Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: Everybody Cosplay!

This book is much more what I want to see (as compared to the 1001 Costume Ideas book), it has good, large pictures of each costume and shares a bit about the character and what went into the costume.
This followed only one costumer though, it was implied this was a compilation of columns run in Newtype USA. It was interesting to see the mix of quick homemade stuff, more involved builds and stuff that she put together or bought. It showed even a nationally syndicated columnist cosplayer buys things or even whole costumes. It was a cool glimpse into one cosplayer's method and wardrobe.

But that's the thing, this book was about glimpses. There were two details about construction per costume at most and several had no notes about actual construction at all. I liked the blog feel of this book but I'd have loved to look further in.
7/10 (An interesting look into one cosplayer's wardrobe and the thought that went into the choosing and creation of the costume. Not very detailed but detailed enough to be enjoyable. Would love either a continuation of this theme to books following other prominent cosplayers or a compilation of such portfolios. It is looking like Cosplay in America vol 2 which is currently being Kickstarted is going to do that so I'm really looking forward to it.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: 1000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas

2013. 1000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas. Quarry Books. ISBN: 9781592536986

1000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas, I thought it would have cosplay crafting ideas. Or photo tips. Something how to. But it isn't. It's a book of cosplayers from photo shoots (so there's some amazing shots but many of them are so tiny it makes their amazingness almost moot.

The photos despite being vaguely divided into chapters by Anime/Manga, Videogames, Comic Books, Custom Characters, Props, etc, don't really have a set reason for being grouped together. On most pages it seems like it's because they are all share a similar color palete and on others it is because everyone is posing a similar way or with a similar prop. If everything but grouping was kept the same and the costumes were grouped first by character (so all Yuko cosplayers in the same spread or two spreads) then by general style (like all armor or all poofy princess dresses) so then at least you could get ideas from comparing similar costumes or characters I'd be a bit more down.

As it is I can't really tell what this book is trying to do. Most of the photos are too small to make this a coffee table book for showcasing the costumes/photos, there's no tips for creation or even anything really useful for costume creation. The best I can make out of this book is some ideas on how to pose for pictures maybe. But the title of the book doesn't really give the impression that this is what the book is really for. :/

I dig the photo credits though and there's lots of cool shots but I'm really glad I got this through interlibrary loan since it doesn't even really make a good coffee table book.

4/10 (It's an awkwardly laid out photo book which doesn't seem to have a cohesive idea as to what it wants to do. Which is a shame because I'd love to see either larger pictures of the costumes in it since they're all very nice or I'd love a focus on construction/details if the pics are going to be small and numerous. Preferably more of the second option given the title.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Cosplay Fever Red

Dunlop, R. and Lumby, P. (2010). Cosplay Fever Red. Ablaze Media Ltd. ISBN:9780954300845

Here is the sequel to Cosplay Fever! In the intro they mention how they took reader comments into consideration when doing this one so below character they now have series they're from and they have a section in back sorted by series and character to make finding costumes in the book easier. I think that was a super awesome touch. Another thing they did was interview four cosplayers who are supposedly big in the UK and include those interviews. I'm not part of the UK cosplay scene so I don't really know who these people are but their costumes in the book are amazing and their interviews are well done.
The pages are similar in layout to the last book with the posed convention snap with info somewhere overlaid. Most have the following info:
-A quote
-Notes about the costume
and sometimes:
-Best thing (in cosplayer's opinion) about the costume
-Why the cosplayer loves the character

10/10 (Seriously one of the best for getting an idea about what cosplay at cons looks like. The photos are respectful to the cosplayer and the info is a cool look into each costume. There was more focus on handmade versus bought costumes but that might just be because so many in this book are really fantastic and elaborate costumes which eBay sellers are less inclined to make. The quotes aren't even that bad this time. Also, the poses and costumes in the book would most likely not make your parents pass out if they saw it if you're looking for a book to show cosplay to your parents.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Review: Cosplay Fever

Dunlop, R., & Lumby, P. (2009). Cosplay Fever. London: Ablaze Media. ISBN: 9780954300838

This is a pretty neat book. It has a short foreword and an intro which kind of gives a feel for what cosplay is and why some people do it as well as when and where these shots were collected (the UK, 2009) but otherwise is a collection of costume shots. I think this is my favorite of the coffee table docubooks so far as it lists on the page right next to the costumer:

1) Who they are.
2) What their costume is.
3) Details about the costume like price, something memorable about the construction, if they bought it and where.
4) Their favorite thing about the character they're cosplaying.
5) Why they cosplay.

There is also a quote from the cosplayer on each page but about half of them are "You lost the game." which hilariously enough makes it very clear when the material for this book was collected even if you don't read the introduction!

My third favorite thing, after the good convention snaps and the cosplay info right next to the cosplayer, is that the cosplays span everything. There's furries and lolita versions of characters and stuff from games and stuff from books and homemade and closet cosplay and commissioned costumes and stuff bought out of cosplay shops. It is all presented with equal respect.

9/10 (I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants an idea/to give an idea of the convention cosplay scene. There are a scant few cosplayers included who are posing in suggestive or otherwise less than parent friendly ways (one has another on a leash and their quotes made my eyes roll so hard) so maybe not the best to give to particularly reserved or conservative parents to show how amazing the cosplay community is. Only lost a point because the quotes off away from the cosplayer info tended to be pretty lame, the book would be a 10 if those had been omitted.)