Fri
Jul 20 2012 4:00pm

The Legend of Korra Cosplay at Comic Con

Oh sure, sometimes I’ll throw on a mask or a hat when I’m running a roleplaying game, but I’ve never been a cosplayer, outside of the occasional Halloween costume or dressing up for a Vampire LARP. What that means is that for me, good cosplay is magical. My brain understands all the hard work that has gone into it, but it is the best kind of hard work; it pays off by being invisible. It just looks like, hey, these are people from The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender!

I think the Ember Island Players are a perfect example of what I mean; there is just so much meta going on; dressing up as people dressed up as other people? Fantastic. I wasn’t able to go to Comic-Con to see the costumes this year, but Gaash Shakh was kind enough to show me his pictures, and so here they are. Click any picture to enlarge.

Look at this Korra. Seriously, how... I don’t even. I’m at a loss of what to say because, wow, that is a pretty incredible Korra. The cosplayer herself, the costume, the whole thing just comes together and leaves me feeling like...“was the Avatar in San Diego?”

Another great Korra. I find the differences and similarities between the costumes really interesting; the color saturation in the blue, the cuffs and the fur; interpreting something from a cartoon into real life leaves the creator with a wide latitude. No two Korras will be alike!

I like that this Asami seems to be caressing her glove; you don’t need Mako, Asami— you’ve got a taser glove, a custom sato-mobile, some mecha and all the money of Future Enterprises, or whatever is left of it after all the lawsuits that stem from having an evil genius father.

This General Iroh is impressive...

...but not as impressive as Iroh Man. That is another element of cosplay that really tickles me; the way that it intersects with fandom. Not surprisingly, since cosplayers are fans— but I mean rather, the way the memes of the fandom can become almost canon. I guess that is what the word “fanon” is for, huh?

The “Deal With It” meme is another case in point. When baby Korra smashed through the wall in the first episode shouting “I’m the Avatar, you gotta deal with it!” I think the internet collectively and all at once went “yes.” How it morphed into Kanye glasses for the whole Krew escapes me, but it is most excellent.

One of the rules of the internet— excuse me, Rules of the Internet— is Rule 63, that for any given character there is a gender flipped version somewhere online. I have a bad habit of getting the numbers of Rule 63 and Rule 34 confused, which is mortifying. This genderswapped Korra and General Iroh on the other hand have nothing to be embarrassed about at all!

In my head, these Equalists are the ones from “Out of the Past,” you know, the sarcastic duo from the tunnels under Republic City? Even if they aren’t, the ability to take a minor character and make it your own is another perk of the hobby, and turning (literally) faceless minions into your own thing? Well it worked for the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers!

Speaking of relatively minor but beloved characters...as I understand it— at least, as rumor has it— this gentleman used to cosplay reliably as the Cabbage Merchant, but now he’s adapted his costume to be Lao Gan Lan of Cabbage Corp. The evolutions of form is another admirable thing about the hobby; look at what you’ve got and then take it to the next level.

Even animals get represented in cosplay at Comic-Con. A cute Pabu and a spot-on White Lotus Warrior are knock-your-socks-off great.

...but the “Yip Yip” bling really puts this Appa up and over the top. You know, you could do a really great Appa in the style of a Chinese street fair dragon, but barring that whole thing, a “Yip Yip” medallion ought to do the trick nicely. The costume holds together beside that, though; the fuzzy belly, the arrow on the head, the furry boots; it is a lot of fun.

Hah! Someone dressed up as the Miyazaki Godzilla from the end of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender? See, I wouldn’t have thought of that! Extra points for the tiny stick-figure Aang in the belly of the beast.

...but I definitely wouldn’t have thought of dressing like Azula in the Earth Kingdom! Now that is high concept. I’m “an Azula,” by rights—you know how you and your friends all talk about which character is most like you, right, everyone does that—so I’m partial, but the cosplayer is selling it extra hard. The cruelty of that smirk (especially when you look at the similar smirk on the Zuko cosplayer below) is grandiose!

Okay so my theory about spirits was proven wrong in this book, but it is still nice to see Yue! I’ve actually seen this Sokka around in other photos before, probably because he looks exactly how I pictured the character.

Speaking of “the right look,” this guy might have too much facial hair to really match Zuko— though who knows what sort of experiments Zuko might have tried, in light of Aang’s chinstrap— but the smirk and glower all at once is killing me!

...but not as much as this exasperated Zuko and Uncle Iroh. I know I’ve been following a lot of pictures with “...but” and then another photo, but I think that is the fun of a convention; you get see all these cosplayers and you get to see everyone playing off each other.

Much as Azula is my favorite, Kyoshi is my favorite Avatar. While I identify with the crazy cruel genius of Azula, I don’t see myself in Kyoshi, but she’s definitely my favorite. The scene where she’s telling Aang to kill Ozai, and Aang says the she didn’t kill Chin the Conqueror, just let him die, and Kyoshi says she doesn’t see the difference? That moment of taking responsibility for the consequences of her actions endeared her to me— and presumably to this cosplayer!

Saving, perhaps, the best for last, I present to you The Amazing Fighting Beifongs! All of this, just, all of this. The armor. The wire. The wigs. The bare feet! This is just intense. If you saw a couple of Beifongs coming down the street at you, it might behoove you to tally up all the red and black in your ledge, just to make sure they aren’t coming for you. This! Is why I like seeing cosplayers; it is like getting to see Lin and Toph hang out.


Mordicai Knode would like to thank Ghaash Shakh again, and to let everyone know that “ghâsh” is Black Speech for “fire”— the orcs of Moria say it when the Balrog comes, so presumably he’s a firebender. Like Tolkien & Korra mash-ups? Mordicai has more where that came from on Twitter & Tumblr!

24 comments
DarthRachel
2. DarthRachel
I pretty much lost my mind when I saw gaash tweet those pics of Lin Beifong... still losing my mind.
Fade Manley
3. fadeaccompli
Ember Island Players, a truly excellent Korra to start, and the BeiFong Brigade to end? This is the best set of photos ever.
Thomas Jeffries
4. thomstel
Ya know, those awesome diagonal support beams for the con center in the background...can you imagine seeing someone cosplaying as Bumi from AtLA in his cage on those oh-so-close-to-mail-chutes-from-Omashu!?

Internet! I choose you! Make it happen somebody!!!
Mordicai Knode
5. mordicai
2. DarthRachel

Also note that Darth Rachel is the one who pointed me to Gaash in the first place, making her The Facilitator (tm).

3. fadeaccompli

I thought they were appropriate bookends!
DarthRachel
6. wandering-dreamer
Actually, according to Bryke's tumblr (I forget whose) the ocean spirit cosplay is another outfit based on the Ember Island Players outfit. In any case, this fandom has the best cosplayers hands down, they get so creative!
DarthRachel
8. Nentuaby
Yeah, that Koizilla is definitely the Ember Island costume:

http://images.wikia.com/avatar/images/1/1d/Koizilla_Costume.png
DarthRachel
9. dral64
THANK YOU Gaash and Mordicai for leaving no Korra/ATLA fan behind!

4. thomstel

I pointed out those supports to my son and we both said "Whee!" Yes, someone make it happen!!
Cait Glasson
10. CaitieCat
Awesome post, Mordicai - that first Korra is AMAZING, she looks so perfectly like I picture the real-life Korra. Thanks so much for this.

Also, Ember Island Players! What an awesome costume idea. And the fighting Beifongs is...I have no words. Lin has very quickly become my favourite Avatar-character EVAR: a middle-aged, grey-haired woman who is still BADASS TO THE BONE.
Mordicai Knode
11. mordicai
10. CaitieCat

I can only take the smallest amount of credit; the cosplayers & Gaash deserve your praise, I just picked my favorites! & I mean, look, those favorites are pretty clearly awesome. That Korra! That Lin! Etc!
Dash Cooray
12. dashdidntdoit
Fantastic!
I got a total kick out off all the photos, these cosplayers got it going on!! :D My favorite is the last. Toph looks amazing and so does Lin!!!

Yip Yip!! :D
Mordicai Knode
13. mordicai
12. dashdidntdoit

That Toph wig is...amazing is exactly the right word for it.
DarthRachel
14. Daniel Silverman
This is ghaash, thanks for all the wonderful comments! and thanks to Mordicai for using my pictures :)

Check out more of the Avatar/Korra cosplay photos I took at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghaash/sets/72157630613575712/ - enjoy!
Mordicai Knode
15. mordicai
14. Daniel Silverman

A drum! A drum! Gaash doth come! Woah, wait, did I just invent a Macbeth/Balrog mash-up?
DarthRachel
16. Random Karen
I'm the Ember Island Players Zuko. My friends are the EIP Aang, EIP Toph/Bolin, Iroh/Iroh Man, and the Lin. We all thank you very much for the photos! We're super glad you like our cosplay!
Cait Glasson
17. CaitieCat
Oh, Random Karen, that was outstanding. Great choice of costumes, great choice of cosplayers, great work all around. Simply outstanding.
Mordicai Knode
18. mordicai
16. Random Karen

I am glad you stopped by & said hello! Really great work both conceptually & in execution. Do you guys build your costumes as a team?
DarthRachel
19. KaylaBoBayla
Where does one aquire such quality cosplay?
DarthRachel
20. Roxanna Meta
This is an awesome list! The first Korra is my bestie Psykitten Pow. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Psykitten-Pow/195420460493715 Doesn't she look AMAZEBALLS? I know. I'm usually her Naga (although I didn't wear it to this con) and I seriously would follow her to the ends of the earth.

Really though, everybody here looks good, and if I couldn't see them while I was actually at the convention, it's nice to see them here :)
Mordicai Knode
21. mordicai
20. Roxanna Meta

Thanks for the link-- Psykitten Pow is killin' it as Korra!
DarthRachel
22. LokStalker
O.o No Amon?
DarthRachel
23. OurLadyoftheJavalinas
I REALLY need to find out how? where ? the cosplayer who did Lin Beifong got the unreal costume ! I WANT ONE!
DarthRachel
24. Nikisha
Just saying....her name is Suki not Kyoshi

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