Comic cons are some of the best places to meet people who are passionate about pop culture. This appreciation extends to cosplaying. Dressing up as a different character offers a chance to be creative. I’ve spoken about how cosplay can be good for mental health, and something I became aware of when attending the 2018 Manchester Comic Con was how cosplay can bring people of all ages together. More importantly, cosplay has the power to bring families together and create a welcoming environment.
Manchester Comic Con featured a lot of great costumes, with a lot of people appearing at the DC photoshoot hosted by The Batman Earth MCR. I went to the photoshoot as Red Hood and was glad to run into some fellow Red Hoods, to which we unofficially became known as the Todd Squad. One of my fellow Jason cosplayers was called Niall and he’d brought a few of his family members along with him. They included his grandad and two young girls who were either his nieces or daughters.
Niall’s grandad was dressed as Batman, while the girls were Robin and Batgirl. I spoke to the grandad quite a lot and noticed how happy he was to be dressing up and being with his family. I thought this was amazing. Here was a guy that wanted to bond with his family by dressing up as one of the most iconic characters in the world. It didn’t matter that he was surrounded by people who were thirty of forty decades younger than him. He was there because cosplay made him happy. A lot of elderly people might find cosplay hard to understand, but this man was living proof that age really is just a number.
Meeting Niall’s grandad reminded me of my own grandfather, who passed away the weekend of Manchester Comic Con. I’d talked to my grandad about cosplaying before and shown him some pictures of me dressed up. I enjoyed speaking to him about it because it felt to me like we could bond across generations. My grandad was one of the strongest people I knew. At 99, he lived a good life and never lost a youthful outlook despite fighting in WW2 and being exposed to some horrific conditions. I love and I miss you grandad.
Being at Manchester Comic Con reminded me of the power of cosplay. The community is very welcoming and no one cares how old you are. It’s an ideal way to help create bonds between family members, so I have a lot of respect for Niall and his grandad.