I’m referring to my well-known obsession with costuming from a wheelchair, a.k.a. cosplay if the dressing up is done in a geeky setting. Yes cosplay, a term you may have heard of before (Hereos of Cosplay anyone?).
Everywhere you go these days you’ll see references to classic superheroes – Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, Captain America., Superman – on cars, on clothing, in our media. They’re everywhere. The public just can’t get enough of DC and Marvel, which is exactly why cosplay has exploded.
Combine all the superhero movies being made in the last decade-plus with all of the young creative liberals out there, and many that have disabilities, and you have a recipe for the rebirth of cosplay in the disability world.
I am personally thrilled to see cosplay exploding the way it is, even if admittedly there are a lot of young, much-more-attractive-people than me now attending these conventions in costumes that are simply amazing (and making stuff way better than anything I’ve put together).
That’s right, cosplay competitions are strictly focused on pieces of the costume you’ve made, which is why I don’t enter. Because I can’t move my hands, anything crafty is quite difficult. I like to have fun and not stress about making my costume perfect, which is what you kinda have to do when you enter. I do however put a lot of thought into the overall look, and love to accessorize.
I started wheelchair cosplaying seven years ago, and for my first costume I went as a member of the Steve Zissou Society from the Life Aquatic. My friend and I were able to create our costumes by going by online and also hiring a friend to sew Zissou patches on our shirts. Our costumes were relatively simple, but everyone loved them. I was hooked.
The following year I decided to do even more costumes, adding She-Ra, Six from Battlestar Galactica to my line-up, and holy cow were both costumes a great idea. I call costumes like these “crowd pleasers” because they’re so recognizable and sexy, and the best part was that my wheelchair was never an issue. I did hear through the grapevine however that people who didn’t know me would refer to me as the “She-Ra in a wheelchair” or “Six in a wheelchair.”
And next week, after a several year hiatus, I’m delving straight back into the cosplay scene. I feel a bit rusty, but I can blame my cosplay-hatin’ ex-boyfriend on that. I’ve decided this is the year I’m going to do Oracle from Birds of Prey/Batman – the famous paralyzed comic book character formally known as Batgirl, shot and paralyzed by the Joker way back in an issue from 1989.
She has since been miraculously healed by the comic’s writers, much to the anger of readers with disabilities who feel her healing wasn’t realistic (it wasn’t), but I will still be dressing up as Oracle. So much love for the character. I’m also going as a star fleet officer from Star Trek (red dress, braided bun and all) and a feminized version of Chewbacca, all while in my wheelchair.
Just remember, if you want to cosplay, working your wheelchair into each costume isn’t always required. It doesn’t always have to be part of it, it can be just background noise and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Also, when putting on that costume in your chair, also remember – Gorilla tape is your friend.
As the saying goes, “Cosplay is for everyone,” and it couldn’t be more true for cosplayers with disabilities. If you have any doubts, simply ask “Misa on Wheels,” one of the the most amazing wheelchair cosplayers in the world.
– Check her out: Misa on Wheels
Have you cosplayed before, and what was your costume?