Batman cosplayers talk about the iconic superhero suit over the years

Last month, Batman returned to theaters in Matt Reeves’ new movie. the batman. Her version of the character is a new version of the character, one that’s not connected to and with all the other versions we’ve seen over the years from the likes of Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Joel Schumacher and Tim Burton. , a completely new outfit for the caped crusader.

Batman is what I’d call a perennial cosplay: The character has been around for more than eight decades in comics, games, movies, and television, and in all that time, customers have dressed up as him for everything from Halloween to conventions.

Over those eighty-three years, we’ve seen countless variations on her outfit and many of them have been tackled by cosplayers. So what makes a Batman costume bat Man?

The appeal

“Batman is iconic,” Batman cosplayer Dom Charland explained to me. “He’s one of those superheroes that EVERYONE knows, and that a lot of people grew up with.” Charland caught my attention last month with a series of photos he had taken on a New York City rooftop, perfectly capturing the character’s appearance looking out over Gotham City.

Charland explained that he first decided to get into Batman cosplay with a realistic version of the character from Batman: The Animated Seriesand ended up acquiring a costume from The Nashville Knight and Napier’s to create a suit that captured the animated look in a realistic costume, and picked up his hood from fan studio Tigerstone FX.

“I think Batman and Spider-Man are the most popular for FAR with kids and crowds,” Charland explained, “something about being a hero that anyone could be. You’re not a guy who wears a bat suit, you’re bat Man. The moment you strap on that cape and turn around, it’s an instant hit.”

Batman cosplayers

Vermont cosplayer Luke Hungerford echoed that idea, explaining that the character has seen so many versions that it can appeal to just about anyone. “I think the main draw comes from the character’s history,” he said. “There are so many iterations of Batman that anyone can relate to; kids who grew up watching the animated series could grow up to replicate that suit, people who love Christopher Nolan’s trilogy can build a super-armored “realistic” bat suit. There are so many different directions you can take the character, and that makes him incredibly accessible to anyone in the community, no matter their experience level.”

Batman cosplayer Al Vasquez noted that Batman is a multi-generational character and that the appeal to him lies in his heroism. “I’ve been a lifelong fan of Batman since he was a little kid,” he explained. He started dressing up when he heard that the creator of Nolan’s Batmobile had started taking the vehicle to children’s hospitals to cheer up the patients. “I thought to myself: While I didn’t have access to a Batmobile, I could definitely work on building a suit of my own to do charity work.”

the essentials

With so many versions of the character, where does one start and what is essential to the character itself? Certainly, there is a familiar look to the character: a hood with ears, a cape, the chest insignia, and a utility belt. But a lot of characters have those elements: what makes him Batman, and how do cosplayers replicate the look?

Batman cosplayers

Charland explained that he felt the most important part was the hood: “Are you a long-eared bat? short ear? Is your hood stoic and emotionless? angry and aggressive? Can you turn your head and be tactical, or are you a silent Sentinel? The hood, he explains, conveys a lot to viewers. “You could easily take off the cowl and put another one on and the whole energy of your Batman changes.”

He checked off some of the other items: the bodysuit (with all its variations, such as with trunks, muscles, textures, or without), the armbands, the tall boots, the utility belt, the cape, and the chest emblem. “Let’s not forget,” she added, “all those wonderful toys!”

Hungerford echoed that, “I think the most important thing for a Batman cosplayer is nailing down the shoulders – that silhouette is so iconic, and getting the proportions right can really lift the suit.”

Batman cosplayers

Vasquez noted that different types of events require different types of costumes. “Usually I try to wear an outfit that is popular at the time or that is familiar to the kids,” he said. “For conventions, I’ll tend to get a little more creative with some of the costumes and do something very different or unique than what everyone is used to. I’ve definitely tried to do all kinds of versions of the character.”

Vásquez pointed out that it’s not just the costume that’s important: it’s the pose and poise of the character. “The suit does most of the work,” he said, “the cape and hood are the first steps. It doesn’t matter if it’s a custom or store-bought creation, it’s about how you present it. You put on the suit and your confidence skyrockets. You become Batman. You stand a little taller and your voice is a little deeper and rougher. You just naturally accept manners and catchy phrases. Batman walks into a room and he’s unwavering: he owns that room.”