has worked professionally making costumes for Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin.
22. ALEXIA JEAN GREY – DARK PHOENIX
The Phoenix Force is a cosmic entity that represents all life, past and present in the universe. It attaches itself to certain hosts giving them incredible power, or, in the case of Jean Grey/Marvel Girl, increasing power beyond conceivable limits. When Grey was inhabited by the Phoenix Force and it was released by Mastermind, she flew into space and destroyed an entire solar system. She’s a favorite for cosplayers and we found a great one for this list.
Alexia Jean Grey has been cosplaying and attending conventions since 2009. She holds the distinction as being the first cosplayer to be interviewed by Cosmopolitan Magazine and was chosen by Marvel and Ncmogo to be the promotion model for Marvel’s War of Heroes game. She enjoys cosplaying primarily as comic book characters and has been recognized for her efforts with numerous awards.
21. VERT-VIXEN – SCARLET WITCH
Wanda Maximoff first appeared in X-Men #4, written by Stan Lee with pencils by Jack Kirby in 1964. Initially, she was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and an enemy of the X-Men. By 1965, she had flipped and joined the Avengers. Most recently, she was behind the House of M storyline and the cause for the removal of 99% mutations from the human race. Her costume was changed for the MCU, but most cosplayers prefer the classic version.
Alicia Bellamy goes by Vert-Vixen as a professional cosplayer. She designs and makes her own costumes and armor, then wears them for the enjoyment of her many fans. Bellamy spends between 60-70 hours each week creating her projects and even incorporates 3D printing into her toolbox. She attends cons and has won numerous awards for her work.
20. LINDA LE – PSYLOCKE
Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock first appeared as the mutant Psylocke in Captain Britain #9, written by Stan Lee with pencils by John Buscema and others in 1976. She is a former fashion model and longtime member of the X-Men. She has the ability to form her powerful telepathic and telekinetic powers into energy weapons and is a highly capable martial artist. She’s a tough cosplay to pull off, but we found the absolute best there is.
Linda Le is better known professionally as VampyBitMe, or just Vampy for short. She has worked alongside Japanese toy company Kotobukiya, Udon Entertainment, Sideshow Collectables and many other companies. Le is one of the most recognizable cosplayers in the business and has been featured on the cover of FHM Singapore. Psylocke is one of her favorite characters and she has dressed up in every costume variation of the character.
19. JOANIE BROSAS – MARY JANE WATSON
In comics, few relationships are as well known as that of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. The pair were married (until they magically weren’t), but she still remains a constant in his life. When she was featured on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #601 drawn by Dean White, cosplayers all over tried to recreate the look. None came closer than Joanie Brosas.
Joanie Brosas first got into modeling at a Star Trek convention in 2010. From there, she began modeling professionally and has been featured in several men’s magazines, appeared on SiFi’s Naked Vegas, Tosh.0 (dressed as Vampirella) and The O’Reilly Factor wearing the garb of an Orion Slave girl. She is a self-described nerd, bookworm and computer geek, but most of all, she is a true Trekkie.
18. DESTINY NICKELSEN – BLACK CAT
Felicia Hardy began her career as a cat burglar, but soon after meeting and falling for Spider-Man/Peter Parker, she hopped over to a life of crime-fighting. She does possess a superpower that matches her name rather well: she can instil bad luck in people around her. She first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #194, written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by Keith Pollard. She is a welcome addition to any cosplayer’s closet and you can usually find one or two of them walking around at a con.
Destiny Nickelson has been costuming at conventions since 2003, but has been an avid fan of science fiction, anime and fantasy since she was a child. She is probably best known for her Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cosplay from Ghostbusters, but we thought she had a fantastic take with her Black Cat costume. She has designed and created more than 100 costumes.
17. ADRIANNE CURRY – SILK SPECTRE
There are two women who go by the name Silk Spectre: Sally Jupiter and her daughter Laurel Jane Juspeczyk. The daughter took up the mantle following her mother’s influence, but we chose to go with a cosplay of the original Silk Spectre for this list. Silk Spectre was a founding member of the Minutemen in the Watchmen series of comics. She was played by Carla Gugino in the Watchmen film and cosplayed beautifully by the talented Adrianne Curry.
Adrianne Marie Curry is a model and reality TV personality whose rise to fame was documented on America’s Next Top Model, where she was the first winner in 2003. Curry is a gamer and has been attending cons in costume for years and even beat away a man when he sexually assaulted a friend of hers. She was dressed as Catwoman and yes, she hit him with her bullwhip. Bad. Ass!
16. RIKI LECOTEY (RIDDLE) – X-23
X-23 is a clone of Wolverine and a product of the Weapon-X program, hence the name. She was trained by her creators to hunt down and kill her “father,” but she chose a different path and joined the X-Men. Her first appearance was in NYX #3, written by Joe Quesada and penciled by Joshua Middleton in 2004. She was portrayed by Dafne Keen in the 2017 film, Logan.
Riki LeCotey, better known as Riddle, is a Canadian cosplayer and is considered to be one of the top cosplayers in North America. LeCotey has been cosplaying since at least 2007 and has also been a judge in various competitions. She can be found at most major conventions and has worked professionally as a costume designer on Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: First Class.
15. KRISTEN HUGHEY – JUBILEE
Jubilee was first introduced in The Uncanny X-Men #244, written by Chris Claremont and penciled by Marc Silvestri in 1989. She remained a teenager for nearly her entire publication but has since grown up and become a vampire after losing her powers on M-Day (yes, you read that correctly). Because she is usually depicted as a teenager, most cosplayers don’t bother, but we would like to personally thank Kristen Hughley for going the distance on this one.
Kristen Hughey attended her first convention in 2012. Her life went from a regular college student to a successful model who travels nonstop from con to con. She also streams her gaming on Twitch TV and makes her own costumes, like most of the women on this list. She also works as a model and does glamour and boudoir shots. She sells autographed photos of her wearing her costumes online.
14. JESSICA NIGRI – SUPERGIRL
Ah, yes. Supergirl. The target for any first-time cosplayer. How could you go wrong? She’s a beautiful woman who doesn’t wear very much skin-tight spandex. There are probably a few hundred thousand pictures of women dressed up as Supergirl to include some adult film parodies, but we are sticking to cosplay here so we decided to go with the queen of the art herself, Ms. Jessica Nigri.
Jessica Nigri is one of the biggest cosplayers around today, though she only began in 2009. Since then she has become a professional model and YouTuber with more than 1,000,000 subscribers on her channel. Nigri is an interviewer for GameZone, RUGGED TV and Comic Book Therapy. She has also done commercial work for various advertisements and music videos. Her most famous costume is likely her first, where she attended SDCC 2009 as Pikachu.
13. YAYA HAN – INVISIBLE WOMAN
Susan Storm made her first appearance alongside the rest of the team in Fantastic Four #1, written by Stan Lee with pencils by Jack Kirby in 1961. She has the power to create invisible force fields and render objects invisible to include herself. You might think a character who spends much of her time out of sight might not be a cosplay target, but there are lots of examples to choose from. For this list, we chose Yaya Han.
Yaya Han is another cosplayer whose work is known all over the world. She was featured on SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay with a manufactured rivalry between her and Jessica Nigri. Though she is often seen making and wearing her own costumes, she is also a frequent judge at cosplay competitions.
12. CRYSTAL GRAZIANO – POWER GIRL
On Earth-2, Kara Zor-L took up the mantle of Power Girl instead of Supergirl and she is one of the most powerful of Earth’s greatest heroes. Power Girl first appeared in All-Star Comics #58, written by Gerry Conway with pencils by Ric Estrada in 1976. We know she is Supergirl in a different costume and we already featured the character, but ask any DC fan and they will tell you: Power Girl is not the same as Supergirl.
Crystal Graziano works under the name Precious Cosplay. She is a huge fan of video games, anime, comics and manga, which are the sources she uses for her work. She creates her own costumes and thankfully wears them while attending cons. Some of her professional clients include Sideshow Collectibles, Hex TCG, Double Take Comics, Privateer Press and Pixelmage Games.
11. KATYUSKA MOONFOX – BLACK WIDOW
Natasha Romanova has been around since 1964 with the publication of Tales of Suspense #52, written by Stan Lee with pencils by Jack Kirby. She is one of S.H.I.E.D.’s best agents and a longtime member of The Avengers. We didn’t think anyone other than Scarlett Johansson could pull off a Black Widow nearly as well, but we found one cosplayer who was up to the challenge.
Katyuska Moonfox is a model and cosplayer from Brisbane, Australia. She has been creating and wearing her own costumes since 2007. She attends conventions and wears her wares to great acclaim from her fans. She also runs a print shop when she isn’t behind a sewing machine or in front of a camera. She is an avid gamer and a fan of Kingdom Hearts and the Final Fantasy series of games.
10. LUNA LANIE – VAMPIRELLA
The character Vampirella has been around since 1969 and women have been dressing up as the interstellar vampire pretty much since that time. She hails from the planet Draculon and requires blood to survive, but has none of the weaknesses of run-of-the-mill vampires, just their strengths. Her origin has been changed considerably since her debut in Vampirella #1, though despite the best efforts of some creators, her costume has not.
Luna Lanie hails from Los Angeles where she is an aspiring model and actress. She has been cosplaying since 2014 and has crossed genres to include everything from playing Darkstalker Morrigan and Harley Quinn to Daenerys Targaryen and Juliet Starling. Lanie studies theater at university and plans on becoming a professional actress. Additionally, she runs a website where she sells prints of her wearing her various costumes for fans.
9. LEEANNA VAMP – CATWOMAN
Selina Kyle/Catwoman first appeared alongside Batman #1, written by Bill Finger and penciled by Bob Kane. She is a gifted cat-burglar who dresses like a cat. Her origin and costume have been messed with over the past 70+ years, but she is a common target for cosplay. Thanks to her various costumes, there are lots to choose from, but our favorite is the pictured Leanna Vamp.
Leanna Vamp describes herself as the “Ghoul Of Your Dreams” and “Your Best Nightmare.” She is a professional actress and model, but also a complete and total nerd who has been working in cosplay for years and is a mainstay at cons. LeeAnna Vamp is actually her real name, but she called herself a “VAMP,” and when people ask if she is a vampire, she replies “That’s for me to know, and you to find out.”
8. NICOLE MARIE JEAN – BLACK CANARY
Dinah Lance is the daughter of Dinah Drake, the original Black Canary. She first appeared in Flash Comics #86, written by Robert Kanigher and penciled by Joe Kubert and others in 1947. She has the ability to shout out an ultrasonic scream capable of shattering objects. She is also an expert in Judo and is a frequently cosplayed character.
Nicole Marie Jean is an artist and cosplayer whose specialties lie in sculpture and costume design. She is from San Diego, California and has been cosplaying since 2011. She has created more than 100 different costumes taken from comics, movies, books, anime and video games, all of which she is personally a fan of. She has even done an incredible version of Bane, which the Internet quickly dubbed “Lady Bane.”
7. DANIELLE VEDOVELLI – WONDER WOMAN
Princess Diana of Themyscira made her first appearance in All-Star Comics #8, written by William Moulton Marston and penciled by Harry G. Peter in 1941. She is one of the most well known comic book characters alongside Batman, Superman and Spider-Man. Women have been cosplaying as Wonder Woman since the first person decided to dress up like a superheroine, and we found one of the best.
Danielle Vedovelli is not just a cosplayer, she is a graphic designer and a martial artist. Danielle is Brazillian and didn’t get into cosplay until she went to her first convention in 2011. Soon after, she began making and wearing her own costumes. Her first was Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy 7. She tends to stick to video games for inspiration, but, as you can see, she has no problem killing it as Wonder Woman.
6. SARA MONI – SILK
Everyone knows Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider that gave him his powers, but it was only recently revealed that Cindy Moon was also bitten and received the same powers, though she couldn’t control them as well. She eventually adopted the superhero name Silk and became, in effect, the new Spider-Woman.
Sara Moni has been cosplaying since 2010 and is best known for portraying Marvel Comic characters. She is from Phoenix, Arizona and is a member of the charity cosplay group the Arizona Avengers. You can follow her on Instagram alongside her 29,000 followers, or her FaceBook page with more than 60,000 followers. In addition to cosplaying, she is also a writer and a die-hard fan of Marvel Comics, but has indicated she will head into the worlds of DC and Image Comics eventually. She attends cons regularly.
5. KAY PIKE – LADY DEATH
Lady Death was once a mortal woman named Hope but eventually became a queen of Hell by making a deal with a demon. She is one of the most recognized “Bad Girls” of comics, which could have something to do with the way she is drawn. There aren’t many women who can cosplay her well, so it wasn’t difficult to zero in on the one and only Kay Pike.
Kay Pike’s unique take on cosplay exists primarily as body painting. She incorporates props and wigs into her cosplay, which is very finely detailed and all hand-painted. It’s hard to tell from the picture above, but that is all body paint (except for the wig). Recently, she took part in 100 days of Makeup where she created a new look every day for 100 straight days.
4. NADYA SONIKA – MYSTIQUE
Mystique made her first appearance in Ms. Marvel #16, written by Chris Claremont and penciled by Dave Cockrum in 1978. She is a mutant who possesses the ability to completely alter her physical appearance, even taking on the voice of her target. She has been a villain or a hero depending on the story and though she is portrayed in the comics wearing clothing, our cosplayer chose to cosplay the version from the X-Men films.
Nadya Anton, professionally known as Nadyasonika hails from Mexico and works as an industrial designer and model. She is the host of GamerTag and focuses much of her work on the video game industry thanks to her intense love of gaming. She runs a Twitch account and keeps in touch with her followers. As you can see from the image above, her Mystique is movie-grade quality.
3. JACQUELINE GOEHNER – WITCHBLADE
Witchblade is a mystical artifact that grants its user the powers of light and darkness. Sara Pezzini is a detective who uses the Witchblade to help her investigate cases that have so explanation. You don’t see too many people at cons in Witchblade cosplay, but we are happy to report we found an amazing example in Jacqueline Goehner.
Jacqueline Goehner is a professional cosplayer, model and designer. She has been working with Smosh since 2011 and runs her own YouTube channel as well. She wore the pictured Witchblade costume at WonderCon 2014. She can be found at most cons and has worked in film, most recently in The Curse of Sleeping Beauty in 2016. Goehner is also a designer and makeup artist who creates her own costumes.
2. ANNA FAITH – HARLEY QUINN
Thanks to Suicide Squad (2016), it seems like everyone wants to cosplay as Harley Quinn. Thankfully, most folks aren’t dressing up in an actual harlequin outfit and are instead trying to go the Margot Robbie route. There were so many examples of HQ cosplay online, we had to spend hours poring over pictures of beautiful women just to come up with the best one. Sometimes, this job can be tough.
Anna Faith is a cosplayer and Instagram model from Daytona Beach, Florida. She and her sister were discovered online after the pair cosplayed as Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen (Anna was Elsa). She is an aspiring actress and has done extra work on several films. Her Harley Quinn (pictured) gained viral attention online and was compared to Robbie’s film version.
1. IVY COSPLAY – ELEKTRA
Elektra Natchios was originally meant to be a one-off character when she was introduced in Daredevil #168, written and penciled by Frank Miller. She and Matt Murdock/Daredevil have a special relationship since the two dated, she has been hired to kill him and she outed him as DD to the Kingpin. Sadly, she was in an awful film, but her recent portrayal in the MCU has helped to bring the character back into the light.
Ivy Cosplay is a cosplayer from Barcelona, Spain whose real name is Giulia. She is a cosplayer who makes her own costumes and she also works via commission, so if you want to see her wearing something in particular, all you have to do is ask… and pay her fee! In addition to cosplay, she also models and has won more than a dozen awards since 2004.
Now that you’ve had a chance to look over our findings, who wore each look better? Let us know in the comments and we can discuss!
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