Every year, the convention season (which seems to get longer and longer) is filled with some of the most amazing cosplay that you can even imagine seeing. The intricate level of detail that goes into the stunning designs used by cosplayers the world over is simply staggering (and that’s not even getting into the technical and engineering wizardry necessary for some of these costumes). It’s not just the biggest conventions that draw the elite cosplayers nowadays either; in fact, it is practically impossible to find a comic (or anime or sci-fi or mecha) convention that doesn’t have tons of excellent cosplayers.
There are so many great cosplayers that coming up with a list of the best cosplay of 2017 is almost impossible to do, since it is so difficult to pick just 15 great cosplayers when this list could easily be thousands of cosplayers long. However, we’ve tried our best to see which costumes have gotten the most acclaim from the most sources and we think we’ve come up with a good representation of what we could call the 15 best cosplay of 2017.
15. CAPTAIN MARVEL
Kat is an excellent cosplayer who makes her own costumes. She made a Captain Marvel costume in 2015 that was truly exceptional. However, she really upped her game when it came to her new version of Captain Marvel that she made in time for convention season in 2017. The helmet is awesome and it really showed an improvement in seeming almost larger than life.
Heck, even Kat noticed the difference, as she noted on her Facebook page, “Everything has been improved on the new costume, from the fabric choices and tailoring/fit to the design choices!” Luckily, with a brand-new Captain Marvel movie coming out in 2019, hopefully Kat can keep the every-other year set-up going and debut a movie inspired version of the costume next year! Photo by Albert Ng.
14. LEGO BATGIRL
One of the most popular superhero movies of 2017 had an unusual origin. Will Arnett’s take on Batman in the blockbuster animated film, The Lego Movie, was so popular that they gave him his own spinoff. The Lego Batman Movie was a hit as well, and it involved Batman slowly learning to trust Lego Barbara Gordon (played by Rosario Dawson), who ultimately became Lego Batgirl.
This young girl wore an adorable Lego Batgirl costume to San Diego Comic Con International. The design of the costume really pulls off the stiff plastic look while being fully functional. It’s a very clever costume, while also seeming to be pretty easy for the girl to wear (the boots for the costume are just worn over her sneakers). Photo by Daniel Knighton.
13. SAMURAI SPIDER-MAN
In a lot of ways, the key to a great comic book convention cosplay outfit is to take an idea and go in a different direction. Every cosplayer around has gone to a comic book convention dressed as Spider-Man, but this New York Comic Con cosplayer took things to a whole other level by going as Samurai Spider-Man, which isn’t even a thing, really! Thus, there is no one really to tell the cosplayer that he did it wrong, since he was the one coming up with the design!
The design, by the way, ended up looking really cool. Add in the anonymous cosplayer’s impressive agility and you have yourself one really fun-looking Spider-Man costume. Hopefully the katana wasn’t too difficult getting onto the New York City subway.
12. NIEN NUNB
A fascinating thing that has transpired over the years is that fandom has become so proficient in its costume-making that it’s getting to the point where the difference between what a fan can do and what a professional film costume designer can do is exceedingly blurry. One of the best examples of this trend is with this Nien Nunb costume posted by coheteboy at San Diego Comic Con International.
If you’ve seen Star Wars: Return of the Jedi or the latest film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you will be familiar with the alien creature known as Nien Nunb, but if you saw Nien Nunb in the film, it is almost impossible to tell the film’s version of the character from this fan-made costume. It’s just that impressive.
11. CHAOS SPACE MARINE (WARHAMMER 40,000)
One of the main bad guys in Warhammer 40,000 are the Chaos Space Marines. These are Space Marines who decided that they were going to serve the Chaos Gods. They helped instigate the global civil war in the Warhammer universe known as the Horus Heresy. However, in the world of design, as Billy Joel once sang, “the sinners have much more fun,” and that’s definitely true when it comes to some of the designs for the Chaos Space Marine outfits.
In this costume at Pax South 2017, this anonymous cosplayer really put a whole lot of work into this impressive suit of armor. It must have been a real pain to get around in that outfit during the con. However, for many cosplayers (especially those working with armored characters), no pain, no gain.
Alicia Marie is a popular cosplayer and fitness guru (she wrote the fitness guide The Booty Bible) whose impressive body has lent itself well to a large variety of costumed heroes over the years. However, the one character that Marie always seems to come back towards is Storm. She has dressed up as all manners of Storm over the years, from classic Storm to modern Storm (she even once dressed up as “Hipster Storm”).
In 2017, though, she took things to a whole other level when she translated Storm’s look on the cover of Black Panther #36 (which was soon after Storm’s marriage to Black Panther) so beautifully that it was like an Alan Davis drawing just leaped from the page into flesh and bone. It was simply a staggering piece of cosplay.
9. SINDRAGOSA (WORLD OF WARCRAFT)
One of the most popular cosplayers on the planet is Jessica Nigri, who is celebrating a decade of cosplaying this year. She is well known not only for her work as a model but for her intricate costume designs that have left her with almost five million followers on Facebook.
In 2017, she dressed up as the World of Warcraft character known as Sindragosa… well, at least one specific version of Sindragosa. You see, as you might have guessed from the “drago” part of her name, Sindragosa was originally a mighty dragon. However, she was brought back from the dead as a frostwyrm, which left her in the form of a woman. Nigri’s impeccable attention to detail served her well in this beautiful costume design. You can practically feel the frost coming off of her!
8. MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR
If you see how cool it is for comic book fans to see really cool examples of superhero cosplay, can you imagine what it must be like for comic book creators to see their creations, in effect, come to life in front of them at the hands of fans? Brandon Montclare got to experience that this past year in the most adorable form possible.
Montclare co-created Moon Girl (Lunella Lafayette) along with Amy Reeder and Natacha Bustos and at New York Comic Con in 2017, he took a video of one of the cutest cosplayers imaginable. This little girl is dressed as Moon Girl, leading a fellow cosplayer (presumably her parent) along as Devil Dinosaur. This little bundle of adorableness captured the hearts of fans everywhere.
Mandalorian is a very popular Canadian cosplayer who comes up with vibrant, creative looks and then brings those looks to a few different conventions. She has dressed up as most of the traditional female superheroes, so she began to come up with interesting twists on the traditional themes. One of her most impressive looks is her latest outfit, which is a Spider-Gwen mash up with Venom.
“Gwenom” is one of those ideas that began as a cover gag, similar to how Gwenpool started as nothing but a joke on a comic book cover (sort of a play on the fact that Spider-Gwen, to begin with, is a riff on Spider-Man starring Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman), but it eventually made its way into reality in Venomverse. Simply the tendrils in the hands alone are stunning in this costume. The photos are by Dylan-lee Angco.
Cinema Makeup School is just what it sounds like, a private school that teaches people how to apply makeup effects for the film and television industry. Whenever there is one of those reality competition shows that involve makeup design, there is almost always at least one contestant who attended the Cinema Makeup School at some point.
Every year, for San Diego Comic Con International, the school puts together a tremendous piece of cosplay to show off their skills. This year, they decided to go with what is one of the most popular costumes around, the Joker. Even with a tried and true costume like the Joker, they were able to bring a different level of depth to the character design, especially with how realistic his features were.
Despite only being in his early 20s, the Mexican special effects artist Jose Davalos (better known as Joo Skellington), has seemingly spent decades dazzling fans with some of the most amazing transformations possible. He doesn’t just wear makeup, he practically wears a whole other body. That’s how astonishing some of his transformations are.
The best example of this is his 2017 costume of Ursula that he wore at San Diego Comic Con International in 2017. While he is there under all of that make-up, he is effectively creating a whole other face for himself. It is more akin to what a puppeteer does with a puppet than what a typical person would do with just a mask. This design won him a bunch of awards.
As one of the most popular players in the popular video game, Overwatch, D.Va is an extremely common choice for cosplayers. However, they often end up simply choosing her main costume, which is a cute ensemble (complete with a light gun). This is because it is naturally very hard for your typical cosplayer to come up with a mecha costume that could be worn around the human body like D.Va.
However, Mike Carambat (also known as retroresource), is clearly not your typical cosplayer. He designed and built a functional D.Va mecha that his daughter could ride in for the 2017 Mechacon. What’s especially amazing is how much of the costume that he built just using household items, retrofitted into the costume design. So it’s not like he went out and bought some ritzy costume — this was almost all homemade… and awesome!
Thomas DePetrillo of Extreme Costumes is always a welcome sight at any comic book convention, because every year he just continually outdoes himself with more and more elaborate costumes, even making it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest costume designed for a comic book convention (with his classic 9 foot tall Iron Man “Hulkbuster” costume a few years back).
This year, he improved an earlier Bumblebee designs from the Transformers with an epically large Bumblebee costume that still somehow managed to move around the convention floor. He also designed a “Honey Bee” costume for a female cosplayer to come to the convention to work as a sort of sidekick to the Bumblebee main costume. It was an epic achievement in costuming.
This one is a bit tricky, as it might have been designed in 2016, and we’re trying to stick with costumes specifically for 2017, but it was just so epic that we couldn’t help but still feature this one here. If ever there was a case where it seemed like an alien had actually come down to Earth and shown up to cause destruction, it would be this stunning Thanos costume that looks like it is half-sculpture/half-mecha.
Designed by Prizmate Cosplay, the costume was used to promote the Prizmagik Games & Cosplay Festival in May of 2017 by having Thanos walk along the streets of Pordenone, Italy. Looking like he had just shown up to find another Infinity Stone for the Infinity Gauntlet, this Thanos looked terrifying and yet tremendous at the same time.
1. JACOB JAVITS CENTER
Every year, more and more fans find themselves pouring into the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City to celebrate New York Comic Con. This was especially crazy in 2017 since the center was undergoing renovations, so there was an almost 50% reduction in available space for the convention-goers to use. At the same time, of course, there was also an increase in the amount of people going to the con! It became difficult to get all of those people into the Javits Center.
One clever cosplayer, though, found a way that they would always fit into the Javits Center — by coming to the convention dressed as the Javits Center! The anonymous cosplayer’s costume was one of the most unexpected costumes of the year and drew attention from all over the internet for its very accurate depiction of the famed convention center, making it the most notable costume of 2017!
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