New York Comic Con 2023 cosplay gallery

After last year’s online festivities, New York Comic Con is back in person. Though pandemic restrictions require everyone entering the indoor space to be vaccinated and masked, attendees are more eager than ever to brave the crowds and return to the convention space. And after a year away, no one is more excited to return to the con scene than cosplayers. Even with mask restrictions, enthusiastic cosplayers have found ways to integrate them into their costumes.

The pandemic had a varying effect on the cosplayers we spoke to. As a hobby designed to be shared and seen, some found the lack of conventions and meetups to be a drain on their inspiration, while others have used the down time to reflect on their hobby and work on their craft.

But there is one sentiment that everyone agrees upon: New York Comic Con is here and everyone is super excited to dress up as their favorite characters. For many cosplayers, NYCC is the thing that got them into cosplaying — seeing people dressed up in incredibly creative costumes, paying homage to favorite characters, and having fun. A year apart made the heart grow fonder, but now they’re back and ready to show off their costumes — be they handmade, bought, sourced, or any other combination — and celebrate the characters that they love.

Katie — Steampunk Adora from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

“Adora is a queer icon. I love her. In the show, the place she is from is very industrial and rugged and I wanted to incorporate that Steampunky-esque world into her costume, so I redesigned it to fit in that way. I made most of it over quarantine. The sword is made out of wood. It’s carved. [The costume] took about three months. The pandemic has definitely made me want to cosplay for myself instead of other people. I do it for fun and to be proud of my costumes.”

Katie’s Instagram

Ashley Davis — Bowsette from Nintendo

“The pandemic has made me more okay with cosplaying anything. Because before, I was like oh I have to cosplay someone my color or my size. But no — now, screw it: I cosplay who I want!”

Drax & Kris — Carnage Punk and Venom Punk

Their dad: “Kris has been doing this for about five years, since he was about three. And then Drax for three years. We’ve been coming to Comic Con for a while and we just said Hey, let’s get dressed! Let’s put some costumes on and work from there. Each of the masks took about three to four months. The hardest part is the layering of the paint. Every time you do a layer, you have to let it dry and that takes a week.”

Kris’s Instagram | Drax’s Instagram

Juni — Wave from Marvel Comics

“I am dressed up as Wave from Marvel — Filipino representation! This is my first Marvel cosplay, actually. I’ve been cosplaying for about nine years, and weirdly, I’ve never done a Marvel hero. I’ve always done anime. I’m such a weeb. I got into cosplay because of Pokémon. My first ever cosplay was a Slowpoke. That’s how it started and after that it just went off.

All of this costume I sewed. And then I constructed everything. The wings were last night. The most difficult part was making the spandex suit. I do a lot of foam armor, so that was no biggie to me. That’s probably why I avoided superheroes — cuz it’s more of a spandex outfit.”

Juni’s Instagram

Able Tong — A Disney Carousel from Disney Parks

“The hat took a whole summer. It took a lot of piecing together. My friend called it ‘paper engineering.’ I drew the rides. I designed them. And the frames and the flags. The characters are a mix of who I like and also whose colors would stand out. I specifically designed it so I could remove characters and put in new ones if I ever wanted. The only thing I didn’t make were the murals inside them, but everything else I made myself. I don’t even really consider myself a full cosplayer, since it’s really just the hat!”

Able’s Instagram

Philip Odango — Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop

“The hardest part is actually keeping the collar up! I have a piece of thread right now, holding it together. I sewed the entire costume top to bottom. One of the challenges was actually trying to find material that matched in color — this is a stretch material, this is a non-stretch material. But to get the same sheen and as close to the same color required shopping at multiple stores, trying to find the right material.

I’ve been cosplaying since 2003. I first started with Edward Scissorhands made out of pizza boxes with the fingers and a trash bag for the body. Ever since then, I’ve made over 60 costumes. I’ve been a judge at international conventions. I work with multiple business partners and sponsors. I’ve taught classes. I’ve been able to contribute to my community by creating masks for our frontline workers and working with organizations that distribute them.”

Philip’s Instagram

Betty & Jenna — Riddler and The Batman Who Laughs from DC Comics

Jenna: “We make everybody smile with the Baby Yodas! These [Robin ones] took a little over a month, because we had to make the heads and cut their mouths open.”

Betty: “The Riddler one is actually made out of an older build of a jacket of mine.”

Jenna’s Instagram

Kat, Angie, and Nelson — Maki Zenin, and Nobara Kugisaki, and Itadori Yuji from Jujutsu Kaisen

Kat: “I’m Maki from Jujutsu Kaisen. I chose her because I love her character. She has two different weapons and I just wanted to make them! I decorated the whole thing over a week.”

Angie: “I’m Nobara Kugisaki from Jujutsu Kaisen. I chose her because she’s also a badass. I think she’s one of the better written female anime characters. We’re friends, so we decided to all cosplay together!”

Nelson: “I’m Itadori Yuji … but at the same time Sakuna. When he’s transforming like halfway. That’s when all the tattoos come out. I think it’s really cool to cosplay half-and-half.”

Kat’s Instagram | Angie’s Instagram | Nelson’s Instagram

Noni — Isabelle from Animal Crossing

“I usually love to make my cosplays, but I just didn’t have time. A lot of it was AliExpress and Amazon. In the past I’ve made a Princess Mononoke costume, and I actually used clay and papier-mâché to make the mask. I really want to get back into it.”

Steven — Steve from Blues Clues

“It may sound egotistical, but I do it because people react. I walk towards them and I see the light in their eyes, because it makes them think of their childhood. It makes me happy to make other people happy. That’s why I’ve been doing this for the past five years. I try to keep updating it. I started with Blue, then I added the Handy Dandy notebook. I got Magenta. I got mail. I got sticky note pawprints.

Finding this shirt was the most difficult part. It’s a legit rugby shirt. You get green shirts, but they’re not the right colors. I just got lucky one day and found the perfect shirt. It cost a lot of money and it’s really heavy, but it’s too perfect.”

Tina and Emily — Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens

Tina: “This is pieces I’ve had in my wardrobe, or bought separately. The only thing I made was that tattoo on my chest. The hat was the most difficult piece to find. I wanted a flat wide brim so it looks kind of witchy. And I didn’t want just a standard Fedora. I wanted a nice feminine-looking one!”

Emily: “Finding things that would coordinate color-wise and look-wise is harder than you think. You see stuff all the time, but then once you’re actually looking for it, it’s like you can’t find it.”

Tina’s Instagram | Emily’s Twitter

Danni — Hawkgirl from DC Comics

“I like winged characters! She’s my favorite DC character. The wings are a pulley system and there’s about 4,000 feathers on them. It took me like 25 hours. I just finished this costume last night. The pandemic got me more into cosplay, because I had nothing to do and I threw myself into learning how to hand make things.”

Danni’s Instagram and TikTok

Sophia — Elenka from Shining Nikki

“This is Elenka from Shining Nikki. I saw the art for it and I was like ugh, I need to make that! I’ve been working on it many hours a day for two and a half months. [Cosplaying] is such a great usage of arts and crafts and creativity. This is my first cosplay I’ve done in over two years.”

Sophia’s Instagram

Lexis — Shirley the Fortune Teller from Courage the Cowardly Dog

“The hardest part was actually figuring out what her makeup would be, because she’s a dog. I wanted to do a more modern take rather than actually like a dog.”

Rachelle — Cruella from Cruella

“I’m Cruella in the 10 seconds she’s on top of the car. It was amazing and fascinating and dramatic and I loved it … so I decided to make it. I started in July and I finished last night! Except for this [front] skirt, everything else is handmade. I started sewing [the back] and then ran out of time and just hot glued it. This is my first very major build, the first one I’ve ever really done.”

Rachelle’s Instagram

Jack and Van Brown — Tanjiro and Nezuko from Demon Slayer

Jack: “It’s quality time, dad and son, spending it together! This box actually is designed for me to carry him, as well as actually roll him around. We were gonna do Anime Japan, and it’s designed to break up so you can actually get it on a plane. We made the entire box and we tricked it out for New York Comic Con by adding the lights.”

Van: “[The hardest part was] probably getting the dimensions of something I would fit in. I’m average height — not a super teeny tiny person. Definitely figuring out something that was light enough but strong enough for him to carry me on his back. And also small enough but I could still fit.”

Jack’s Instagram

Jason Hettel — Steampunk Batman from DC Comics

“I’m Steampunk Batman. This is actually version two. I actually did a version about two years ago and won New York Comic Con, third place best in show. After that I decided I’d do a whole new one. I chose Batman because I love Batman. I chose steampunk, because I love old stuff.”

Danielle — Furby from … real life

“I just think Furbies are neat! It’s a puppet, so getting it to blink and stuff was the hardest part. I like making puppets — I was an animation student and I’ve made films with puppets. I just wanted to make a big ol’ Furby.”

Danielle’s Instagram

Ben — Mayor McCheese from McDonalds

“I picked Mayor McCheese, because it’s funny. Usually when I cosplay, it’s because I dress as things that make me laugh. In the past I’ve dressed as Man-Ray from Spongebob and Captain Crunch. The most difficult part was figuring out how to manage the weight and make it so I won’t die while walking around.”

The Rivera family — Doc Ock, Kraven the Hunter, and Spider-Gwen from Marvel

Paola Rivera: “I have [the tentacles] on a wooden plate, basically, inside the backpack. I’m just praying to God they don’t fall. I used hot glue. This year [my daughter] picked a few of them! We’re dressing up all four days. She picked Batgirl and Spider-Gwen. Those are her favorites. So we did our cosplays around that.”