I’m goona rap at you people.

I respect Tony Harris’ art — the fellow can move a pencil on paper in a way that is pleasing and Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days is among my favorite books — but when he tries to pivot from pictures to words, something gets lost in translation.

Today, on the Great Public Embarrassment Generator known as Facebook, Harris took to the soap box that we are all given in exchange for our personal information and he told the world, nay, the universe, what he thought about female cosplayers. Apparently he thinks you are all phony, so please pack up your bosoms and go home. (Okay, that wasn’t expressed, but it’s sorta close to that, isn’t it? Go ahead, read it, I’ll wait…)

Now, I don’t know what Harris thinks a real female comic book fan dresses like, and I really don’t care. His notions are either fiction or a fraction of the truth, because in my experience as a chubdorable male that frequents conventions, female comic fans don’t dress in one specific way or the other.

They are cosplayers, they are “sexy” cosplayers, they are tee shirt clad, and so on and so forth. There is diversity within their ranks and that is outstanding, undeniable, and irreversible.

Women, men, Klingons, and everyone else should feel comfortable to be themselves when they go to a con because that is one of the most beautiful things about cons — they are a sanctuary for a group of people who love similar things and they should be a free, safe place.

What threatens that? People with agendas and people who forget that they have sisters and mothers and grandmothers and pretend that women are there to be preyed upon, though the portrayal of Comic-Cons as a lawless badland over-run with dick-in-hand thugs feels inaccurate.

With that said though, every costume is not an invitation and they aren’t declarations of whoreishness. They aren’t political statements either. Sometimes a Power Girl costume is just a Power Girl costume and sometimes that’s someone’s way of getting attention and that’s cool too. Really, whatever thrills you.

Honestly, I’m too busy looking for 1/2 price trades or sprinting from panel to panel to notice (because as a grown up, I have seen breasts and thus they have no power over me), but sex and sexiness and dressing in a sexy way should be embraced and allowed because hell yeah freedom and all that good stuff. And oh by the way, plenty of men dress in cosplay and plenty of them wear the form fitting costumes popularized by their favorite characters as well, but no one ever brings that up or the fact that men are sexualized in comics as well. Well, almost no one.

Here’s another thing that should be celebrated at cons: newbies. I’ve been a hardcore nerd for five years. Wanna see my nerd card? Frak you. I’ve spent days marathoning Buffy, BSG, Angel, Trek, Doctor Who, and I’m coming off a period of hurricane inspired technical isolation that I spent in the OCD hell of action figure re-posing and the nerdvana of thumbing through the contents of a long box of comics and trades on my own private Elba. I didn’t do that to gain favor with others, I did that because I love this shit and I love this shit because science fiction and fantasy are about inclusion.

Tony Harris’ remarks aren’t about inclusion (or reality, unless I’m just too mellow and toy obsessed to notice the sexual Gettysburg that Mr. Harris spies) and that’s unfortunate because as someone who makes comics, you would think it would be in his best interests to try and bring people into this world, not push them out.

Alright, that’s really all I have to say about this, so in conclusion: I really don’t care if people want to dress up as Chewie or Cheetara and I just want everyone to relax, read a comic (even a Tony Harris one if you can excuse his remarks), and enjoy this amazing era in nerdiness without letting the rest of the bullshit seep in. Peace out.

The opinions expressed in the above article are those of the writer and not Also, did he just close out the article by saying “Peace out”?

Category: Comics, Cosplay

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


  • Good call JT. And that Harris rant was by far one of the worst written and ignorant things I’ve read in a long time. It sounds like he got pissed on by one too many girls and decided to vent.

  • Pip pip, well-played, sir. Seriously, thanks. It’s nice to see that not all men are pigs.

  • I just had to chime in on this:

    There are many comics creators who love cosplayers of all shapes, sizes, skill levels and genders! Don’t listen to Tony Harris!

  • RaBizzle

    This was a great read. Please keep in my that I agree with this article 150% when you read the following….

    The most common trend I’ve seen since reading Mr. Harris’ rant first thing this morning, is that people are under the impression that he is lumping ALL women into this. He says in the beginning of his rant, regarding female cosplayers:

    “I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule.”

    I took him to mean that he’s talking about the girls who show up at cons specifically to wear skimpy costumes and look sexy, and who would otherwise not give the regular con-going crowd (“nerds”) the time of day. Further down in the comments, he even mentions certain booths he’s seen that sell pornographic pictures of women in superhero costumes.

    Now, he absolutely buried any semblance of a point with in-articulation and offensive sentiment, but I just thought that it would be good to point that out in the interest of objectivity.

    • You’re right, he did say that but he said those kinds of girls were the exception, not the rule. I think it’s probably the other way around. As a geek girl, I get a lot of ‘Are you here with your boyfriend?’ when I go to comic book stores or even movies by myself. I wear heels! I have shiny hair! I can’t possibly be a real geek!

      Who is he to determine who falls into the category of fake geek girl? He even called Jill Pantozzi a poser today on Twitter. Stuff like that is why people don’t take his ‘it’s not everyone’ caveat seriously.

      Like you said, it’s the sentiment that’s offensive. The idea that someone who has their boobs out, or has boobs at all, can’t out-nerd someone with a pocket protector is maddening. It destroys the culture of inclusiveness that I think should be a focus of geek culture. We should be the last people to be judgmental of others.

  • LB

    I like how he’s sure to repeatedly remind female cosplayers that they aren’t REALLY that pretty. Just in case those uppity bitches dare feel good about themselves.