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And So It Begins

Genderswap and Other Cosplay With a Twist from Comic-Con 2013!

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We here at The Mary Sue always appreciate a good genderswap cosplay. Probably more than most. Also known as Rule 63, genderswap cosplay can really open our minds to new possibilities. With that in mind, take a look at our first cosplay gallery from San Diego Comic-Con 2013 (and don’t forget last year’s talented fans). It includes not only genderswap costumes but other alternative versions of the classic fare. Enjoy!

Previously in San Diego Comic-Con

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  • Ryan Colson

    White Queen (King?) needed a creative X on his junk, honestly.

  • Ashe

    Harley Quinn/Michonne. A thing I didn’t know I wanted.

  • Anonymous

    That Evil Queen in Disney Superhero/Villains is just…wow.
    PS – Who’s the white haired one in the upper right corner?

  • ceratopian

    Maybe it’s Kida?

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t my friends be this cool…?

  • Anonymous

    Man, this makes me want to cosplay, but I would need to have skillz….

    Did FemBooker really need her pants unbuttoned, though? Seems like they would slip…impractical when riding lines.

  • John W
  • Kim Pittman

    Huzzah Lady Thor!

    I love the detail on her helm. *claps excitedly*

  • Katie Ridenour

    The Booker is so disappointing. She would have looked so beautiful in a classy suit. But instead she did the “skimpy version of male” putting her sexuality first and the character second. Put the character first–that would have impressed me far more.

    But the Harley!Michonne. BOSS. Also the Steampunk Harley and friends.

  • Lapin

    I kind of love genderswapped cosplay, on both guys and girls.

    If I end up going to a con in the near future, I’m going to cosplay a female version of either Will Graham from Hannibal or Newt Geiszler from Pacific Rim, because I have all the necessary clothes in my closet/ wouldn’t need a wig or contacts.

    I wish I could actually sew costumes at the level of those above- pretty amazing.

  • Sarah Brockman

    Cannot unsee the lower half of the male Emma Frost Cosplay. That whole picture was fantastic.

  • Raychul

    Why can’t a girl (that’s me as Booker btw) show her love for a game or character but also feel sexy at the same time? I could’ve gone all out sexy and worn short booty shorts too but I really wanted to keep the essence of the character but add my own twist.

  • Katie Ridenour

    Because I’ve been playing games a long time–and it gets tiring to watch all females be reduced to their looks and sexuality first—and actual contribution to the game second (or third). And–you didn’t keep the essence of the character. That’s the problem. Steampunk Harley kept the essence of her character. You just made Booker dress like a hooker. Skimp shirt, pants unbuttoned, really? That’s the essence of Booker as a character? No. Not at all. Your costume just seems to be more about getting males to want to take your picture–rather than any respect for the character.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    You may find it tiring, but the cosplayer changing her costume to be more modest to please you would be just as icky as if she only made it sexy to please someone else. You don’t know her motivations and your comments seem more than a little misogynist. Can we quit the slut-shaming?

  • Carmen Sandiego

    She may not have been going for practical Fem Booker. Just like adding cogs to a costume isn’t necessarily practical.

  • MeatyStakes

    Eh, it just doesn’t feel like an accurate translation. To be honest I didn’t who it was at first sight. It was “Sexy Booker” instead of “Female Booker” Is there anything wrong with it? Not really, but it does misrepresent the character by adding a quality that did not canonically present.

    Of course the line of “personal twist” is subjective as to when is an accurate translation or going to far, but this sort of sexified costumes do raise questions about expectation of sexualization of female costumes.regardless of context.

    Personally, is not about the sexy costume, but why sexy Booker.

  • Katie Ridenour

    Carmen: I would ask you to please read my entire comment before having a knee-jerk reaction to what you think I’m saying.

    I am not misogynistic. I am not slut-shaming. If I were slut-shaming, I would be having an issue with every other Harley dressed in a short skirt. But I don’t have an issue–because that’s Harley. That’s what she wears. I have no problems with that. I’m not asking her to change her costume to please me–its about the character.

    My comment was that Booker isn’t like that. He doesn’t dress like that. The essence of his character isn’t like that. So why would someone dress in that way and say that it is? It just seems like an excuse. She’s free to wear what she wants–obviously. But I’m also free to have an opinion about it—it’s up to her whether or not she wants anything to do with it. It’s no skin off my back either way. Just because she dresses that way–doesn’t mean that everyone will like it. And just because someone doesn’t like it–doesn’t mean that that person is ‘slut-shaming’ or ‘misogynistic’. It’s having an honest opinion about the character.

  • Katie Ridenour

    This, exactly. Its not about the sexy costume. Its just–why sexy Booker?

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Okay, cool. As long as you have the same criticisms about every single variation imagining a character. Steampunk Booker? Not in character. Ballerina Booker? Not in character. 8-bit Booker? Not in character. Superhero Disney Princesses? Not in character. Part of the fun of cosplay is taking some elements of the character and twisting them, or trying them with new trappings. Sure there are some Disney Princess Deadpools that are in character, and some that are just a crossover with more emphasis on the Disney than the Deadpool. The possibilities are infinite. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine. :) The genderswapped PowerGirl showed a lot more skin than even the actual PowerGirl costume, and yet you didn’t harp on the guy doing that, even though it’s about ten times less practical than even the impracticality of the original costume. I just see a double standard and I’m commenting on it.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Whoa, Emma Frost, not Power Girl. Which actually as an even more extreme difference really.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Why not?

  • Katie Ridenour

    I don’t think you understand at all. Steampunk Booker is perfectly plausible if he were placed in a steampunk universe. Ballerina Booker–yeah, not in character. Disney princess–if it were done for irony–that’s hilarious. But this wasn’t done for irony. So…your argument doesn’t really fit.

    Also, I have no idea who PowerGirl is. So whichever one you’re talking about–I have no idea.

  • Katie Ridenour

    Well, I’m going to assume that you must be close friends with the cosplayer–or else you wouldn’t be so invested. So maybe you can ask her. It’s not being played for irony. Or laughs. Or anything significant to the plot. Sooo…?

  • Anonymous

    I like that this includes guy’s playing genderswapped characters, all too often genderswapped cosplay galleries only include girls dressed as sexy genderswaps.

  • Raychul

    But you’re forgetting…this is MY version of Booker. Agree or disagree…this is MY take of the character. You judge so fast. I LOVED BioShock Infinite and this was my way of showing my love for such an amazing game and character. I could’ve gone a much sexier route…but I wanted to still represent the character with my own personal twist and this is how I decided to do it.

    Do you judge artists who take a male character and turn it female, then put the character in a more suggestive pose? No, b/c that’s the artist’s creative take on that particular character. Well this is MY creative interpretation. And I’m proud of how it turned out.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I have no idea who she is. So what if it’s not being played for irony? Or laughs. She’s probably not dressing for you. She commented that she wanted to “add her own twist”. I can dig that. I’m planning a costume for an Avengers-themed ball that is a twist on Enchantress’ costume and will include a long green 1960-ish glam dress that is nothing like what she wore on one of her first trips to Midgard/Earth, or really any of the ones thereafter. That’s part of the fun of cosplay. It’s not your favorite, you’ve made that clear.

  • Aeryl

    To paraphrase Dr. Frank N Furter, she didn’t make it for you.

  • Aeryl

    But your criticisms were decidedly focused on shaming the sexy quality of the outfit, as if finding something sexy about a character that’s not necessarily IN TEXT, is invalid.

    And it’s not. It’s no more invalid than the Steampunkers, which you mentioned with approval. The focus on an individual person’s decision to present a character as sexy, especially a gender flipped one, is what’s leading people to reading your opinions as slut shaming and misogynist.

  • Mattias Berntson

    That Scarlet Witch (Wizard?). :D

    Well, I’m not sure if the Thor or the Cap is my favorite, but one of them is.

  • Mattias Berntson

    For the record — because there’s a record, right? — you’d most assuredly be plenty sexy with a more “faithful” representation of the character’s outfit.

    Not my place to tell anyone what to wear, certainly, but I just personally abhor the idea that “sexy” must equal skimpy/revealing for costumes. :P

    Though of course the most important thing is that you’re having fun with your cosplaying. That should go without saying, but I don’t think it hurts to say it anyway. :)

  • Pamela

    I’m so sad I missed the guy White Queens and Scarlet Witch. I was hoping for Hawkeye Initiative cosplayers but I didn’t see any of those, either!


    The scarlet witch and emma frost was my favorite! LOL! More guys need to cosplay like this! I would if I could! xD

  • Katie Ridenour

    That doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion about it. She posted it online. If she only wanted good remarks, maybe she should have kept it to her friends only.

  • Katie Ridenour

    Okay, good for you. You are getting so defensive about it–I am allowed to state an opinion that I don’t really like your interpretation. In case you weren’t aware, the internet allows such things. If you think this is the ‘essence’ of the character–you know, clothes impractical and undone–whatever. And you ought to really let me answer the question before you answer for me. I don’t think the answer to sexy equals skimpy. When I see people who take male characters, genderswap and put them in trashy poses–well, whether or not that works depends on the character they do it with–obviously.

    I don’t know why you and Carmen can’t understand. This was just a comment on the CHARACTER. You are a pretty girl–I’m sure you got tons of attention and tons of people told you how much they liked your ‘skimpy’ version of Booker. I didn’t like it. I stated it. If you’re really that proud of it, then GET OVER IT.

  • Penny Dreadful

    male Emma Frost made me laugh and laugh…delightful!

  • Katie Ridenour

    No, because the skimpiness of the outfit says something about the persona of the character that isn’t represented in the game.

    Steampunk DOES NOT. Jesus, people.

  • Aeryl

    You can have an opinion, but you can’t demand an explanation, and that is EXACTLY what you’ve done.

    Again, it’s not for you.

  • Anonymous

    That Beetlejuice – it’s not ACTUALLY Winona Ryder is it?

  • Katie Ridenour

    Okay, kid, that’s awesome. Do it. If you keep the essence of the character and everyone recognizes you–fantastic.

    I don’t think any of you are going to understand what I’m trying to say. So clearly there’s no point in arguing with you anymore. I’m commenting on the character and the persona of him–not slut-shaming. But apparently you all can’t understand that. If she can’t take someone not liking her ‘interpretation’–that’s her problem. Everyone getting so defensive about it–whatever. Make a huge deal of it, I guess, if that makes you feel better.

  • Nat

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with her costume. If you don’t like it that’s okay but looking at this thread here, I’m pretty appalled by you giving Raychul a hard time for wanted to dress the way she did simply because *you* decided she’s playing into stereotypes. She didn’t wear that costume to impress you so how dare you say that. ‘that would have impressed me far more’.
    There are more important things to be annoyed and angry about there. Heaven forbid anyone want to take a masculine character (with a sexy voice) and dress the way they want to. Get over yourself.

  • Thomas Hayes

    Is that Vanellope von Schweetz in the middle back of the last picture, with the giant sweet hammer? I approve. I’m not sure who the character in the top right of that picture is though, I haven’t watched any classic Disney in some time.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Wow, please do not talk to other commenters like that. You are free to not like her version of the costume but don’t judge her for her choices.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    “If you want to do genderbend Booker, then do a female version. If you want to do a sexy genderbend Booker, then do it. But don’t stop somewhere in between.”

    That makes no sense. It’s HER costume. She can make it anything she wants.

  • LifeLessons


  • Aeryl

    I can respect that you have an issue with how game developers portray women.

    That is not the fault of cosplayers. Direct your anger in the right direction.

    Considering you liked the cosplayers who sexified their costumes up, so long as they weren’t genderbent, it’s really hard to tell where you are coming from in this, if it’s not intended to be shaming.

    Like there was a visceral reaction to seeing a male character objectified, and if that’s the case, well that’s kinda the point of Rule 63 from what I understand.

  • Aeryl

    So Rule 63 Steampunk Batman’s lacy thigh highs AREN’T saying something about the character that’s not represented by his story?


  • Thomas Hayes

    It’s the codpiece that makes it, really.

  • Brooke Michelle

    Or guys dressed as schleppy versions of normally sexy ladies. So I was happy to see these sexed up fellas.

  • tinylights

    I wish I knew crafty people who wanted to dress me up all of my favorite characters. I have such respect for the people who are awesome and brave enough to cosplay and the amazing pieces they create.

  • Aeryl

    Actually that was a list of demands that went WAY beyond opinion. Which is why you got the reaction you got.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Will Graham would be awesome! Make sure you add the flower crown!

  • Amanda Burke

    I did a similar Michonne cosplay, except I was Leia and my friend and brother were Han and Luke. It’s a lot of fun, though I think the zombies have more fun :)