What is Cosplay? – A Chat with Cosplayer Coty Clark
Convention season is fast approaching and it’s time to plan out your cosplays for the year. I recently had a chance to chat with popular Joker cosplayer Coty Clark about con stories, the best and worst things about cosplay, and cosplay advice. Whether you’re new to cosplay or very experienced, I think you’ll find what he had to say very interesting.
First off, we’ll talk about picking a character and choosing whether or not to stay in character. Coty has been cosplaying the Joker for years, and yes, that is a common cosplay, but he doesn’t get upset when other people are cosplaying the same thing as him. The important thing to him is loving the character. He said “If you’re going to cosplay a character, know the in’s and out’s of that character.” To me, it’s not wrong to cosplay something you’re just getting into, it’s good to be excited about new things. But if you’re looking to be an expert cosplayer, definitely follow his advice and know how the character is. Coty is a bit of a method actor with his cosplays. I asked him how important it is to stay in character and he said with the Joker there’s obviously things he can’t do – he can’t burn down buildings or fight young Batman cosplayers, so he’s a bit limited on actually becoming the Joker, haha. He always encourages others, so with young cosplayers he’s not mean or crazy like the Joker would be. With older cosplayers, it’s different. “You can’t be this normal lame dude with amazing makeup” he says, “It’s that whole cosplay thing.
With Halloween, you can buy the costume, win the contest, that’s something totally different. Cosplaying is more embodying that character.” To him, it’s important to leave an impression on people. If you want to be a popular cosplayer, you have to get the word out about your cosplays and not be forgettable. That’s a good reason to know the character and how the character would act. “When I see people miserable, I’ll do more of the campy stuff. They’ll ask for a picture with me and I’ll yell ‘BANG’ and scare them, poke their sides, it’s all fun and games.” I guess if you meet people at conventions you know you can joke around with, it’s an easy way to not be very forgettable. Coty keeps Joker cards on him with the URL to his page on it. “It’s little theatrics that stick.”
The next biggest thing about cosplay is the cost. Cosplay is an expensive hobby, that’s a fact. It’s important to consider funds – you’re spending your time and a lot of money. Sometimes there’s contest fees with no reward other than winning. It’s important to do what you want to do and love it because it’s a lot of work. “You know, I could be doing drugs. I took the creative artistic route” Coty said, laughing. Yeah, there are definitely worse addictive habits to blow money on than cosplay.
Coty is best known for his Killing Joke cosplay, so he obviously wears his cosplays more than once. Some people stick to one, some people do other cosplays. Coty has done other cosplays on occasion. Cosplay is a lot of work, so why only wear it once? Enjoy yourself, love what you do, and you’ll have fun with cosplay. If you’re just getting into it, just go for it. You’ll have a great time. For more info on Coty and his cosplays, visit his Facebook page here, and if you’re interested in meeting him he’ll be a cosplay guest at the upcoming Chasecon Expo in April. I’d like to thank him again for talking to me and giving us some advice.