People with a limited imagination might ask why but for fans of colour, detail and fun, the idea of cosplay is too good to resist.
Bendigo will host its first cosplay contest on Sunday with a wide range of comic, movie, game and television show characters expected to enter.
Organiser, judge and avid cosplayer Kara Harris said it was exciting to bring cosplay to her home town.
“I have travelled to Melbourne for conventions and thought it would be good to bring it to Bendigo, into my home town,” Harris said.
“There's so many people in Bendigo that have to travel to dress up, this gives us the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy it here.”
The contest is being run as part of the Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair, which began in 2014 and is held twice a year.
Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair organiser Peter Pascoe hopes the contest will help the fair grow even further than it has in the past 18 months.
“It is something I’ve wanted for last couple of events,” he said.
“I’ve wanted a cosplay event for a long time but didn't have the contacts. It wasn't until a guy called Dwayne Thompson who does pop culture sculpting and paint, knew someone who knew Kara that we were able to do a cosplay event at the fair.”
Harris said there has already been a lot of interest in the Bendigo Cosplay Contest.
“Last year I heard a lot people walking around saying there should be a cosplay here,” she said.
“One of the youngest (entrants) in the contest is a nine-year-old boy. He is coming as Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Pascoe dabbled in cosplay when he dressed as DC Comics’ Superman for the Melbourne Comic Con when Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee attended.
“I made sure I got my comics signed by Stan before I dressed up,” he said.
“There also a heavy metal pirate band called Alestorm from Scotland that I have dressed up for.
“Everyone dressed as pirates for the gig and got into the mosh pit with their cutlasses, it was fantastic to see.”
Harris has been cosplaying for more than five years after being impressed by costumes at a convention.
“The first convention I went to I didn't dress up, I saw the costumes and decided this is what I want to do and have been making costumes every since,” she said.
“I like being able to be someone else for a day and making my own costumes, taking creativity and wearing it.
“I’ve made that many costumes, I’ve lost count. I make costumes from Comics, TV shows and games. I like being able to represent what I see on screen or read and actually do it yourself.”
Harris said her favourite thing to cosplay with is Doctor Who.
One of her most popular outfits is her Tardis ballgown that took her about two weeks to make.
“It was two weeks on and off. I started with the hoop and made the dress to fit that,” she said.
“Then I had to work out what props I wanted, how I wanted it to look and create the design and sew it.
“My next creation is already sitting in my lounge, it will be a Dalek ball gown.”
Despite the amount of detail in Harris’ dress, she doesn’t enter contests.
“I’m more there for the fun and atmosphere. It gets a good reaction (from fans),” she said.
Chris Hiddins has been cosplaying for about 12 months after developing an interested at a 21st birthday party.
“I’m still very new to the scene. I went to a 21st party with the theme of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ and I thought ‘Spider-Man, of course!’,” he said.
“I made a basic costume and thought I can do something with this and got a better suit online.
“Peter Parker is has always a been a slim 16-year-old kid, which works well for me.”
Newcomer to cosplay Jamie Louise Murray has spent almost a year working on two costumes for a 2016 convention.
Her World of Warcraft-inspired night elf druid and Lord of the Rings’ villain the Witch King of Angmar show where her interest sparked from.
“I used to play World of Warcraft with my brother years ago and Lord of the Rings has always been a series a of movies I've enjoyed,” she said.
“My friend Georgia got me started, she went to convention last year and I asked how she did and started researching thought have a go at it.
“It’s been a fun hobby to get into, something a bit different.”
The task of creating such detailed costumes has meant a lot of trial, error and focus for Murray.
“You learn from other people, learn from your mistakes and work out what works and what doesn't,” she said.
“It is frustrating sometimes. I wouldn't say perfectionist but making sure (costumes) fit comfortably and stay on you are two most important things to be precise with.
“I work as a school teacher and go to gym five nights a week, so I don't have that 24-hour commitment like (some) other cosplayers.”
Murray said some cosplayers get paid or sponsored to create outfits.
“A lot of people get sponsored. A girl I know got sponsored by Blizzard, who are the creators World of Warcraft,” she said.
“How she constructs costumes and the detail in them is phenomenal.
“When comes down to it, I have found the most minuscule details are thing that can define a costume between good and bad.”
Murray said entering the world of cosplay has been exciting.
“I have found it overwhelming in a very positive way. There are people from different backgrounds, sizes and body types who just choose favourite character and go with it,” she said.
“There never seems to be any criticism or negativity and it allows people to amp up their own characters.”
Harris and Hiddins both went to Melbourne Oz Comic Con this year, which was full of highlights.
“I love walking around and seeing fans faces light up when see you. That’s best part,” Hiddins said.
“It’s impossible to single out one highlight. I met about five other Spider-Men and we got a group photo which was cool.”
Harris said fan reactions were definitely a highlight.
“This year (Oz Comic Con) really catered to cosplayers by having cosplay central where you could do repairs, get changed or fix your make up,” she said.
“I didn't see a lot because I was working at my friends stall, which was a Tardis, but what I saw was amazing.”
For more information find the Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair or Bendigo CosPlay on Facebook.
The Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair is on Sunday, September 20, from 10am to 4pm at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre in Prince of Wales Showgrounds. Entry is $4.
The Bendigo Cosplay Contest starts at 1.30pm. Entrants must register by 1pm. The registration fee is $5 with proceeds donated to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.