As ubiquitous as panels and artist alley, cosplayers are what make a comic book convention complete. In addition to the increasingly innovative hair, makeup and costume construction, there is more to appreciate than their skills. Cosplayers exhibit an unique expression of passion for the characters that all con-goers get to appreciate firsthand. But even for the most skilled cosplayers, there will always be a class of characters that are impossible to bring to life. The out-of-this-world quality is unsurprisingly by design. Comic creators, filmmakers, and animators will always utilize the ample resources afforded them to make characters that simply could not exist in real life.
While you will always see members of the Justice League on con floors, both buying and crafting capes is easier than say, building a fully functional robot outfit. These impossible creations hold an allure for cosplayers because of the challenges they present. And unlike your typical humanoid superhero costume, cosplayers are not likely to run into others sporting the same outfit. They always stand out on the con floor, and they are the ones you simply must stop and ask for a photo. Here are 15 (previously thought) impossible cosplays from the realms of comics, film and television!
15. GHOST RIDER DANNY KETCH
Any character that requires ice, flames, or water as part of the costume is going to be a tough one to pull off, but cosplay Elijah Akiboye does not shy away from a challenge. Not only did he manage to create a superb Ghost Rider, but he chose the lesser known Danny Ketch who is frequently depicted in Marvel comics having a blue-flame skull.
Elijah, known as bfortunas on Instagram, made the intricately detailed headpiece himself and it even has light up elements that give it a distinct glowing quality. He debuted his Ghost Rider at the London Film and Comic Con this summer and nabbed second place in the costume contest. We’d like to have words with the contest judges as we can’t imagine what topped this!
14. RIPLEY P-5000
Ask any fan of the Aliens movie for their favorite moment from the James Cameron’s film and “Ripley taking on the alien queen with with the Caterpillar P-5000 Powered Work Loader” is going to be a popular response. Sigourney Weaver sports the mechanical suit early in the movie and once again during the climactic showdown to take on the giant xenomorph.
Seeing the work loader in the film is a triumphant moment, so seeing a cosplayer sport it in real life must’ve been quite exciting for con-goers at LA Comic Con in 2016. Cosplayer SpideyNat sourced the wearable elements and crafted the flamethrower, but she commissioned the suit to be custom made. Another impossible element of this cosplay: where does one store it in between conventions.
Of all the X-Men villains, Mojo is one that you are least likely to see on a con floor, and not because of a lack of popularity. The grotesquely misshapen character has no legs, but gets around with the help of a mechanized device that has metal spider-like legs. The cumbersome transportation along with the extensive body modifications required make this a top contender for impossible cosplay.
Cosplayer Scott Whipple didn’t let that stop him though, and he debuted his Mojo suit at C2E2 in 2010. He continues to wear it at cons every few years, getting mileage out of what was likely a very difficult cosplay to create. This image from Dragon Con 2015 is by photographer Patrick Sun, courtesy of Scott Whipple’s Facebook page.
Stranger Things quickly became a hit last year, especially among fans of the ’80s horror films that inspired the series. In addition to the spot on period aesthetics, a big part of the appeal comes from the way the main monster is depicted. They build tension throughout the series, only revealing the grisly Demogorgon in glimpses until the climax of the series. When you do so the creature fully exposed, the terror is maximized – and we imagine fans of the show who saw this cosplay felt that same chill run down their spine again.
Cosplayer captcash is no stranger to dressing as Netflix characters; he also frequently sports Daredevil cosplay. We recommend you check out his Instagram filled with process photos of how he brought the impossibly detailed Demogorgon into our dimension.
There is a reason you don’t see too many Iceman cosplayers at conventions — this is a tricky one to convincingly pull off! Flat paint alone won’t get the job done as fans are likely to assume you are a Colossus or leather clad Silver Surfer. Even the film versions of Bobby Drake have relied heavily on CGI to portray a character than can transform into ice.
That is why Dustin Fletcher’s Iceman is so impressive — even the movies don’t look this real! With the addition of light-colored contact lenses and ample textured makeup, Fletcher manages to look like Marvel’s coolest mutant. This image is courtesy of the cosplayer’s Instagram, flashfletch33 where you can find other versions of the icy X-Man in his feed.
10. LEGO BATMAN
While this cosplay is becoming increasingly popular and may now be store bought, we have to give props to a cosplayer that made the early innovations creating his own LEGO Batman. Known as iamlegobatman1 on Instagram, cosplayer and LEGO enthusiast Scott Day has been making his own LEGO costumes since 2014, no doubt inspired by The LEGO Movie film release that debuted the same year. It’s amazing to see the progress he has made since then, perfecting the facial expression and proportion of the costume over the years.
The most recent iteration is pretty close to perfect, especially when viewed next to a store bought version. There is of course, nothing wrong with purchasing pre-made costumes, but there’s nothing impossible about wearing something mass produced.
9. PRINCE ROBOT IV
Prince Robot IV is one of the many characters from the Image Comics series Saga that you would be shocked to see on the con floor. He may not have horns, wings, or multiple sets of eyes, but it does require one to commit to having a large, hollow television on your shoulders (and not being able to see because of it). That may be why you don’t see too many Prince Robots at conventions!
One way a cosplayer can successfully create a seemingly impossible costume is through teamwork. Mike Dickens aka contagiousmedia wore this costume created by caitlincontagious to Heroes Con several several years ago, and I would assume she helped him see his way around while wearing it, too. Image courtesy of the duos’ Tumblr, Contagious Costuming.
8. BB-8 DROID
While larger than life characters post the most obvious challenges to recreate, on the other end of the spectrum are compact droids like BB-8. When it debuted at Wonder Con in 2015, Kayla Miyamoto was still small enough to pull of the most impossibly adorable Star Wars cosplay.
The costume was created by her cosplayer William Miyamoto, and he clearly has exceptional prop making skills. The functionality of the cosplay is what takes this cosplay from cute to extraordinary. The head is essentially a helmet warn by Kayla, so when she is crouched down she can mimics the movements of the Force Awakens character. To top it off, it even has a “thumbs up” lighter for Kayla to approvingly signal from inside of the costume. Image courtesy of ryanvergaraphotography on Instagram.
Groot is a character that even the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmakers didn’t attempt to create in real life! Polish actor Krystian Godlewski did most of the acting as Groot while wearing a green screen suit in the first film, and Vin Diesel provided the voice over. While more cosplayers have attempted to do their own versions of Groot, the large scale makes it difficult to effectively accomplish.
After seeing HurleyFX‘s version of Groot, you will believe a tree can walk and talk (with a limited vocabulary). It really makes you question why the filmmakers didn’t make Groot a character based on practical effects! Clearly what they thought impossible could be done by the highly skilled artisan HurleyFX. Image courtesy of Dim Horizon Studio from Facebook.
6. PIZZA THE HUTT
Cosplaying as a character from an ’80s cult comedy is always a bold choice, but when you rock up to the con floor dressed as a sentient pile of pizza? Well that totally gets you legendary status. This cosplayer was part of an entire Spaceballs squad and they debuted their costumes at two conventions in Chicago in 2015.
Over the years, you may on occasion see the odd Barf or Dark Helmet at a convention, but Pizza the Hutt sightings are rare. Getting around the convention was a struggle for the showstopping crew as they frequently caused foot traffic jams as excited fans stopped to snap photos. Nothing beat the Hutt’s cheesy display, complete with an Italian bistro style tablecloth. Image courtesy of Vega-Vega on DeviantArt.
While dressing as the Power Rangers in their robot form is surely impressive, it has been perfected. Much like the Transformers fandom, there are entire segments of cosplayers that are dedicated to creating larger than life robotic suits. But when one thinks of characters that are truly impossible to cosplay, the disembodied floating head of Zordon comes to mind.
This may be a deep dive for those who are not familiar with the original Power Rangers series, but we can assure you — this is one accurate and easily the most clever entry on our list. We went searching for a Zordon cosplayer expecting to come up empty handed, but was thrilled to discover that cosplayer Neil Consuelo had found a way. The lighting attached to the cosplay is what takes this cosplay from merely clever to exceptional.
4. PRINCESS MONONOKE AND WOLF MORO
This is one impossible cosplay that will definitely make you do a double take because it is so convincing. With two characters in one cosplay, Princess Mononoke riding her wolf Moro required two people to function. Cosplayer Lilleah West created this piece and wore it along with her sister controlling Moro’s front paws and moveable jaw.
It is easily the most accurate depiction of the characters we’ve seen done in cosplay, and it is one of the few versions of Moro that comes close to showing the anime beast’s large scale. It is no wonder that the Moro portion stands out as Lilleah specializes in making fur suits by commission. This image is courtesy of her the cosplayer’s DeviantArt page, LilleahWest where you can see more of her custom creations.
3. STEVEN UNIVERSE’S GARNET
Animated characters from highly stylized American cartoons can be particularly difficult to cosplay since the exaggerated proportions and colors are not limited by reality. Seeing these creations as real people can give them an unsettling quality, like the uncanny valley of cosplay. Though seeming deceptively simple, these cosplays often fall flatter than the 2D versions.
When Heather Mann decided to cosplay as Garnet for New York Comic Con in 2014, she faithfully recreated every oversized aspect of Garnet’s character design. Most cosplayers that recreate Garnet’s look have an easy enough time making a big wig and big hands, but Mann added padding in strategic points to accentuate her waist, making this Steven Universe cosplay much truer to its animated origins. Image courtesy of Heather Mann’s Instagram, miss318ti.
2. TARDIS CONSOLE
Doctor Who is one of the longest-running and active fandom, so you might think there is no new ground to cover when it comes to cosplay. Fans have done their own wearable versions of the Tardis for years, but the inside of the time-traveling vehicle has not received as much attention. Much like the Doctor, the interior of the Tardis goes through style changes every few years, too.
Christine Miles decided to tackle this frequently ignored source of inspiration and create a cosplay of the console of the ship. Clearly others thought this impossible, but Miles successfully embodied the spirit of this often overlooked design element. We suspect that she may have had use of a sonic screwdriver to make this creation! Image courtesy of Miles’ Tumblr, gallifrey208.
1. SHAPE SHIFTING MYSTIQUE
When cosplayer Rebecca Lindsay debuted her Mystique cosplay at New York Comic Con in 2016, she quickly became one of the most frequently photographed attendees. Images of her cosplay immediately went viral, wracking millions of views on Reddit. It’s easy to see why this became an instant hit! Mystique might be a fan favorite, but rarely have fans attempted to create a cosplay of the character midway through a shape shifting transformation.
Even more amazing than Rebecca’s cosplay is the fact that at the time she made it she had only been cosplaying for two years. This will be a hard one for her to top in future conventions, but we can’t wait to see what other inventive creations she comes up with. Image by Jody Houser on Instagram mindeclipse.
What are some of the best cosplays you once thought impossible? Share them in the comments!
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